Pentax K-3 first impressions


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.




12 Responses to “Pentax K-3 first impressions”

  • Duncan Says:

    Sweet. Nice upgrade

  • Jack Simpson Says:

    Cracking pics, Wallace 🙂 Love the 35/2.8 macro shot 🙂 and the shot of the house roof, was that done with the A-70-200/4 lens … that, if you tilted the lens, even a fraction, it would zoom down or up like a rocket? Cool and did ya pick it up at Reids?



  • Wallace Says:

    That’s the lens with its auto zoom feature. And yes I purchased my camera from Reids.

  • Paul VG Says:

    Wow very impressive! Really liking the colour rendering and dynamic range of the K-3 in your pics. The extra resolution of the 24 mp sensor is clearly evident as well. Like you Wallace I’ve been waiting for a worthy upgrade to my K-5. Have been eagerly awaiting user reviews. I was actually leaning towards the Fuji X-Pro1 and the superb Fujinon lens lineup but your pics are telling me to wait and see how the K-3 fairs in upcoming reviews and user experiences.

    Thanks for posting this.


  • Wallace Says:

    No problem Paul thank you for the comment, I’m sure I will have more to say soon.

  • Scarlet Black Says:

    Great pictures! I especially like the old house with the crow. Great mood and tonal range and a good subject for a Halloween day post.

  • Nikhil Ramkarran Says:

    On a totally superficial note, this line of DSLRs are the best looking on the market 🙂

  • Wallace Says:

    Thank you Scarlet Black

  • Wallace Says:

    I agree Nikhil and the feel has even improved

  • Darris Says:

    A fine art photographer friend told me he’s seriously looking at this camera. He shoots a Lecia M9 (I believe) and has amazing Lecia glass. How is the quality of Pentax lenses? Your shots are a fabulous example of what this camera can do. Thank you!

  • Wallace Says:

    Thank you Darris I think Pentax is like the other camera companies as far as lenses go you get what you pay for. The DFA 100 macro WR though is a fantastic lens and with the rounded aperture blades the bokeh looks good even stopped down. The DA 35mm macro is like a little jewel but still delivers. The biggest plus for me with Pentax is the weather sealing I often shoot out in the rain.

  • Darris Says:

    I live at the beach and hike nearly every day in wind, rain, ocean air . . . so good to hear this camera is weather-sealed, a must for me as well. Thank you Wallace.

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