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.
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.
Summary: What's the best way to describe the Pentax K-3 ? Well, it's an advanced DSLR with a robust feature set that delivers impressive image quality without making any sacrifices in terms of performance or overall speed. All this is packaged in a relatively-compact, well-built body with full weather-sealing, a user-friendly interface, and exceptional ergonomics.
Pros: Exceptional detail at low ISOs, High-resolution 24-megapixel sensor, Accurate metering and white balance, Fantastic auto white balance performance in artificial light, Innovative and effective AA filter simulator, In-camera moire removal, In-camera HDR with RAW support, Sensor-shift shake reduction stabilizes all lenses, Fantastic main grip makes the camera easy to hold, Excellent build quality, Relatively compact body, Fully weather-sealed design, Friendly, face-lift...
Cons: Certain menu screens have become overly-complex, Camera locks up for a prolonged period while writing RAW files, Phase detect autofocus area unchanged, Viewfinder AF tracking speed not significantly improved over the K-5 IIs, Poor video autofocus, Video recording freezes briefly while zooming/changing aperture, Not possible to start video recording from stills live view, Not possible to capture stills in video mode, No focus peaking during video recording, Not possibl...
Summary: The modern DSLR is a 21st century toy, flinging pictures around your home via Wi-Fi, hooking up to smartphone apps and shooting camcorder-smashing full HD video. Not so the Pentax K-3. Like a well-heeled butler standing by with a jar of pomade, it’s a throwback to a bygone age when all cameras did was take pictures. There’s no Wi-Fi, no touch control, no continuous autofocus in video. Not even a flip-out screen – and everything has one of those these days.
Conclusion: Pentax’s years of experience shine through in the K-3's well thought-out construction, which puts all of your most commonly used controls in convenient, easy to find locations. The innovation and user choice behind features such as advanced anti-moire and simple things such as a mode dial lock make this a camera that's looking to please everyone. And please it does, as using the K-3 is a bit of a treat.
Pros: Price, rugged build quality, controls and menus are very well thought-out, stills performance is excellent
Cons: Grain at middling sensitivities, noise on video soundtrack caused by lens mechanics, smaller lens arsenal than competition
Summary: In the current marketplace, where sales of DSLR cameras are declining, the K-3 provides a welcome combination of innovative technology, excellent performance and a competitive price tag. Photographers looking for a new camera body on which to base a system should start their search with this camera. Although lacking the depth of lens choices provided by market leaders Canon and Nikon, Pentax has assembled a lens line-up that caters well for most shooting situations.
Excerpt: The Ricoh takeover of Pentax now seems to have firmly bedded in, with a whole new range of revamped HD Limited lenses and, leading the pack, the latest flagship DSLR, the K-3. With a breath-taking array of features on offer, we now look more closely to see if the K-3 delivers the goods, and indeed whether it throws down the gauntlet to the brand leaders and offers some serious competition.
Pros: Superb clarity in image quality with 24MP sensor, Rugged weather sealed construction with 92 seals, Flucard and Eye-Fi card compatibility, Shutter rated to 200,000 exposures, Some unique prime lenses in range, AA Filter Simulator, Glass pentaprism viewfinder with 95% magnification, Backwards lens compatibility, In body shake reduction, Low light AF to -3EV, Wide selection of built in effects and filters, DNG or PEF RAW format, 8.3fps frame rate
Cons: Lack of long zoom lenses, Current lack of lens support from some third party manufacturers