Pentax K-3 II versus Sony A6300
The Pentax K-3 II and the Sony Alpha A6300 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2015 and February 2016. The K-3 II is a DSLR, while the A6300 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 24.1 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-3 II and the Sony A6300 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the K-3 II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6300 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Pentax K-3 II. Moreover, the A6300 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the K-3 II. Cameras that are intended for semi-professional or professional use are sometimes a bit bulkier in order to provide them with the necessary ruggedness. 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Pentax K-3 II (⇒ rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||720||YES||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft)||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||YES||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||YES||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Nikon D7200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||YES||2015||1,199||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.3 in||3.6 in||2.6 in||20.2 oz||440||YES||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||2.8 in||1.5 in||15.1 oz||330||no||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||YES||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.1 in||2.5 in||17.2 oz||330||YES||2015||1,199||latest||check|
|Pentax K-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||YES||2013||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||YES||2016||1,399||latest||check|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||YES||2015||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||no||2014||599||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A6300 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the K-3 II at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 higher resolution of 24.1 megapixel, compared with 24 MP of the A6300. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0 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 3.91μm versus 3.92μm for the A6300). However, it should be noted that the A6300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) 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 the K-3 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6300 has a markedly higher DXO score than the K-3 II (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Pentax K-3 II (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79|
|Nikon D7200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Pentax K-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.7||13.4||1216||80|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||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, but the A6300 provides a better video resolution than the K-3 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6300 has an electronic viewfinder (2300k dots), while the K-3 II has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-3 II and Sony A6300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Pentax K-3 II (⇒ rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1037||fixed||no||8000||8.3||no||YES|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||7.0||12||no|
|Nikon D7200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1229||fixed||no||8000||6.0||12||no|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||18.0||no||YES|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Pentax K-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1037||fixed||no||8000||8.3||13||YES|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||11.0||6||YES|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||YES||3.0||1229||tilting||no||3200||14.0||10.2||no|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||no|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
The K-3 II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A6300 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6300 was succeeded by the Sony A6500.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Pentax K-3 II or the Sony A6300 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-3 II:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Has 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 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (720 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6300:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 8.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 131x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 396g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6300 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 9 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-3 II or the A6300. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Pentax K-3 II (⇒ rgt)||-||-||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft)||Rec||85/100 Gold||5/5||5/5||5/5||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||84/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Nikon D7200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||84/100 Silver||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||1,199||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M5 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||81/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2015||1,099||latest||check|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2015||1,199||latest||check|
|Pentax K-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||83/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2013||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,399||latest||check|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2015||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||80/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||599||discont.||check|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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