Pentax K-3 II review

It's tough, fast and powerful, and Pentax's new DSLR is aimed at adventurers

Pentax K-3 II

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While Pentax hasn't completely overhauled its already very good K-3 to produce the K-3 II, it has added some novel and potentially very useful technology that will encourage many enthusiast photographers to take a second look at a camera that isn't a Canon or Nikon.

Pixel Shift Resolution Technology is of particular interest, and it's good to see companies coming up with innovative ways to produce the best possible images. In practice, the difference between regular images and those shot in Pixel Shift mode is barely noticeable for the majority of subjects, although you may appreciate it if you're the kind of photographer who likes to capture ultra-high detail macro and still life images.

Pixel-shifting aside, images shot in standard resolution are excellent, with plenty of detail and vibrant colours that can be customised to suit particular subjects or personal taste.

As we saw with the first generation of this camera, noise is handled very well. You can go up to ISO 3200 with confidence, and although the higher settings result in grainy and noisy shots they're usable if getting the shot is important and if you don't need a particularly large image.

In use, the camera feels solid and secure, with a robust and well-built body that fits comfortably into your hand. Enthusiast photographers will appreciate the plentiful and well laid out controls, and the intuitive and easily navigable menus.

Having a 100% viewfinder is relatively rare at this price point; it's a great feature to see, and it means you can be sure that everything you see in the finder will appear in your shot. The K-3 II's rear LCD is also very good although, while I'm not too bothered by the lack of a touchscreen in this case, it would be nice to a least have an articulating device for framing awkward shots.

We liked

The K-3 II is a superb camera to handle, and the fact that it's weatherproof is good news for landscape, nature and travel photographers. It feels like a solidly made, quality piece of kit – which isn't always the case at this price point. The dials and buttons are well thought out, and adjusting most settings is straightforward.

We disliked

There are a few things missing from the K-3-II which you will find on rival cameras; things like inbuilt Wi-Fi (though you can add this with a Flu Card at additional expense) and a touch-sensitive and/or articulating screen.

Final Verdict

The K-3 II offers excellent build quality and some interesting features at a reasonable price. It's a good all-rounder DSLR that's capable of delivering high-quality images across a range of subjects.

For photographers who aren't tied into the idea of a Canon or Nikon model, it's a genuine alternative – if, for example, you're looking for the next step up from a beginner DSLR and don't already have a collection of lenses from another stable.

If you're already a Pentax owner you'll find a lot to like about the K-3 II, especially if you're upgrading from an older or entry-level model; although If you own the K-3 there's not too much here to tempt you to upgrade, unless you're looking for the most ultra-detailed images.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.