Blog Pentax K-3 Review: A Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Camera

The Pentax K-3 is a high-performance DSLR camera that is designed to meet the needs of professional photographers and enthusiasts. With its exceptional image quality and advanced features, this model has quickly become a favorite among photographers worldwide. If you're looking for a reliable camera that can capture stunning photos and videos, then the Pentax K-3 is definitely worth considering.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Pentax K-3 article cover photo

Key Features

Apr 10 2014


24 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

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Overview of the K-3

As a photographer, you want to make sure you have the best possible equipment to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Enter the Pentax K-3, a powerhouse of a camera that delivers exceptional performance and image quality. This camera offers a host of advanced features that make it a top choice for professional photographers and enthusiasts alike. From its high-resolution sensor to its robust build quality, there is a lot to love about the Pentax K-3. In this comprehensive guide, we will go over all the key features of this camera and provide an in-depth review of its capabilities. Whether you're looking to upgrade your gear or simply want to learn more about the Pentax K-3, you've come to the right place.

Pentax K-3 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Pentax K-3 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High resolution (24 megapixels)
Weather-sealed body
In-body image stabilization
8.3 fps continuous shooting
Dual memory card slots
Large buffer capacity
Good low-light performance
Accurate autofocus system
Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
Full HD video recording


Moderate battery life
Limited lens selection compared to other brands
Autofocus system not as advanced as some competitors
Expensive compared to other mid-range DSLRs
Heavy and bulky body
Limited ISO range compared to some competitors
No built-in flash
Limited dynamic range compared to some competitors
LCD screen not touch-sensitive

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Pentax K-3

Weather sealed
Dimensions131 x 100 x 77mm

Weather Sealing

The Pentax K-3 camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the K-3 is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution1,037k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.20" screen, with a display resolution of 1,037k dots. This makes the Pentax K-3 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


K-3 includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.64x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Pentax K-3 has a 24MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 24 pixels. Pentax K-3 has a native ISO range of 100 - 51200 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Apr 10 2014


100 - 51200

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution6016 x 4000 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


80 / 102

Color Depth

23.7 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

13.4 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

1216 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Pentax K-3 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the K-3 is average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageDual SD/SDHC/SDXC
Battery Life560 shots
Battery ModelD-LI90
Wireless Connectivity


The Pentax K-3 supports Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC with 2 slots for storage. Having dual SD card slots on the Pentax K-3 is highly advantageous as it mitigates the risk of losing footage due to memory card malfunctions. This feature is particularly beneficial for wedding photography and other professional settings.


The Pentax K-3 uses the D-LI90 model of battery pack. This is rated for 560 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Pentax K-3 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Pentax K-3 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Pentax K-3 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 27 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Pentax K-3?

The Pentax K-3 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Pentax K-3 weather sealed?

Yes the K-3 does have weather sealing.

When was the Pentax K-3 announced?

The Pentax K-3 was announced on Apr 10 2014

Does the Pentax K-3 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the K-3 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Pentax K-3?

The K-3 has a native ISO range of 100-51200, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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