Despite how much I enjoy shooting film and using older cameras there is a part of me that enjoys new technology as well. My primary DSLR up until now has been the 2009 Pentax K-7 but I’ve also been waiting for what I felt was enough of a technological advance to spur an upgrade. The release of the Pentax K-3 appeared to be the progress I had been waiting for so I pre-ordered it as soon as it was announced. Today I received the camera and have had a brief time shooting with it. One of the immediately apparent differences with the new camera over the K-7/K-5,K5II models is the method of making changes to the autofocus selections. Previously it was a 3 position switch (Manual,continuous AF,AF Single) this has been replaced with a 2 position switch between AF and Manual and the addition of a button. I can not stress enough what an improvement this is. While pressing the button and turning the front control dial you can select the type of autofocus you want to use and the rear wheel changes the parameters such as the number of focus points, from 27 to zone to spot also when set to select the indicator of focus points on the rear LCD enlarges and the menu buttons can be used to move the point around. There are more parameters to describe and it is simpler in operation than my feeble attempt to describe it conveys, but it works well and is very intuitive.
There is also a marked improvement in the focus speed and accuracy over my previous camera but I may leave that to others to quantify it as most people will want to compare it to the Pentax K-5II DSLR.
One thing I never saw mentioned and is new to me is that when zooming in playback it lets you know when you are at 100% zoom a nice touch when checking your images.
Another surprise is how much quieter the shutter is and that is despite the K-7 already being incredibly quite. I will have more to say after I’ve had more time with the camera so for now here are some of the first images I’ve taken with the Pentax K-3.
Pentax K-3 200 ISO 1/80 f3.5 (SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)
100% crop from above image.
Pentax K-3 400 ISO 1/50 f6.3 (SMC Pentax DA 18-55 AL WR)
100% crop from above image
Pentax K-3 1600 ISO 1/200 f5.6 (SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)
100 % crop from image above Lightroom Noise reduction Luimnance +24, Color +20
Pentax K-3 800 ISO 1/50 f7.1 (SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)
100 % crop from image above Lightroom Noise reduction Luimnance +24, Color +15
Pentax K-3 200 ISO 1/125 f7.1 (SMC A 70-210)
100% crop of above image.
Again my initial impression is a very positive one with all around performace improvements over the K-7 especially with higher ISO’s. In fact here is a shot at 12800 ISO with a little noise reduction in Lightroom, a full stop higher than the K-7 goes let alone performs at.