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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Pentax K-3 II

Pros:

  • + In-body image stabilisation
  • + Quick autofocusing system
  • + Pixel Shift Resolution feature
  • + Unique astrotracer feature for astrophotography

Cons:

  • - No touch/Articulation to LCD screen
  • - No Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity
  • - Only 27 autofocusing points

Product:

Pentax K-3 II Review

Manufacturer:

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Image Quality

Pentax-K-3-II-sample-image-22

The K-3 produces great-looking images and is a pleasure to shoot with

Featuring a Sony-made 24.35-million-pixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor – likely to be the same as in the Nikon D7200 and Sony Alpha 77 II – the Pentax K-3 II image quality is very good. There are issues with the JPEG processing not rendering the finer detail of an image, but raw files have an excellent amount of detail present. It’s also quite remarkable how much detail the Pixel Shift Resolution mode can resolve, although it’s limited to static subjects.

Dynamic range is great, as we would expect, and it retains a good dynamic range throughout the ISO sensitivity range, giving plenty of detail in the highlight and shadows. I found shooting up to ISO 800 gave very good results, and luminance noise isn’t noticeable until ISO 1,600. Overall, raw image quality is up there with the best APS-C cameras available, but JPEG images don’t quite match up.

 

Resolution

With the anti-aliasing simulator switched off and shooting at the minimum ISO sensitivity of 100, a score of 3,300l/ph is gained from our resolution chart. This is a very impressive score for this type of sensor and it holds up well as the sensitivity is raised, with 3,100l/ph at ISO 6,400. However, while in Pixel Shift Resolution mode at ISO 100, an excellent total of 3,800l/ph is resolved. All the images were taken with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM macro lens at f/5.6.

Below are 100% crops from our resolution test chart shots. Multiply the numbers below the lines by 200 to give the resolution in lines/picture height (l/ph).

Native 24MP mode (AA simulator off)

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Pentax K-3 II resolution (native) ISO 100

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_Native_1600

Pentax K-3 II resolution (native) ISO 1600

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_Native_51200

Pentax K-3 II resolution (native) ISO 51,200

 

Anti-aliasing mode 1

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Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 1) ISO 100

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_AA_type_1_1600

Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 1) ISO 1600

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_AA_type_1_51200

Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 1) ISO 51,200

Anti-aliasing mode 2

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_AA_-type_2_100

Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 2) ISO 100

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_AA_-type_2_1600

Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 2) ISO 1600

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_AA_-type_2_51200

Pentax K-3 II resolution (anti-aliasing mode 1) ISO 51,200

 

Pixel-shift resolution mode

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_pixel_shift_100

Pentax K-3 II resolution (pixel-shift resolution mode) ISO 100

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_pixel_shift_1600

Pentax K-3 II resolution (pixel-shift resolution mode) ISO 1600

Pentax_K3-II_res_105_pixel_shift_51200

Pentax K-3 II resolution (pixel-shift resolution mode) ISO 51,200

 

  1. 1. Pentax K-3 II Review – Features
  2. 2. Build and Handling
  3. 3. LCD/Viewfinder
  4. 4. Autofocus
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. White Balance and Colour
  7. 7. Pixel Shift Resolution System
  8. 8. Image Quality
  9. 9. Dynamic Range
  10. 10. Noise
  11. 11. Verdict
  12. 12. Full Specification
Page 8 of 12 - Show Full List
  • Mike Ward-Sale

    I have two K 3 ll bodies and grips – They seem to do what it says on the tin – no probs so far. Although the near silence of operation is a bit eerie . . . . .

  • eenymac

    I’d agree with that, on some levels. I used the K5IIs for over a year until an unfortunate accident wrote it off. Replaced it with a K3 which, although very good and a step up in some capabilities, just doesn’t have the overall image sharpness I got with the K5IIs. I keep thinking I might look for a used K5IIs at some point, even though I have since upgraded to the K3II.

  • Michał Świtnicki

    do you mean the sensor? then yup – pretty much. but other features matter too. cheers.

  • Until now there’s no Pentax camera that can beat the K5IIs and i’ve worked with all. Waiting for a FF or maybe we have to wait more 10 years.