Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation announced the PENTAX K-3 Mark III, the new flagship model in its APS-C format digital SLR camera series. Designed around the PENTAX Principles, the new camera offers advanced functions and outstanding imaging performance with the goal of optimizing the fun and excitement of photography in a wide variety of conditions.
“The development of the PENTAX K-3 Mark III has been a longtime labor of love,” said Kaz Eguchi, president, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. “At Ricoh, our goal is to develop high-quality cameras with the power to capture images that speak louder than words and inspire photographers to continue pursuing their passion for photography every day.”
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III builds on the PENTAX legacy of outstanding image quality, incorporating a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with approximately 25.73 effective megapixels. By coupling this sensor with an AA (anti-aliasing)-filter-free optical design, the camera produces super-high-resolution images. PENTAX also renewed all key devices, including the newly developed, high-performance PRIME V imaging engine and new-generation accelerator unit to deliver well-defined images with minimal noise, while retaining high-resolution reproduction at all sensitivities — even in the super-low or super-high range. Also, by greatly improving the noise-reduction performance at high-sensitivity ranges, it boasts a top sensitivity of ISO 1600000 to extend the range of scenes that can be photographed.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III features an optical viewfinder with a nearly 100-percent field of view and a magnification of approximately 1.05 times. A newly developed, high-refraction glass prism assures comfortable viewing with a wide field of view equivalent to that of a full-frame SLR. Also, by using a distortion-correcting optical element and optimizing the lens coatings, it delivers a clear, true-to-life viewfinder image free of distortion, with brightness improved by nearly 10 percent over the PENTAX K-3 II’s viewfinder. Incorporating a Natural Bright Matte III focusing screen — known for ease of focus during manual-focus shooting — it also delivers a sharp, clear subject image with faithful reproduction of the bokeh (defocus) effect. In addition, its transparent display lets the user monitor a wide range of operational data in the viewfinder window.
The camera’s compact, rugged body is dustproof and weather-resistant, making it suitable for use in the most extreme environmental conditions. It features PENTAX’s high-performance, five-axis shake-reduction (SR) system, minimizing camera shake to deliver sharp, blur-free images. Furthering its commitment to producing the highest quality images, the PENTAX K-3 Mark III features the innovative Pixel Shift Resolution System, employing advanced super-resolution technology to capture four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image, then synthesize them into a single composite image.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III’s top, bottom, front and rear panels are all made of lightweight, high-rigidity magnesium alloy. Coupled with a dustproof, weather-resistant construction with special seals applied to crucial parts of the camera body, and outstanding cold-resistant performance to ensure stable operation at -10°C, the camera is designed to be extremely durable and dependable even in harsh environmental conditions, such as when shooting in the rain, or at dust-prone or low-temperature locations. The camera also features a durable, dependable shutter unit — verified in an endurance test of 300,000 shutter-release actions — to perfect the rugged body for worry-free shooting at any location.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III is equipped with user-friendly shooting functions, improved efficiency, and operability.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III features a high-definition, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with approximately 1,620,000 pixels. Incorporating touch-screen control for the first time in the PENTAX K series, this monitor provides intuitive operation of monitor functions, including menu selection and image zooming during playback. Its air-gapless construction, in which a special resin material is injected into the gap between LCD layers and a protective tempered-glass cover, effectively reduces reflections and the dispersion of light to improve visibility during outdoor shooting. The viewfinder eyepiece is designed to protrude away from the LCD monitor screen, so the user’s nose does not contact the camera body. Positioned at the bottom of the eyepiece is an eye sensor, which turns the monitor off the moment the photographer looks into the viewfinder, preventing monitor illumination from affecting visibility during shooting.
The camera also features PENTAX Real-time Scene Analysis System, supported by the latest artificial intelligence technology.
Supported by the combination of the new, high-density RGBIr image sensor and the high-performance PRIME V imaging engine, the PENTAX Real-time Scene Analysis System instantly detects the subject’s face and eyes using advanced image recognition technology, then makes real-time analysis of their movement. This assists the camera in optimizing exposure settings and improving autofocusing accuracy. By adopting Deep Learning — the latest, much-publicized artificial intelligence technology — the PENTAX K-3 Mark III assures more accurate subject detection and more reliable scene judgment.
Other features of the PENTAX K-3 Mark III:
In-body SR mechanism, compatible with all mountable lenses
The built-in SR II shake-reduction mechanism means that the PENTAX K-3 Mark III effectively minimizes camera shake and delivers sharp, blur-free images, even in camera-shake-prone conditions such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting low-light scenes without flash illumination, or photographing sunset scenes. In addition to horizontal and vertical camera shake caused by pitch and yaw, this five-axis mechanism compensates for camera shake caused by horizontal and vertical shift (often generated in macro photography) and camera shake caused by roll. It assures a compensation effect of approximately 5.5 shutter steps（CIPA standard compliant, HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6ED DC WR、f = 85mm） — the highest level in PENTAX history — to expand the limits of handheld photography. This mechanism also provides a new Panning mode to capture sharp, clear images of slow-moving subjects.
Pixel-Shift Resolution System
This innovative system captures four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image, then synthesizes them into a single composite image. Compared to the conventional Bayer system, in which each pixel has only a single color-data unit, this system obtains all color data in each pixel and delivers super-high-resolution images with more truthful colors and much finer details than those produced by the conventional system. To make this system more useful with a wider range of scenes and subjects, the camera provides ON/OFF switching of the Motion Correction function, which automatically detects only moving elements of the image during continuous shooting and minimizes negative effects during the synthesizing process.
AA-filter simulator to minimize moiré and false color
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III features an AA (anti-aliasing)-filter simulator, which effectively reduces moiré patterns to the same level as an optical AA filter, by applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor at the sub-pixel-level during exposure. Unlike a conventional optical AA filer, this innovative, PENTAX-original simulator provides ON/FF switching and level selection to assure the optimal filter effect for a given subject or photographic condition.
SAFOX 13 autofocus system with 101 focus sensors
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III features a newly developed SAFOX 13 phase-matching AF sensor module for dependable, high-precision autofocus operations. It has 101 focus sensors, 25 of which are cross-type sensors positioned in the middle, to assure pinpoint focus on the subject at minimum brightness levels as low as -4 EV. Also, by featuring a new, high-capacity RGBIr image sensor with approximately 307,000 pixels and a newly developed image-tracking algorithm, the camera also assures accurate tracking of subjects moving at varying speed or in an irregular motion. A newly installed AF point selector lever allows the user to select the desired focus point more intuitively (up to 41 points).
High-speed continuous shooting at a top speed of approximately 12 images per second
Thanks to a newly developed mirror-driving mechanism assuring high-speed, high-accuracy control of the mirror and shutter mechanisms, and the high-performance PRIME V imaging engine that performs high-speed data transmission, the PENTAX K-3 Mark III provides high-speed drive continuous shooting — with a maximum speed of approximately 12 images per second in the AF.S mode, or approximately 11 images per second in the AF.C mode.
User-friendly shooting functions to improve shooting efficiency and operability
PENTAX-exclusive Hyper Operation system, featuring a new Advanced mode for more flexible exposure control.
Operation Control Lock function, to prevent accidental operational errors of exposure-setting buttons and the four-way controller.
New-generation Smart Function with the dedicated Smart Function button, for speedy selection and setting of various functions without the need of switching on-screen menus.
Button Customization function, to assign user-selected functions to 10 different control buttons.
4K-resolution movie recording with a range of functional settings
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III captures 4K-resolution movie clips (3840 x 2160 pixels; 30p/24p frame rate) or Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60p/30p/24p frame rate) in the H-264 recording format. Equipped with a stereo microphone input terminal and headset terminal, it also allows the user to manually set the audio recording level and monitor the sound pressure level for microphone input. Thanks to quiet touch-screen control on the LCD monitor positioned on its back panel, the desired shooting function and exposure compensation level can be set without worrying about operational noise.
Bluetooth and Wireless LAN connection
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III provides two wireless interface options — Bluetooth® and Wireless LAN — for connection with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. By installing the dedicated Image Sync application in a mobile device, the user can view Live View images on a smartphone screen or capture images and change camera settings using the mobile device. This application also allows the user to transfer captured images to a mobile device and upload them to various SNS sites.
Here some sample pictures:
Follow the series Challengers, some interviews to Pentax designers about the new K-3 Mark III:
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III will be available in late April for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,999.95.
Ricoh is also producing two limited-edition kits — the PENTAX K-3 Mark III Black Premium Kit and PENTAX K-3 Mark III Silver Premium Kit. These special packages include a camera body and battery grip (the Silver Premium Kit comes with a silver camera body and a silver battery grip that is exclusive to this package), plus an exclusive leather strap and a spare battery. The specifications of the limited-edition models are identical to those of the PENTAX K-3 Mark III.
The Premium Kits will be available in late April for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,299.95.