Pentax K-3mkIII Impressions

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
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Gordon
Allrightythen.

K-3mkIII. Impressions thread. If anyone else here ends up with one, feel free to add yours.

My new K-3mkIII arrived yesterday evening.

I'll be adding better (I hope) images and size comparisons as I make time to shoot them.

original.jpg
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Ergos and haptics:

This thing is solid. Ergos are kinda like a slightly down-sized K-1, with some refinements. For me and my hands/ fingers, this is a good thing.

Some of the button locations have changed, which will take a little getting used to, as will the Smart Function arrangement. Big difference from the K-1, but much more customizable on the K3mkIII.

AF joystick is significantly better for my thumb than the Fuji version.

Surprisingly, unlike the K-5 I had years ago, I don't feel the urge to immediately add the battery grip. I will add one later, mainly for airshow use.

Menu system has completely changed. From what others are saying, it is like the GRIII menu. It will take me a little time to get used to it. Switching back and forth between this menu and the K-1 menu might cause me some hesitation, we'll see.

Along with the new menu, the K-3mkIII seems more customizable than the K-1. Good thing, except it does add more complexity when you are figuring things out for customization, or making changes at a later point.

Rear LCD is touchscreen. I don't use those much, but will see how this one works for me at some point.

Rear LCD is fixed. A lot of people are seriously worked up over that. Doesn't matter much to me as this is primarily an airshow/ birding camera for me. And when used for other stuff, I can make do without the flippy tilty screen.


AF System:

One of the two areas that received major attention and improvement compared to previous Pentax APS-C bodies.

Kudos to Pentax. AF on the lenses I have tried so far is a bit zippier, and less cha-cha-cha fine tuning on the screw-drive lenses.

The DA*300 almost feels like a new lens. I know the AF speed is limited by the AF motor, and the old SDM is a dog compared to the newer AF motors, but this certainly does feel a little quicker. The AF on the K-3mkIII is quicker and more decisive than the K-1. The 300 is finding focus and locking much quicker on the small birds in the tree. I'll post additional info on other lenses as I use them.

At my current health and activity levels it will take me a while to figure out all of the various AF system configurations and get the settings that work best for me and what I shoot.


OVF:

This was the other area that received attention, and it shows (ha) IMHO.

Definitely brighter, big plus.

Image is larger, inside the viewfinder. Still has a limited FoV when looking into the OVF. A problem that has spread to almost every camera. Nikon F3HP, F4, D1 and D2 series had a nice large circular viewport with little or no restrictions. Most cameras since then have a rectangular mask (I assume to block light instead of adding a decent eye piece shutter) that restricts viewing. This can be a bigger problem for some people than others.

Today, in daylight, I spent time swapping the K-1 and K-3mkIII and looking through the OVFs. Kudos to Pentax. This APS-C OVF looks as bright (to my eyes) as the K-1. And it is clear.

The aforementioned issue with limited FoV looking into the OVF. After several dozen swaps, to my eyes it looks only slightly worse than the K-1 OVF in that regard. On both cameras, if I hold the camera close to perpendicular to my head and mash the eyecup against my Neanderthal brow-ridge, I cannot see all 4 corners of the image. On both cameras, if I shift my head about 45° left and then mash the eyecup against my brow-ridge, I can see more of the image, but still cannot see all 4 corners.


Conclusion so far:

I'll need time and a lot of use to see if the OVF will be the cause of eyestrain and headaches. If it doesn't cause any issues, I think it will be a keeper due to all of the other improvements.
 

Iron

Regular
Rear LCD is fixed. A lot of people are seriously worked up over that. Doesn't matter much to me as this is primarily an airshow/ birding camera for me. And when used for other stuff, I can make do without the flippy tilty screen.
A smartphone can always be connected for remote shooting for those awkward angle shots. At least, that's what I do with my fixed-screen.

At my current health and activity levels it will take me a while to figure out all of the various AF system configurations and get the settings that work best for me and what I shoot.
Based on what I have seen so far, it's a proper complex camera. They've even setup a YT channel just for menu operations.

Compared to the X-H1
Interesting. There isn't that much between them in terms of size. The other one is dSLR, though while the other one is supposed to be much smaller because of the absence of the mirror. Hmmm.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
A smartphone can always be connected for remote shooting for those awkward angle shots. At least, that's what I do with my fixed-screen.


Based on what I have seen so far, it's a proper complex camera. They've even setup a YT channel just for menu operations.


Interesting. There isn't that much between them in terms of size. The other one is dSLR, though while the other one is supposed to be much smaller because of the absence of the mirror. Hmmm.

Yup. The new camera has several options for connectivity - BT and wireless. Not sure if I'll use those features myself. Also the ability to pair with your phone to gather the GPS data. (K-3III does not have GPS onboard due to the all-metal frame and increased size of the pentaprism. It's nice having GPS and Astrotracer built-in on the K-1, but it has a composite pentaprism cover that can be damaged, and have to be replaced to regain weather resistance.)

I ran across that channel based on conversation over on Pentax Forums. I'll be spending a bit more time there as I get used to the camera.

WRT size, Pentax has been on the small size compared to other DSLRs all along. The X-H1 isn't "huge" IMHO (borderline too small for my hands/ fingers), and is actually wider than the K-3III. The Pentax cameras are heavier. The main dimension where reduction is most noticeable is depth of body due to the lack of a mirror box.

I might do a couple shots showing the size difference between the X100F as I have it setup for use and the K3III.
 

Iron

Regular
WRT size, Pentax has been on the small size compared to other DSLRs all along. The X-H1 isn't "huge" IMHO (borderline too small for my hands/ fingers), and is actually wider than the K-3III. The Pentax cameras are heavier. The main dimension where reduction is most noticeable is depth of body due to the lack of a mirror box.
I find it fascinating especially when I think about the KP being smaller than the K-3 III, the K-70 being smaller than the KP and the K-S2 being slightly smaller than the K-70.
K-3 III vs KP
1619928528720.png


KP vs K-70
1619928648813.png


K-70 vs K-S2 (Sorry, the front view show sthe cameras being invisible.)
1619928753575.png


K-3 III vs K-S2
1619928861587.png


The mirror box/pentaprism will surely be making the centre part thicker but the height and the width are what people will see on the streets.

Pentax cameras always use stainless steel chassis, hence their weight, but they've always had good ergonomics.

Looking forward to your next part of the review. Cheers.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
I've always found it a bit funny how people just ignore Pentax when looking for smaller cameras. It doesn't help that there is essentially no advertising and almost no store presence.

Every single person I've let handle my Pentax stuff going back the to K-5 has had a variation of a "wow, this is nice" comment, especially when paired with the smaller Limited lenses.

Ah well.

Oh, almost forgot the obligatory "Pentax is doomed..." :whistling:
 

Iron

Regular
It doesn't help that there is essentially no advertising and almost no store presence.
Totally agree, I understand dSLR Pentaxians buying the K-3 III without even seeing it because they are sure they will like the ergonomics. I, myself, would like to try any camera first before buying. Regarding buying the K-3 III, I may be able to handle/try one on my next visit to the South Island where many Photographers I know have already received their copy.

especially when paired with the smaller Limited lenses.
The smaller limited pancake lenses make my Panny 20mm f/1.7 look chubby!

Oh, almost forgot the obligatory "Pentax is doomed..." :whistling:
Many gear reviewers have been saying that since the release of the ist D. I was told by many financial analysts (You know, there's almost always one around the corner) that Ricoh-Pentax are just treating the camera industry like how it was up to around 40 years ago, slow model releases and low production volume for sustainability. I can see into that as we have a similar model in the business. As long as they are profitable, we will be able to see newer models. Now, the whole camera industry is rapidly heading to shipment levels similar to around 40 years ago, many analysts say. Cheers.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
If Pentax can continue drawing attention to the level of refinement and quality of this new camera, they might be able to attract passed on what TOP calls a Leica-like veblen goods image. It's expensive therefore more people want it. There's certainly no already existing niche for high-end DSLRs which emphasize the styling and refinement like the K3iii does.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Totally agree, I understand dSLR Pentaxians buying the K-3 III without even seeing it because they are sure they will like the ergonomics. I, myself, would like to try any camera first before buying. Regarding buying the K-3 III, I may be able to handle/try one on my next visit to the South Island where many Photographers I know have already received their copy.


The smaller limited pancake lenses make my Panny 20mm f/1.7 look chubby!


Many gear reviewers have been saying that since the release of the ist D. I was told by many financial analysts (You know, there's almost always one around the corner) that Ricoh-Pentax are just treating the camera industry like how it was up to around 40 years ago, slow model releases and low production volume for sustainability. I can see into that as we have a similar model in the business. As long as they are profitable, we will be able to see newer models. Now, the whole camera industry is rapidly heading to shipment levels similar to around 40 years ago, many analysts say. Cheers.

Getting one in your hands would be a good thing. I was able to do that with the K-1, had to drive three hours each way to the shop that had one (and I drove away with it). Not an option with this one, unfortunately.

Some of the Limiteds are awesome size wise. If I use the K-3III for a travel camera, I'll likely be getting either the 15 or 21, and 70.

Honestly, I think Ricoh Pentax are making smart moves. Might pay off long term as the market contracts.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
If Pentax can continue drawing attention to the level of refinement and quality of this new camera, they might be able to attract passed on what TOP calls a Leica-like veblen goods image. It's expensive therefore more people want it. There's certainly no already existing niche for high-end DSLRs which emphasize the styling and refinement like the K3iii does.

Agreed.

Having one brand concentrate on high-quality DSLRs isn't a bad thing IMHO. And I don't think they're going to completely abandon the lower end - I think they'll offer at least one camera along the lines of a KP or K-70.

There will likely always be some people who prefer or need an OVF vs EVF.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
After I learned that Pentax K can adapt a M42 lens without a hitch, I've had some interest towards the cameras. Good cameras, these Pentaxen, and here's to hoping that the K3iii does well.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
After I learned that Pentax K can adapt a M42 lens without a hitch, I've had some interest towards the cameras. Good cameras, these Pentaxen, and here's to hoping that the K3iii does well.

Pentax used M42 before changing to K-mount.

K-3mkIII seems to be selling well so far, hopefully sales continue to do well after the initial surge takes care of most of the pent-up demand.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Nothing new to report so far other than:

1) It is going to take me a while to figure out which setting combinations work best for me and what I shoot/ the way I like to shoot.

2) No eye strain noted yet, but I'll have to do like the K-1 and bias my view to the bottom of the screen so I can see settings and the AF confirmation indicator.

3) There's just enough difference in operation and button placement between the K-3III and my K-1 that it's going to cause me hesitation at times as I recall the correct button/ mode of operation. This won't be a problem for some (most?) people, but I can tell it will be for me. I'll have to see how much of a problem it is once I'm more familiar with the K-3III.

As for lenses, my 200 and 300 are performing a bit better on the K-3III than the K-1, but they still have the occasional focus issues that might be indicating impending SDM failure. I'll have to give some serious thought to the path forward with regards to glass.
 

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