The Pentax K-3 II aims to improve on the K-3 with better continuous autofocusing, in-body image stabilisation and never before seen features like Pixel Shift Resolution and Astrotracer. Callum McInernery-Riley investigates
When compared to the original K-3, it’s clear the K-3 II’s core credentials haven’t changed much. The real updates are the inclusion of GPS, an improved AF algorithm for continuous focusing and Pixel Shift Resolution and Astrotracer functions. Although it’s likely these features will be infrequently used, they do set the K-3 II apart. Like all multi-shot modes, Pixel Shift Resolution can only be used with static subjects but when it works, the results are brilliant. No other APS-C camera is able to deliver the same amount of detail.
However, image quality leaves a lot to be desired when you look at JPEGs straight out of the camera. The channels tend to clip on bright colours, often giving unpleasant hue shifts. Thankfully though, the raw files are very detailed and have a lot of information so allow users to process superb images.
When Ricoh released the K-S2, it added Wi-Fi, NFC connectivity and an articulated screen. It would have been nice to see these features on the K-3 II as well. Most of the K-3 II’s competition feature Wi-Fi and NFC, so it’s particularly disappointing not to see them here. The Sony Alpha 77 II and Canon EOS 70D also feature useful articulated screens. With this said, the K-3 II’s viewfinder and LCD are still very good.
The in-body stabilisation is brilliant and allows sharp results using slower shutter speeds with any lens. This is great for users with older Pentax K-mount lenses. Focusing in single and continuous is fast and, if you don’t need a large amount of AF points, it’s fantastic. For those shooting wildlife however, the Nikon and Sony options offer a lot more.
It’s obvious that the K-3 II is a camera that’s designed for the discerning photography enthusiast who knows what they’re doing and appreciates the set of features it has to offer. It’s not without faults, but it represents good value and a superb feature set that you can’t get from other manufacturers.