The Pentax K-3 II DSLR camera is now officially announced

The Pentax K-3 II camera is now officially announced. You can read the first hands-on preview here. The price is $1,099 (body only) B&H, Amazon and Adorama are currently taking pre-orders. Shipping will start on May 25th.

Mean features (click for larger view):

Technical specifications:

Lens Mount Pentax K
Image Sensor APS-C CMOS
Effective Pixels 24.35MP
Total Pixels 24.71MP
Maximum Resolution 6016 x 4000
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Still Image File Format JPEG, PEF, DNG
Storage Media SD, SDHC, SDXC
Card Slot 2x SD card slots
Viewfinder Type Optical pentaprism
Frame Coverage 100%
Magnification 0.95x
Diopter Adjustment -2.5 to +1.5m
Shutter Type Electronically controlled, vertical-run, focal plane shutter
Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb
Flash Sync Speed 1/180 sec.
Drive Modes Single, Continuous (H,M,L), Self-Timer (12s, 2s), Remote (0s, 3s, continuous), Exp. Bracketing (standard, timer, remote), Mirror up (standard, remote), HDR Capture (3 shots at 1EV, 2EV, or 3EV, 3 blend settings plus Auto, pixel alignment)
Top Continuous Shooting Rate 8.3 fps for 60 JPEG or 23 raw frames
Self-Timer 12 or 2 sec. delay
Exposure Metering System TTL open aperture metering using 86k-pixel RGB sensor
Metering Method Multi-segment, center weighted, and spot
Metering Range -3 to 20 EV
Exposure Modes Green, Hyper Program (P), Sensitivity Priority (Sv), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Shutter & Aperture Priority (TAv), Metered Manual, Bulb, XSpeed, User
Exposure Compensation +/- 5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps
Exposure Bracketing +/- 2 EV for 2, 3, or 5 frames in 1/3 or 1/2 steps
ISO Sensitivity Auto, ISO 100-51200
Autofocus System SAFOX 11 TTL phase-matching
Number of Focus Points 27, including 25 cross-type points
Focus Modes AF Single, AF Continuous, Manual
Built-In Flash No
Flash Control P-TTL, high speed sync, and wireless with Pentax dedicated flash
External Flash Interface Hot shoe and X-sync socket
White Balance Modes Auto WB, Multi Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (D: Daylight Color, N: Daylight White, W: Cool White, L: Warm White), Tungsten Light, Flash, CTE, Manual WB, Color Temperature
Movie Recording Full HD 1920 x 1080; 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p
HD 1280 x 720; 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
File Format MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
External Microphone Input Yes; 3.5mm
Headphone Jack No
Maximum Recording Time 25 min.
Monitor 3.2" 1.03m-dot LCD
Interface USB 3.0, HDMI C, AV out, DC in, external microphone, X-sync socket
Wi-Fi No
Power Source D-LI90(E) rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Battery Life Approx. 720 shots
Operating Environment 14 to 104°F / -10 to 40°C
Dimensions 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1" / 132.1 x 99.1 x 78.7mm
Weight 1.8 lb / 799.5 g with battery and memory card

Press release:



Expanding on the K-3 legacy, the newly released K-3 II adds GPS functionality, improved Shake-Reduction (SR) technology, high speed AF and built-in ASTROTRACER.

Denver, Colorado, April 22, 2015 RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is proud to introduce the PENTAX K-3 II Digital SLR; refining the ultimate field camera. Developed as the successor to the award winning PENTAX K-3, the new K-3 II shares its predecessor’s magnesium alloy casing, metal chassis, 24.35 effective megapixel resolution, 27-point AF system and approximately 8.3 frames per second shooting while adding an improved 4.5EV stop shake reduction system, new high-speed AF algorithm, GPS, gyro sensor panning detection and automatic horizon correction.

“The introduction of the PENTAX K-3 II marks our commitment to providing photographers with rugged high quality solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations,” said Jim Malcolm, President of Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. The “magic’’ we add to our cameras through the motion-controlled Shake Reduction (SR) technology helps our photographers shoot for the stars and capture images in stunning detail; no other manufacturer is offering such a variety of features in a single camera design.”

The K-3 II is the first camera in the PENTAX line to incorporate Pixel Shift Resolution® for capturing still life subjects with ultra-high resolving power. Pixel shift technology uses the camera’s in-body Shake Reduction mechanism to move the image sensor at single pixel increments, capture 4 separate images, which are subsequently combined into a single high definition image.  Benefits include higher resolving power, reduced false color and improved overall image quality of non-moving subjects.

Building on the PENTAX K-3 camera’s rugged dust proof and weather-resistant construction, the K-3 II features a built-in GPS receiver, GPS log and electronic compass purpose- designed to stand up to demanding location work. The GPS system records shooting location, camera orientation, altitude, and provides a date/time stamp tied specifically to your images; all of which can be transferred to a computer and mapped using services such as Google Earth™.

By combining the power of GPS positioning with in-body shake reduction mechanism, the PENTAX K-3 II cameras exclusive built in ASTROTRACER® features tracks and photographs astronomical bodies such as stars and planets. The system uses GPS and orientation location data together with magnetic and acceleration sensors to calculate the motion needed to synchronize the CMOS sensor with the movement of the stars; making it possible to capture stars as points of light rather than star trails during long exposures.

“The original PENTAX K-3 has been my go to camera since it was first introduced,” said professional photographer Kerrick James.  “Now with the addition of GPS, Pixel Shift Resolution, and 4.5EV stop shake reduction, my field photography is further refined and documented regardless of my remote location.  This ensures my demanding shooting style will always be met and will provide my clients with consistently high quality photography.”

The new PENTAX K-3 II uses the advanced and intuitive user interface common to most PENTAX camera products.  The system is compatible with a host of accessories including a versatile array of flash units, lenses, battery grip and interchangeable focus screens.

Pricing and Availability

The PENTAX K-3 II will be available at retailers nationwide and at in May 2015 for a suggested retail price of $1099.95.

Main Features

1. High-resolution images
The K-3 II combines an APS-C-size CMOS image sensor free of an anti-aliasing filter with the high-performance PRIME III imaging engine — identical to the one installed in the PENTAX 645Z medium-format digital SLR camera — to optimize the imaging power of approximately 24.35 effective megapixels and deliver sharp, fine-gradation images. It also effectively minimizes annoying noise generated at higher sensitivities, allowing high-grade, high-sensitivity shooting even at the top sensitivity of ISO 51200.

2. New-generation PENTAX-original shake reduction mechanism
(1) Upgraded in-body SR mechanism to assure the best shake reduction performance in the K series
The K-3 II comes equipped with a PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism that can be used with any compatible PENTAX interchangeable lens.* Thanks to its new, high-precision gyro sensor, this mechanism assures more stable, effective camera-shake compensation than ever before, with an extra-wide compensation range of as much as 4.5 shutter steps — the widest of all K-series digital SLR models. Even when taking a panning shot, this efficiently controls the SR unit to always produce the best image possible under the given conditions.
(2) New Pixel Shift Resolution System to deliver image resolutions higher than the image sensor’s capacity
The K-3 II features Pixel Shift Resolution System,** the latest super-resolution technology, which 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 unit of color data, this new system obtains all color data in each pixel. This innovative system delivers super-high-resolution images with far more truthful color reproduction and much finer details, while significantly lowering the level of high-sensitivity noise. Recorded images can also be synthesized, either on a computer using the accompanying utility software, or with the camera’s in-body RAW-data development function.
(3) Innovative AA filter simulator to minimize moiré
By applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure, the K-3 II’s AA (anti-aliasing) filter simulator*** provides the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. Unlike an optical filter, which always creates the identical result, this innovative simulator lets the user not only switch the anti-aliasing filter effect on and off, but also to adjust the level of the effect. This means that the ideal effect can be set for a particular scene or subject.
(4) Supportive shooting functions
The K-3 II’s SR unit has a flexible design that tilts the image sensor unit in all directions. This is one reason why the K-3 II can provide a host of handy shooting functions, including auto level compensation; image-composition fine-adjustment; and ASTROTRACER, which simplifies advanced astronomical photography.

* Lenses compatible with this mechanism: K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions are not available with certain lenses.
** When using this system, the user is advised to stabilize the camera firmly on a tripod. When a moving subject is captured in the camera’s image field, its image may not be reproduced clearly, either in part or as a whole.
*** This function works most effectively with a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or slower. This function may not be combined with some shooting modes, including the Pixel Shift Resolution system.

3. High-precision, SAFOX 11 sensor module with 27-point AF system
The K-3 II features the sophisticated SAFOX 11 AF sensor module with an expanded image-field coverage using 27 AF sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). The center sensor and the two sensors just above and below it are designed to detect the light flux of an F2.8 lens, making it easy to obtain pinpoint focus on a subject when using a large-aperture lens. Thanks to the combination of a state-of-the-art AF algorithm and the advanced PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System, this AF system assures much improved AF tracking performance in the AF Continuous mode, while providing an extra-wide measurable luminance range (–3EV to +18EV).

4. High-precision exposure control with PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System
The K-3 II is equipped with the advanced PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System, which is supported by an approximately 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor. This system is designed to optimize the camera’s overall performance, not only by controlling exposure with great accuracy, but also by utilizing the data obtained by the light-metering sensor to further enhance the accuracy of autofocusing and white-balance adjustment. It has also expanded the measurable luminance level to as low as –3EV. By detecting the type of scene or subject using the RGB metering sensor, the K-3 II selects the exposure settings that are more consistent with the photographer’s creative intentions.

5. High-speed continuous shooting with a top speed of approximately 8.3 images per second
The K-3 II continuously records as many as 23 images in the RAW format, or 60 images in the JPEG format,**** in a single sequence. This has been made possible through the use of several innovative developments, including: a high-speed, highly accurate control mechanism that regulates the shutter, mirror and diaphragm independently; a damper mechanism that effectively minimizes mirror shock; and a high-speed data transmission system incorporated in the PRIME III imaging engine.

**** JPEG recorded pixels: L, JPEG image quality: Best

6. Optical viewfinder with nearly 100-percent field of view
The K-3 II’s glass prism has been treated with a coating that is designed to improve reflectance for a much brighter viewfinder image. With a magnification of approximately 0.95 times, its viewfinder provides a broad, bright image field for easy focusing and framing.

7. Full HD movie recording with an array of creative tools
The K-3 II captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30p frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. It also comes equipped with a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection and a headphone terminal. The user can even adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound pressure levels during microphone recording. In addition to a host of distinctive visual effects available for movie recording,***** the K-3 II also provides the interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips at a fixed interval

***** When special image processing is required, the frame rate may vary depending on the selected special-effect mode.

8. Built-in GPS module
Thanks to its built-in GPS module, the K-3 II provides a variety of advanced GPS functions, including the recording of location, latitude, longitude, altitude and UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) and direction at the time of shooting. The user can easily access images containing GPS data using a computer, to browse them, check on shooting locations and position data on the screen, or save them.  The user can also take advantage of some unique tools, including: GPS log, which keeps track of the photographer’s movement; Electronic Compass, which displays the camera’s direction on the camera’s LCD monitor; and ASTROTRACER, which simplifies the tracing and photographing of celestial bodies by coupling GPS data with the camera’s SR mechanism.

9. Large, easy-to-view 3.2-inch LCD monitor with approximately 103,700 dots
On its back panel, the K-3 II features a 3.2-inch high-resolution LCD monitor with approximately 103,700 dots and a 3:2 aspect ratio. In addition to its wide-view design, this monitor also has a protective tempered-glass front panel for added durability, and a unique air-gapless construction in which the air space between LCD layers is eliminated to effectively reduce the reflection and dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting.

10. Compact, solid body with dustproof, weather-resistant construction
The K-3 II’s exterior casing, consisting of top and bottom panels and front and back frames, is made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy. Thanks to the inclusion of 92 sealing parts in the body, it boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring solid operation at temperatures as low as –10°C. It also features a dependable, durable shutter unit that withstands 200,000 shutter releases. Despite all these features, the K-3 II has been designed to be compact and maneuverable, assuring remarkable operability and swift response in the field.

11. Other features
・Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 buss speed mode)
・Smartphone-support functions using the optional FLUCARD FOR PENTAX 16GB
・Top-grade DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism for effective elimination of dust on the image sensor using ultrasonic vibration
・HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode with RAW-format data filing
・PENTAX-invented hyper control system for quick, accurate response to the photographer’s creative intentions
・Model dial with a choice of lock mechanism engagement (ON or OFF)
・Compensation of various parameters: lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, diffraction, brightness level at image-field edges, and fringe effect (available in RAW-format processing only)
・The latest version of Digital Camera Utility 5 software is included

Sample images from the new camera can be found here:

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  • That price! A Nikon D400 would cost $1800, and wouldn’t include IBIS or GPS, let alone astro-tracking or pixel-shifting. The Canon 7D mk2 does offer 10 FPS, but costs $1700 and will probably fail to match what this sensor produces.

    If Pentax can pull off the IQ and the AF speed / tracking, they have a real winner on their hands for telephoto sports shooters.

    If Pentax can pull off even a minor high ISO IQ improvement, and execute their pixel-shifting technology with minimal ghosting issues, they have a real winner on their hands for landscape and astro-landscape shooters.

    • Sakaphoto Graphics

      Pentax has really good hardware, and they sell it at good prices, but their firmware is often quirky. Unfortunately, Ricoh has been pretty quirky itself.

      I’m thinking that it’s possible to get around the quirks but will people give it a chance?

      • aurele

        Pentax firmware are pretty straigt forward ! No need to scroll down unlike Nikon and Canon.

        And again, unlike Canon and Nikon, firmware update are quite consistent even when product is discontinued.

        When it’s about ergonomic, it’s quite straightforward too IMO.

      • Yes, I discovered and discussed this in my review of the K-3 on SLR Lounge. I think, with all due respect to Pentax users and any others, that Nikon’s interface, menu system, and customizability is by far the best. People often talk about how things are just a matter of preference, and how you work best with the thing you’re the most familiar with. While this is certainly true, it doesn’t automatically mean there is no such thing as a truly inferior set of options. Fewer options and customizations is objectively quantifiable.

        Having said that, I’d jump to Pentax in a heartbeat and happily “get intimate” with their menu system and general interface. Having a camera with a few quirks that annoy you is, in certain ways, part of the game.

        • Sakaphoto Graphics

          I’m not even talking about the graphical user interface. Things like the way to record video are quirky, as if there weren’t enough examples from the rest of the world already. Pentax seems to go out of their way to make things “interesting”.

          • aurele

            If you have in mind “video things” Ricoh stated in early 2015 (CP+ i think) that they are not interested in video and that they won’t try to compete with the existing actors ( like the GH4 for instance).

          • Sakaphoto Graphics

            They couldn’t compete against the GH4 but they should make the video easier to use.

          • True, but oppositely, Nikon caught a lot of flak for adding a REC button to their high-end DSLRS. IMO, they can’t win. All companies make tough decisions, about how to please the majority of their users. Pentax probably thinks they’re creating the exact camera control interface that the *majority* of their users want to see. Like you, I could disagree with their notions, though. 😉

          • Sakaphoto Graphics

            Nikon had been all over the place with their thinking. It looks as though they’re in a good place now, and Canon is suffering for it.

            Pentax probably thought that the K-01 was okay, too, a mirror-less camera body as big as a typical body that didn’t require new lenses.

            I’m trying to see if I like what they’re doing. I bought a K-50 kit for very little.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Why do I get the feeling that Ricoh/Pentax make really nice cameras, but no one cares?

    • I think this sums it up pretty nicely:

    • vimal

      their pricing is the one buys a pentax for that price

      • Roberto Duran

        Pentax prices are most of the times better than other brands… K3ii $1096, D7200 D7200 $1300, 7Dmkii $1700 .. Same with the KS2 … The problem is not the prices.. the problem is the marketing, the company didnt invest in marketing, and we all know that marketing is a big player in the electronic devices market.

  • Paco Ignacio

    I would like to see the size of that viewfinder

    • aurele

      100% coverage, 95x magnification, pentaxprism, it’s bigger and brighter than almost any DSLR on the market. It’s on par with the D7200 and probably with the 7D2, for well … 2/3 of the price 🙂

  • Camaman

    So how many MP in that Pixel Shift photo of theirs?

    • Smalltimer Little

      48-96mp equivalent

      • KT

        Where you got that number from, if I may ask?

        DPReview clearly states it DOES NOT increase the linear resolution. It’s only for there to eliminate color shift and lower image noise, nothing to do with the final resolution, this is not like the Olympus OM-D mark II

        • Smalltimer Little

          How Pentax Pixel Shifting Works
          Super resolution increases image detail while reducing artifacts
          By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Apr 22, 2015

          “The output of a 24-megapixel Bayer sensor with pixel shifting could theoretically be compared to the detail reproduced by a conventional Bayer sensor with a resolution between 48 and 96 megapixels if we consider the total recorded color data shown in Figure 7. I”

          Aa for DPReview, I’d point out that Pentax has published full size image samples of this tech, in action, which makes it quite clear that they don’t know what they are talking about whatsoever.

        • TinusVerdino

          It does make for sharper images. because there is no need for demosaicing and I believe lens diffraction is also less because of this method. look at the examples.

  • Karol Wojdyna

    Pentax’s ideas to be back in the market as important player keep surprising me on and on. So we had mirrorless K-01 bigger than some DSLRs, we had Knight-Rider styled K-S1 and now we have an advanced amateur camera without built-in flash?

    They think that people will buy more external flashes this way. In my opinion they are wrong. There is some niche of “wish-everybody-see-I-am-pro” buyers who may eventually buy this advanced, but still amateur camera thinking that not having built-in flash in it will make they look pro, but I do not think there’s too many customers like that. Most of them bought Canon already and why would they switch to Pentax now?

    Most customers for a camera like that are amateurs with ambitions, but they want to have an universal tool as well – a tool, which if needed, can take flash photo as well in situations, when you carry just a camera with universal zoom and your wife still complains “why do we have to take this if we have a camera in our Lumia phone?”

    I switched to Nikon as D700 appeared. It is semi-pro and HAS flash. I almost do not use it. But I did few times – it really helped! I think potential customers of Pentax K3 will now get D7200 (which is best APS-C camera now in terms of picture quality accompanied with versality).

    I think this is not a way to success. Too bad – I was a Pentax fan for years (still use my wonderful LX).

    • Nacho

      It is almost as wide as smaller dslr and smaller in the other dimenciones.
      k-sX trying to compete with nikon d5X00 is a cheaper range over k3 but with all the features (wifi , screen tilt , etc ).
      And with the K3II I do not like take off the flash, but with the price difference against d7200 or 7D2 you buy a dedicated flash pro

  • TinusVerdino

    Those are some ‘mean’ features indeed. Pixelshift resolution foveon like images, 4.5 stop sr, GPS and Astrotracing.


    Makes the D7200 look over prriced and crippled.

    (Which it is.)

  • Ruben Alonso

    The Nikon D7100 is better and with a better price.

    • SimenO

      Are you kidding, ironic or trolling?

    • Roberto Duran

      You must be drunk.. that should be it..

  • tyler durden

    This sensor in a ricoh GR II would be great

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