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Price:$869.00 - $1,646.95
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Showing 1-10 of 147 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 172 reviews
on December 19, 2013
If you are interested in this camera, I assume you are either motivated to not buy Nikon or Canon, or at minimum you are not opposed to the idea of being a little different. For the cost of explaining to you friends that Pentax does still make very good cameras, you get a feature set that above and beyond what the "Big Two" offer at this price. Along that line, this is Pentax's current flagship camera. That means they held nothing back. There are no capabilities reserved for more expensive cameras in the line, and that should eliminate any buyers remorse.
If you enjoy using manual focus, a Pentax Camera is a no brainer. Their DSLRs use the classic Pentax K mount. This allows you to mount (without an adapter) an arsenal of great old lenses. Did I mention in-body image stabilization? Not only can you build a small library of lenses, but utilize modern (and very effective) image stabilization on every one. In the K-3 Pentax dedicated a servo to its image stabilization.
As for the K-3... I also own a K-30 and purchased the K-3 to be a primary body, with the K-30 serving backup, in order to start taking on portrait contracts. Do not let the APS-C sensor size steer you away. Many pros are now shooting Fujifilm (APS-C) and Olympus (m4/3). The focus peaking is very accurate and easy to use. The dual SD card slots is a nice pro feature. However, if you were hoping for WiFi, this is only achieved via SD card. Considering the trend towards connected cameras, this is unfortunate. But if you shoot RAW and dedicate your time to a post-processing workflow, than WiFi may be unnecessary. The IQ is brilliant and the colors and WB are the best I have seen from Pentax. The shutter/mirror sound is very quiet and precise sounding. And if you are interested in video capabilities, Pentax has finally taken you into consideration with the K-3. The camera is very customizable if you take the time to explore the labyrinth of menu screens. Overall, this camera is a leap forward for the company.
PS. A firmware update was just released so any issues you may read about prior to Dec. 19th may have been addressed in the new firmware.
66 comments| 171 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 17, 2014
Up front, please be advised that this camera does not come with the required Micro-B USB 3.0 cord, which I found out at 9:30PM, eager to look at my first shots with the new Pentax.

I upgraded from a three year old Pentax K-5, which is an amazing camera in its own right.
There is a certain quality to the images I got from the K-5, the dynamic range that enables the camera to draw photos unlike any other I have seen.
The K3 has the same sensor characteristics, albeit in a much larger 24mp package and much much sharper thanks to the removed deep pass filter (which can be simulated by the sensor if needed).
So far I have had no need for the filter after taking 1000+ shots, even though test shots of some fabric did display moiré patterns which were almost gone turning on the deep pass filter simulator (there are two stages available). The clarity and crispness is amazing! The RAW images the K3 spits out contain data from the darkest blacks to the brightest whites, giving enormous room for developing the RAW photos to JPEG.
Comparable cameras like the Canon 70D have all the bells and whistles, like built in wireless, touch screen, video autofocus etc. That is nice to have if you like gadgets, if you like cameras, get the K3. It'll wipe the floor with the 70D in photographic output. The only feature I envy the 70D for is the swivel screen, which would be a great photographic tool to have. Maybe it'll be implemented in the next model. The dual cards are great for shooting RAW+JPEG for example, or just using the convenience it provides to have massive amounts of storage available if needed.
The live view function has been massively improved over the K5, the focus being several times snappier and accurate.
I took over 600 shots last weekend alone in combination with the mind-blowing Pentax 35mm 2.8 Limited Macro and the Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro. The bokeh, colors and contrast these lenses paint onto the K3's sensor are pure art! Can't say it any differently.
If you are starting out and aren't yet locked into any camera brand, give the K3 a go. It is an innovative, solid as a tank, pure camera, aimed at taking the best photos possible.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 15, 2016
I have a lot of experience with film SLRs, including developing and printing. Somehow, I never got into digital SLRs (in the beginning, they just couldn't compete with film) and in the past few years, I've been mainly using my iPhone to take pictures because of the convenience factor. As good as iPhones are, they are quite limited when it comes to taking serious landscape shots.

I did a ton of research and was at first going to go with something more entry level, like a Canon or a Nikon, until I stumbled across this offering from Pentax, a company that I've long admired for building quality film SLR cameras.

I'm not going to list specs, as there are a million reviews online that go into those details. What I will say is that I was prepared to be disappointed since I didn't believe that digital could ever truly match the quality of film. This camera really made me rethink my stance. While there are still some types of shots where digital just can't match film, this camera is definitely trying to narrow that gap.

When I first got this camera, it took me a while to understand that even when in aperture priority mode, I was better off relying on the autofocus feature rather than trying to manually focus (which is what I was used to with SLR lenses). There are multiple ways to set up autofocus, and once you know how to adjust it, you choose the AF mode you want and the camera does a magnificent job focusing.

The lens is not bad - at some point I will probably invest in much better macro and telephoto lenses, but for now this one is adequate. I was initially thinking that 18-135mm would cover all bases, but I occasionally find that I either want to focus a little closer on something small or I want to zoom in a little more from a distance. As with film, no one lens can do EVERYTHING, but I think this lens is a good place to start.

The only negative thing (and this was an issue for me with film cameras as well, and it's not the fault of the camera) is that it is a bit heavy and annoying to travel with. I often find myself choosing between bringing this camera to have the possibility of taking a seriously awesome shot, should one present itself vs. ditching the extra bulk/weight and relying on my iPhone.

For someone who loves photography, this camera is a really excellent choice. I started out with a bias against digital cameras and I ended up loving this Pentax. It is definitely more complex than the Nikon/Canon you are probably considering, and if you don't know much about the mechanics of photography (composition, aperture, shutter speed, lighting, etc...) I definitely recommend starting with a simpler camera. If you also don't know much about digital cameras in general, I would still recommend a simpler, more entry level camera unless you are either a quick learner who thrives on challenges (not many tutorials on how to use it online) or you know someone who has some experience with this camera's settings and can give you some pointers. However, if you already have solid grasp of these concepts, this camera will allow you to do some great stuff.

If you have any questions let me know, I'm happy to help. If you found my review useful, please consider saying so below.

I have noticed that several reviews I have written on items purchased through Amazon have had the "Verified Purchase" removed incorrectly and as a result are no longer visible, which is likely happening to other people as well. When you read reviews, be sure to sort by 'All reviews' since there is obviously a bug in the system and many helpful and detailed reviews are now hidden.
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on March 11, 2014
This new enthusiast level camera shows that Pentax/Ricoh is serious about staying in the DSLR game. It is a top-to-bottom redesign, replacing the already good K-5ii and K-5iis.

Feature-wise, spec-wise and performance-wise, the K-3 easily competes with the Nikon D7100 and Canon 70d. But in some ways it has even a little more to offer. Notably, this is the only camera on earth that can emulate having an AA filter, (to use when moire might be a risk), but without the full-time sacrifice of detail imposed by installing a true low pass filter. In addition, I'm not sure anyone else offers a star-tracking feature that uses GPS (optional) and the mirror to follow the earth's rotation. Very cool. But most importantly, this camera's anti-shake is built into the body, not the lenses - meaning it works even with any old K-mount lens you find at a garage sale. And the system works quite well, buying you 3ev or so.

Pros will enjoy having two SD slots, very fast continuous shooting and a slick new auto-focus system that is (finally!) first rate - as good as anyone's. The K-3 is pretty forgiving about low light / high ISO shooting. You'll see some noise at 3200 but it cleans up pretty easily.

While the video has greatly improved over prior models, there is still no continuous AF, making other choices more attractive for those planning to record their little girl's first ballet. (Think Canon.) This camera is for still-shooters, who will fall in love with it.

For existing Pentax owners, the upgrade is largely familiar in terms of control placement. What moved, mostly, needed to. Using the camera is a breeze once you learn the controls, and there are many. Within a week, though, I found I could control the camera even in the dark, so the layout must be fairly intuitive. Better, so much can be controlled from buttons and switches that I almost never need to navigate the menu.

Image quality is superb, and with 24mp one can crop deeply and retain surprisingly sharp detail. Colors are rich but authentic and white balance, so far, has been spot-on using the auto setting.

Ricoh has placed their badge on the camera's back - I guess that's OK, as long as the Pentax name stays on the front. While nobody else is close to the Big Two in this market, I'd hate to see the Pentax brand weakened or supplanted. That said, we can thank Ricoh and their deep pockets for building a superior enthusiast-grade DSLR. Hope they keep them coming!
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on July 9, 2016
From October 2015 uptil now, my romance with this machine continues and I am foreseeing many more months or years of love affair with it. I know, since then, many new pentax models have been released but I don't have to eye for them since I have a great dslr worthy to be kept for long term. The build of this camera is top notched, not just aesthetically pleasing but rugged as well. I have used it in dust, snow, extremely humid conditions, in rain and have also washed it twice under running tap water. It is still working perfectly fine.
Taking pictures becomes a delightful experience with its fast autofocusing and silent shutter sound. Happiness increases manyfold when your pictures turns out perfect everytime you press that button. I prefer to take pictures in RAW (DNG) format and advice all K3 owners to do the same since taking JPEG pics doesn't do justice to the camera's capabilities.
I can't compare it with full frame cameras but among APSCs this beast will crush many of its competitors. I don't take much videos but those which I have taken came out satisfactory (I have more to learn in this field).
So anyone reading this product review, if you want a camera that takes good pictures, is reliable, fast focusing, rugged as a tank then this one here is the best choice for you. Who says money can not buy happiness? I bought this camera and I am happy.
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on August 17, 2015
If you have questions I would be happy to answer them. There are literally hundreds of other user reviews for this item, so I will not be duplicating it. It is very simple Pentax cameras are made by photographers FOR photographers. The layout of buttons, the feel of this well built machine, the worry-free magnesium alloy weather sealed body, and most importantly the always awesome Pentax image quality. This thing is a beast. And for the prices they are selling this for it is a WHITE HOT steal of a bargain. Just order, make sure you have the latest firmware, 2 SD cards ready to roll, some juice in the battery and you are ready to take amazing photos. There is NO CAMERA COMPANY that gives you so much for your money.

The only words of caution I would give is that this is not an entry level camera; this is on the opposite side of the spectrum semi-pro/professional level. It won the TIPA 2014 Expert level DSLR award and the EISA 2015 advanced DSLR awards.
If you are new to DSLR's I would recommend a Pentax K-50 (also selling for a ridiculous low price) or the KS-2, those two are slightly more user friendly, but still pretty advanced. You can always go for the KS-1 which I do believe is now the Pentax entry level camera system. Either way if you care about stills photography you cannot go wrong with Pentax. I love them from day one a K-x entry level system, then on to a K-30 and now the big leagues with the K-3. Don't hesitate and buy buy buy....

UPDATE 8-18-2015: SO the tornado sirens are blaring, lightning is flashing all around, take shelter? NO! Take pictures. So I run inside to grab who knows what and place my new baby on top of the washing machine. I then go to run outside and look down and my baby has fallen 4.5' to the ground. I will not bore you with the details of broken filters and potentially ruined threads, what I will tell you is this camera is a TANK. It hit the ground from far away and didn't even have a single scratch on it. THANK YOU Ricoh/Pentax for making this thing out of Mag-alloy. The camera AND the lens are fine, besides some potential thread damage. I do not have to worry about replacing a $350-400 lens and a $600+ camera. XOXOXO Ricoh/Pentax you have a customer FOR LIFE!!!
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on March 24, 2014
I have owned several APS-C cameras in my life and, by far, this is the best I've owned. The color reproduction is amazing and the feature set is pretty fantastic as well. I switched from a mirrorless back to this DSLR because the AF was so slow. This camera blows it away. That being said, several people 'in the know' say the Pentax SAFOX AF engine falls behind Canon and Nikon. I haven't noticed that whatsoever.

With ISOs higher than 3200 it gets a little noisy (as do most). Anything after 6400, to a pixel-peeper, becomes much less usable. But with some post-processing in any of the major software titles or dedicated plugins and they're fine.

I bought this with hesitation because I'd never owned a Pentax before. As soon as I pulled it out of the box, the feel alone made me realize this was the camera for me. It feels amazingly well-built and solid.

Color reproduction.
Legacy Pentax lenses!
In-body image stabilization for ALL lenses.
The 'Limited' lenses from Pentax are phenomenal.
No AA filter.
Weather resistant.
Solidly built and feels amazing in-hand.

ISO 6400 and above are noisier than competing bodies, but fixable.
Lack of recognition of a Pentax vs. Canon or Nikon.
Not as many new lenses as competitors.
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on January 22, 2014
I've been a Pentax user for a few years. My previous cameras were the K-7 and K-01. The K-3 is leaps and bounds ahead of both.

The autofocus is always spot-on. I've taken about 200 shots so far; the AF hasn't missed one. Many of these were in low-light. I haven't tried the continuous AF on moving subjects, yet.

The detail capture is stellar. Kudos to Pentax/Ricoh for removing the AA filter.

High ISO and noise: I was impressed. The amount of noise with extreme ISO levels (12,800 - 25,600) at 100% is about the same as the last generation of APS-C cameras. But here's the catch: you have way more pixels to work with, so the noise performance is actually great. If you were to downsize a high-ISO image from the K-3 and compare it to a high-ISO image from last generation, the K-3 would look significantly better. (Though it already looks really good before you even clean it up.)

Body: I haven't really tested this camera yet, but it seems to be built as tough as the previous top-end Pentax DSLRs. I put my K-7 through all kinds of abuse: rain, snow, the tropics, and a minor chemical accident. 20,000 shots and a few years later - still works like the day I got it (the 18-55 WR kit lens, too).

The ergonomics have not changed a lot, but the K-3 seems slightly more comfortable to hold and easy to operate (thanks to a couple of button layout changes) than the K-7. YMMV.

-----The 18-135 lens----

The bundled lens is a mixed bag.

The build quality and autofocus are excellent. The zoom range is very useful. The sharpness in the center of the image is good. But the border sharpness is a huge letdown. I believe the trusty (and cheaper) old 18-55 WR has better border sharpness, which makes a difference in landscape photography (at least if you are pixel-peeper or plan on printing big poster-size prints).

If you're after excellent image quality with weather-sealing, better look to the DA* 16-50. Or save yourself some money and buy the DA 18-55 WR if you only need good image quality. I would only recommend the 18-135 bundle if you want the versatility of a wide-to-telephoto zoom and you're willing to give up image quality around the edges of the frame.
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on February 27, 2016
I love this camera. I upgraded from the Canon T3i, and went back and forth between this one and the Nikon D7100. I actually ordered the 7100, got it, and returned it for the K3. The 7100 feels like a plastic toy compared to the K3. This things just *feels* amazing in hands. Sturdy, waterproof, solid. I couldn't afford a lens for the first month I had it, but I found some older manual Pentax lenses at a thrift store for $10. I know that good glass is important, but the old manual lenses worked great for the first month. I ended up buying the Pentax 50mm 1.8 and 35mm 2.4 lens, which is less than $200 for both. I'm a hobby photographer, but this camera most definitely has the capability of capturing professional photos. It handles well in low light, and has produced some lovely images for me. Some people complain about the autofocus, but it works just fine if you dial in the focus settings. I won't be upgrading any time soon, and if I do it will be when Pentax comes out with a full-frame camera.
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on May 21, 2014
The Pentax K3 has received so many superlative reviews that it isn't worth repeating minutia. Simply do a web search for K3 reviews and you'll have hours of reading material and virtually all positive. Since Ricoh purchased Pentax and got them out of the awful Hoya ownership, the brand has come alive again.

Best of all the camera is designed for serious photographers with unique features that still are lacking in other DSLRs and mirror less designs from SONY, Nikon, Canon and all the others. Examples include a programmable anti-aliasing filter ranging in three steps from off to full on, optional GPS hot shoe gadget that controls the movement of the sensor to track the night sky for night photography, 7fps, extremely quiet shutter, weather sealed, allow body, and arguably the smallest size and weight of any professional grade APS body.

Both Nikon and Pentax use SONY sensors and the 24 meg sensor in the K3 is exceptionally well implemented by Pentax. If you shoot RAW format instead of JPG, you can use software such as Adobe Light Room to process the files and achieve incredibly good dynamic range and recovery of shadow detail under low light conditions.

The K3 is an exceptional camera for still photography. It's weakness is it's video capability which is just OK, at best. But Pentax isn't alone in this area. Pentax, Canon, Nikon, all trail Panasonic and to a lesser degree SONY at this point in terms of video implementation. If you have a need for extremely high performance video in a still camera, the Panasonic GH4 trumps anything presently available from Pentax, SONY, Nikon or Canon, enabling everything from Ultra HD/Cine 4K to 720P. But if you prefer looking through a viewfinder and seeing 100% of what you're framing, and want an APS format camera that is simply as good as it gets, the K3 should be seriously considered.
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