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24-megapixel Ricoh Pentax K3, and Pentax DA HD Limited Lenses

B&H Photo has K-3 and the HD Limited lenses, which are available for pre-order.

See Pentax reviews in DAP.

See prior notes on the Pentax K-5 IIs, predecessor to the K3.

Pentax has announced the K3, with some innovative features. But the obvious gain is in 50% more pixels and a newer-generation sensor:

K-5 IIs: 16-megapixel sensor 4928 x 3264 at 14 bits
K3: 24-megapixel sensor 6016 X 4000 at 14 bits.

A 24-megapixel sensor that is downsampled to 16 megapixels (oversampling) will generate a higher quality image all but free of digital artifacts.

There are some real innovations in the K3, including the ability to turn the anti-aliasing filter on or off. When on, the anti-shake mechanism is used to blur the image slight (that’s what a fixed anti-aliasing filter does).

To its credit Ricoh Pentax offers several alternative focusing screens, but that is old school; there is one innovation missing: no EVF and no option for an EVF. An OVF (optical viewfinder) is all well and good, but an EVF is a huge advantage and there is no defensible reason that a DSLR should lack one (and it does not preclude an OVF). The signal is already there (to the rear LCD).

Why should the advantages of an EVF (which are legion) be restricted to mirrorless cameras? Not one DSLR has bridged that gap. A DSLR could be a “better mirrorless camera”, offering the best of both worlds. DSLR vendors ought to figure out this before the mirrorless vendors eat their lunch and eye the dinner.

Shown below is the K3 Premium Silver Edition, which includes the D-BG5 Battery Grip and nicer strap. This appears to be the only way to get the silver body.

Pentax K-3 in silver with 15mm f/4 HD lens and battery grip
Pentax K-3 rear of camera
Pentax K-3 front of camera without lens

KEY FEATURES of the Ricoh Pentax K3

  • 24 megapixels in an APS-C sized CMOS sensor
  • Fastest continuous shooting at 8.3FPS
  • Selectable Anti-Aliasing Filter
  • SAFOX11 Autofocus Module
  • Real Time Scene Analysis with 86,000 pixel sensor
  • FLU, Eye-fi Wireless, and SDX Memory card compatibility
  • Professional H.264 video
  • PENTAX body-based Shake Reduction (SR)
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Pentaprism Optical Viewfinder for 100% FOV and .95
  • Fully weather sealed
  • Multi-pattern white balance
  • 100-51200 ISO
  • HDMI port
  • HDR Image Capture
  • Magnesium alloy body w stainless steel chassis
Pentax K-3 top of camera

Pentax HD lenses

See the previous discussion of Pentax HD lenses.

In terms of evaluating lens quality it makes sense to use the K3 for its 50% higher pixel count (22% higher linear resolution). None of the HD lenses have delivered yet, but even so I won’t start testing them until I can obtain the K3. I am hoping Pentax can get me one directly.

Pentax HD lenses in black or silver
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Pelican 1520NF Case without Foam (Silver)
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