Eric L. Woods

So… That Pentax K-3 III. Very nice, but one issue. And it is not the DSLR part.

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I like Pentax. I mean, I really like Pentax.

Pentax

In the interest of full disclosure I do not still have all of these cameras. Some have left via trade or gift so half this with only one digital body remaining. As I have pointed out in earlier blog posts my Pentax allegiance is both sentimental and practical in nature.

While neither are pictured above I have had both the K-3 and K-3 II.

Pentax K-3ii
Small Town Parade
Small Town Parade
Friday Night Lights
UNC Healthcare Multicultural Festival
Friday Night Lights
Tower

Great cameras. So I was actually very intrigued when the Pentax K-3 III was announced. I was not expecting a mirrorless camera. Pentax themselves already stated that they would be sticking with DSLRs and for them that actually makes sense. Let us not forget that Pentax has already technically taken the most literal approach to mirrorless ever with the K-01. Not to be confused with the K-1 that came later the K-01 was an APS-C, K mount camera that came out in 2012 or so where they gave it a funky design and literally just removed the mirror… and did not provide an EVF to replace the OVF. (I do realize there was also the smaller sensor mirrorless Q series, but that was not long lived and would be of no help in today’s market with it’s 5.6x crop factor.) Having the same flange distance as their DSLRs it was not able to capitalize on the one early touted mirrorless advantage. Smaller size. It did not go well and I am glad that Pentax decided to move ahead with another DSLR rather than go the K-01 route. And trying to play full frame mirrorless catch up at this point would seem to be a futile cash burning exercise doomed to failure. Shy of possibly joining the L Mount alliance I do not see how that could work out for them. Pentax usually does not play well with others…

Sidebar: Wait, wait, wait. What if Pentax released an L Mount full frame mirrorless body that kept all of its Pentax-iness design and build wise with a fully or partially articulating screen and all of the K-3 III stills and video AF mods while also providing a Pentax K to L mount AF adapter with screw drive so you could continue using all of the existing K mount full frame glass? Reuse the K-1’s wonderful 36MP sensor while we were at it. Throw in some odd 82.3mm or 49.7mm focal length Pentax branded L mount lenses while we are at it. In such an alternate universe where such a thing would exist that would be a “Shut up and take my money!” camera for me if priced right. I am thinking around $1,700 for a body and adapter kit. All of the parts and tech are already there. Just Frankenstien this thing into existence. Thus concludes this installment of my imaginary gear fever dream series.

Anyhoo. Back to the task at hand.

The K-3 III.

I will start with what I like followed by things I am not as crazy about and lastly my personal issue with it.

Pluses

  • It exists. I am genuinely glad that Pentax chose to put another camera body out. Who knows what the future holds but I would be more likely to pick up another Pentax body since it seems like they will keep the lights on for a while rather than unceremoniously ditching their customers like Samsung did.
  • The specs are very impressive. Rather than a warmed over earlier model camera with few new features like one could argue (<ahem> me. I am that one.) both the K-3 II and K-1 II were the K-3 III offers true, tangible benefits like AF accuracy and speed gains for stills and 4K for video.
  • Long running Pentax features like great IQ and in body image stabilization and other perks that brings. I could go on here, but dpreview said it all in their review. After an opening joke they did a great job of presenting the K-3 III rather than taking pot shots or ignoring Pentax like many seem prone to do.
  • Improved menus with touch screen.
  • One of the best OVFs on the market.
  • Great build, weather proofing, ergonomics, customizability, so on and so forth.

Minuses

  • No articulating back screen. The K-3 and K-3 II bodies I had did not have articulating screens and after being spoiled by other Pentax bodies that is the one reason why I have not gone back and purchased another of either body. As much as I really liked those cameras I have a hard time plunking down hard cash on a non-articulating screen premium camera.
  • Yeah. That is about it. While I own mirrorless I am perfectly ok with DSLRs in general and this DSLR specifically screen aside.

My Issue

The cameras I alluded to in the first minuses bullet about articulating screens exist.

Pentax K-70 w. Pentax DA 18-135mm WR
Steps
Pentax K-70
Life
Pentax K-70
Pentax K-70
Pentax K-70
Small Town NC
Vivitar 200mm f/3.5
Pentax K-70
Pentax K-70

Then there is the Pentax big kahuna.

Pentax 77mm Blog Post Shots
  • Pentax K-1.
    • Like the K-70 4K is not on the menu. But you do not buy a K-1 for video. Or any Pentax if video is your primary aim I reckon. For my purposes it’ll do.
    • Has the most wonderfully overdone back screen articulation that only Pentax would have come up with. While not swing around it does do the trick for high angle and low angle shots.
    • Other than that this is the mother of all Pentax cameras.
      • 50% more MP.
      • GPS built in.
      • And (drumroll please) full-frame! This is a huge advantage especially where low light performance and adapting older K Mount full frame glass are concerned.
    • On top of all that as of the writing of this post the K-1 II costs $200 less new. And you could pay nearly half if you purchased a K-1 I have used.
Black and White
Pentax K-1
Pentax 50mm f/1.7
UNC
Life
Veteran's Day Parade 2016
Friday Night Lights
Punch Buggy
Zun Lee at WSSU Digg's Gallery
Small Town NC
Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 Screw Mount
Helios 44-2 58mm f/2
Pentax 77mm f/1.8 Test Shots for Blog
Mitakon 85mm f/2.0
Pentax K-1

Similar to Sony with their A7III and Canon with the EOS RP the biggest competition for their latest models comes from perfectly serviceable earlier cameras already on the market. The same would apply if they came out with a similarly updated K-1 III. That being said I still do really like the K-3 III.

Despite my lists above it is just an articulating screen and one price mark down away from being a threat to my bank account. In all honesty if they had added a fully articulating screen and 4K to the K-3 II at a lower price point or simply added 4K to a… K-70 II maybe?… they would have likely gotten my money.

…Now back to the interwebs to try and find me another K-70… maybe a K-01 (why not?). Could I justify a K-3 III? Of course I could. But I will hold for now.

Have a mess of K Mount lenses already? Want a new APS-C Pentax? Want to shoot 4K video without ditching your gear (assuming you have a newer lens like the 18-135mm that supports constant AF in video)? Still like DSLRs? Here you go.

Good job Pentax.

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