Nikon D100 vs Pentax K-3 II
The Nikon D100 and the Pentax K-3 II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and April 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Pentax K-3 II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Pentax K-3 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The K-3 II can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D100 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-3 II is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Nikon D100. However, the K-3 II is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the D100. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-3 II is splash and dust-proof, while the D100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the K-3 II can take 720 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The K-3 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 45 percent) than the D100, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the K-3 II is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the K-3 II offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the K-3 II is much more recent (by 13 years and 2 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the K-3 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-3 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-3 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inches or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inches or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inches or 50.9 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the D100, the K-3 II has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-3 II are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the D100 is build around a CCD sensor, while the K-3 II uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|14.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||24.2||13.7||2083||85|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The K-3 II indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the K-3 II can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D100 and the K-3 II are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the K-3 II offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the K-3 II has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D100, the Pentax K-3 II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D100 has one, while the K-3 II does not. While the built-in flash of the D100 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax K-3 II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the K-3 II uses SDXC cards. The K-3 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D100 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D100 and Pentax K-3 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D100||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-3 II (unlike the D100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the K-3 II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the D100 and the K-3 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the K-3 II was followed by the Pentax K-3 III. Further information on the features and operation of the D100 and K-3 II can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D100 Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax K-3 II Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Pentax K-3 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D100:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-3 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.53x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 118k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.3 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x100mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (720 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 1.1).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-3 II is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Pentax K-3 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D100 or the K-3 II perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D100||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-3 III||4/5||..||3/5||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 350D vs Pentax K-3 II
- Canon 50D vs Nikon D100
- Fujifilm X-E4 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Fujifilm X-H2S vs Nikon D100
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Pentax K-3 II
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Nikon D100
- Nikon D100 vs Nikon D810
- Nikon D100 vs Panasonic FZ1000
- Nikon D100 vs Sony A6100
- Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Nikon D800E vs Pentax K-3 II
- Panasonic FZ80 vs Pentax K-3 II
Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Pentax K-3 II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||24.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||6016 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||3.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||6.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 800 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1106|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D100||Pentax K-3 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||720 shots per charge|
144 x 116 x 81 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
131 x 100 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||780 g (27.5 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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