With cameras, sequels and follow-ups are near always better than the original. In the case of the new Pentax K-3 II, this year’s redux of the ever popular K-3 brings some notable improvements to an already noteworthy shooter.
Pixel Shift is the moniker given to an interesting new feature of the K-3 II that employs build-in shake reduction to bring significant noise reduction to snapshots taken in low-light situations. It accomplishes this by sampling pixels four times and producing the best quality photo possible. The K-3 II’s in-body stabilization is also said to improve stabilization to 4.3 stops.
Of note for astrophotography enthusiasts is a new feature appropriately called Astrotracer. This uses the camera’s built-in GPS receiver and acceleration sensors to sync the CMOS sensor to the movement of planets, stars and any other snapshot-worthy celestial bodies. In order to make room for the GPS sensor, the pop-up flash mechanism has been sacrificed, a move that may or may not displease flash-reliant shutterbugs.
The K-3 II also comes packed with updated algorithms that enable 27-point autofocus and horizon auto-correct. Users hoping for built-in Wi-Fi may find themselves disappointed by the fact that they’ll still need to use a FLU card to facilitate wireless connectivity, but the reduced price of $1099 – which is a full $200 less than the cost of the original K-3 – may serve to sweeten the deal. The Ricoh K-3 II is slated for stateside release in May of 2015.