Pentax K-3 Review

November 26, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Wallace

Small early note the LCD is 1.037M dots rather than 920k I will read on now.

6:44 pm - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#2 Vaezi

Dear Mr Goldstein
THank you very much for your coprehensive Revies they are usually great and informative.
So I think if you add an image of a person’s face it could be much more easier to understand the prcesion of the camera.
Thanks any way.
Va ‘ezi

4:00 am - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#3 Arn

As a Canon user, i’m really impressed by the move made py Pentax/Ricoh.
I have to say, that gear makes me want to switch from Canon to Pentax.

7:30 am - Thursday, November 28, 2013

#4 kadajawi

I am sorry, but in no way is the K-3 easily the best camera for video from Pentax. Unless you shoot with a steadicam rig (or something similar) or only shoot using a tripod, or you REALLY need those higher frame rates you’ll be much better off with the K-5. The K-5 had video stabilization that was based on the sensor shift shake reduction system… no artefacts, just smooth, stable video. The K-3 is using an electronic system that a) crops the frame (goodbye wide angle…) and b) introduces lots of wobble, random blurriness and other artefacts. In other words, it is absolutely useless and you are better off deactivating the stabilization.

2:03 pm - Thursday, November 28, 2013

#5 Ala

Dear Mark Goldstein:
Quoting from your conclusion “We really can’t think of anything bad to say about the new Pentax K-3, other than it deserves a better lens than either the 18-55 or 18-135mm kit lenses.” Were these two lenses slow, have poor quality images or both? Which lens do you suggest to go with K3? I am considering a Sigma 50-500mm to supplement a Pentax lens. Will the combination Sigam-Pentax work? Thanx.

7:59 pm - Saturday, November 30, 2013

#6 Richard Bond

The new Pentax K-3…definitely worthy of consideration for my next DSLR camera purchase. Presently own K-01 “the unloved brick” with good results. Although for some reason my RAW photos refuse to make the trip to my TV screen.

Pricing (after Christmas) will be the deciding factor and if RICOH/Pentax produce more limited edition lenses. My other camera is a very used Pentax K-2 (1970?)my collectors item….a metal brick.

11:34 am - Monday, December 2, 2013

#7 Hans Benndorf

I bought the K3 almost 3 weeks ago and I can attest that it is indeed a superb camera. If You are a ‘beginner’ and want to buy this machine You better brace Yourself for a steep learning curve but once understood it will reward with great images. Shooting RAW gives full potential to the camera.

8:26 am - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#8 Malcolm Davidson

i’ve been using Pentax cameras now for nearly fifty years, starting off with the S3 (second hand when I was youngster). I moved on through various models and stuck with Pentax through years when they appeared to loose their way to Nikon and Canon. I have now upgraded from a K10d and a K20d to the K3 and it is indeed a superbly well designed and thought out camera which I am sure will put Pentax back up there with the best.

11:07 am - Thursday, December 19, 2013

#9 Guymer

I bought the K-3 a month ago , I have been been taking raw, PEL format pictures but my MAC cannot read them. Apple tells me that the K-3 is not yet compatible with Apple, that Pentax has to make the request and Pentax tells me that Apple should add the K-3 to their list eventually. So, for the time being I have to shoot in jpeg if I want to be able to download my photos on my MAC. Has someone had this problem??

1:01 am - Friday, December 27, 2013

#10 Semi

Shoot in DNG and get a copy of Lightroom for the Mac.  That way you won’t have to wait for Apple’s slow RAW support.  Pentax is one of the few brands that supports two RAW formats.

12:48 am - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#11 Bill

The Pentax K-3 is my first DSLR and I just wanted to say it’s a fantastic camera.  I love the way it feels in my hands and the image quality is amazing.  I paired it with the DA* 300mm lens for a completely weather sealed walk around birding outfit and couldn’t be happier.  Highly recommend this excellent camera.

5:05 am - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#12 beachmama

Thanks so much for this amazing, comprehensive review!

After 30+ years as a Canon user I made the switch to Pentax and bought the K-3 a few days after Christmas. I’ve been waiting for a tough, weather-sealed camera that wouldn’t break the bank or my neck. I’m LOVING this camera! I fell while hiking and ended up in the ocean, I was soaked, the K-3 got wet and we both fared just fine thank you very much.

I’ve been hired to shoot video this week so will put it to the test (I do have a backup camera).

I waited 2 years for a tough, weatherproof camera that could withstand my active lifestyle. I’ve made the right choice ~ thanks so much for your encouragement!

10:49 pm - Monday, January 13, 2014

#13 Sherrvonne

I recently purchased a Pentax K-3 have just started testing it out, first on program mode and then on Manuel. My last camera I was serious about was a K1000 and quit using film when it became difficult to get it developed. After that I used my husbands Olympus digital non interchangeable lens camera, well I never really took it seriously and never learned the digital operation of it and used it only point and shoot. Now I am facing that “Learning Curve” of digital camera operation but what a fun and exciting way to do it using a K-3! I have taken some fantastic photos already, I am enjoying this camera!

8:54 pm - Sunday, January 19, 2014

#14 Tord S Eriksson

This seem to be the best camera has produced, ever! I was a keen Pentax user, till the K-01 debacle, so I switched to Nikon FX cameras.

The K-3 is far beyond any Pentax before, but not quite up to the D610 class!

9:58 pm - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

#15 Etn

No focus tracking in video mode is a sad lack.

11:55 am - Monday, April 7, 2014

#16 kadajawi

No focus tracking in video mode is not an issue. In those areas where a video DSLR is useful you’d manually focus anyway. No focus peaking though is a big issue. And the mediocre codec that gives some bad blocking when there is movement (though it could be worse, like the K-01). No clean HDMI output for the use with external recorders is an issue. The awful, video ruining video stabilizer, when there is a great stabilizer built into the camera, but it’s only used in live view or for stills, that’s a massive issue. I have had the chance to try out the K-3, and it sucks for video (compared to what else you can have for that sort of money these days).

The K-5 was a much better camera for video. And that’s just sad, cause everything that’s needed to at least best the K-5 does exist in the K-3, they just never activated the things in the firmware.

If you want video and want stabilizer, OM-D E-M1. Otherwise D5300, GH3, GH4, ... the list is endless. At least those will let you use stabilized lenses.

2:00 pm - Monday, April 7, 2014

#17 bertwert

I wish I had the money for this…

11:55 pm - Saturday, May 3, 2014

#18 Ian Frazer

Regarding “bulb” setting.

I do a lot of time lapse shots.  30 minute-plus sort of thing (star trails, special effects, etc.).

My K20D has a 1:1 ratio of shot-time to SD-transfer time. Ex. a 30 minute shot requires -another- 30 minutes to xfer to the SD card = 1 hour per shot.

How fast is the K-3?

9:51 pm - Monday, May 26, 2014

#19 Andrew Sharpe

@Ian Frazer: That is not a 30 minute write time to the card, it is slow shutter noise reduction where the camera takes another photograph with the shutter closed for the same length of time as the original photo, and then subtracts the noise. You cannot turn this off in the K20D without using debug mode (which is a pain). I believe the K3 allows you to disable that noise reduction feature, so that your 30 minute exposure will takeā€¦ 30 minutes.

11:24 pm - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

#20 Tim Bagnall

I have a K3 (and I’m pleased with it) but I cannot understand why anyone would want to shoot moving pictures with a still camera - to me the video side of the camera is a waste of money - I wish that Pentax had had the courage not to add this feature.

5:52 pm - Thursday, August 7, 2014

#21 kadajawi

@Tim Bagnall:
First of all, the implementation of video must have cost Pentax nothing, because if they actually spend money to screw up that badly that is just sad.

Why anyone would want to shoot moving pictures with a still camera? You mean like the crew of House M.D.? Of several other TV shows? Heck, even the people who did the Avengers used DSLRs for video for some shots. A DSLR can give you a great look if used well, with good dynamic range and low light capabilities, and a shallow DoF. It is not so good for people who want a convenient way to take a video of their holiday, but if you want control over the look and can’t afford high end gear (Canon did a few tweaks to their 1D, itself not a cheap camera, to improve it for video, and drastically increased the price).

And what about working photographers? Unless you’re in some niche or on high end projects where they can afford a separate videographer doing both can be required to land a job. Having to get 2 separate sets of gear, and learning how to use them, is expensive (besides carrying all that gear). Especially as gear that can match the look of a DSLR is easily in the high 4 to 5 digit ballpark.

If Pentax doesn’t fix their video functionality by the time I need a new camera, I’ll switch brands. I may prefer them for stills, but I’d rather have a camera that is good enough for stills and good enough for video than one that is great for stills and awful for video.

7:16 pm - Thursday, August 7, 2014

#22 doug schoonover

1. I take both raw and jpeg - one on each memory card.  I found out if I delete a jpeg picture file, remove the disc to copy to my laptop, the “deleted” file is still there (and still on the raw disk.
2.  having trouble trying to figure out how to use camera setting to take indoor vollyball shots with having blurring.

7:20 pm - Monday, September 29, 2014

#23 Blizzard

K3 a big step forward
As high end hiking and travel camera in harsh weather simply marvelous ! sold off my other gear 2 weeks ago. 
Still looking for faster light weight lens wide prime and a light macro
I will be taking the k3 to Iceland rainy Ireland ,Alaska ,  yellow stone in the early winter plus my favorite place the high mountains of Colotado in blizzard weather
Thank you pentax

4:25 pm - Thursday, April 2, 2015

#24 beachmama

Blizzard, Like you I hike in fairly harsh conditions sometimes. I’m on the beach several days a week in all weather and the K3 has been a rock. I have a couple issues with the camera. I’ve had the mirror flap issue a few times. It seems to occur when my battery is very low. I’ve downloaded the latest firmware so hoping that takes care of this problem. Video is no where near the capability of my lesser Canon. That wasn’t my main focus when I bought the K3 but is more important to me now. Lack of lens options. I’ve purchased Tamron (70-200mm 2.8) which I love (but is heavy). At $700 for the body now, the K3 is an amazing bargain. I’ll be interested to see the full frame coming up at the end of the year. I’m actually looking to see how I can go smaller not bigger and keep a high quality, sealed body. With 92 weather seals on the body alone, the K3 is my baby for a while.

8:44 pm - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#25 Ben

Great, comprehensive camera review. I’ve written about my experience testing the Pentax K3 in the field as a professional photographer, and also compared it to the Nikon D600/D610 camera. Hope it helps someone trying to decide!

4:35 pm - Sunday, April 19, 2015

Entry Tags

review, samples, photos, test, images, lens, jpeg, movie, camera, dslr, photo, raw, sample, prosumer, pentax, 24 megapixel, digital SLR, image, APS-C, CMOS, 3.2 inch LCD, mov, dslr camera, interchangeable, k3, pentax k3, pentax k-3, semi-pro, 8.3fps, k-3