Pentax K-3 II – with Shifting Pixels

TEST: Pentax has always had a little special solutions and stopped into technology that others don’t think about. This is also the case with the new K-3 (II) utilizing the image stabilizer in an innovative way.

When Pentax K-3 came just over two years ago, it was the first camera with a simulated low-pass filter. It is still, as far as I know, no other manufacturer has come up with a similar function. Olympus launched a high definition mode that also used the image stabilization ability to move on the sensor (which Pentax K-3 also allows) to capture images with much higher resolution than the sensor actually had.

New under the hood

One of the biggest news in Pentax K-3 II is that it now uses the moving sensor to create pictures with greater detail and better color reproduction. This with a feature called Pixel-shift resolution. But more about that feature later.

The other man made in K-3 (II) which is a major upgrade from the K-3 is that you stopped in a GPS. The advantages which Ricoh brings out of having a GPS is that it so clearly can geotag their photos so that you can later see where on the planet you have taken them. The other major advantage, according to Ricoh, is that it becomes easier to photograph the stars then the camera can follow their paths in the sky so that it avoids star tracks at slow shutter speeds. The button that was previously used for unpicking the built-in Flash is now used to turn on the GPS unit. No built-in Flash are not retained in K-3 II. Maybe this is not something that so very many crying over, but a clear disadvantage is that with the Flash’s help could control other flashes. Therefore, it was sufficient to have an external Pentax Flash for that you could have an interesting light without any greater intricacies. Otherwise, no major changes occurred on the outside.

Other updates are an improved image stabilization (which has provided the opportunity for the Pixel-shift resolution function) which according to CIPA standard is now to be able to cope with 4.5 stage longer shutter speeds. The autofocus module is the same as the previous Safox 11 with 27 focus points, of which 25 are cross-shaped. But according to Ricoh, speed must be improved, and the ability to follow objects should also be improved. Uppdaterignen affects only, according to Ricoh, the last three lenses launched, DA 18-50 mm F4-5.6, D FA 150-450 mm F 4.5-5.6, and D FA * 70-200 mm F2.8.

Hearty in the mid-range

Although many of the functions and the physical is equivalent to its predecessor, so it doesn’t mean it’s bad. K-3 was a really good camera, it had many of the Pentax/Ricoh’s own solutions, and these are of course still in the K-3 II, including a pentaprism viewfinder that provides 100% coverage and is light and pleasant to shoot with.

The program knob, you can choose if you want to lock it with a key or be able to rotate freely. The dial also features several of the positions that were specific to the Pentax/Ricoh. Among other things, the green mode, which is a combination of an auto mode and shutter speed/shutter-priority AE. Very convenient if you want to be able to choose how to take photographs. There are also the usual Av, Tv, M, together with Sv (dazzles-and Aperture Priority AE with the selected ISO) and three programmable modes.

There are direct-access buttons for exposure compensation, ISO, AF mode, movie mode and light metering – the things that make the camera feels professional and focused on the more advanced photographers. Dual feed wheels are a matter of course. Through the four-way controller, you get direct access to the burst option, white balance and color setting. The latter affects only JPG images. Most settings will also be accessed by pressing the Info button. Quickly, and without having to get into the menus.

Like most of system cameras from the manufacturer so is K-3 II weather sealed. In total there are over 90-seals to ensure that dust and moisture will stay out there. Previous experience with Pentax cameras say they can tolerate right ill treatment, so there’s nothing that makes us need to doubt the K-3 II would differ from previous models.

As for the accessories to suit’s battery and battery grip also K-3 II. During the test, the camera has been put up with both rain and dirt, and did it well. I felt not even worried when I left it out in the rain at the range shooting to capture a Flash in the sky when it thundered most. So it’s definitely a camera like the adventurous can feel safe with. In view of its size, it is also easy and convenient to have in a backpack if you so wish.

Less noise, more color

Pixel-shift resolution is thus one of the major new features in the camera. A technology developed based on the idea that one should be able to take advantage of the fact that one can move the sensor, more., in theory, do it so that the camera takes four shots in a row and after each exposure, move the sensor to a pixel. This means that when all four photos were taken, and the images are merged so you get an image where each pixel has the color information from three different color receptors on the sensor. One red, one blue, and two times from the green. It gives a lower color noise and a better color management, which is not just talk, but during our test, so it turned out that it gave lower noise and better colors.

The downside is so clear that it only works on subjects that are relatively still and the camera must of course be on a tripod or equivalent. The images are taken with an electronic shutter to reduce the risk of the mechanical shutter must create vibrations that blurs the image. It shows a bit of the importance of motive also remains still. As long as the light is pretty though, it takes a relatively short time for the camera to take the four images, a few seconds or so.

Smart format

Sometime right long ago thought Adobe» wouldn’t it be smart about all used the same raw formats? «» Said and done so they knåpade together a custom format, DNG, and thought that this might all camera manufacturers run with so you do not need to wait for the upgrades of the software as soon as you buy a new camera. Hardly anyone was listening. Pentax was, however, one of those who actually took to DNG and use it in their cameras. In K-3 II can thus choose whether you want to save the images in JPG, PEF (Pentax proprietary RAW formats) or DNG. The big advantage of DNG is that it does not matter if you are sitting on the Photoshop CS2 or have the latest update installed. Your raw files will open itself equally well. It’s something that I think several camera manufacturers should focus on. Instead forced many buyers to update its image editing software to manage the files from their new camera.

Image quality

Since the K-3 II is largely based on its predecessor, the K-3 in many vital elements, it should not come as a shock that the image quality is very similar. Both in terms of high ISO-sensitivities or dynamic range.What does it mean? Well, the picture quality is really good. Previously it was on par with the Nikon and Sony counterparts that used a similar sensor. Nikon’s latest models, however, have gone a little bit in advance with their image quality, but it is about the very small differences. Nikon now lets his D7200 go up to ISO 102 400 which is higher than the Pentax (which always gone up higher than the Nikon counterpart earlier). But Nikon has only black and white images from 51 200 and 102 400 so if you want to have color pictures of 51 200 is still Pentax. As film is the image quality slightly worse in K-3 II than in for example Nikon D7200.

The new solution with sensor movement for better color reproduction is also really good. But it requires, of course, a subject that is still, and that you have the camera on the tripod. But it is fun to see how creative you can be with new technology that actually works well.


Overall, K-3 (II) a really nice camera. The updates that have been made are mainly GPS and the new image stabilizer technology, the update to the autofocus will be seen as a minor improvement. Is it not totally sold on any of these gadgets, yes then you can actually watch the previous model K-3 which is really good. And most likely you can find it at a good price now that the Deputy come out. Pleasing for users of Pentax system is that it promised a full shape tare later in the year, a promise that might make potential buyers of K-3 II keeps a bit of themselves in anticipation of the new. A full shape tare will of course become more expensive and is K-3 II within the budget expected so there is nothing to prevent one from being hit.