Pentax K-3 mark III offers an impressive future for DSLR photographers

In a world of mirrorless cameras, the Pentax K-3 Mk 3 continues to push boundaries

Pentax K-3 Mark 3
(Image credit: Pentax)

The Pentax K-3 mark III is somewhat of a phenomenon in the camera world. Not because of any particular feature – though it does have some rather impressive ones – but more just by being released. The last true DSLR camera, as in one that features a pentaprism mirror for an optical viewfinder, was the Canon Rebel T8i (EOS 850D) in February 2020. In fact, there were only three DSLRs launched in 2020, and three in 2019.

Mirrorless cameras now dominate the interchangeable lens market, with the advantage of smaller bodies, more advanced focus systems and video capabilities. So, it’s a rare event that we see a true DSLR emerge.

The Pentax K-3 mark III is the first new camera from the now Ricoh-owned Pentax since the K-1 mark II in 2018. This is the new flagship APS-C model, above two existing models, while the K-1 mark II remains the single full-frame solution.

Pentax K-3 mark III

The new Prime V imaging engine in the K-3 mark III

(Image credit: Pentax)

At its heart, is a new 25.7MP CMOS sensor and a new Prime V imaging engine combined with a second-generation accelerator unit, designed to handle high-speed operation. This has allowed Pentax to push the maximum sensitivity of the camera to a jaw-dropping ISO 1,600,000. In practice, this means the camera can shoot in almost pitch-black conditions and still achieve smooth detailed images. It is also the first Pentax camera to offer 4K video.

The beauty of DSLR cameras is of course their true optical viewfinders, which are still preferred to digital screens by many pros and advanced amateurs. This viewfinder gives a full 100% field of view and has a 1.05x magnification, so it appears nice and large in front of your eye.

The new SAFOX 13 autofocus system has 101 focus points across the frame (compared to just 27 in the K-3 mark II). These can be selected individually, in zones and areas or used to track subjects with the help of the 307k pixel RGBlr image sensor. In high-speed mode, the K3 mark III can shoot at up to 12 frames a second to ensure you get the precise shot you’re after.

The new magnesium alloy frame is slimmer than the previous model and offers improved weatherproofing. There are dual SD-card slots for storage (one being UHS-II) and the lens mount provides compatibility with a vast assortment of Pentax lenses (including KA, KAF, KAF2, KAF3 and KAF4) going back to 1975.

For purist SLR fans, the Pentax K-3 mark III looks like a solid offering. The camera is currently available for pre-order and is priced from $1,999 / £1,899 / AU$2,798.99 body only.

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.