Pentax K-3 review: Unshakeable Image Quality

By Kevin Carter - Monday November 25 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Pentax K-3 Sensor performance | Pentax K-3 Versus competition | Conclusion
Pentax K-3 review: Unshakeable Image Quality

After the success of the 16-Mpix K-5II and K-5IIs without AA filter, Pentax has replaced the pair with a new flagship model, the K-3, with a 24-Mpix sensor boasting a user-selectable AA filter for control over moiré and sharpness, depending on the situation. Read on to find out how this unique sensor performs?

The Pentax K-3 is the new top-of the range model and replacement to the Pentax K5-II and K5-II S models introduced in 2012. Although this is the first Pentax DSLR to adopt a stabilized 24-Mpix APS-C CMOS sensor it’s likely to be known for its unique user-selectable AA (anti-aliasing) filter feature. This combines the attributes of both the K-5II models in one, allowing the user to control the amount of moiré correction required depending on the intended use.

The K-3 achieves this not by using an optical filter as in the past, but by simulating the effect through deliberate vibration of the sensor during capture. While switching the filter off delivers maximum clarity and sharpness, two other settings offer a balance between that and moiré-reduction.

Besides the innovative moiré-reduction option, the K-3 adopts features associated with a camera intended for professional use. It has a weather sealed body, as you might expect (all Pentax DSLRs have), but the K-3 offers continuous shooting at up 8.3fps, an advanced 27-point AF system (with sensitivity in light levels as low as -3EV) and a glass pentaprism with approximately 100 % viewfinder coverage and 0.95x magnification.

Video capture is also high on the list of priorities from the firm and the K-3 includes full HD (1920x1080) video at 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 and has both headphone and mic ports. The K-3 is available now at $1,299.

Key specifications:

  • 24Mp-x APS-C MOS sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (works with any lens)
  • Selectable, three-stage low-pass filtering
  • 27 Point (23-cross type) AF system (EV -3 to 18)
  • 100 % viewfinder coverage, 0.95x magnification (50mm f1.4, at infinity)
  • 3.2-inch1037k dot LCD
  • 1080 video at 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264(MOV)format
  • 1/8000thsecond max shutter speed, 1/180thsec maximum flash sync
  • 8.3fps maximum continuous shooting
  • Weather-sealed magnesium-alloy shell
  • Dual SD memory slots

Pentax K-3 Sensor performance

Pentax K-3 Versus competition