The flagship Pentax K-3 is a fresh semi-professional DSLR camera. Essential top features of the K-3 include a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor with an anti-aliasing simulator instead of an optical anti-aliasing filter, 27-stage Safox XI AF module that continues to be operational right down to -3EV, 86,000-pixel RGB light-metering sensor, ISO range of 100-51,200, Total HD 1080p video at 60fps, 8.3fps continuous shooting, High Dynamic Range mode, and a variety of in-built digital filtration system effects. The K-3 offers a dustproof, weather-resistant, and cold-resistant construction, a shutter created for 200,000 releases, the best shutter speed of 1/8000th second, an optical viewfinder with the biggest and brightness subject picture in its course, a 3.2-inch LCD monitor with 920k dots, built-in dust removal and shake-reduction systems, Dual Sdcard slots and a USB 3.0 port.

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Pentax K-3: Price

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Pentax K-3: Ease of Use

The Pentax K-3 is outwardly nearly the same as the cheaper K-5 II camera, sharing most of the same external design. It’s fractionally larger – 100(H) x 131.5(W) x 77.5(D) – and heavier – 715g without the battery or memory card fitted, nevertheless, you don’t pay an excessive amount of size or fat penalty for selecting the more full-featured K-3.

You can instantly inform that the K-3 is usually a serious camera once you choose it up for the very first time. This is mainly because of the K-3’s stainless-metal alloy frame and light-weight magnesium-steel alloy body, which really is a world from Pentax’s much smaller sized and lighter entry-level DSLR cameras. The K-3 is dirt, cold and water-resistant, thanks to something of 92 special seals used throughout the design, and it could operate at temperatures only -10°C. This displays itself most certainly via the battery compartment and the memory space card slot. The previous is opened with a little rotating latch, which is definitely reassuring but a little fiddly to use if you are in a hurry.

The K-3 includes a shutter unit that gives an easy top shutter acceleration of 1/8000th second and an unbelievable 200,000 shutter release life-span, a figure additionally associated with a lot more expensive professional cameras. Instead of an optical anti-aliasing filter in the camera, the K-3 comes with an innovative anti-aliasing simulator rather, which can be switched off (default setting) or to either the Type1 or Type2 setting, which adjusts the amount of the effect.

The SMC PENTAX-DA 18-135mm WR F3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR zoom lens that we were delivered for review along with the K-3 features a simplified weather-resistant construction designed to minimize the intrusion of water and moisture into the lens barrel. Gleam’s special covering repels dust, drinking water, and grease and makes it simple to clean off fingerprints and cosmetics. Consequently, it seems well-matched to the K-3, although it’s a fairly slow lens at both ends of the focal length (f3.5-5.6).

As it’s targeted at the experienced DSLR owner, the K-3 can be a complex camera in terms of functionality and the number of external controls that it offers, with over 30 altogether and lots of them having several functions. Regardless of the presence of therefore many buttons and switches, the Pentax K-3 doesn’t feel too cluttered or intimidating, though it will certainly take the time to adapt to for folks upgrading from a cheaper, simpler DSLR.

Departing from the latest trend of ultra-small SLR versions, the K-3 is certainly designed for “regular” hands. The camera includes a deep, contoured handgrip on the right-hand side, covered in a rubberized substance to aid grip, that allowed us to use three fingers to carry it and the right forefinger to use the shutter button. There exists a generously contoured region on the rear where your correct thumb sits, with all of those other body completed in a textured matt dark. The shutter release actions on the Pentax K-3 is very quiet, making the K-3 suitable to more candid photography.

On leading of the Pentax K-3 is a Natural / FX button, which immediately sets the image quality to whichever Natural format is chosen in the menu program (either Pentax’s PEF format or Adobe DNG), useful in case you are capturing in JPEG and wish to quickly change to RAW mode for a specific image. This button may also be customized to optionally control either Exposure Bracketing, Digital Preview, Electronic Level or Composition Adjustment. Located underneath is the Autofocus Mode button, with three available modes (AF-S, AF-A, and AF-C), and underneath a switch for changing between manual and car focusing. Above is a small button for starting the pop-up flash, which extends quite high above the zoom lens to greatly help minimize red-eye.

On the underneath of the K-3 may be the weather-sealed battery compartment, casing the same rechargeable 1860mAh D-LI90P lithium-ion battery as utilized by the K-7, K-5 II, and K-5 digital cameras. The K-3 managed around 700 shots using the supplied standard rechargeable Li-ion electric battery before being depleted. Gleam metal tripod mount that’s perfectly in-line with the center of the lens mount.

On the right-hand part of the K-3 is certainly a weather-sealed SD / SDHC / SDXC dual memory cards compartment that’s appropriate for SDXC UHS-1 swiftness cards. If you are using an optional FLU storage card in the K-3, you can launch the K-3’s shutter, check the live-view image, and search and download the images recorded on the cards using a smartphone. Remember that the FLU card happens to be limited to 16Gb in proportions. Located below is the remote cable discharge connector. On the left-hand side is a large vertical flap within the DC In, USB 3.0 and HDMI connectors. The HDMI port enables you to connect the K-3 to a high-def Television set, but only if you get an optional HDMI mini-cable. Above that is a little Mic port allowing you to connect an external mic, protected by a circular rubber seal.

The Pentax K-3 comes after conventional DSLR style in having a shooting setting dial on the top-still left of the camera, which allows you to select each one of the advanced modes like Aperture-priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual, or the even more point-and-shoot Auto and Program settings. There are no scene modes upon this camera, signaling its intent as a significant photographic tool.

You’ll instantly observe that the K-3 includes a handful of unusual shooting modes that you won’t have observed before on any other camera. They are the Sensitivity-Concern and Shutter & Aperture-Priority settings, plus they are genuinely useful additions. Sensitivity-Priority automatically selects the best combination of aperture and shutter quickness for your selected ISO speed. The sensitivity could be shifted instantly (in 1/2 or 1/3 steps) by turning the trunk control dial. This enables you to quickly choose an ISO speed, without needing to access the menu system, which is quite useful in quickly changing light conditions.

In the Shutter & Aperture-Priority setting the camera selects the most likely ISO velocity for a shutter rate and aperture combination, allowing you to make use of ISO sensitivity as a third element in determining the right exposure. As digital camera models have always offered the initial ability to instantly change the sensitivity, it’s astonishing that Pentax remains the only manufacturer to help you to use ISO in this manner. At the bottom of the shooting mode dial is a change which locks and unlocks the dial.

On the right-hand aspect of the very best of the K-3 may be the small shutter button, encircled by the on/off switch. It has a third environment, which by default activates the original Depth of Field Preview function, stopping straight down the lens so that you can see the aftereffect of your chosen aperture. Situated in front of the shutter switch is among the e-dials, predominately used to improve the shutter acceleration, while behind it are the Exposure Compensation and ISO control keys – these commonly-used features are ideally located for quick access.

The majority of the main camera configurations are shown in Live View, including a helpful digital level that keeps your horizons directly, although a histogram continues to be conspicuous by its absence. You can change the aperture, shutter swiftness, exposure compensation, ISO quickness, and several other configurations when Live View is activated. Live Look at is fine for use with stationary subjects, but forget it if you would like to track a shifting subject. The AF program in Live View setting takes a handful of seconds to lock onto the topic, making it much better suited to topics that don’t move. THE FACIAL SKIN Recognition AF mode works quite nicely, as promised quickly determining up to 16 people in the frame, but again it requires a couple of mere seconds to lock onto a nonmoving subject. Even more, impressively Live View can be used in the continuous shooting mode with no restrictions on the 8.3fps rate, as the K-3 pieces the mirror to the lock-up position.

A traditional 4-way routing pad is put into separate buttons, providing access immediately to the drive setting/self-timer, custom picture, flash, and white stability settings, with the Fine button confirming activities. The Menu switch underneath accesses all the 90+ different menu choices that the camera provides, reflecting the fact that a complex and incredibly customizable DSLR. Fortunately, you are only going to have to go about half of the settings once and can then just forget about them. The menu system has a fairly logical tabbed program with five main tabs, Camera, Film, Playback, Set-Up, and Custom made Setting, each split into several sub-pages, and it’s really easily readable with a shiny display and a big font size rendering it perfectly visible even in low light.

As well as the Info key that we’ve mentioned previously, the Pentax K-3 includes a new Autofocus Area button that allows you to quickly set the AF to indicate among the 27 available. Impressively 25 of them are cross-type sensors situated in the center, with the center sensor and two sensors simply above and below it made to identify the light flux of an F2.8 lens. In Playback mode this enables you to toggle between your dual SD cards.

The Pentax K-3 includes a built-in Shake Reduction system. Transform it on via the primary menu choice and the K-3 automatically compensates for camera shake, which really is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds, providing around 3 shutter measures of compensation. As this technique is built-into the camera body, it works with nearly every lens that you attach to the K-3, providing a substantial cost benefit over DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, designed to use a lens-based picture stabilization system (suitable lenses will be the PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-installed lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-program lenses (with an adapter)). The K-3 shows a blur icon in the viewfinder to warn you that camera-shake might occur, whether or not or not Shake Decrease is on.

Pentax K-3: Image Quality

All the sample pictures in this review had been taken using the 24 megapixel Best JPEG setting, which gives the average image size of around 12Mb.

The Pentax K-3 created photos of excellent quality. Sound is well managed by the Pentax K-3, starting to appear at ISO 1600 and becoming easier detectable at the faster configurations of ISO 3200 and 6400 when viewing images at 100% magnification on-screen (especially in the RAW files). The fastest settings of 12800, 25600 and especially 512000 look far better on paper than the truth is. Color saturation is commendably preserved through the entire ISO range.

The 24 megapixel JPEG images were just a little soft straight from the camera at the default sharpening environment and preferably require some additional sharpening in an app like Adobe Photoshop, or you can transform the in-camera setting. Picture stabilization via the camera body is a superb feature that works perfectly when hand-keeping the camera in low-light circumstances or with all the telephoto end of the zoom range. An extra reward is that it works together with any zoom lens that you put on the K-3.

The night time photograph was superb, with the utmost shutter speed of 30 seconds and Bulb setting enabling you to capture enough light in every situation. The built-in pop-up flash worked well indoors, without red-eye and adequate general exposure.

The Digital Filter systems quickly produce special results that would otherwise need you to spend lots of time in the digital darkroom, as the Custom Pictures can usefully be tweaked to match. The D-Range options help to make the many out of both shadows and highlights in a high-contrast picture (and it functions for both JPEG and Natural files), while the HDR mode significantly expands the dynamic selection of a JPEG by merging three differently exposed pictures in-camera. The multi-exposure mode combines two and 2,000 different JPEG or RAW images right into a single photo, as the new anti-aliasing simulator really helps to reduce moire with no need for a genuine optical filter.

Pentax K-3: Conclusion

The Pentax K-3 is the most full-presented prosumer DSLR camera available, however, not only that, in addition, it delivers great functionality, weather-resistant construction, slick handling, and exceptional image quality as well. The K-3 certainly has what must be done to contend with its primary rivals, the Canon EOS 70D and Nikon D7100.

The Pentax K-3 builds on the proven handling of the K-5 II camera. The mix of 100% viewfinder insurance with 0.95x magnification and the large 3.2-in. high-res LCD screen makes the K-3 a joy to use when it comes to image composition, and the fast 8.3fps constant shooting price and snappy AF system, actually in low light, making it quick to make use of. Really the only negative point with regards to handling may be the rather slow comparison AF program which detracts from the Live Look at mode.

The K-3’s picture quality is great, producing noise-free images completely from ISO 100-800. Noise starts to be apparent at ISO 1600, with a bit more sound and smearing of details at the higher configurations of 3200 and 6400, while the fastest speeds of 12800-51200 are actually only ideal for smaller prints. Color rendition is normally commendably accurate completely the range, as the new on/off anti-aliasing simulator provides all of the benefits of a genuine optical anti-aliasing filtration system. Pentax also has finally paid real focus on the video setting – the K-3 is very easily the very best Pentax camera in this respect.

Image Quality
ISO Performance
Video mode
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