Pentax K-3 review: Unshakeable Image Quality

By Kevin Carter - Monday November 25 2013

Camera Review
Introduction | Pentax K-3 Sensor performance | Pentax K-3 Versus competition | Conclusion

Pentax K-3 Versus Canon EOS 70D Versus Nikon D7100: One of the best performing of its type

The slightly lower scores from the K-3 mean it ranks slightly behind that of its closet rival bearing a similar 24-Mpix sensor, the Nikon D7100, but it fares well against the Canon EOS 70D.

The Pentax has +2/3 stop improvement in color depth over the Canon but around -1/3 stop less than the Nikon. Bigger differences can be seen in dynamic range where the K-3 has almost +2 stops advantage at base ISO over the Canon, and just less than -1/3 stop compared with the Nikon. In low light, the capabilities of the Pentax and Nikon are equal but you would be hard put to tell the +1/3 stop gain over the Canon in real world use.

Pentax K-3 Versus Sony SLT Alpha 58 Versus Sony SLT Alpha 77: Improvements over older semi-pro models

Alongside the older 20-Mpix Sony SLT A58 and the A77, which has a similar 24-Mpix CMOS sensor, the Pentax has an advantage in performance, particularly against the former model.

Compared with the A58 the K-3 has a +1/3 stop benefit in color depth and just under a +1 stop wider dynamic range but there’s nothing in it between it and the A77. Where the Pentax leads against the A77 is in its low-light performance.

However, while the K-3 has around +2/3 stop advantage over that and the A58, much of the difference in low-light capabilities can be attributed to the SLT mirror. Nevertheless, the K-3 maintains the lead in our sensor performance rankings, while offering some unique and promising features.