Pentax K-3 Mark III APS-C DSLR flagship finally up for pre-order

After first revealing a new APS-C DSLR camera in 2019, and following that with drip-fed tidbits about its new flagship in May and November 2020, Ricoh has now fully pulled back the curtain on the Pentax K-3 Mark III.

As with many other product reveals of late, this one has suffered significant delays. The follow up to 2015’s Pentax K-3 MkII was due to get its time in the tech show spotlight at CP+ 2020 in Japan, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

“The development of the Pentax K-3 Mark III has been a longtime labor of love,” said Kaz Eguchi of Ricoh Imaging America. “At Ricoh, our goal is to develop high-quality cameras with the power to capture images that speak louder than words and inspire photographers to continue pursuing their passion for photography every day.”

One of my first DSLR cameras was a Pentax, which (I’m ashamed to say) I abused quite badly, but it took its punishment admirably and survived to tell the tale, only being replaced when the megapixel count was overshadowed by newer cameras. The K-3 Mark III, which weighs in at 820 g (29 oz) – including Li-ion battery and media cards – has been designed with similar robustness in mind, rocking a magnesium-aluminum alloy housing with weatherproofing in the shape of 95 seals and resistance to temperatures as low as -10 °C (14 °F).

The Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR is built around a new 25.73-MP BSI APS-C CMOS image sensor
The Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR is built around a new 25.73-MP BSI APS-C CMOS image sensor

Ricoh Imaging

Ricoh says that all of the internals have been completely updated, starting with the 25.73-megapixel back-illuminated APS-C (23.3 x 15.5-mm) CMOS sensor, which works with a brand new Prime V imaging engine and newly designed accelerator unit. Light sensitivity of ISO100 to 1,600,000 should make shooting in dim light a good deal easier, and up to 12 frames per second continuous shooting is available.

The SAFOX 13 AF system has been specifically designed for the K-3 Mark III, and rocks 101 autofocus sensors, of which 25 are cross type. The camera comes with a small joystick for selecting individual focus points and the AF system is supported by a new 307,000-pixel RGB-Ir image sensor and a brand new tracking algorithm. Exposure and autofocus are optimized with the help of AI smarts, and image sharpness is promised thanks to the lack of an anti-aliasing filter.

The new flagship comes with 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization for 5.5 stops of compensation. Pixel shift is also available, which snaps four frames in succession to create a single high resolution image, and the in-body setup will crack down on possible moire effects too, with Ricoh claiming that it performs “just as effectively as a built-in low-pass filter.”

The AF system features 101 autofocus points and is supported by a new high-resolution AF image sensor
The AF system features 101 autofocus points and is supported by a new high-resolution AF image sensor

Ricoh Imaging

For mobile movie makers, 4k UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution video can be recorded at 30 fps in the H.264 recording format, while Full HD video is available at up to 60 fps. There’s an integrated stereo microphone too, though an external microphone can also be cabled in if desired.

Around back you’ll find an optical viewfinder with almost 100 percent field of view coverage and 1.05x magnification, and the promise of clear and lifelike images thanks to a distortion-correcting optical element and optimized lens coatings. Ricoh also says that users can look forward to an viewfinder image that’s about 10 percent brighter than with the MkII. And below this there’s a 3.2-inch LCD touch panel with an impressive 1,620,000-dot resolution.

Elsewhere, you’ve got Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11n Wi-Fi for wireless data transfer and remote operation, and there are two SD card slots built in, one of which is UHS-II compatible for processing data at high frame rates.

The Pentax K-3 Mark III is up for pre-order from today for a body only price of US$1,999.95.

Product page: K-3 Mark III

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