Gear Tech

Could the Pentax K-3 MkIII save DSLRs?

New rugged APS-C camera offers big features, including IBIS, 4K video and a huge ISO range...

It’s good to be different sometimes and while brands like Nikon and Canon looked to have firmly turned their focus to the mirrorless market, Pentax’s upcoming flagship APS-C model shows that there could still be a future for the DSLR camera.

With the official launch of the K-3 MkIII imminent, Pentax has released a video shedding more light on the build and design of the new camera and, it has to be said, there are some impressive features mentioned. Let’s start with the sensor featured on the K-3 MkIII and photographers will find an APS-C Back-Illuminated CMOS sensor that serves up 26-megapixels of resolution. The sensor features a AA (Anti Aliasing) filter free design and is paired with the Pentax PRIME V processor engine, which enables an astonishing ISO range that tops out at 1.6 million – yep, million!

Much has already been reported about the pentaprism design that offers an 100% field of view coverage although scene can also be lined up in Live view using the large 3.2-inch LCD, which is touch-sensitive and features a 1620k dot resolution. Unlike Canon and Nikon, Pentax included IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) in its DSLRs earlier on and the K-3 MkIII features a 5-axis system that corrects for pitch, yaw, roll and horizontal/vertical shift. This affords photographers up to 5.5-stops of compensation which will come in handy in low light conditions and will help to keep shots steady.

Pentax introduces the K-3 Mark III

Pentax is well known for the excellent build quality of its cameras and the K-3 MkIII carries this progression further, with the camera built around a tough magnesium alloy body and a shutter mechanism that is rated for 300,000 actuations. What’s more, the K-3 MkIII is resistant to dust and moisture thanks to the presence of no less than 95 weather seals and the camera can be used in harsh conditions, operating down to -10 degrees. This should be of interest to landscape photographers who often have to work in testing weather conditions.

An overhauled autofocus system features 101 AF points and the burst rate for the K-3 MkIII is equally impressive at 12 FPS (frames per second). Add in a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec and this pushes the new APS-C sensor camera in the direction of sports and wildlife photographers who wish to be able to capture action sequences without missing a crucial moment.

The K-3 Mark III features a rugged build, much like Pentax’s full-frame DSLR, the K-1 Mark II.

Other features include the inclusion of both WiFi and Bluetooth to enable fast transfer of images to a smart device and extended video options, with the K-3 MkIII able to capture high quality 4K footage up to 30p or Full HD video too. Thanks to dual SD cards, K-3 MkIII users will be able to make an instant back up of their work, or choose to write stills to one SD card and video to another to keep the files separate.

With a battery that will deliver around 800 shots on a single charge, photographers should be good for a day’s photography and the K-3 MkIII still maintains a fairly lightweight build, tipping the scales at 820g (with battery and memory card). All in all, an impressive list of features that should prove there’s life in DSLRs yet.