Pentax K-3 camera review

Pentax’s latest DSLR, the Pentax K-3, slightly confusingly marketed by Ricoh who now owns the brand, just happens to be a flagship pro model. Despite this, it fields a 24.7 megapixel APS-C sensor rather than the full frame chip of the Nikon D610, and in comparison is smaller and more square edged in its design. That said its chip is one that Pentax claims has been newly designed for this camera. Specification is a match for the likes of the Canon 70D and Nikon D5300 (or indeed its higher-end D7100), thanks to the K-3’s 23.35 effective megapixel top resolution. Maximum light sensitivity setting is higher than most in its class at ISO52100, burst shooting of 8.2 fps is likewise impressive, as is a 3.2-inch LCD million dot plus resolution screen on the backplate, coupled with large and bright optical viewfinder. The screen is fixed rather than angle adjustable though.

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Pentax’s premium DSLR doesn’t offer a full frame chip or wireless compatibility built in, but the latter is instead available via an optional extra

Whilst Wi-Fi is the latest must have, the K-3 has opted not to build the feature into the body, but rather offer compatibility with Eye-Fi cards or Pentax’s own O-FC1 ‘Flu’ card, designed specifically for the camera in order to gain a wireless LAN connection to a compatible smartphone. Perhaps most interesting of the lot is that the K-3 offers what it claims is a specially developed anti aliasing ‘simulator’ as opposed to actual filter; something others are likewise junking in an attempt to eek out more detail. Pentax claims this minimises moiré (striped lines on a shirt seeming to vibrate before your eyes, to give one example) without the installation of an optical anti aliasing filter in the camera, thus providing a choice of filtered or filter free shooting for any given subject. With the user able to turn it on or off and assess the results, it seems like a best of both worlds solution.

This being a Pentax, and unlike Canon or Nikon, we get image stabilsation built into the body rather than the lens, as we do on Olympus’ OM-D. Battery life is an improvement on the latter however, with 720 pictures from a full charge, and like the Canon and Nikon examples here we get the benefit of a second top plate mounted LCD screen doer key settings. Like the Sony A3000, buttons and dials here are large and chunky and dare we say the layout appears a little less sophisticated than on its Canon and Nikon rivals, though that doesn’t make the actual camera any less usable. The handgrip feels just the right size and the camera is swift to react, whilst the viewfinder is, like the Nikon, big and bright.

OUR VERDICT

Providing excellent rendition of colours and sharp images with it, which has been as consistent a feature with Pentax as we could have hoped for, the camera comes in black for a suggested £1099.99 for the body only or as a limited edition silver version for £300 more. Generally speaking, Pentax DSLRs offer slightly more bang for your buck than Canon or Nikon equivalents, whilst in no way feeling or handling like a ‘budget’ alternative. If you need a lens, the 18-55mm zoom kit is the best bet at £1,199.99. Or if you want a weather resistant lens to go with the comprehensive weather sealed body, then something like an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens would be the one to go for, providing a bit more punch at the telephoto end.

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