Pentax K-3 Mark III additional information and new pictures

Pentax K-3 Mark III additional information and new pictures:

A PentaxForum member posted this recap of a recent CP+ online presentation about the Pentax K-3 III with Kimio Tanaka (Japanese photographer who is close to Pentax/Ricoh and has insider information):

  • Wakashiro san (or PENTAX?) is not thinking about making mirrorless.
  • Tanaka: “Were’nt you planning to name it K-2?” Wakashiro (laughter): “One of the candidates, yes.” Tanaka: “Ah, you had to reserve that for something else, the next one?” Wakashiro (still laughing/smiling, but watch his face when the video is released): “Well, no comment.”
  • K-3 III is a complete redesign almost from the ground up despite its K-3 name. The only parts that weren’t redesigned might be the lens mount, hot shoe, battery and strap ring.
  • Why no tilt LCD? Tanaka san wasn’t happy. Wakashiro san defended using usual Pentax philosophy, also mentioned thinner body.
    • Tanaka san admitted later that, as he kept using the camera, he found himself just relying on OVF more and more. Also very happy about eye sensor to automatically shut LCD off. In previous cameras, when changing anything (e.g. aperture) the LCD responds even if he’s using OVF, and he’d see that out of the corner of his eye, which was a distraction. Not any more.
  • K-3III OVF has a condenser lens that works to correct distortion.
  • There was a comparison of K-3III VS KP OVF view, also VS K-1II OVF. K-3 III view looked about the same size as K-1 II. In the chat window, a few were saying K-1II VF seems to have some coloring.
  • They made the main mirror lighter, improved damper, and used better and more expensive coreless DC motors that start and stop very quickly for mirrors and the shutter. But Wakashiro san said that it wasn’t bad in K-3 II to start with. What was essential to AF during fast bursting was the quick damping of the sub mirror assembly behind the main mirror for the AF sensor, you cannot AF while sub mirror is wobbling.
    • Tanaka san mentioned that blackout during burst is also better as the mirror moves more quickly, or something like that.
  • There’s no electronic shutter except for Pixel Shift Resolution. Tanaka san was unhapy and asked if they can release it as a firmware update. Wakashiro san said he thinks they should.
    • There’s no handheld Pixel Shift Resolution. (I don’t use it, but one in the chat expressed disappointment.)
  • Tanaka san thought that the image quality is better than K-1 II, especially with high ISO. He showed comparison at ISO204800 side by side (night city), and pointed out that K-1 II showed strange horizontal line artifact in the sky, there was none in K-3 III. Both mentioned color fidelity. Black is pure black. Accurate colors. Tanaka san thought that the noise difference was about 1.5 stops (K-3 III is better). Lots of excited comments in the chat window.
  • There was also a comparison with KP at ISO409600. Color is strange on KP, lots of color noise, black doesn’t look black. Wakashiro san said he used to think that color fidelity of KP was good even at high ISO, that PENTAX always paid attention for color fidelity regardless of ISO. Tanaka san made fun saying “but that was not the case”, and Wakashiro san responded by saying that K-3 III is closer to PENTAX’s ideal in that regard.
  • For in-camera jpeg, they used to have “Sharpness”, “Fine sharpness” and “Extra sharpness”. The latter two were combined into to one “Fine Sharpness II”, and this will be the default for jpeg shooters. Some conversation about the differences that I wasn’t able to write down.
  • Wider AF coverage -> larger AF sensor -> larger sub mirror -> had to move the main mirror position -> had to move the pentaprism position. Interesting to me to be told from an engineer how one feature affects everything.
  • OVF subject recognition works for human faces and eyes, birds and cars for now. Eye detection means just that, pupil isn’t detected.
    • It’s possible to feed lots of e.g. airplane pictures to train the deep learning algorithm, which could then be released as the new firmware. (Wakashiro san didn’t say that that’s what they’ll do.)
    • Wakashiro san tested face and eye recognition using his daughter as the subject.
    • Subject recognition works with auto AF points and zone select.
  • Wakashiro: “Motion prediction algorithm is much better too” for AF.C or some such.Tanaka: “Old lenses are slow for tracking” or some such. Wakashiro: “You’ll feel the difference using 300mm lens, I think.”
    • (Not sure which 300mm, but most probably it’s DA* 300mm.)
    • Tanaka san mentioned that AF was the subject of much trash talk and Wakashiro san agreed, but he seemed to be confident in the progress they’ve made.
  • Tanaka: UHS-II is great, makes so much difference. If you buy this camera, buy UHS-II cards.
  • Some jabs back and forth about the delay and release date, but in the end no date was mentioned. “We’re in the final stretch, trying to finish it ASAP” or something. Repeated “20万円台後半” or “upper 200000 JPY range” about the price.
  • Wakashiro (in closing): This camera has no flashy function, but a fun camera to use. It’s difficult to feel that without actually handling one, so I hope we can let you try the actual camera as soon as possible.
  • Tanaka san agreed that it’s really a fun camera to use, and said that he was very happy, like “wow you can make such a good DSLR” happy as a DSLR fan.

Pictures of the upcoming Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR camera (via Capa):

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