Pentax K-3 II vs K-70
The Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2015 and June 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The K-3 II has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the K-70 provides 24 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 Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-70? 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 Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-70. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-70 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Pentax K-3 II. Moreover, the K-70 is markedly lighter (14 percent) than the K-3 II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|2.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999|
|6.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|8.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|9.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|10.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The K-70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 41 percent) than the K-3 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the K-3 II offers a slightly higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the K-70. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the K-3 II has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 3.91μm for the K-70). Moreover, it should be noted that the K-70 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the K-3 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The K-70 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Both cameras have the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting the sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Pentax K-3 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-70 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The K-3 II and the K-70 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.63x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Pentax K-3 II and Pentax K-70 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|2.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|6.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-S1||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the K-3 II, but is missing on the K-70 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The K-70 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the K-3 II does not have a selfie-screen.
The Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-70 both have 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the K-3 II and the K-70 write their files to SDXC cards. The K-3 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the K-70 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Pentax K-3 II and Pentax K-70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Pentax K-S1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-3 II has a headphone jack, which is not present on the K-70 This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-3 II (unlike the K-70) 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.
The K-70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the K-3 II has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-3 II was succeeded by the Pentax K-3 III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Pentax K-3 II better than the Pentax K-70 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Pentax K-3 II:
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/6000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.3 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (720 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-70:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (126x93mm vs 131x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 112g or 14 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-3 II emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-70 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-3 II or the K-70. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|2.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2021||1,999|
|6.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|8.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|9.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|10.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 760D vs Pentax K-3 II
- Canon G1 X vs Pentax K-3 II
- Canon M100 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Canon T3 vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Olympus E-3 vs Pentax K-70
- Olympus E-500 vs Pentax K-70
- Olympus E-P2 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Panasonic GH5 vs Pentax K-70
- Pentax K-3 II vs Sony HX350
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony H400
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony RX100 IV
Specifications: Pentax K-3 II vs Pentax K-70
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||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||June 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.56 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME III||PRIME MII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1106||..|
|Screen Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8.3 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-70|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||720 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
131 x 100 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
126 x 93 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||800 g (28.2 oz)||688 g (24.3 oz)|
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