Pentax K-3 III Comparison Review
The Pentax K-3 III is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in March 2021 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 25.6 megapixel.
Is the Pentax K-3 III a good camera? The K-3 III has a Camera Elo of 2910. This rating puts the K-3 III among the top 10 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-3 III also ranks among the top 10 percent.
|Pentax K-3 III|
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses|
|25.6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 160 000|
|3.2 LCD, 1620k dots|
|12 shutter flaps per second|
|800 shots per battery charge|
|135 x 104 x 74 mm, 820 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Pentax K-3 III vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-3 III alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|2.||Fujifilm X-H1||140 mm||97 mm||86 mm||673 g||310||Y||Feb 2018||1,899||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Panasonic GH6||138 mm||100 mm||100 mm||823 g||360||Y||Feb 2022||2,199||amazon.com|
|7.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|8.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|9.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-3 III was launched in the US market at a price of $1,999. 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.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Pentax K-3 III features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-3 III among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.
|1.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||24.2||13.7||2083||85|
|3.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2877||95|
|4.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|5.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|6.||Panasonic GH6||Four Thirds||25.0||5776||4336||5.7K/60p||23.4||13.4||1555||77|
|7.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.1||14.5||2697||94|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|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 III indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-3 III can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the K-3 III has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.70x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Pentax K-3 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|2.||Fujifilm X-H1||3690||Y||3.0 / 1040||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Nikon D780||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|5.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|6.||Panasonic GH6||3680||n||3.0 / 1840||swivel||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|7.||Panasonic S5||2360||n||3.0 / 1840||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||n||Y|
|8.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One useful feature of the K-3 III is a presence of 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.
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 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Fujifilm X-H1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D780||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Panasonic GH6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Panasonic S5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-3 III has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
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 III. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Pentax K-3 III||4/5||..||3/5||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|2.||Fujifilm X-H1||..||+||5/5||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||1,899||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||5/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Panasonic GH6||5/5||+ +||5/5||87/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2022||2,199||amazon.com|
|7.||Panasonic S5||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||88/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|8.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|9.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Pentax K-3 III FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-3 III.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the K-3 III?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Pentax equipped the K-3 III with the PRIME V image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-3 III?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 160000.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-3 III?
Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 200 000 actuations for the K-3 III. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the K-3 III over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my K-3 III?
Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-3 III has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Pentax K-3 III has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax K-3 III?
The K-3 III offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Pentax K-3 III feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The K-3 III's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.
Does the Pentax K-3 III support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s) in its first slot, and UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s) in its second slot.
Which battery does the K-3 III use?
Is there a vertical grip available for the K-3 III?
Yes, Pentax offers the D-BG8 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Does the Pentax K-3 III support geotagging?
The K-3 III has a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) module and can embed location information in the EXIF data of the captured image.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Pentax K-3 III
- Canon R10 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Canon R5 C vs Pentax K-3 III
- Canon T7 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Pentax K-3 III
- Fujifilm X-T100 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Panasonic FZ82 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Panasonic ZS80 vs Pentax K-3 III
- Pentax K-3 III vs Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-3 III vs Pentax K-S2
- Pentax K-3 III vs Sony HX99
|Camera Model||Pentax K-3 III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2021|
|Launch Price||USD 1 999|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.3 x 15.5 mm|
|Sensor Area||361 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||25.6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6 192 x 4 128 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 160 000 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME V|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||Single UHS-II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI90 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge|
135 x 104 x 74 mm
(5.3 x 4.1 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||820 g (28.9 oz)|
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