Pentax K-3: Conclusion

November 29, 2013 by Jim Keenan Reads (29,712)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Expandability
    • 10
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

The K-3 is Pentax’s latest flagship DSLR and in typical Pentax fashion offers a lot of performance and features at a relatively bargain price, including weather sealing and a continuous high-speed shooting capability in excess of 8 frames per second. The camera is compatible with Pentax lenses going back decades and because stabilization is built into the camera body you retain stabilization capability no matter how old your lens. The 23.3 megapixel effective resolution is a healthy jump over previous Pentax DSLRs, but Pentax has wisely also built in a fairly robust buffer capacity to support that 8 fps motor for those folks who lean heavily on the shutter button while shooting. The camera lacks an AA filter and the AA filter simulator demonstrated it wasn’t up to the task of completely removing moire in what was admittedly a worst case scenario subject, thus making post processing a possibility in some cases. Caveat emptor…

And then there’s the video… The K-3 gets an improved video capability with a more seamless video interface and a wide variety of capture frame rates for both its full HD and HD resolution clips. But, in typical Pentax video fashion, the camera becomes just the latest Pentax flagship that can’t do continuous autofocus during video capture, a glaring shortcoming in a market where everybody else’s DSLRs do continuous autofocus, with at least one competitor’s latest offering doing it extraordinarily well. Since this is the gripe paragraph, how about jacking that flash sync up to 1/250 second and why is it I can’t fine tune my HDR bracketing shots in manual mode without the camera changing both aperture and shutter speed for each shot?

Nitpicking aside, I see the lack of a continuous autofocus feature for video capture as the major black mark against the K-3. Is the resolution increase and slightly more than an additional frame per second continuous shooting rate enough to sway K-5II owners to move up? Hard to say, owners of the older K-5 or other Pentax models might be more apt to make the switch. But for all those uncommitted folks looking to move into something more than an entry- level DSLR but short of a full-blown pro model, the K-3 is worthy of careful consideration.


  • Good still and video image quality
  • High continuous shooting rate
  • Good capacity buffer
  • Weather sealed
  • Attractive price point versus feature set 


  • Lack of continuous autofocus during video capture
  • AA filter simulator may not completely eliminate moire in extreme cases
  • Flash sync speed lags behind most competitors
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