Pentax K-3 II Brief Review



  • 24 effective megapixels APS-C sized CMOS sensor
  • Continuous shooting at 8.3 fps
  • Sensor-shift shake reduction up to 4.5 stops
  • Eye-fi Wireless and SDX Memory card compatibility
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • 3.2” LCD screen
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/8000
  • Maximum ISO 51200
  • Fully weather sealed (not submersible)
  • 80-51200 ISO
  • Pixel Shift Resolution mode for higher resolution still life images
  • HDMI port
  • HDR Image Capture
  • Magnesium alloy body with stainless steel chassis
  • RAW
  • Manual modes
  • GPS
  • 1080p HD video
  • Li-Ion Battery rated at 720 shots
  • Weighs 28.2 oz.
  • Release Date: 2015-04-22
  • Final Grade: 96 4.8 Star Rating: Recommended

Pentax K-3 II offers solid performance in weather-sealed DSLR
Pentax is upping their game with a few tweaks to their top APS-C DSLR.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 2/29/2016

While Nikon and Canon are the most popular DSLR manufacturers, Ricoh/Pentax shouldn't be overlooked--they're continuing to prove their worth with the introduction of the Pentax K-3 II, a high-end APS-C DSLR that offers improved autofocus speed and Pixel Shift Resolution for still life images.

One of the biggest perks to choosing a Pentax DSLR is the weather-sealing. The K-3 II can't go diving without extra housing, but it won't have any problems in the rain and can also handle dust, sand and cold better than a non-sealed option. Factor in the magnesium alloy construction and the K-3 II is a pretty sturdy shooter. Since it's the flagship for Pentax's APS-C DSLRs, it also features dual control wheels, two memory card slots and a secondary screen at the top.

The original K-3 piqued our interest with an anti-alliasing filter that can be turned on and off, the K-3 II appears to have just eliminated the filter entirely to achieve the enhanced detail. The K-3 II has the same resolution, but it also adds what Pentax is calling Pixel Shift Resolution. In simple terms, this mode combines four separate images into one to achieve a higher resolution than a single image. It can't be used with moving subjects (which also means it requires a tripod), but looks like it could be beneficial in product photography, for example.

The Pentax K-3 II also adds sensor shift image stabilization, with this system, Pentax says camera shake is held off for up to 4.5 more stops than before. The 27-point autofocus system is now faster in this model as well. GPS, gyro sensor panning detection and automatic horizon correction are also new additions.

While there's a handful of new features, the K-3 II is building on what was already a pretty solid set of features. Images can be captured in a 8.3 fps burst mode, that with the faster autofocus will be good for shooting sports and other action. The top shutter speed of 1/8000 and top ISO of 51200 is excellent as well.

Pentax is a bit quirkier than other brands, but that weather-sealing plus a still solid set of features makes this a tempting choice. The Canon EOS Rebel T6s is currently about $200 cheaper, but has a slower shutter speed and burst mode, and doesn't have the weather sealing. The Nikon D7200 is closer in price and speed and offers more autofocus points, as well as weather sealing.

The Pentax K-3 II's weather-sealing is going to be a big perk for shooting wildlife and other outdoor subjects, and the new pixel shift resolution makes it a good option for product photography too.

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Add Comment
  • Hpkigrix normal
    Victor Gladkikh

    But D7200 has weather sealing.

    Reply over 3 years ago
    • Thumb 45 ai hillary
      Hillary Grigonis

      Thanks for the correction! We've fixed the error.

      Reply over 3 years ago

Pentax/Ricoh Reviews

Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.

The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.

Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.

Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.

Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.