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Pentax Ok-3 Mark III Overview: An Glorious, Costly DSLR

Pentax put numerous effort and time into making the Ok-3 Mark III, and it reveals: it’s an enormous leap in tech for a DSLR. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless a DSLR in a mirrorless world, and that notion mixed with a premium worth would possibly maintain again Pentax’s newest $2,000 APS-C digital camera.

The APS-C Ok-3 Mark III from Pentax was in improvement for fairly some time earlier than it launched, and after many teases after which delays, the system was lastly launched.

Pentax’s newest comes loaded with enhancements over the earlier Mark II, together with a brand new autofocus engine, an improved set of instruments for video, a built-like-a-tank rugged and all-weather construct that loyalists to the model have come to know and love, in addition to even a couple of attention-grabbing options that reap the benefits of the fashionable know-how constructed into present smartphones.

The place the system doesn’t appear to maintain updated is with the worth. Sitting at a lofty $1999.99 only for the physique, the K3 Mark III is without doubt one of the dearer APS-C our bodies presently available on the market, particularly when you think about it’s a DSLR system and never mirrorless like most of its opponents.

Construct High quality and Design

The brand new Ok-3 Mark III is definitely simply barely heavier than its predecessor by a mere 20 grams, however contemplating the physique as a complete is made with magnesium enable and this technique has a twin reminiscence card slot, the additional weight is a small worth to pay.

With the Mark III, Pentax has added a brand new dial on the highest proper of the digital camera physique that may change numerous settings on the digital camera. This could be a pleasant addition, nonetheless, the default is about to crop modes and irrespective of what number of instances I took the digital camera out throughout my time with it, my muscle reminiscence stored trying to make use of it to alter the aperture (as a substitute of the one on the again of the digital camera) because it really sits nearer to the place my thumb naturally rests when capturing. A small annoyance that in all probability will get labored out over an extended time with the digital camera, however I believed it price noting.

The viewfinder has a 1.05x magnification with what Pentax says is improved diopter adjustment that enables for higher visible accuracy (helpful for a glasses wearer like myself), and an nearly 10% enhance in brightness from the Mark II, which the corporate hopes will enable shooters to get a a lot clearer view of what they’re aiming at. I might agree, these are good enhancements in apply.

One other noticeable distinction in design from the Mark II vs the Mark III is the eight-way controller/joystick for direct management of the autofocus space sitting on the again of the digital camera simply above the acquainted “inexperienced” button. This extra software makes it very simple to make AF choice changes rapidly when capturing and is a really welcome and great tool.

Total Efficiency

As you’d count on with a DSLR, the battery life with the Pentax Ok-3 Mark III was spectacular. Throughout my complete time testing the digital camera, I by no means charged it aside from its preliminary unboxing, and after capturing two timelapses and plenty of take a look at pictures, there’s nonetheless greater than half a cost left on the battery.

The official handbook states the battery is formally rated for 800 pictures per cost, however in apply, I’ve discovered I’ve been in a position to get many extra shutter actuations than that. In the event you want extra life, the system additionally has an optionally available battery grip obtainable for many who know they could have an extra-long day of capturing forward. It’s price noting that the Ok-3 Mark III battery may be charged in-camera utilizing a USB-C cable related to a pc or an influence adapter, which is turning into extra widespread on mirrorless cameras, making it a pleasant aggressive function to seek out right here.

Utilizing the Pentax Ok-3 Mark III was fairly simple and simple to get used to. The menu and data shows on the rear of the digital camera are very informative. It has choices to point out both the stay view or a type of “heads-up-display” with any and all of the related data you’d want in your settings that’s then simply and rapidly accessed.

What was much more spectacular (at the very least to me) was the three.2-inch contact display show will routinely rotate from horizontal to vertical primarily based on the orientation of the digital camera to the bottom, guaranteeing it’s at all times simple to see, learn, and make changes as wanted. The velocity of this auto-orientation was additionally excellent and seems to be so responsive that it does it even quicker than my iPhone. The contact display can even can help you rapidly choose focus factors by tapping the display in stay view mode, they usually can set off the shutter from right here as effectively must you wish to choose focus and get the shot instantly.

My solely grievance with the show is that it doesn’t tilt or pivot in any respect like most trendy mirrorless programs, which means, if you must get a low/tough angle for a shot, you’re again to crawling by way of the grime to get it if you wish to see what you’re getting. It’s a little bit of an odd design determination since Pentax has built-in some actually distinctive and funky articulating designs on its previous cameras. To ditch these completely right here looks like a missed alternative, particularly since some form of articulation is just about normal on all new cameras.

Alternatively, you may decide to make use of the cellular app — obtainable for Android and iPhone — to regulate the digital camera when capturing on the tougher angles and positions if you end up in a tricky spot.

The Ok-3 Mark III positively feels as if it might work effectively for both a journey or motion photographer, because it boasts a burst velocity of 12 frames per second, a rise over the 8.3 frames per second in its predecessor. It additionally has a powerful buffer dimension to go alongside it.

Throughout some testing of surfers on the seaside, it took about 25 to 30 RAW plus JPEG frames earlier than it began to decelerate. When you replenish that buffer from steady capturing, you’ll want to attend about 10 to twenty seconds with a contemporary UHS-II card earlier than the pictures absolutely clear, so preserve that at the back of your thoughts if you happen to’re going to be capturing a excessive quantity of burst pictures. As a notice on this, solely the first card slot is UHS-II appropriate. The backup slot solely writes at UHS-I speeds.

Given that is an APS-C system, the 1.5x crop issue will make you modify the way in which you shoot if you happen to’ve gotten used to full-frame setups like me. To be sincere, I believed capturing on a crop sensor would hassle me extra, however the Ok-3 Mark III was truthfully really easy to shoot with, I rapidly forgot these worries particularly since I used to be capturing motion from afar and the system doesn’t skimp on the decision.

Talking of decision, the Ok-3 Mark III has an efficient decision of 25.7 megapixels and a most file dimension of 6192 x 4128 pixels, which is greater than sufficient to allow you to get every little thing you’d need out of a print.

The system has a five-axis “Shake Discount System” able to dealing with as much as 5.5 stops, with a fast entry button to allow/disable and swap between modes proper on the facet of the digital camera. Having in-body picture stabilization is nice, nevertheless it’s a bit unusual on a DSLR the place you may’t really see it in motion whereas capturing for the reason that digital camera makes use of a pentaprism, not an digital viewfinder. I discovered that it really works fairly effectively, on par with the stabilization present in different producers’ programs, it simply took some getting used to since — at the very least for images — you may solely see the outcomes after the actual fact.

In some images under, I used to be zoomed in so far as 300mm in some instances and my fingers had been fairly shakey, however the system corrected for it fantastically.

Picture High quality and ISO

The Pentax Ok-3 Mark III boasts a powerful native ISO vary of 100 to 1,600,000. Clearly, most of us would by no means ever have cause to go this excessive for our capturing, however it is vitally good to know that ought to you ever be in a scenario the place you want it, the digital camera is sort of able to delivering at that vary.

6,400 ISO
25,600 ISO
102,400 ISO
204,800 ISO
1,600,000 ISO

The photographs above don’t have any noise discount utilized and, as you may see, the small print even as much as iso 102,400 are fairly respectable, particularly contemplating that is an APS-C system. Whereas the small particulars are missed when capturing at this excessive an ISO, it’s really fairly good to see the colours come by way of precisely. It isn’t till you hit ISO 204,800 that the colours (together with the small print) begin to muddy. The excellent news is the digital camera has some fairly respectable noise discount filters constructed into it that, as soon as enabled and modify to your style, ought to make it a greater expertise to shoot at these excessive ISOs.

Whereas the Ok-3 Mark III is principally a stills shooter’s digital camera, it might additionally shoot 4K video at as much as 30 frames per second. The physique consists of ports for each exterior headphones and an exterior microphone for improved audio recording and monitoring as effectively and whereas a DSLR is just not usually the go-to system for videographers on the go and its recording specs aren’t notably spectacular in comparison with the sector, it’s good to know that If you could shoot some 4K footage at a second’s discover, the Ok-3 Mark III can ship.

I discovered that the colours rendered on the Ok-3 Mark III sensor are correct even in harsh vibrant lighting situations to darkish settings (you may see this within the pattern images under), and if you happen to occur to be an astrophotography fan, the digital camera nonetheless helps the AstroTracer star monitoring operate that strikes the sensor barely whereas capturing to compensate for the earth’s rotation which permits for longer night time sky pictures with pinpoint stars. Granted, to take full benefit of this function, shooters might want to add the Pentax O-GPS1 software for $196.95.


Pentax says the Ok-3 Mark III has a enormously improved autofocus system in comparison with its predecessor. The place the Mark II had 27 AF factors, the Mark III multiplies this to 101 phase-detection AF factors, with 25 of those factors being the extra delicate cross-type which might be able to performing fairly precisely even right down to -4 EV. Additionally obtainable within the Mark III is help for eye detection within the viewfinder. Whereas not as correct as Canon or Sony programs and their extra superior mirrorless tech, it’s nonetheless a helpful function on the DSLR digital camera, particularly when doing portraits.

Throughout my testing, I used the 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 lens which will not be a premium lens, however autofocus was nonetheless quick and fairly correct. It did effectively for motion pictures, which I examined with surfers. There have been a couple of missed focus moments all through my testing, however nothing out of the unusual when capturing from a distance or with numerous movement within the body. Pairing the improved autofocus with the digital camera’s stabilization system makes it doable to seize nearly half-second exposures whereas capturing hand-held for wider pictures.

Pattern Photos

Well worth the Wait….For Current Pentax Shooters

For Pentax shooters, the Ok-3 Mark III marks an extended three-year anticipate an replace, and the system does ship a number of causes for these shooters to make the improve together with improved autofocus, 4K (cropped) video, a a lot larger ISO functionality, quicker burst capturing speeds, and an general improved picture sensor all with the continued compatibility with lenses relationship again 50 years. Fans and model loyalists will certainly love every little thing this new system has to supply, particularly after such an extended wait. It’s formally Pentax’s quickest digital camera so far, and it affords a superb different for wildlife and motion shooters that would like to stay with DSLRs as a substitute of constructing the leap into mirrorless and EVF programs.

I ought to notice that with the disadvantages stacked towards it (it’s a DSLR, it’s a crop-sensor, and Pentax solely provided one entry “all-in-one” lens for me to check it with), that I nonetheless actually favored the digital camera. That’s saying one thing. I simply don’t suppose it’s going to sway anybody already invested in one other system to choose up a Pentax. It’s an ideal love letter to present homeowners, however that’s it.

Are There Alternate options?

Evaluating options straight up, there are numerous alternate options to the Ok-3 Mark III, most of which can be found at a considerably decrease price of entry. For these trying to persist with the DSLR system, the Nikon D500, whereas considerably older, affords many related options to the Ok-3 Mark III and it solely prices $1499. Making the leap over to the mirrorless world, you have got a number of choices together with the Fujifilm X-T4 for $1699, the Sony Alpha 6400 for simply $898, and the Nikon Z50, equally priced at $859.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Perhaps. In the event you already personal Pentax cameras and lenses, then the replace to the Ok-3 Mark III is price it regardless of the premium worth for an APS-C DSLR. The options and parts which were up to date work very effectively and supply numerous new and improved instruments to the Pentax shooter’s arsenal. For everybody else, this technique shall be a tough digital camera buy to justify.

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