Pentax announces the K-3 Mark III, an APS-C reflex equipped like a pro camera

We are used to the launches of hybrid cameras in recent years, we almost forget that manufacturers also renew their ranges of SLRs (at least from time to time). For Pentax, which announces today its K-3 Mark III, it is even more logical than for Canon and Nikon, since the Japanese brand has given up on hybrids after having broken its teeth.

The technical sheet of the K-3 Mark III has something to please “pentaxists”: it is not a simple modification of the sensor, but an in-depth review of electronics and mechanics. . The reflex indeed benefits from a brand new viewfinder with the best magnification ever seen on an APS-C camera (x1.05!). And the pentaprism, 10% brighter than the previous version, now has a transparent screen to display more information. As for the mechanical shutter, it runs at 12 frames per second (11 fps in continuous AF) and goes up to 1/8000e. Another notable improvement, the mechanical stabilization of the sensor, exclusive to Pentax in the world of SLRs, goes up to 5.5 speeds.

On the electronic side, everything is new: sensor, processor, AF module and LCD screen. On the imaging side, the 25.7 Mpix APS-C sensor uses BSI technology (backlit). And still without a low-pass filter, with a filter simulation system for situations where it is necessary (scenes with repetitive patterns, shooting modes / clothes, etc.). Still still present, the high resolution mode (Pixel Shift Resolution, explained in detail here) which quickly moves the sensor and captures 4 images of a static scene (tripod required) to improve image precision (sharpness) as well as color rendering. The sensor is announced to push up to 1.6 million ISO in extended mode, but knowing the brand, we must expect a “clean” threshold rather around 25,600 ISO, or even a little more.

This will depend not only on the sensor, but also on the brand new PRIME V image processor (5 for those who don’t like Roman numerals). A chip that takes advantage of a new “accelerator” – a second daughter chip – which notably reduces digital noise without (too much) altering the details. The chip can therefore digest up to 12 fps in AF-S mode and should, we hope, be faster than its ancestors in terms of image processing, especially in use. Pixel Shift Resolution

– the combination of the four images is done internally and so far took about ten seconds.

We have no information about the amount of buffer memory, and therefore the maximum number of burst images. A burst that Pentax promises to be more precise in terms of AF with the new SAFOX module which uses 101 AF points including 25 crosshairs. We are a long way from the AF coverage of some hybrids, but for the SLR it looks pretty good.

The latest electronic improvement is the new 3.2-inch LCD screen displaying 1.6 million dots (900 x 600 pix). In addition to this excellent definition, it is the first touch screen for Pentax SLRs. We can’t wait to take a look and see if the menu navigation is effective in touch. Pentax being Pentax, in addition to the horde of seals dotting a magnesium alloy cage (the brand is a little champion of tropicalization), even the LCD panel has been reinforced with anti-scratch tempered glass.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or even 4K24p / 30p video are part of the game, even if we ignore the possible cropping of the different video modes. If video is a plus in an SLR, videographers will look elsewhere than at Pentax anyway. And the Pentaxists are generally a caste of somewhat adventurous photographers for whom the photo and the resistance of the camera take precedence.

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The Pentax K-3 Mark III will be available from the end of April at € 1999 naked body. Yes, the price is high for APS-C but in addition to the “pro” aspect of all the equipment, the collapse in volumes imposes prices on the rise.

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