K-3 Mark III is a Beast

Started 3 months ago | User reviews thread
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3Percent Contributing Member • Posts: 940
K-3 Mark III is a Beast

(Quite surprising for a gear site/forum that there aren't more user reviews of the K-3 III here. Even more so I suppose that DPReview hasn't completed their final review of the K-3 Mark III. Maybe someone should voluntarily loan them a K-3 Mark III to finish the review up...)

Anyways, with that said...

The Pentax K-3 III is an incredible DSLR that has more useful features, customization, and applications for a photography tool than any other DSLR I can think of. The breadth of its complexity is matched by its capability and it's configurability as a tool- a supremely well executed DSLR for a wide range of photographers.

If you desire the control and customization over how your camera operates, then look no further. The level of customization and control is staggering.

This is a camera that you can literally do any kind of still photography with and not be let down. From its fast mechanical shutter (11/12fps rated to 300,000 shots) and leading edge auto focus system, to it's high resolution mode, and unique Pentax features, it covers everything from action, to studio, to astro photography, and everything in-between.

It's image quality is something we once used to only dream of or joke about for APS-C, and yet it is here. It steps well into the boundaries of full frame image quality in terms of dynamic range and high ISO performance- truly it is impressive for a sensor of this size. It's raw files are so malleable in post production and also free from destructive fixed pattern banding. It's noise grain in the upper ISO range is so pleasant in it's texture, it begs you to shoot high ISO images just to give your images some extra character.

Image quality is still actually useful i.e. within my accepted limits up to 51,200 ISO, and in a real pinch, beyond that up to 204,800 (if you shoot monochome). Impressive to me is that this is even possible with an APS-C sensor, it's really good.

After that, it's emergency settings only, let's face it. Yet it's still amazing to me that you can get discernable subjects even up to ISO 1,600,000.

It's built to the clappers, rock solid, and it can handle any kind of inclimate weather or temperature you can throw at it. You can feel the quality of its construction in every part of its design, this is a camera for people who like high quality made gear. Simple as that.

Ergonomically it's sound and also supremely comfortable to hold and operate. Buttons are large enough and raised enough to operate in any climate, with or with out gloves on. Larger and heavier lenses feel well matched and balanced on it, due in part to its large grip that gives you the reassurance and firm hold you need for all day comfort in the field.

It's optical viewfinder has the largest view (not one of the largest views) of ANY aps-c sized sensor DSLR made, ever. The viewing magnification is very similar to full frame cameras. It's also equipped with a modern translucent LCD overlay so you can customize much of the information you see through it (from various grids, to AF points, even viewfinder illumination, you name it).

Since its introduction, new firmware updates have added a GPS-free astrotracer function (utilizing the sensor movement, version 3), electronic shutter option, new special film simulation modes, and more tweaks to its operation that makes it an even more useful tool. Just when you think it's already got everything plus the kitchen sink, Ricoh/Pentax just adds more.

It's feature list is the incarnate of something only once dreamt up by enthusiasts and professional photographers. It's vast, comprehensive, and useful for a very wide range of photography needs. In addition to being all that, Pentax has some unique items in there like catch-in manual focus (trap focus) and comprehensive exposure control using the twin dials and the green button.

Basically the K-3 Mark III is not only a camera that is ready for any kind of photography out of the box (save for scuba diving photography). It's an amalgam of every step that Pentax has made from all of its DSLR cameras in the past.

It's able to use the oldest lenses of its native K mount with the unique ability to register an aperture setting (despite the oldest K-mount lenses having no electrical contacts), to thoroughly leveraging the most modern lenses in the K-mount. In fact I'd say the K-3 Mark III tends to expose the limitations of some of the rather dated lens designs in Pentax's lineup. The upside though, is that It's future proof in this way as more modern Pentax lenses slowly make their way into the system to play catch up to its capability.

Overall, in its current firmware version, the K-3 Mark III is a modern multi-tool DSLR that keeps up with the pace of current technology (in some ways exceeds the mean) all without abandoning its roots or heritage. This is all contained in a surprisingly compact and lightweight yet supremely rock solid body.

I easily gave it a five star rating and the highest marks for every kind of photography simply because the K-3 Mark III can do them all equally well. It really has no weak points, unless of course you demand 100 megapixels of resolution and 60fps for stills shooting (I'd question a need for either of those from anyone frankly).

 3Percent's gear list:3Percent's gear list
Ricoh GR Digital IV Fujifilm X-S1 Canon PowerShot S120 Panasonic FZ1000 Ricoh GR II +43 more
Pentax K-3 Mark III
26 megapixels • 3.2 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Mar 30, 2021
3Percent's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Pentax K-3 Pentax K-3 Mark III
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