Pentax K-3 DSLR Camera

Already own this?

This item is in your gearlist!

83% Gold Award
The K-3 represents a series of steps forward for the Pentax line - not just with the addition of features such as anti-aliasing simulation, but also in the inclusion of a more advanced autofocus and metering systems.”

Read more of the review

Key Features

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, selectable on/off of anti-aliasing filter
  • 8.3 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 27-point AF system with 25 cross sensors and 3 low-light AF sensors
  • ISO 80-51,200
  • 1080 60p/50p/30p/24p HD video (H.264)
  • 3.2 inch TFT LCD with 1,037,000 dots
  • 100% viewfinder
  • Pop-up flash with hot shoe
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Fully weather sealed and cold proof design with magnesium body
  • Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots
  • Eye-Fi / FLU compatible

Product Description

The K-3 touts 24 megapixels in an APS-C sized CMOS sensor with the world’s first selectable anti-aliasing filter—giving the user the ability to easily toggle anti-aliasing functionality on or off by way of the PENTAX-original SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism. As a replacement for both the K-5 II and K-5 IIS, improvements include a top shooting speed up to 8.3 FPS and a new autofocus module with 27 AF sensors and a vast light sensitivity range of –3EV to +18EV. Using optional FLU card SDHC technology, the K-3 offers complete remote camera control, including aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus points, shutter release and image transfer to laptops and compatible devices. Other enthusiast pleasing features include H.264 video capture, dual memory card slots, Live View, an electronic level, and weather sealing in a magnesium alloy body.

Specs

Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Max resolution 6016 x 4000
Other resolutions 4608 x 3072, 3072 x 2048, 1920 x 1080
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 25 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Prime III
Image
ISO Auto, 100 - 51200
White balance presets 9
Custom white balance Yes (3)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Best, better, good
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom No
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 27
Lens mount Pentax KAF2
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.2
Screen dots 1,037,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT LCD monitor
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.95×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes No
Built-in flash Yes (Pop-up)
Flash range 13.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flash Yes (Hot-shoe, Wireless)
Flash modes Auto, on, off, red-eye, slow sync, slow sync + red-eye, trailing curtain sync, high speed, wireless, manual
Continuous drive 8 fps
Self-timer Yes ( 2 or 12 seconds)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
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 Bracketing No
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Mono
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMI Yes (mini)
Wireless Optional
Wireless notes Special version of Flu Card available
Remote control Yes (optional, wired or wireless)
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes (Weather and dust resistant)
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion D-LI90 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 560
Weight (inc. batteries) 800 g (1.76 lb / 28.22 oz)
Dimensions 131 x 100 x 77 mm (5.16 x 3.94 x 3.03)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes (up to 9999 pictures)
GPS Optional
GPS notes O-GPS1

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Value
Gold Award
Gold Award
83 %
Overall Score

The K-3 is the latest and best in a well-established line of high-end APS-C DSLRs. The K-3 offers a wealth features for still photographers, including a large, 100% coverage viewfinder, solid build, and plenty of customization. Its video capabilities are a little less inspiring, but it stands as a great stills camera that's a pleasure to shoot with.

Good For

Users wanting a classic DSLR clearly designed with the enthusiast shooter at heart

Not So Good For

Would-be videographers, photographers looking to travel light

User Reviews

4.85 out of 5 stars
  • chanaw, Nov 23, 2013 GMT:
    More than a simple upgrade

    I do not consider myself being a professional camera tester, I'm just a happy user. This camera is a class of its own. It's more than a simple upgrade to the K-5 I have used before. I like - fast and accurate AF - very quiet shutter - sharpness (a very good lens provided) - overall responsiveness (fast memory card provided) I do not say that noise is worse. In my opinion, a little noise somehow produces a perception of crispyness. You will never see it on moderate-sized prints. However, when ...

    Continue Reading

  • Isherwood, Dec 10, 2013 GMT:
    Better in every way

    The early impressions after 3 weeks of casual snapping are very positive. This body is an upgrade to a K-5 which got used a lot over 2+ years. Pentax/Ricoh made numerous upgrades to a very good camera, none of the upgrades are game-changers but taken together the result is very impressive. To those unfamiliar with the Pentax K-single-digit family they are solid, reliable performers in robust, confidence inspiring bodies with excellent viewfinders & ergonomics. Compared to the K-5 the new ...

    Continue Reading

  • Daedbird, Jan 10, 2014 GMT:
    Catching fire with a K-3

    I am an editor for a small weekly newspaper, and this morning at 5 a.m. the fire siren went off. I went over to my office and grabbed my new K-3, which despite having for a week, have shot nothing more than test shots around the office. I got to the scene and started shooting. I told myself I was not going to shoot 6400 ISO, but because of the conditions, I just went between 3200 and 6400. I have NR set to custom, with low NR for 1600-6400. I also have slow speed NR on. Impressions and thoughts ...

    Continue Reading

  • beholder3, Mar 30, 2014 GMT:
    Pentax K-3: Everyday fun with a powerful tool

    The Pentax K-3 is both a very continuous product for all people who have owned a recent Pentax DSLR and at the same time a large step ahead in so many areas that it makes the tiny upgrades some "new" camermodels get these days look ridiculous. So what is new for the K-3 compared to other Pentax DSLRs? (1) 2 SD card slots (2) focus peaking (3) 24 MPx sensor (4) Number of F2.8 AF Sensors now is 3 (5) AF sensitivity is up to EV ...

    Continue Reading

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Changing technique for new sensor

Hello, After reading a lot about people not getting sharp results with their K-3. I then watched photouniverse's video about it and how he was able to get perfectly sharp images with it. However, he and many others said that since Pentax have used the same sensor (or at least the same resolution sensor) for many years now, people are used to that. He then says that moving form 16MP to 24MP would need a steep learning curve. It is also mentioned numerous times that it is a matter of fixing your technique in order to get the most out of the camera. What I don't understand is what those techniques are. He never actually gives any examples. What exactly is it that we need to change to get the best results? Could someone please explain this to me? thanks, Albert

Tucabert asked
9 months ago

ANSWERS

Landscape photographers will do the following to maximize resolution. 1. Always photograph using a nice sturdy tripod. 2. Always photograph using a nice sturdy tripod. 3. Use the sharpest aperture on the lens (f/8, f/11) 4. Use mirror lock so that there are no vibrations introduced during exposure 5. Use a cable release or remote so that you are not touching the camera during exposure (I use 2 second self timer, automatically locks the mirror too) 6. Turn off VR, IS or SR. (Mirror lock turns this off on some cameras) 7. Use the lowest ISO the camera offers (80 or 100) Using f/8, f/11 at ISO 80 will force slow shutter speeds, so you'll need a tripod one way or the other. My average shutter speed is 1/8s. I know people hate bringing a tripod, but it is the most valuable tool I can think of. Don't cheap out  either if you are looking to buy one. A poor tripod will ruin your day. Don't want to shoot doing all of the above? That's fine, just don't expect to get the most out of 24mp that ... Continue Reading

Andr3w answered
9 months ago

I find it hard to believe that an increase in the number of pixels is going to make camera movement more visible, assuming the same size output - print or screen - from both cameras. The visibility of blur from camera shake is a function of the degree of displacement of fixed points during the time the shutter is open. At a given output size, the length of that displacement is going to be the same, regardless of the number of pixels. Of course, if you look at the two images on screen at 100%, motion blur will be more visible with the higher-pixel camera. Continue Reading

Jeff Charles answered
9 months ago

So.. that takes care of the static landscapers. But what about the rest of us that walk around forests with a 300mm lens, handheld looking for wildlife. We have been getting superb images from K7's, K10's and the K5iis but suddenly, our 'technique' is not good enough? I'm sorry, but I can't accept this. Maybe I just need to swap back to my trusty K5IIs. Tony Continue Reading

Twojugs answered
9 months ago

QUESTION

K-3 low light AF performance?

Fast question, one of the biggest selling points I read about on the new K-5 models was their -3EV capable AF. Anybody know what the rating is for the K-3? I can't seem to find the spec on it, thx in advance.

Ontario Gone asked
10 months ago

ANSWERS

Manual page 92 Yep -3EV ... I think metering down to -3EV is new, I believe the K5's stopped at 0EV. http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/products/k-3/spec/ Continue Reading

Col K10d answered
10 months ago

Just to chime in. The K-5II/IIs also have -3EV sensibility. Completely destroys the K-5 in that respect. Continue Reading

joseluismx answered
10 months ago

Also, the K-5 II and IIs have a central f/2.8 sensor, the K-5 does not. The K-3 has three f/2.8 sensors. Continue Reading

audiobomber answered
10 months ago

QUESTION

PentaxK-3

Hei. Will there be a full review of Pentax K-3 soon? Please!

Tusiast asked
7 months ago

ANSWERS

Gordon Laing has this to say about the topic: "several months in this business is a lifetime, and there's no commercial point in Camera Labs reviewing a product that's a few months old. Believe it or not, even a few weeks makes a big difference in page impressions and revenue generated." Continue Reading

Leandros S answered
7 months ago

They made a half-assed commitment to it when the camera came out top of its category and second overall in the user voted "of the year" awards. Something along the lines of, "we've heard you, now we'd better get reviewing the K-3". Rumour says Ricoh didn't invite them for a caviar buffet, so they're scheduling that camera last. Scandalous? Absolutely. They also never responded to my question of whether the AA simulation was engaged for their test shots. So much for the general level of competence around here. Continue Reading

Leandros S answered
7 months ago

They made a half-assed commitment to it when the camera came out top of its category and second overall in the user voted "of the year" awards. Something along the lines of, "we've heard you, now we'd better get reviewing the K-3". Rumour says Ricoh didn't invite them for a caviar buffet, so they're scheduling that camera last. Scandalous? Absolutely. They also never responded to my question of whether the AA simulation was engaged for their test shots. So much for the general level of competence around here. Continue Reading

Leandros S answered
7 months ago

Warranty Information

"RICOH IMAGING products originally distributed by RICOH IMAGING CORPORATION, 633 17th Street, Suite 2600, Denver, Colorado 80202, have a limited One-Year Warranty starting from the date of purchase. This limited warranty covers any defects in original factory materials and workmanship. If your RICOH IMAGING product malfunctions due to such a defect within this one-year period, RICOH IMAGING CORPORATION will repair it at no charge within a reasonable amount of time. This warranty does not cover any damage caused to the product, including, but not limited to: impact, moisture, liquid, sand, excessive temperature, battery leakage, chemical corrosion, mishandling, operation contrary to operating instructions, tampering, modification, or servicing by an unauthorized repair shop.RICOH IMAGING shall not be liable for any consequential or incidental damages, such as memory cards, batteries, travel expenses, loss of time, etc. This warranty only applies to RICOH IMAGING photographic equipment originally distributed in the United States by RICOH IMAGING CORPORATION, 633 17th Street, Suite 2600, Denver, Colorado 80202".

Go to Ricoh's warranty page for more information and to register your Ricoh product. DPReview GearShop is an authorized Ricoh dealer in the United States.

  • Please enable JavaScript. GearShop is designed to work with JavaScript enabled. You may not be able to use our site properly if it's disabled in your browser's settings.