Pentax K-3

Pentax K-3 front
  • 24MP - APS-C Sensor
  • 3.2" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 51200
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • No Anti-Alias Filter
  • 1/8000s Maximum Shutter
  • 1920 x 1080 video
  • Pentax KAF2 Mount
  • 800g - 131 x 100 x 77mm
  • Announced April 2014
  • Replacement is Pentax K-3 II
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Pentax K-3 summary

Pentax K-3 is Pentax's Advanced DSLR digital camera originally released on April of 2014. It uses a 24 MegaPixel, CMOS APS-C sized sensor and has a max resolution of 6016 x 4000.

Pentax brought out the updated Pentax K-3 II (Read Full Comparison) in an effort to update this model.

The K-3 is positioned #24 out of 92 in Advanced DSLR cameras & over-all #134 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our list. You should use our Advanced camera filter to find camera results based on your personal factors.

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Here is a graph of specific factors used in the rating system.

Pentax K-3 history

The Pentax K-3 has a history of related digital cameras. Below, you can see all earlier and new models along with main specs.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Pentax-K-3-Mark-III front thumbnailPentax K-3 III
K-3 vs K-3 III
26MPAPS-C12.0 fps2021
Pentax-KP front thumbnailPentax KP
K-3 vs KP
24MPAPS-C7.0 fps2017
Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing
Pentax-K-3-II front thumbnailPentax K-3 II
K-3 vs K-3 II
24MPAPS-C8.3 fps2015
Pentax-K-S1 front thumbnailPentax K-S1
K-3 vs K-S1
20MPAPS-C5.4 fps2014
Pentax-K-3 front thumbnailPentax K-324MPAPS-C8.0 fps2014
Pentax-K-5-IIs front thumbnailPentax K-5 IIs
K-3 vs K-5 IIs
16MPAPS-C7.0 fps2013
Samsung Releases Faster Versions of EVO MicroSD Cards
Pentax-K-5-II front thumbnailPentax K-5 II
K-3 vs K-5 II
16MPAPS-C7.0 fps2013

Pentax K-3 Pros and Cons

Below is a shortlist of positives and negatives of the Pentax K-3 based on aspects which are normally considered crucial in a digital camera.

above average high ISO (51,200)
above average minimum ISO (100)
comes with Top LCD screen
decent sensor size (APS-C)
environment sealing
features face detection focusing
features tracking autofocus
flash built-in
focusing manually
great max shutter speed (1/8,000 seconds)
has external microphone socket
has HDMI socket
has headphone socket
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
has phase detect AF
high quality video (1920 x 1080 pixels)
nice clear screen (1,037 thousand dots)
no anti aliasing filter
screen size is decent (3.2 inches)
sensor resolution is decent (24MP)
supports RAW files
swap lenses (Pentax KAF2 mount)
two card slots
does not posses selfie friendly screen
fixed screen
low battery pack (560 CIPA)
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Pentax K-3 Sensor specifications

The Pentax K-3 houses the Prime III processor. The sensor size in the Pentax K-3 is 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C). The 367 mm² sensor has the ability to capture 6016 x 4000 pixels and aspect ratios of 3:2. The camera comes with Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Optical stabilization is more desirable than digital stabilization as the latter can cause cropping.

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The CMOS sensor has 24MP and supports a standard ISO range of 100 - 51200. RAW photos are supported which means that the user has wider room to maneuver in post.

Pentax opted to skip the anti aliasing filter in the Pentax K-3. This could result in more sharper images but may introduce moire in certain conditions.

The picture underneath displays the K-3's sensor dimensions when compared to other popular sizes. The K-3 sensor has a crop factor of 1.5 and is showcased in green.

Pentax K-3 sensor size Photography Glossary

To get a sense of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Pentax K-3 dimensions

Pentax K-3 weighs 1.76 pounds (800 grams / 28.22 ounces) & the measurement of the camera is 131mm x 100mm x 77mm (5.2" x 3.9" x 3.0"). The weight of typical Advanced DSLR camera is 776 grams so the Pentax K-3 is very much the same compared with its competitors.

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Here is a shot of the Pentax K-3 besides a soda to help you get a sense of its scale.

Pentax K-3 dimensions scale

The top view under will provide the button layout on the K-3.

Pentax K-3 topview buttons dials

Pentax K-3 Lens specifications

The K-3 works with the Pentax KAF2 mount and has 17 lenses to pick from. Below is a few of the lenses we have in our collection which will work with the K-3.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Pentax-smc-DA-60-250mm-F4.0-ED-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 60-250mm F4.0 ED IF SDM60-250mmf/4.0 1040g
Samsung-D-Xenon-35mm-F2-AL lensSamsung D-Xenon 35mm F2 AL35mmf/2.0 195g
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Samsung-D-Xenon-16-45mm-F4 lensSamsung D-Xenon 16-45mm F416-45mmf/4.0 365g
Venus-Laowa-25mm-F2.8-2.5-5X-Ultra-Macro-Pentax-KAF2 lensVenus Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro25mmf/2.8400g
Pentax-smc-DA-16-50mm-F2.8-ED-AL-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL IF SDM16-50mmf/2.8 565g
Pentax-smc-DA-300mm-F4.0-ED-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 300mm F4.0 ED IF SDM300mmf/4.0 1070g
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Samsung-D-Xenon-100mm-F2.8-macro lensSamsung D-Xenon 100mm F2.8 macro100mmf/2.8 345g
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Pentax K-3 Connectivity

The K-3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes
  • GPS Yes

Digital cameras that come with NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility can easily be used wirelessly via smartphones. You are able to copy files and usually alter settings without connecting physically to the camera.

A few applications even give a Liveview and hit the shutter in case you are not near the camera. If the camera contains a HDMI port, it could be attached to an external screen. The majority of cameras enable you to recharge the battery pack through the USB port.

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Pentax K-3 Video specifications

The max video resolution in the Pentax K-3 is 1920 x 1080 and you can shoot in MPEG-4 and H.264 file format. 1080p resolution gives you an excellent balance in video quality versus file sizes but 1080p isn't going to leave you with any room to downsample. The body does include both headphone and microphone socket making it incredibly valuable while recording audio.

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Pentax K-3 Weather Sealing

Pentax K-3 has got environment proofing which makes it a very good option for use in rough locations. This is particularly beneficial in case you are uncertain about the elements you might encounter in outdoor photography.

Pentax K-3 Screen and Viewfinder

The Pentax K-3 houses a 3.2 inch fixed display screen supporting a resolution of 1,037 thousand dots.

Sadly the display screen isn't a touch screen. The K-3 also has a builtin Top LCD screen in order to instantly checkout the camera's settings.

Pentax K-3 screen and viewfinder Samsung Releases Faster Versions of EVO MicroSD Cards

The View Finder specs for Pentax K-3 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism)
  • Coverage 100%
  • Magnification 0.64x

For sunny outdoor situations which make the camera displays washed out and tricky to see, viewfinders are particularly helpful.

Pentax K-3 Shutter specifications

Pentax K-3 continuous shooting rate is 8.0 frames per second. The max shutter speed is 1/8000 sec.

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Pentax K-3 Flash and Hot shoe specifications

Pentax K-3 comes with both built in flash together with external flash support. The highest flash sync is 1/180 sec.

Pentax K-3 Autofocusing specifications

Pentax K-3 comes with both Phase Detect AF as well as Contrast Detect AF. Phase Detection focusing is a lot quicker & accurate when compared to Contrast Detect focusing. The camera boasts Face detection which is helpful for taking portraits of people.

It boasts 27 focus points to select from. It also includes Tracking AF for moving subjects. Pentax K-3 has manual focus if needed in low light occasions or you want to have more accurate focus control.

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Pentax K-3 Battery life

The battery pack (D-LI90) on the Pentax K-3 is made to last for 560 photographs based on the CIPA requirements making it lesser when compared to it's competition. The usual Advanced DSLR camera battery life is 909. Nikon D780 features the maximum (2260) battery life in this category of cameras.

Below is a listing of Advanced DSLR cameras having the best battery life:

ModelVisualizeBattery LifeRAWNFCBluetooth
Nikon-D780 front thumbnailNikon D780
K-3 vs D780
2260 yesnoyes
Nikon-D850 front thumbnailNikon D850
K-3 vs D850
1840 yesyesyes
Photography Glossary
Nikon-Df front thumbnailNikon Df
K-3 vs Df
1400 yesnono
Canon-EOS-90D front thumbnailCanon 90D
K-3 vs 90D
1300 yesnoyes
Nikon-D500 front thumbnailNikon D500
K-3 vs D500
1240 yesyesyes

Pentax K-3 for varying forms of photography

The following bar chart displays a outline of the Pentax K-3 for varying forms of photography. To learn more, scroll to the specific paragraph underneath.

Portrait photography with Pentax K-3

The Pentax K-3 has a points total of 79 which is excellent, and means the camera is a outstanding fit to use for portrait photos. Shooting portrait photos leans greatly towards sensor size, RAW support together with the flexibility to utilize off-camera lighting.

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you can focus manually
good resolution (24 megapixels)
good sensor size (APS-C)
supports face detection focusing
supports RAW files

Pentax K-3 Street photography factors

With a nice rating of 69, the Pentax K-3 is a good option for street photography. A decent street photography camera gives a perfect balance of picture quality plus portability.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is good (APS-C)
supports RAW formats
weather proofing
very good ISO range (51,200)
no moving screen

Pentax K-3 Sports photography details

A tremendous sports photography score of 76 suggests the Pentax K-3 is a great pick for taking photos of sports. A camera needs great tracking plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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high shutter speed (1/8,000s)
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
megapixel count decent (24MP)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
provides tracking autofocus
environment proof
has phase detect autofocus
bad battery power (560 CIPA)

Pentax K-3 as a Travel photography camera

Size is super critical in getting a camera for travel. All things considered, the Pentax K-3 gets a reasonable 60 for a travelling camera which makes it reasonably suitable to take on your holidays.

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weather proof
sensor resolution is decent (24 megapixels)
flash built-in
bad battery power (560 shots)
doesn't posses selfie friendly screen

Pentax K-3 Landscape photography details

If you're planning to buy a digital camera for landscape photographs, the biggest factor will be image quality. The Pentax K-3 at it's outstanding score of 78 for a landscape camera is a tremendous pick in the current marketplace.

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has manual focus
change lenses (Pentax KAF2 mount)
pretty good screen size (3.2")
image stabilization (Sensor based)
decent sensor resolution (24 megapixels)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
no anti aliasing filter
good high ISO (51,200)
exports RAW files
weather proofing
has dual storage slots
terrible battery power (560 shots)

Pentax K-3 Vlogging details

A camera for vlogging really should come with a moving screen, microphone port and ideally IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Pentax K-3 is just not good as a vlog camera as it comes to a lousy rating of 34.

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built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
offers face detect focus
video resolution high (1920 x 1080 pixels)
has mic jack
doesn't contain selfie friendly screen

Pentax K-3 Alternatives

If you are searching for replacements to the K-3, here is a range of the highest ranked cameras that fall under the family of Advanced DSLR.

The diagram down below gives you an overview of the K-3 compared to it's top rated competitors mentioned above.

Here are a handful of other cameras you may look into as alternative options. To check out a detailed comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Pentax K-3
Advanced DSLR
Physical type
Mid-size SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Prime III
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.5 x 15.6mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
Highest Possible resolution
6016 x 4000
RAW files
Maximum native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Manual focus
Autofocus touch
Continuous autofocus
Single autofocus
Tracking autofocus
Autofocus selectice
Center weighted autofocus
Autofocus multi area
Live view autofocus
Face detection autofocus
Contract detection autofocus
Phase detection autofocus
Number of focus points
Cross focus points
Lens mounting type
Pentax KAF2
Number of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Type of screen
Fixed Type
Screen diagonal
3.2 inches
Resolution of screen
1,037 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Screen tech
TFT LCD monitor
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO Overall score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Min shutter speed
30 secs
Max shutter speed
1/8000 secs
Continuous shutter rate
8.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
13.00 m (at ISO 100)
Flash modes
Auto, on, off, red-eye, slow sync, slow sync + red-eye, trailing curtain sync, high speed, wireless, manual
Hot shoe
WB bracketing
Max flash synchronize
1/180 secs
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p)
Maximum video resolution
Video data format
MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone port
Headphone port
USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
800 gr (1.76 lbs)
Physical dimensions
131 x 100 x 77mm (5.2" x 3.9" x 3.0")
Battery life
560 images
Battery type
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes ( 2 or 12 seconds)
Time lapse recording
Storage type
Card slots
Launch price