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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.

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Is the Pentax K-3 III a good camera? The K-3 III has a Camera Elo of 2923. 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.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-3 III
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
25.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 100 - 160 000
Optical viewfinder
3.2 LCD, 1620k dots
Fixed touchscreen
12 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
800 shots per battery charge
135 x 104 x 74 mm, 820 g


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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.

Pentax K-3 III vs credit card front
K-3 III versus credit card top view
K-3 III and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-3 III alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-3 III 135 mm 104 mm 74 mm 820 g 800 Y Mar 2021 1,999 i
2.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 135 mm 93 mm 64 mm 607 g 500 Y Feb 2020 1,699 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X-H1 140 mm 97 mm 86 mm 673 g 310 Y Feb 2018 1,899 i
4.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
5.
 
Panasonic S5 133 mm 98 mm 82 mm 714 g 440 Y Sep 2020 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
7.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
9.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
10.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
Notes: 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.

Pentax K-3 III:
Check Amazon price

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.

Pentax K-3 III sensor measures

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 comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Pentax K-3 III APS-C 25.6 6192 41284K/30p........
2.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/60p........
3.
 
Fujifilm X-H1 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p........
4.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p........
5.
 
Panasonic S5 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p........
6.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
7.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
8.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
9.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
10.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
2.
 
Fujifilm X-T43690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 15.0 n Y
3.
 
Fujifilm X-H13690 Y 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
4.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
5.
 
Panasonic S52360 n 3.0 1840 full-flex Y 1/8000s 7.0 n Y
6.
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-70optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
10.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

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.

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Connection comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Fujifilm X-T4YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Fujifilm X-H1YstereomonoY-micro3.0Y--
4.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
5.
 
Panasonic S5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--
7.
 
Pentax K-70YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
8.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0---

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.

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Expert reviews

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], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-3 III.......... Mar 2021 1,999 i
2.
 
Fujifilm X-T45/5+ +..5/55/5 Feb 2020 1,699 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X-H1..+86/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2018 1,899 i
4.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
5.
 
Panasonic S54.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2020 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax KP4/5..82/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
7.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
9.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
10.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5..80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
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.

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?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI90 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

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.

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    Specifications Summary
    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 Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.3 x 15.5 mm
    Sensor Area 361 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 1620k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    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
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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