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Pentax K-3 Review

April 2014 | By Richard Butler, Jeff Keller
Buy on Amazon.com From $999.99


Review based on a production Pentax K-3 with firmware v1.03

Pentax has a long history of being a little different from the 'big two' SLR makers, introducing features that would normally be found on cameras costing quite a bit more, such as weatherproofing and larger, pentaprism optical viewfinders. It's also created some products that seemingly came out of left field, such as the Q7 and K-01 mirrorless cameras.

The Pentax name is now owned by Ricoh (not a company scared to try new ideas itself), which has continued the tradition of innovation, no better illustrated than with the concept of a digital SLR that has an anti-aliasing effect that can be turned on at the push of a button (Nikon recently patented a concept that accomplishes the same thing, but in a different manner). However, it hasn't accomplished this by having the filter just drop into place. No, Pentax is using its sensor-shift image stabilizer to deliberately move the sensor during the exposure, slightly blurring the image to mimic the effects of an optical low-pass filter. Not only can this be turned on and off, Pentax is also offering two 'intensities' to choose from.

The name of the camera with this breakthrough feature: the Pentax K-3. This camera takes the rugged design of the K-5 II / K-5 IIs that came before it and bumps up the resolution, improves the AF system, speeds up the processor, and enlarges the LCD and viewfinder.

Pentax K-3 key features

  • 24.4 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization with rotational compensation
  • Anti-aliasing 'simulator' (camera has no optical low-pass filter)
  • SAFOX 11 TTL autofocus system (27-point, 25 of which are cross-type)
  • 3.2-inch LCD with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1.037k dots
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 0.95x magnification, 100% coverage
  • 8.3 fps continuous shooting
  • 1920 x 1080 video recording (60i, 30p, 24p)
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Headphone, microphone ports
  • USB 3.0 support

At first glance, the K-3 may look like the K-5 II with a higher resolution sensor, but that's far from the whole story. Ricoh has improved upon the K-5 II in every way, with special attention given to video recording. On the photo side, there's the new sensor (probably from Sony), improved autofocus and metering systems, larger optical viewfinder and LCD, and of course, the selectable AA filter. Performance-wise, the K-3 shoots at 8.3 fps, up from 7.0 fps on the K-5 II.

The K-3 uses a new SAFOX 11 autofocus system, which has 27 points (25 of which are cross-type). The metering system has been dramatically improved, going from 77-segment on the K-5 to 86,000 RGB pixels on the K-3.

Movie lovers will find all kinds of new features. There's now a dedicated 'red button' for quick recording, mic and headphone inputs, and control over audio level. The frame rate has also been increased to 1080/60i, up from 1080/25p on the K-5 II.

Two features that photo and video enthusiasts will like are dual SD card slots and support for USB 3.0 (the K-3 is only the second camera to support this). Build quality remains top-notch, with the K-3 having a rugged, weatherproof body.

The biggest change to the K-3 isn't a feature at all, but it will probably garner the most discussion. There is now a prominent 'Ricoh' logo on the back of the camera, just below the LCD. Ricoh has stated that Pentax is a 'brand' now, similar to 'Lumix' on Panasonic cameras. We're curious to see how the very loyal Pentax audience will react to this change. With this in mind, it's interesting also to note that the K-3 gains the multi-area white balance feature (which aims to correct for different light sources in the same image) that we've seen on previous Ricohs.

Anti-aliasing simulator

One of the most interesting new features on the K-3 is its 'anti-aliasing simulator'. Like the K-5 IIs the camera has no anti-aliasing filter; this improves resolution, but with the trade-off of an increased risk of moiré. Pentax is using the K-3's sensor-shift IS system to simulate the effect of having the filter.

The AA simulator works by applying 'microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during exposure', according to Pentax. Simply put, these tiny vibrations cause just enough blur to give the same effect as having an optical anti-aliasing filter. There are two options to choose from - Pentax calls them Mode 1 and Mode 2 - which we assume increases the 'strength' of the virtual filter. Pentax says that the AA simulator is most effective when the shutter speed is under 1/1000 sec.

We assess the real-world impact of the mode later in this review.

Kit options and pricing

The K-3 is sold in three kits (at least in the US). The body-only option has a recommended price of $1299 / £1099, while a kit with the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR lens has a list price of $1699 / £1449. The third kit is the 'premium silver edition' shown above, of which only 2000 will be made. This model includes a special battery grip and strap (but no lens), available from select retailers for $1599 / £1399.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 500
1234
Underdog 3000

I can tell DPR is a fan of the X-T1. Now that they have such emphasis on video, I wonder how it would score?

0 upvotes
Underdog 3000

Sorry, maybe too much sarcasm.

0 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic

For those complaining about scores, please note that K-3 is now the only contemporary crop sensor DSLR left in the Semi-professional Interchangeable Lens Camera category. That was the category reserved once for D300/s and 7D.
The K-5II was enlisted in a Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera category, together with D7100 and 70D.
Therefore scores between the D7100 or 70D and the K-3 are NOT comparable.

8 upvotes
RichRMA

A very good and fair review for THE BEST sub-FF camera around. Sorry Nikon, still think no "real" successor to the D300s is a travesty..

5 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic

Actually it's a pure business common sense for Nikon. They are moving towards the FF altogether, and will not waste time and money developing another line of pro-DX bodies and lenses when they have pro-FX lenses aplenty!

Currently the K-3 is the only semi-pro crop camera left in that category. If you like crop sensor cameras, instead of complaining about Nikon try a K-3; you may even like it better and Pentax is fully committed to crop — they have the largest and best crop sensor lens range in the world.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
samfan

We'll see how much sense it makes for them when people continue to leave DX for other brands instead of going FX.

2 upvotes
Alizarine

@samfan: Yeah when salaries all over the world go dramatically higher too to suddenly afford FX lenses yes.

0 upvotes
Dpreviewmember

it's just me or the OMD M1 jpegs, up to iso 3200 & 6400 look nicer than K3 and X-T1 in the image comparison tool, contrary to what the review conclusion says.
Is it referring to Raw ?

1 upvote
Underdog 3000

Who shoots Jpeg?

12 upvotes
bossa

I never look at the jpegs and immediately switch to the RAW settings in the test scene comparator.

6 upvotes
fotokeena

Underdog 3000 “Who shoots Jpeg?”

The majority!Much much more than you realize。

5 upvotes
Underdog 3000

Are you referring to the masses? Not sure the masses could understand half of what this camera does. The "majority" also shoots solely in green mode and their only lens is a plastic kit lens. (just ask the Rebel fan base)
However, Jpeg is handy in a pinch and DPR is correct in complaining about Pentax's "Bright" default setting.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
quiquae

Who shoots JPEG? How about Getty Images photographers shooting Sochi Olympics?

http://gizmodo.com/the-inside-story-of-how-olympic-photographers-capture-s-1521746623

"The second a photographer fires the shutter on a camera, the resulting image—a high quality JPEG, not an uncompressed RAW file—is transported by ethernet to Getty's central editing office in about 1.5 seconds."

1 upvote
Underdog 3000

That's because they have to.
Data takes time.

4 upvotes
wansai

@underdog, many photogs shoot jpeg +raw to get best of both. if you have a camera that can output jpegs to your liking, it can cut down processing times signifigantly. i often use jpegs but will fall to raw if the jpeg cant render the scene as i like. it means i do less overall processing.

both have their place.

0 upvotes
Dpreviewmember

I guess some people don't understand what they read.
My question was related to jpegs, that's because I, as well as several other people, shoot jpegs mostly for a number of reasons. Having others things to do than to play with raw being one of them. So elaborating on the question : If you would buy a camera to shoot mostly jpegs, judging by the jpeg quality, would the Oly OMD M1 be a better option ?

0 upvotes
Felixography

Thanks for the K3 review.

4 upvotes
utomo99

For the Jpeg I hope pentax can release firmware update to improve it.

0 upvotes
Alex Sarbu

All that's needed is an user willing to set it up according to his liking.
There's nothing wrong with the Pentax JPEGs IMO, even with those cameras where DPReview would claim is "soft" and not really on par with the competition.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
JeanPierre Thibaudeau

DPR, please fix, in the last paragraph of page 12, the word "and" to an, in "... an essential feature".

Thank you DPR.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler

Thanks for spotting that. I've changed it.

0 upvotes
Horshack

Anything short of calling the K3 the Second Coming was bound to lead to disappointment in the comment section.

9 upvotes
Beat Traveller

Where is the X-T1 review?

Kidding.

5 upvotes
Sergey Borachev

I will buy the K-3 right now if a weatherproof version of the 18-35mm f/1.8 could be available. That would provide something truly unique like no other camera or brand can, combining the nice IBIS and weatherproof features in the Pentax and the great performance of that fast versatile zoom from Sigma.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
VaLeX

For the moment, a K-mount version of the 18-35 F1.8 is still not available, let alone a weatherproof one :)

1 upvote
badi

it is available on preorder on adorama, so it will be out soon.

0 upvotes
samhain

You base your camera buying on what sigma lens is available for it? Interesting...

0 upvotes
dosdan

In this class of camera, I find it strange how much time DPR devotes in their reviews to a camera's JPEG engine output. With the high DR & resolution capable from modern sensors, the "enthusiasts", who would seem the likely market for this type of camera, are probably shooting raw to take maximum advantage of the image capabilities.

Dan.

25 upvotes
vapentaxuser

Good point.

0 upvotes
bobbarber

You might be right, but I've seen plenty of people take the other position. People who shoot a lot, like wedding photographers, don't always have time to post-process hundreds of photos a day. A lot of professionals have made the point online that they only shoot jpeg for that reason. I prefer jpeg. I shoot jpeg + raw, and most of the time don't post-process the raws. The minimal gain in IQ is not worth the time spent in most cases, as I see it.

6 upvotes
audiobomber

I've never understood the "I don't have time to process" argument. You don't need to process raw photos, just import them with a compatible program and convert them. There's no time required except for the camera to churn the files.

Aside from that, the review criticisms are of the default Brgith setting. Only noobs would use the defaults. Pentax has endless permutations of saturation, contrast, sharpness, hue, NR, etc. If you can't find something that suits you, you aren't trying. The K-3 is set up to give you quick access to the preset Image Tones. If you're a jpeg shooter, use it. Personally, I never shoot jpeg, unless it's raw+.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
10 upvotes
Everlast66

Congratulations for the completion of the Pentax K3 review, DPR!
It felt a bit like waiting for the completion of War and Peace, but this way reading will be more rewarding.

12 upvotes
bobbarber

"The K-3 is a very likeable addition to what was once a really interesting sector of the market..."

True enough--a nice camera, but this sector of the market is not where the most interesting innovations are happening today.

Full-frame mirrorless, 4K video, etc. trump what is at heart just another well-spec'ed and well-performing APS-C DSLR.

Of course, if the shoe fits, this is a great camera. I would certainly be happy shooting with one!

1 upvote
AlexRuiz

Absolutely! It is a good camera But I agree with the review...not worth changing systems. I shoot Nikon full frame and Fuji mirrorless. I have absolutely no interest in the K3.

5 upvotes
dosdan

" I shoot Nikon full frame and Fuji mirrorless. I have absolutely no interest in the K3."

That's OK, I have absolutely no interest in switching to either Nikon FF or Fuji MILC.

18 upvotes
fotokeena

Who cares if you guys have interest or no interest in switching systems.
Does anyone care?

3 upvotes
drummercam

@fotokeena - The review's concluding remark -- quite unfortunately, and at first very badly worded, worse than what it was left with -- concerns switching systems, as if that were part of the assessment basis. So these remarks about switching are unfortunately to be expected. As much as I appreciate DPR's work, the final sentence and a few other phrases are neither relevant nor necessary.

1 upvote
solarider

Re: AlexRuiz "... I agree with the review...not worth changing systems. I shoot Nikon full frame and Fuji mirrorless. I have absolutely no interest in the K3."

AR, if you have no interest in the K3, then why be commenting on the K3? ;-P

10 upvotes
AlexRuiz

solarider, the reason for the comment is that certain people are not pleased with the rating. They feel the rating should be higher. My point is that I agree with the review. Neither the K3 nor its direct competitors are "game changers"...not by a long shot. Therefore not worth switching systems (in whatever direction)

0 upvotes
GMaximus

Tone curves are good, but why don't DPReview guys measure DR in RAW?

4 upvotes
Richard Butler

We're working on a way of assessing it in a photographically meaningful way (that we can then demonstrate).

16 upvotes
Der Steppenwolf

Nice to hear that Richard.

0 upvotes
waxwaine

It has the best fps high speed continue shooting performance, since buffer get filled, of any price competitor(D7100), and imho that count for 4% more.

1 upvote
drummercam

I value these reviews not for a final score (I've had the K-3 since November and already know its worth), but for actual analysis like this:

"On testing, we found the K-3's ISO to be within 1/6th EV of the expected result, which is the tolerance level allowed in the ISO standard. In which case, the K-3's ISO ratings should be considered accurate."

. . . and for more detailed information than found in the camera manual, like this information on the actual degrees of change applied by the various ISO options:

"The K-3 has one of the best Auto ISO implementations on the market . . . using a shutter speed a little faster than 1/effective focal length. Switching to the 'Fast' options uses around twice this speed, while 'Slow' allows the shutter speed to drop to around half the default value."

Data bits like that are good to know, so thank you, DP Review, for that work. Real information helps me use the camera; scores do not.

31 upvotes
xmeda

I cant believe that it took only about 6-7months.. good job, well done, excellent!

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

The amount of enthusiasm for this camera is a story in itself. You expect this with Nikon and Leica, where people are personally offended when a product turns out to not be that great; but Pentax? Where were you folks when people were complaining the Spotmatic still had a screw mount?

1 upvote
Leandros S

Why does your username basically say, "troll"?

11 upvotes
Nicolas Sancey

The image quality does not impress me at all?!

2 upvotes
dyoon153

How so? I'm just curious...

7 upvotes
Nicolas Sancey

Well look at the image comparison tool, compare it against the Nikon 7100, and the X-E2, it's pretty noisy. I am not usually a "Pixel Peeper" but I often shoot with low light, no flash, so the low light performance is an important factor to me.

2 upvotes
Couscousdelight

And can you focus in dim light with a D7100 or a XT1 ?
With a K3, you can.

5 upvotes
Couscousdelight

The K3 is pretty noisy against the D7100 ?
http://miniurl.be/r-b1v
You should check your eyes.
(But OK for the XT1, it have great noise performances)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Thoughts

Buy it !

Pentax should live on.

6 upvotes
hayely

Shortest list "Conclusion-cons".

7 upvotes
SkilakDeZoo

I have forgotten, the cameras have been compared as long as the competition could compete. So, how many brands have waterproof lenses? how many brands have IS? well only Pentax, sorry then it cannot be used as a criterion. I like the statement that Nikon has got so many lenses but how many of them are waterproof? To be honest a camera and say max 5 lenses is everything what is needed, why be bothered with 200?

2 upvotes
Der Steppenwolf

"I like the statement that Nikon has got so many lenses but how many of them are waterproof?"
Every single one with a gold ring on it and that is plenty. You are making fool of your self.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 27 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
fakuryu

"Every single one with a gold ring on it and that is plenty. You are making fool of your self."

How many average joes can afford em gold rings?

3 upvotes
abortabort

*cough* A77 has IBIS, 24MP, higher burst rate and bigger buffer (which was complained about at the time)... 2 years ago.

0 upvotes
abortabort

Oh so the K-3 is good because they offer weather sealed 'kit' lenses? Yeah that's a reason to buy a semi pro crop body.

I can buy a 24MP, 12fps, IBIS A77 WITH 16-50mm f2.8 WR lens for less than the K-3 body only.

0 upvotes
Midwest

IBIS makes perfect sense on an A77 or other mirrorless. It makes no sense at all on a DSLR.

1 upvote
maxola67

"IBIS makes perfect sense on an A77 or other mirrorless. It makes no sense at all on a DSLR."

Did your mom tell you that?

1 upvote
SkilakDeZoo

@ abortabort, My comment was regarding the way how the review was made if you missed that. They say that Nikon has got more lenses where 80% are kit lenses;) is it all about quantity or quality - answer to yorself. Regarding waterproof lenses, every * (star) lens is waterproof, and the latest one -100mm for macro;) For Nikon body I use Tokina lenses;)

0 upvotes
Just Ed

Know that DP likes to beat the drum for the "little guy" but in Sacramento, CA no one carries them (DSLR).

Not Fry's, nor BB, nor the two actual camera stores.

It would be of concern to anyone seeking to adopt the P

3 upvotes
DStudio

Unfortunately we just lost Calumet, and they won't be the last to go. The reality is online sales are big for every brand. While camera stores can serve as showrooms (and hopefully, also points of sale), I think a lack of presence in stores is more of a disadvantage for the manufacturer than the consumer, these days. But it's still an unfortunate situation that Ricoh is slowly working to correct. Pentax K-50s have reportedly been appearing in some Target stores, for whatever that may be worth.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

For as long as we have so many camera brands, a lot of people will have use mail order and free returns. Ken Rockwell says he never buys retail which sounds like he's influential enough to get a discount but it just means he orders through the mail.

0 upvotes
Just Ed

You're both right, I just think a couple of minutes handling a camera can save a lot of grief. Or for that matter can make me really want one. Both my old Nikon D90 and new(ish) 6D Canon were bought at a local dealer because I liked them when handled.

Mind you I have also purchased a wagon load of lenses and stuff online.

Too bad for the little guys like Pentax.

2 upvotes
SkilakDeZoo

"Sadly the K-3 holds true to Pentax's JPEG color rendition, which we've never particularly enjoyed" what is it?? De gustibus non disputandum est. I really hate my D7100 jpges and so what? Wors, I cannot establish settings to be good enough because "on the fly" colors and wb tweaking does not exist. In this regards D7100 is far behind my K-5 but DPR has not mentioned about it. Well, I do not care about the score but thought the score would be fair.

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson

Ahhhh .. the K-3 review. At last :)

I have looked at the conclusion .. and it looks all right :)

Now ... over to read the review :)

0 upvotes
EdBov

Comparing the K5 video score with the K3 video score: DPR finds out the K5 better???????
I believe they are totally mad.......... because the video was the reason the Pentax K5 got a bad score.

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar

it might be on par with k5 (an oldish camera) but not with latest flagships from its competitors

1 upvote
Revenant

Scores are relative to the current competition when the camera is reviewed. You can't compare scores directly between a new camera and one that's a few years old. There is no absolute measure of quality, it's all relative. Otherwise, all cameras from ten years ago would have got bad reviews for their lousy IQ.

3 upvotes
Leandros S

Naveed, that's b*llsh*t - video has been significantly improved in the K-3.

2 upvotes
MichaelKJ

I assume the score for the K3 is based on the current state of the art in DSLR video, while the score for the K5 was based on the state of the art when it was reviewed.

6 upvotes
sunilkumar

compare JPG/RAW with other gold award camera justmeMN. 7D is not as good as K3 but...

PS - I am neither Pentax nor canon shooter.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Dezzza

You Nikon, Panasonic and Canon shooter )

0 upvotes
Dezzza

Who will take this camera to shoot with JPG? It'a not a smartphone.

4 upvotes
Richard Butler

Anyone wanting to use the FluCard to send their images off to a smartphone for sharing?

4 upvotes
Dezzza

Dear Richard
I don't care about FluCard. And I don't care about incamera JPG

I even can not understand people to buy top level in class camera and not take an advantage of RAW files )))

2 upvotes
Leandros S

Slightly contrived scenario, maybe, Richard? I mean, what are the odds that someone whose priority is to share unedited images via their smartphone, will invest a 100 bucks in such a pro-level accessory as a FluCard? If it came bundled, maybe...

I also believe there is now a hack for transferring RAW in the same way.

0 upvotes
BarnET

come on guys. you have 2 card slots.
1 for the raws the other for the jpegs.
Which you can slightly edit with the new lightroom mobile on your ipad. then send them off by your phone easy and a good feature albeit expensive with 100 premium for the card.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson

I use JPEG sometimes. It is an easier route in some cases. One example. I sometimes makes panorama pictures with a massive number of images. Several panorama pictures on the same session. It is definitely faster to use the JPEG images in the stitcher, and you do not fill up the cards as fast.

And ... it would be nice with as good JPEG as possible then.

1 upvote
dyoon153

I use Raw+ JPG to preview photo, taken from K-5ii and jpg set to transferto my tablet via eye-fi card. Then I edit quickly on snapseed if I like any...

It's not a smartphone, but it should take way better photo than any smartphone can.

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
DStudio

Perhaps the same kind of people who shoot JPEGs on Canon and Nikon? You know, pros who need to quickly submit photos taken on their Nikon D4s at the Olympics and other major events?

Shooting JPEGs is not a joke, but trying to shoot quality action photos on a smartphone is.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
white shadow

Having the ability to shoot good or excellent JPEGs in a DSLR is important even if one will shoot critical photos in RAW. Even if one shoot photos for a living, one do not necessarily shoot all photos in RAW. In many cases, time is the main factor. Cost in terms of time required to process very photo in RAW is another. If one is shooting an event, fast delivery of photos is more important than perfection. If one can get it right in JPEG, so much the better. Further, not many clients are willing to pay much nowadays.

Photojournalists shoot JPEGs most of the time. Photos cannot be edited in any way otherwise one would be ban.

However, for commercial photography like product, portraits or for advertising where clients are willing to pay more, shooting RAW is essential and will definitely be used.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
fotokeena

Dezzza :"I even can not understand people to buy top level in class camera and not take an advantage of RAW files"

You have to understand not everyone who buys an off-road vehicle goes off road.

0 upvotes
Dezzza

So... DPR is for them? That's funny.

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

"I don't care about a specific feature so I'm going to whine that a review was thorough enough to address it!"

My, the entitlement.

0 upvotes
justmeMN

A Gold Award for crappy JPEGs, and mediocre AF?

Oh well. The review is very detailed, so people can draw their own conclusions.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
BarnET

mediocre af?! that was the fault of the lenses and not the body.
Don't like the jpegs fine shoot raw!

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson

The award is the reviewers feeling for the camera. And they really did like to use it. That's it.

1 upvote
Miike Dougherty

Under "Pros", the K3 gets 8.3 FPS which makes it superior for sports and fast moving action. For me, this is one of the top 5 important features when comparing cameras.

2 upvotes
StanRogers

... and for me, one of the least important. Not arguing with you at all, Mike; just pointing out to the OP that each of us has a different set of needs and desires for a camera to suit our own idiosyncratic oeuvre. In-camera JPEG is a disaster-recovery option for me; I'll shoot RAW+JPEG, hoping I never need the JPEG and expecting to massage the RAW quite a bit (as I did when developing and printing film). I like "next frame fast" (and always had a winder/drive on my film cameras if one was available) but I can't recall ever actually using continuous mode; photography that requires it simply doesn't interest me. I'd rather have something like Hasselblad's True Focus (a focus-and-recompose compensator) and a very small number of good AF points than a screenful of action-grabbers, though I can see why other people would want the opposite. The K3 interests me for different reasons than it would interest others; a camera designed just for me would sell precisely two copies, I think.

0 upvotes
pedroboe100

I am willing to bet that most people who will be inclined to buy this camera, will endup shooting DNG. That's not to say that the jpegs are really that bad. You can customize the jpegs to a very high degree...

1 upvote
hydrospanner

Mike, while that fps is wonderful, it's useless for the situation it's meant for without great focus tracking. You can use a camera that can fire off 88.3 fps, and if none of them are in focus, you might as well have used your cell phone.

0 upvotes
EdBov

It was 86% minus 3% because of us laughing about DPR.......:-)

A 83% score is unbelievable and they cannot mean this score to be "serious".
The more I believe that Nikon, Olympus and Fuji are paying better than Ricoh (who do not pay for getting good or just even better reviews).

Even the Canon 7D (about 4 years older) has a score of 84%.

Goodbye DPR!. There was once a time I took you serious ................

4 upvotes
Richard Butler

Nobody or company pays for reviews on dpreview. No company has any input into the order in which we review cameras.

As it says above every scoring widget, the score is given at the time of review - it is safe to assume that the 7D would not get a score of 84% today.

20 upvotes
aramgrg

Canon 7d is quite demanded camera up till now, let's wait 3 more years, and then we'll see what happens with k-3. If the k-3 have been announced in 2010, it should have got more than 7d, I agree. But my point is that time mqtters

2 upvotes
AlexRuiz

EdBov, the 7D was the top APSC camera in its day. Demanded by Pro's and used by Pro's even today. Do you think the K3 will be around in 4 years? I highly doubt it.

Realistically, a few months from now nobody will care about the K3.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Leandros S

Score should be given relative to time of release.

3 upvotes
maxola67

"Realistically, a few months from now nobody will care about the K3."

Tell it to all nikonians who waited D400 release in vain.

1 upvote
hydrospanner

Good lord, you'd think when someone is a regular at a tech site like this, they'd realize that scores like this are relative to other contemporary cameras aimed at similar demographics.

We have everything here from comparisons to amateur-level Canikon to gripes comparing to a multiple years old model...

1 upvote
FW Birds

The Pentax K-3 is an outstanding camera. I bought one 4 months ago and love it. I pair it with the DA*300mm for birding and DA40 Limited for everyday use and couldn't be happier. I plan on purchasing the new Pentax HD 1.4 teleconverter once the price comes down a bit.

5 upvotes
halai

Not that I care about the score...but don't you think the K-3 should have a higher score than 83 DPR? :-)
- No oil spots
- No light leak
- Has video
- Very very good raw file

Isn't this what we want for our photography???

7 upvotes
BarnET

If the reviewer does not get these issues in thorough testing why should he change the score. He could make a small side note at the conclusion to let people watch out for these problems and that's it.

1 upvote
Gazeomon

- No gas leaks - and feels very good in my hands with all the hard buttons in the right place. The RAW's are excellent and with the 'Limited' line of lenses it's a great system for travel and street photography.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (8 months ago)

Flop Flop...

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic

Don’t forget to flush the toilet …

2 upvotes
Devendra

Without even reading the review, I ask all Nikon (and Canon) whiners to get K-3 since this is one awesome camera! Time to move-on/upgrade to this wonderful k-3, and never look back!
PS: Pentax enthusiasts/owners - I am not putting down k-3. I do believe that pentax/samsungs/sony/panasonics give the N and C cameras run for the money when it comes to interesting (for better or worse) feature sets. But you can certainly have our whiney crowds and make them feel at home for ever :)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Carlos Loff

I gave up on Nikon and the D400 - Im one of the many who will get this baby - ASAP

13 upvotes
KL Matt

I say go for it. But be warned, the Nikon 9xxx, a potential d300s replacement, is rumored to be around the corner.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DStudio

Very true about the Nikon 9300 possibility - it may be the wrong time to jump ship if you're fond of your Nikon glass.

Nevertheless, the K-3 is a very good camera, it has its own nice glass, and it's available now ...

6 upvotes
Carlos Loff

Sadly I notice in some forums a trend for a problem on the K-3 - A shutter repeating bug in some setups - Cant risk it because in Portugal there is no direct assistance for Pentax and hate to send it back to Barcelona and wait - M I wrong or Nikons that have 4 digits are not pro and only consumers ??? Tired of consumer bulshit and high prices

Consumers deserve their cameras, don't get me wrong but enough is enough for now

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

In this section:

Pentax fanboys who've spent the last few months whining about no K-3 review switching over to whining about the K-3 review.

Jeez, for a bunch that wanted so badly to know what the folks at DPR thought of the thing, it really looks like you were only waiting to pick them apart and tell them why they're wrong for disagreeing with you.

For as much as the average Pentax evangelist seems to want to convert Canon & Nikon users, the way they've earned a reputation as the biggest whiners makes me never even want to give Pentax a try if it means I'll turn into that!

I'm slowly starting to figure out what I'll do if/when my D300 kicks the bucket and there's no D400...I was leaning K-3 for a while, but with the way the users seem to be compensating for something, I might rather go m43...they're bad, but they're not AS bad...

11 upvotes
Eli Allan

The outcry is because for the first time in a long time, Pentax has made a camera that far surpasses the competition and DPR is calling it just more of the same.
They don't even mention in camera stabilization, 23 frame buffer, most sensitive af module on the market, largest aps lens line, etc.
Yet they're always so excited about the latest flimsy plastic novelty.

27 upvotes
Gary Martin

Yeah, I base my shopping decisions on the responses of forum posters too.

10 upvotes
Heie2

@Eli Allan - 100% you hit the nail on the head.

6 upvotes
DStudio

You can't win any way you go. You can either be a smug Canikon user, a whiney Pentaxian, or a Sony shooter who keeps getting flipped onto his head because of Sony's rapid, schizophrenic changes.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner

Eli,

So you have a good camera...fantastic. Why are you still whining around?

Nikon D300 users are still operating a "current" camera released in 2008 and they don't need nearly the cheese of the Pentax crowd that just got a wonderful body delivered to them.

0 upvotes
rxbot

The people we need to hear from are the people waiting for the D400, how they see this camera would be very interesting. Remember Nikon has not done much in the lens line for DX shooters.

4 upvotes
john m flores

My K-3 just shed a tear; its DPR review is finally complete! Good thing it's weatherproof.

9 upvotes
semorg

I think the biggest advantage of this camera over Nikon D7100 is the built-in image stabilizer. Sadly, DPreview didn't seem to mention that in their conclusion. I guess their tests are just confined to studio setup images.

15 upvotes
EdBov

No, Nikon is paying better for a minor review of the K3 I suppose.
There are more advantages of the K3 against the Nikon, but they are not mentioned. But as told, DP Review made a big mistake here and only wants to punish us "Pentax whiners". That's my opinion.

Goodbye DPR. Keep on giving Olympus and Fuji camera's good reviews and loose your public in a very fast way......

6 upvotes
DStudio

Because ... exactly what's wrong with Olympus and Fuji cameras and the significant improvements they keep making?

Giving them a fair review doesn't somehow make a Pentax review unfair. And as much as I'm embarrassed by Pentax whiners (and I wish they'd stop), they don't represent all Pentaxians, and you can't really "punish them" with a poor review, even if that's what you (almost justifiably) fell like doing.

Having said that, I think Pentax' effective in-body SR is still a key differentiator. Even though the technology has been around for a while, Canon and Nikon shooters still have to live with many lenses that can't benefit from any form of IS or VR. It's a Pentax advantage that many (most?) shooters experience daily. And I've found Pentax' SR performance has further improved beyond the K-5. So it should be highlighted.

1 upvote
Leandros S

@DStudio: Where do you get off? Nobody said anything about Oly or Fuji...

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

Edbov,

Are you serious?!

"DP Review made a big mistake here and only wants to punish us "Pentax whiners"."

Really? Oh man, they gave it a gold award! They really god you good! Burn!

0 upvotes
DStudio

@Leandros S - Please see EdBov's comment above mine - I was responding to that (sorry I didn't make a direct reference to that post).

0 upvotes
Donnie G

Since I've actually used a friend's K-3 on several occasions during the last few months, I feel I can sum up the camera thusly: The Pentax K-3 is a handsome, well built, responsive and quick handling DSLR that is well worth a serious look by anyone buying a DSLR for the first time or up grading from a lesser kit. However, those same positive traits are also available in the Canon 70D and Nikon D7100 cameras. Therefore, I don't see any real incentive for owners of those competitive models to jump over to the Pentax. I genuinely like the K-3, but the camera simply doesn't offer any significant advantage over my Canon kit that would make me want to trade systems. Being as good as the other guys just isn't going to win many battles in today's enthusiast/prosumer marketplace.

Great review DPR!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
7 upvotes
EdBov

Donnie, as Canon user and "Pentax user" do you understand the lesser score of the K3 or not?

0 upvotes
Donald B

the k3 is in another class for studio work tethered to a hd screen for instant preview via hdmi cable.

0 upvotes
Donnie G

@EdBov,

If camera review scores are how you pick your gear, that's fine. However, I prefer to rate my gear based on how well it serves me in actual use. Review ratings are entertaining reading and even occasionally useful as a way to trim a shopping list, if you're shopping. My kit has served me well for a very long time and I'm very happy with it. So it wouldn't matter to me if my gear of choice, which is Canon, received a gold review or dirty potty brown award. I would have no reason to abandon it unless it let me down. I think that would be true of the Pentax K-3 owner as well. Don't you?

1 upvote
Leandros S

@Donnie: All of which is irrelevant to a beginner who has no experience of any brand and comes here looking for orientation.

4 upvotes
white shadow

I agree with Donnie G totally. A camera is only a tool to get the job done, in this case to shoot the photo. Most important, one must be familiar with that tool and comfortable in using it and able to to get the most out of it because of his familiarity with it.

Canon is a better choice as it has the widest selection of professional quality lenses. Majority of professional photographers use Canon because of this reason and it get the job done. Further, their professional field support is second to none. If you are shooting the Olympics or a major news event, they would often allocate a technical team to provide field support and even loan you a body or lens if the equipment fails. That's VERY important.

1 upvote
tinetz

Maybe someone in the know can help me here:
there are many aspects of AF quality and capability, but I was taught that there might be some system immanent phase detection technology related shortcomings when focussion on either
1. fast moving
2. ill-lit
3. low in contrast
4. continuous and repeated patterned
subjects.
Now the first test shows a checkered clothed moving biker which should push two of this situations and is commented with "an example of something a phase-detection system should be able to do well". Really?

On the other hand the K-3 claims to have one of the most capable AF with regard to low illumination, down to EV -3. Not worth a test?

Just curious, thanks

8 upvotes
konanon

Here's my review. It's the best camera I've owned so I'm thoroughly satisfied.

9 upvotes
dpmaxwell

Yours might actually be a useful review if you were to let us know what other cameras you have owned. LOL

1 upvote
konanon

All you have to do is view my profile and you'll have access to all the gear I own, have owed and my wish list.

1 upvote
audiobomber

The K-3 beats the D7100 in one crucial aspect. I would be very unhappy with a 6-shot raw buffer, so my rankings would be different. The K-3 / DA*300 f4 / HD 1.4X TC is the best system on the market for my needs.

7 upvotes
Smokymtnhiker

Finally a finished review, but unjustly harsh regarding video in the overall score in order to help Canon and Nikon.

There should be two (2) separate scores for cameras with video capability:

1) Photography

2) Videography

12 upvotes
stupidisanart

No not really. It is the same for all the cameras.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner

Can you buy the camera as two separate units, one for video and one for stills?

Then why should they get two scores? That's what the little breakdown at the end is for.

2 upvotes
Zephir 750

Full review!? This is a miracle.

5 upvotes
Gesture

Not easy to be an DLSR maker in these times. I give props to Pentax for staying the course and staying true to its legacy and standards. If I could afford the lenses, K-5 and K-3 would be top of mind. Once owned the Pentax K100D Super and it was a highly competitive camera of its era, built for photographers as opposed to consumers. At least, now, Pentax has more than one extant model.

5 upvotes
123Mike

Carefully examining the low light capabilities of this K3, shows that it is no master in low light at all. It's kind on par with the dated Sony A57. Both the 70D and D7100 are better. Nex 6 is better. Heck, Nex 5 is better. Heck heck! Even the Nex 3 (three!) looks better.
I thought that the Pentaxes are supposed to be good in low light. Looks like it isn't at all. Any this costs like $1200+ ? Are they out to lunch or something?

3 upvotes
audiobomber

DPR comparisons are done using ISO numbers. Manufacturers manipulate ISO numbers, so the comparisons are not valid. The only way to compare sensor noise is to look at DXOMark results in the Print graphs. Pentax is equal to Nikon D7100 and beats the 70D.

5 upvotes
drummercam

Regarding ISO number manipulation, note from this review:

"On testing, we found the K-3's ISO to be within 1/6th EV of the expected result, which is the tolerance level allowed in the ISO standard. In which case, the K-3's ISO ratings should be considered accurate."

So Pentax is honest about it.

4 upvotes
waxwaine

Look again and see how K-3 retains better colour pattern while ISO get high. Canikons colour fade into grey.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
bluevellet

The amount of whining over this gold review is amazing. There's no pleasing some people.

Now I just wish Pentax would delay their next camera release as long as possible to avoid any further drama over a Pentax product review.

5 upvotes
BarnET

Well people expected it to outscore the D7100.
And as a stills camera it's simply better(body-wise)
Let's be honest a 6 shot raw buffer should cost it more performance points. while the K3 with an larger buffer and faster burst rate get's less. That's very very weird

So they are a bit dissapointed with the 83%

4 upvotes
InTheMist

Ew, Asiangirl's teeth!

Edit: but the 70D processes them worse.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
smafdy

So far, I've made major investments in two systems that were laughed at by the Canikon crowd: 4/3ds and Pentax.

Now, I'm laughing all the way to the bank.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Serickmetz

Hahaha and taking subpar pictures along the way.

Glad you can reason in your own mind how to settle for less.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 500
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