Unveiled: Pentax K3 a New 24.3MP DSLR with Selectable Anti-Aliasing and a New Zoom Lens


Pentax has announced a new APS-C sized digital SLR camera with a 24.3MP CMOS sensor. The Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera takes its place atop the Pentax DSLR lineup with its high-resolution sensor, in-camera image stabilization, weatherproofing, fast professional features, and a selectable anti-aliasing filter. In addition, Pentax is offering the K-3 with SMC DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens and a K-3 Premium Silver Edition model with battery grip and strap. They have also announced the launch of the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8ED WR lens.

Most notable about the new K-3 is that it features a low-pass filter that can be turned on or off, depending on your shooting situation and post-production needs. Utilizing an anti-aliasing simulator that applies microscopic vibrations at the subpixel level, moiré and other color digital artifacts will not register on the sensor and therefore will not appear in the final image. With the filter activated, the camera provides protection against these digital artifacts and, with the filter turned off, the sensor is enabled to provide its maximum resolution and sharpest details. By providing the option to toggle between ultra-high resolution “filterless” exposures and moiré-reduction protection, the K-3 takes a large leap forward, offering what no other DSLR camera has yet to provide.

In addition to selectable anti-aliasing, the K-3 features several newly developed cutting-edge features that significantly improve on previous models. The SAFOX11 autofocus system utilizes 27 AF points including 25 cross-sensor points and three AF sensors dedicated to low-light focusing. Autofocus speeds are fast, and hunting for focus in low-light situations is drastically reduced by this autofocus module. Also, the new Real Time Scene Analysis System features an 86,000 pixel RGB light-metering sensor for accurate exposure and white balance metering.

Physically, the camera body is designed to meet the challenges of professional use, including its stainless-steel chassis, covered by a durable magnesium alloy. Ninety-two individual seals on the camera body enable use in extreme conditions, effectively making the K-3 a fully weather- and cold-proof camera, able to withstand rain, snow, fog, sand, and dirt.

Coupling the K-3’s impressive sensor with the newly developed PRIME III image processor provides sharp, low-noise imaging, with an ISO range of 80-51200 and fast performance speeds, including 8.3 fps continuous shooting speed. A maximum 1/8000-second shutter speed allows fast action capture and, thanks to a high-speed control mechanism that regulates the shutter, mirror, and diaphragm independently and a damper mechanism that effectively minimizes mirror shock, the K-3 can shoot up to 22 RAW images or 60 JPEG images at the 8.3 fps rate.

The Pentax body-based Shake Reduction system is built into the K-3 and offers compensation against camera movement, which is particularly effective in low-light situations when using slower shutter speeds or when shooting with telephoto lenses. With the shake reduction system in the camera body, you’re able to use any of the numerous Pentax K-mount lenses and reap the benefits of image stabilization.

Multi-pattern White Balance is a very helpful feature that determines WB settings based on areas within the frame. If, for example, your scene includes varying light sources or contains bright sun and shade, the camera will automatically set white balance separately in each area according to the different light source. And for better control over high-contrast scenes, improved in-camera HDR image capture features more blending options and better pixel registration for easier operation without a tripod.

The K-3 is compatible with FLU memory cards and by installing a dedicated 16GB FLU Card for Pentax, you not only have immediate wireless transfer capability, but can remotely control camera settings, utilize Live View and fire the camera’s shutter from Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets, or your computer. The K-3 is also compatible with Eye-Fi and SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. 

In addition to its still-capture proficiency, the K-3 features Full HD 1080 movie capture in the H-264 format at 60p, 50p, 30p, or 24p. For professional audio control, the camera offers an external stereo microphone jack, a headphone input, and manual sound-level adjustment during recording.

Impressive features abound on the K-3, including the 3.2” TFT Color LCD monitor with 1,037K-dot resolution and air-gap-free glass and adjustable brightness, saturation, and color. The low-profile glass pentaprism viewfinder, with interchangeable focusing screens, achieves a 100% optical field of view and 0.95x magnification in a highly compact form factor. Dual SD memory card slots allow for greater storage capacity and flexible storage options, such as using one card to store RAW images and the other for JPEG or one to hold video images and the other for stills only. A built-in electronic level now features a tilt-scale display in Live View and an HDMI port directly outputs high-definition image and sound to HDTVs. An X-Sync output for wired flash triggering is supported and a retractable pop-up flash and a hot-shoe mount for external flash are available, and both support P-TTL flash metering.

The Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera with SMC DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL DC WR Lens combines the K-3 with a versatile wide-angle-to-telephoto zoom lens. The lens provides the 35mm focal length equivalent of 27.5-207mm and features weather-resistant construction and an SP lens coating to repel dust, water, and oils. An SDM supersonic motor offers fast, smooth, and quiet autofocus and the Pentax Quick Shift system allows immediate switchover from auto to manual focus mode. An aspherical lens element controls aberrations and contributes to overall sharp, high-contrast imaging. For a lens with such a broad focal length range, it is particularly lightweight and economical in size.

Focal Length 18-135mm
Focal Length Equivalent in 35mm Format 27.5-207mm
Aperture Range f/3.5-38
Camera Mount Type Pentax K Mount
Format Compatibility Pentax Digital (APS-C)
Angle of View 76° - 11.9°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.3' (40 cm)
Magnification 0.24x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:4.16
Groups/Elements 11/13
Diaphragm Blades 7
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Filter Thread 62mm
Dimensions (DxL) 2.9 x 3.0" (7.37 x 7.62 cm)
Weight 14.3 oz (405 g)

Also released at this time is the Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera Premium Silver Edition. This is a silver camera body-only version of the K-3 is being made available in a limited run of 2,000 cameras. It offers all the same features as the black K-3, but also includes a silver battery grip for extended shooting and stable vertical handling, a wide leather Pentax camera strap and an additional battery. The Premium Silver edition, in addition to simply being a handsome camera, matches the finish of the many Pentax Silver Edition prime lenses.

Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6mm
Total Pixels 24.71MP
Effective Pixels 23.35MP
Color Depth JPEG: 8 bits/channel
RAW: 14 bits/channel
Resolution 6016 x 3000
4608 x 3072
3072 x 2048
1920 x 1280
Dust Removal DR II (ultrasonic vibration to low pass filter) with Dust Alert function
Still File Formats RAW (PEF, DNG), JPG (EXIF 2.30), DCF 2.0 compliant
Movie File Formats MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)-JPEG (AVI) for internal movie record
Lens Mount Pentax K AF2
SDM Function Yes
Power Zoom Function Yes
Focus System SAFOX 11 TTL Phase Matching
Focus Points 27 (25 cross-type center focus points)
Focus Modes AF Single (w focus lock, focus/shutter priority selectable), AF Continuous (w focus/FPS priority selectable), Manual
Metering System TTL open aperture metering using 86K pixel RGB sensor
Sensitivity Range EV -3 to 20 (ISO 100, 50mm f/1.4)
Metering Modes Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/-5 EV (1/3 and 1/2 steps)
Exposure Lock Yes
Exposure Bracketing Yes (2, 3, or 5 frames, up to +/- 2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-51200 (1, 1/2, 1/3 steps)
Auto White Balance Modes Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (D: Daylight Color, N:Daylight White, W:Cool White, L:Warm White),  Tungsten Light, Flash, CTE
Manual White Balance Yes, manual WB, Color Temperature Configuration
Shutter Type Electronically Controlled, vertical-run, focal plane shutter
Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 sec (1/3 or 1/2 EV steps), Bulb
Capture Modes Green, Hyper Program (P), Sensitivity Priority (Sv), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av)
Shutter and Aperture Priority (TAv), Metered Manual, Bulb, X-speed, USER
(3 presets)
Drive Modes Single, Continuous (H, M, L), Self-Timer (12s, 2s), Remote (0s, 3s, continuous), Exposure Bracketing,
Mirror Up, HDR Capture, (3 shots at 1EV, 2EV, 3 EV)
Multi-Exposure Composite Mode (2-2000 images), Interval (2000 shots, 2 sec. to 24 hours)
Maximum Continuous FPS 8.3 fps (60 jpeg, 23 RAW)
Self-Timer Yes, 2 sec or 12 sec.)
Remote Control Yes, infrared (0s, 3s, continuous), cable switch
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification 0.95x (w/ 50mm f/1.4 at infinity)
Standard Focusing Screen Natural-Bright-Matte III (interchangeable)
Diopter Adjustment -2.5m to 1.5m
Depth of Field Preview Optical (diaphragm stop-down), Digital
Monitor Type 3.2" TFT Color LCD
Monitor Resolution 1,037,000 dots
Wide-Angle View Yes
Live View Type TTL by CMOS image sensor
Field of View 100%
Display Modes Magnification, Grid Overlay, Histogram, Bright/Dark
Built-in Flash Type Retractable P-TTL popup flash
Guide Number 13 m (ISO 100)
Coverage 28mm wide angle (35mm equiv.)
Flash Modes Auto, On, Redeye, Slow Sync, SlowAuto, On, Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, High-speed Sync, Wireless, Manual Sync + Redeye, Trailing
Flash Exposure Compensation -2 to 1 EV (1/2 steps)
External Flash Hotshoe (P-TTL), High-speed Sync, Wireless, X-Sync Socket
Sync Speed 1/180 sec.
Storage Media SD, SDHC, SDXC, EyeFi, FLU
Interface USB 2.0, AV out, HDMI out, DC in, cable switch, 3.5mm stereo
microphone, X-Sync Socket
Video Out HD (via HDMI), PAL, NTSC
Image Stabilization Type Sensor-Shift Shake Reduction with Rotational Compensation
Electronic Level Function Yes
Power Supply D-LI90 rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
D-BG5 Battery Grip (optional)
K-AC132 AC Adapter (optional)
System Requirements Windows: Windows 8 (32 bit/64 bit) / Windows 7 (32 bit/64 bit) / Windows Vista (32 bit/64 bit), Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
Mac: Mac OS X 10.8/10.7/10.6
Construction Material Magnesium-Alloy Shell over Metal Chassis
Weather Resistant Yes (92 special sealing parts)
Operating Temperature 14-104°F (-10 to 40°C)
Dimensions 5.17 x 3.94 x 3.05" (13 x 10 x 7.8 cm)
Weight (with battery & memory) 28.2 oz (799 g)

But wait—there's more! Pentax has announced the launch of the versatile and durable HD DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8ED WR lens. Built for K-mount APS-C-sized DSLR cameras, this telephoto zoom lens provides the 35mm focal-length equivalency of 84.5-460mm, putting powerful magnification into its compact build. Two Extra-low Dispersion glass elements compensate for chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range and contribute to the lens’s overall sharp, high-contrast imaging. The Pentax Quick-Shift Focus System enables instant switch-over from auto to manual focus modes. This allows rapid manual focus precision after the subject has been initially captured in focus by the AF system. A High-grade HD multi-layer coating enables better light transmission and reduced flare and ghosting than conventional coatings. Also, an SP (Super Protect) coating on the front lens element helps to remove dust, water, and oils and, like the K-3 DSLR, weather-resistant sealing provides water- and dust-proof protection. Its metal lens mount attaches smoothly to a camera body and provides a resilient fit for dependable telephoto capture.  

Camera Mount Type: Pentax K
Format: Pentax Digital (APS-C)
Focal Length: 55-300mm
35mm Focal Length Equivalency: 84.5-460mm
Maximum Aperture: f/4-5.8
Minimum Aperture: f/22-32
Lens Construction: 12 elements/8 groups
Angle of View: 29° - 5.4° 
Maximum Magnification: 0.28x
Minimum Focus Distance: 4.6' (1.4 m)
Diaphragm Control: Fully Automatic
Diaphragm Blades 6
Autofocus: Yes
Filter Thread Diameter: 58mm
Dimensions: 2.8 x 4.4" (72 x 111.5 mm)
Weight: 16.4 oz (466 g)

To find out more about this new DSLR and lenses from Pentax, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.