Pentax K-3 II

Pentax K-3 II

24MP APS-C CMOS sensor | Class-leading weather sealing | Built-in GPS

What we like:

  • Excellent ergonomics with lots of customization and control
  • Rugged, weather-sealed construction
  • Speedy continuous shooting performance

What we don't:

  • Autofocus system still lags behind the competition
  • Video quality is lagging behind the competition
  • GPS added at the expense of a pop-up flash

The Pentax K-3 II is Ricoh's current top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR, and offers a thoroughly impressive spec list at a reasonable price. Like its predecessor, the K-3 II comes with a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor tucked into a rugged, weather-sealed body with an abundance of physical controls. The grip is substantial and comfortable, and the camera has a pleasing heft to it. One bummer is that Ricoh has put a GPS receiver where an external flash would normally sit (a hot shoe is still available, of course).

The K-3 II has a couple of distinctive features including a multi-shot mode that captures extra color information that results in increased per-pixel sharpness, though it's for stationary subjects only and external flashes cannot be used. There's also an Astrotracer mode for astrophotography and an AA-filter simulation mode that shakes the sensor to prevent aliasing.

Operation is snappy. Startup time is virtually nonexistent, as are shot-to-shot times with a decently fast memory card. Continuous drive is a speedy 8.3 frames per second. Autofocus is one area though in which Ricoh continues to lag behind the competition. Subject tracking is unimpressive, and depending on the lens attached, even single-shot AF isn't as reliable as we'd expect.

"When it all comes together, the Pentax delivers excellent image quality."

When it all comes together, though, the Pentax delivers excellent image quality. Files are detailed, noise is well-controlled throughout the ISO range, and colors are true-to-life. Video specifications are beginning to look a little dated, with a maximum of 1080/60i recording. The K-3 II has both a microphone input and headphone output for levels monitoring but lack of focus peaking during recording make it less than ideal for video work.

Overall, the Pentax K-3 II offers tremendous value for money. In addition to having one of the highest continuous shooting rates of any camera in its class and offering a versatile sensor, the K-3 II also boasts some nice extras like top flight weatherproofing and sensor-shift image stabilization and excellent ergonomics. Video and fast-action sports (or anything else that requires accurate subject tracking) aren't its strengths, but the K-3 II is an excellent DSLR for stills.

Studio Test Scene | Specifications Compared

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