Pentax K-3 III Review - Verdict

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Value For Money

The Pentax K-3 Mark III is available for £1899 body only. This makes it quite an investment, and a massive contrast to the price of the Pentax K3 II when first introduced (around £769 body only). At a similar price, you can also buy the 36mp full-frame Pentax K-1 II for much less (£1649 body only), another alternative would be the Nikon D500 (20mp, 10fps, 4K video, tilting screen), which is available for £1479 body only, or the 32mp Canon EOS 90D (10fps, 4K video, vari-angle screen), available for around £1249 body only. However, this could all be considered a moot point, if you're a Pentax user, and have a range of Pentax lenses to use with the system.


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Pentax K-3 Mark III Verdict

For those looking for a DSLR, then the Pentax K-3 III is one of the best APS-C DSLRs available, with a 25.7mp APS-C BSI CMOS sensor and Shake Reduction (SR) system, giving great image quality, with low levels of noise, and excellent colour reproduction. There's a good size 3.2inch touch-screen, and a large 1.05x magnification optical viewfinder.

However, there are things we wish were different, including the screen, which doesn't tilt, making low or high-angle shooting more difficult. Another thing we think could have been better is the positioning of the optical viewfinder eye-cup, as the design of the camera means you feel like you're literally putting your whole face up to the camera to use the optical viewfinder, and this makes it difficult to avoid your nose touching the camera. Whilst not very deep, the soft rubberised eyecup is quite comfortable, and you could always change the eyecup if you wanted.

It's also hard to argue with the excellent ergonomics of a DSLR design, with a large comfortable handgrip, and controls that are easily within reach. There are the usual front and rear command dials, plus a third dial that can be customised to your own tastes.

There are a number of minor niggles, that we wish were different, but these are things you could easily get used to or workaround. The tilting screen could be a deal-breaker for some, but for others, it could be the price that puts this camera out of reach. For sports photography, 12fps continuous shooting is impressive, 11fps with continuous AF, however, the small number of shots possible is a shame. For the price, we think the omission of an external battery charger is disappointing. We also found it difficult to find the software, as it's stored on the camera's own internal memory, but there is no leaflet or note in the box to tell us this, and no printed manual, although hopefully a "Quick Start" note will be included in future.

If you own a Pentax camera already and own Pentax lenses, then the Pentax K-3 III is an excellent option, with the highest resolution APS-C sensor Pentax has ever used, giving you the best image quality possible from an APS-C Pentax DSLR. You also benefit from the new AF system, faster continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a larger optical viewfinder, and of course the Pentax Shake Reduction system.

Pentax K-3 Mark III Pros

  • Shake Reduction (SR) System
  • New 26mp BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Up to 12fps continuous shooting
  • Excellent handling and ergonomics and (mostly) good control system
  • Weather-sealed camera body
  • 1.05x magnification OVF
  • Built-in Help System in the menus
  • Updated AF system

Pentax K-3 Mark III Cons

  • No external charger (USB, in-camera charging)
  • A tilting screen would be useful to some
  • Shallow viewfinder relief
  • Price compared to the previous version (and competition)
  • Included software on the camera's internal memory, the leaflet doesn't tell you this
  • Small buffer for continuous shooting
  • No printed manual

Overall Verdict

Own this product? Let us know what you think of it in the EQDB.

Here's where you can find the manual to download from Ricoh / Pentax.

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Pentax K-3 Mark III Body Silver APS-C DSLR Camera - Field of view 100%~1.05x optical viewfinder, 5-axis 5.5 step in-body SR mechanism, ISO 1.6 million, weather resistant, up to 12fps, Touch screen
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Photographs taken using the Pentax K-3 III

Two Bridges IIGSWPagoda StarlingGodrevySmoke & SteamOopsBridlington HarbourLighthousePoppyMevagissey HarbourPuffinsBodnant GardenFace to FaceLighthouse

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28 Jul 2021 5:51PM
Interesting review. Having used mine for the last 2-3 months I'd like make the following points about the camera and the review.
1. There seems to be quite a bit of nit picking in the review. Hardly anything comes with a printed manual these days. It hardly affects the quality of the camera. Same applies to software. It's quite clearly identified in the downloaded manual (pages 97/98), so why waste time, effort and space in the review?
2. You failed to mention the new (for Pentax) highlight exposure mode which is, IMO, is very useful when there is strong sunlight on the subject.
3. You made a lot about not providing an external battery charger with the camera but failed to mention that a charger and lead are provided for charging the battery in the camera. Again, IMO, this is a plus, not a negative. It's far easier than having to take the battery out every time it needs charging. Plus it takes up less space and weight when you are travelling.
4. I've tried using the camera on continuous to tog the Gannets at Bempton and have personally not had an issue with buffering when using a UHS-II card. It was a problem when I tried it with the other, UHS-I, card. If I'd have kept my finger on the button much longer I'd have probably been better using the video mode.
5. Again, with or without my glasses on, I couldn't see what your issue is with the viewfinder relief
6. I've found the camera to be far heavier on battery use than my K1. I put this down to using Bluetooth for recording GPS data from my phone.
7. For me the lack of a tilting screen is not a problem. Again this is a personal preference, but I don't think it should be noted as a con or as a pro.
8. It's definitely an improvement on the K3-II
9. As for the price/value for money, could it be that Pentax are taking advantage of the fact the big boys appear to be losing interest in dSLRs and Pentax are positioning themselves for when dSLRs are a niche market product?

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