Excerpt: Since the launch of the Pentax K-7 in 2009, the company's flagship models have been among our favorite enthusiast-grade digital SLRs. Pentax's most recent iterations -- the simultaneously-launched K-5 II and K-5 IIs -- were very much evolutionary models, with only relatively minor changes from their shared predecessor.
Excerpt: In the fall of 2013, Ricoh Imaging announced the new PENTAX K-3 DSLR. Designed with "advanced enthusiasts" in mind, the K-3 boasts a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, the ability to continuously shoot at 8.3 frames-per-second, Full HD 1080p Video Recording, a proprietary anti-aliasing filter (which can be turned off and on), a built-in Shake Reduction mechanism, and dual memory card slots compatible with PENTAX FLU SDHC memory cards for wireless connectivity to PCs...
Summary: For creativity, Digital Filters apply special effects to images and Custom Image options -- preset combinations of sharpness, saturation, contrast and color tone settings -- can be customized to your needs. The Pentax K-3 also offers a multi-exposure mode that allows you to combine between two and 2,000 different JPEG or RAW images into a single photo.
Pros: 27-point autofocus system, Excellent high ISO quality, Weather-sealed for extreme temperatures, Anti-aliasing option
Excerpt: The road travelled by Pentax over the past decade has been rocky, to say the least. Once an independent company, Pentax was acquired by Hoya Corporation in 2006, then bought by Ricoh (yes, that Ricoh) in 2011. As it turned out, the Hoya pairing was less than fruitful, leaving Pentax fans cautiously optimistic for the brand's future under Ricoh.
Summary: 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.
Conclusion: The Pentax K-3 is the most refined K-mount SLR to date, offering fast autofocus and superb image quality. Its video autofocus implementation isn't the best, but it still manages to snag our Editors' Choice award.
Pros: Excellent high ISO image quality. Shoots at 8.1fps. Fast, 27-point autofocus system. In-camera shake reduction. Selectable simulated low-pass filter. Weather-sealed design. Pentaprism viewfinder. Sharp rear display. Top-notch control layout. Dual SD card slots. PC sync flash socket.
Cons: Limited autofocus during video recording. A little slow to start. Lacks built-in GPS or Wi-Fi.
Conclusion: Happily, image quality is pretty good in the majority of conditions, and handling is intuitive. While Pentax hasn't done quite enough to drag attention firmly away from Canon and Nikon, it is making moves in the right direction.
Summary: The K-3 is the latest and best in a well-established line of high-end APS-C DSLRs. The K-3 offers a wealth features for still photographers, including a large, 100% coverage viewfinder, solid build, and plenty of customization. Its video capabilities are a little less inspiring, but it stands as a great stills camera that's a pleasure to shoot with.
Pros: Very high image quality, especially in Raw, Excellent ergonomics and handling, Extensive feature set, In-body stabilization works with all lenses, Extremely solid build quality, Large, bright optical viewfinder, Good level of customization, Well-chosen direct controls, Comprehensive in-camera Raw conversion, Good buffer depth and continuous shooting rate, Dual UHS-I compatible SD slots, Lots of control over JPEG output, including three styles of sharpening, Innovative...
Cons: Disappointing JPEG color response, Rather clumsy JPEG sharpening (slightly improved by changing to 'Fine' sharpening), Many lenses don't appear to live up to camera's full autofocus potential, Video quality not up to standards implied by inclusion of mic and headphone jacks, SD-based Wi-Fi not as well integrated as its best rivals