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Pentax K-3 II Review

Pentax has recently increased the frequency with which it introduces new DSLRs; the K-3 II is the company’s third introduction in less than a calendar year. The K-3 has been replaced by the current top-of-the-line DSLR from the firm, which also includes the introduction of several new capabilities intended to steal the thunder of enthusiast cameras from industry giants Canon and Nikon.

Although it only has an APS-C-sized sensor, the K-3 II sits at the very top of Pentax’s product line. However, it competes most closely with mid-range or enthusiast cameras like the Nikon D7200 and Canon EOS 70D, at least in terms of pricing.

The High Res Shot mode included in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II is conceptually similar to the Pixel Shift Resolution System found in the Pentax K-3 II, which is the camera’s standout feature and what Pentax refers to as their “Pixel Shift Resolution System.” In this case, however, it is not meant to increase the number of pixels but rather to improve the amount of color information collected for each pixel.

Pentax K-3 II Build Quality

The K-3 II gives off the impression of being a well-built piece of equipment, both visually and tactilely. The grip and other portions of the camera have a textured finish, which provides a fair deal of additional purchase and contributes to the overall impression that the camera is of excellent quality. You may rest your middle finger in a comfortable indentation on the handle, and the back of the camera has a prominent thumb rest for you to rest your thumb on.

The abundance of dials and buttons on the Pentax K-3 II indicates that it is designed more for amateur than professional photographers. One of the scroll wheels is located on the back of the camera, and it fits comfortably under your hand. Another scroll wheel is located in front of the shutter release, and it fits comfortably under your forefinger.

The speed of the shutter is controlled by the front dial by default, while the aperture is adjusted using the rear dial. It is a very natural way to operate. Both will function if you are shooting in the Manual mode; however, only one of the two will work if you are shooting in the Shutter priority mode or the Aperture priority mode.

The dial that controls the exposure mode is located on the upper left of the camera. In addition to the standard automatic, semi-automatic, and manual shooting modes, the Pentax has two ways that are unique to the brand: sensitivity priority, in which you set the ISO value and the camera chooses the aperture and shutter speed, and shutter-and-aperture priority, in which you set the aperture and shutter speed and the camera chooses the ISO. Both of these modes are available in both the digital and film SLR models.

Pentax K-3 II Performance

Images taken with the K-3 II impressed us just as much as those taken with the K-3 did. JPEG photographs have much power even when taken straight from the camera.

You have several options to pick from in the Picture Control menu, giving you the ability to select the style that is most appropriate for the environment or subject that you are photographing. If you want the colors in a nature or wildlife picture to be more vivid, for example, you might choose the Bright or Vibrant preset. On the other hand, if you want the tones in a portrait to be a little bit more muted, you could use the Natural or Portrait preset.

When you look at the photographs in DNG (raw format), the colors are a little bit more subdued, which provides you with a good deal of leeway when it comes to making the color adjustments that you want in post-production.

Pentax K-3 II Image Quality

The Pentax K-3 II was capable of producing photographs of a very high grade. The Pentax K-3 II adequately handles the noise. It may be seen beginning at ISO 1600 and becoming more plainly discernible at faster settings such as ISO 3200 and 6400 when viewing photographs at 100% magnification on screen (particularly in the RAW files).

On paper, the quickest settings of 12800, 25600, and mainly 512000 appear considerably better than when captured by the camera. The color saturation is steady over the whole ISO range, which is quite impressive.

The JPEG photographs with 24 megapixels were a touch soft right out of the camera when the default sharpening option was used. For the best results, you should do further sharpening in an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you may modify the setting directly in the camera.

While using the telephoto end of the zoom range or when hand-holding the camera in low-light settings, image stabilization that is built into the camera body is an excellent feature that works exceptionally well. It is compatible with any lens that you choose to connect to the K-3 II is an additional advantage.

The Digital Filters enable you to generate distinctive effects in a short amount of time. At the same time, the Custom Images allow you to adjust to fit your needs better and may be used in place of the digital darkroom in many situations.

The D-Range choices assist in making the most out of both the shadows and highlights in a high-contrast scene (and it works for both JPEG and RAW files), while the HDR mode significantly widens the dynamic range of a JPEG by merging three shots with varied exposures in-camera.

The new anti-aliasing simulator helps to eliminate moire without the need for an accurate optical filter to do so. At the same time, the multi-exposure mode combines two and 2,000 separate JPEG or RAW photos into a single image.

Pentax K-3 II Specs

Body typeMid-size SLR
Max resolution6016 x 4000
Other resolutions4608 x 3072, 3072 x 2048, 1920 x 1080
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorPrime III
ISOAuto, 100 – 51200
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes (3 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes4.5 stops of shake reduction
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsBest, better, good
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points27
Lens mountPentax KAF2
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,037,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD monitor
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.95× (0.63× 35mm equiv.)
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot shoe, flash sync port)
Flash modesAuto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Trailing Curtain Sync, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync (available with dedicated external flash)
Continuous drive8.3 fps
Self-timerYes ( 2 or 12 seconds)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerMono
Storage typesDual SD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessOptional
Wireless notesSpecial version of Flu Card available
Remote controlYes (optional, wired or wireless)
Environmentally sealedYes (Weather and dust resistant)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion D-LI90 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)720
Weight (inc. batteries)800 g (1.76 lb / 28.22 oz)
Dimensions131 x 100 x 77 mm (5.16 x 3.94 x 3.03″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (up to 9999 pictures)
GPSBuilt-in
GPS notesRecords lat/long, altitude, time, and direction

Pentax K-3 II Verdict

Pentax has not completely redesigned its already very good K-3 to produce the K-3 II; however, the company has added some innovative and potentially beneficial technology to the camera, encouraging many enthusiast photographers to take a second look at a camera that is not a Canon or a Nikon.

The Pixel Shift Resolution Technology is something that piques my curiosity, and it’s encouraging to see different firms come up with novel approaches to improve the quality of the photographs they create.

The difference between regular images and those shot in Pixel Shift mode is so subtle that it is difficult to discern for most subjects. However, if you are a photographer who enjoys capturing extremely high-detail macro and still-life images, you might find this feature helpful.

Putting pixel shifting to the side, photographs captured at the usual resolution are superb. They include an abundance of detail and brilliant colors, and they may be modified to cater to specific subjects or individual preferences.

Pentax K-3 II Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Pixel Shift is a mode for taking high-resolution photographs.
  • Excellent image quality
  • Controls and menus that are easy to use
  • Sturdy construction
Need Improvements
  • There is no Wi-Fi built in.
  • The screen does not have a touch screen or a variable angle.
  • Only slight advancements in comparison to the K-3.
  • Autofocus that may be somewhat noisy

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