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We shoot a specially designed chart in carefully controlled conditions and the resulting images are analysed using DXO Analyzer software to generate the data to produce the graphs below.
A high signal to noise ratio (SNR) indicates a cleaner and better quality image.
For more more details on how to interpret our test data, check out our full explanation of our noise and dynamic range tests.
JPEG signal to noise ratio
The Pentax SLR does very well in this chart, beating all of the other cameras on test quite comfortably throughout the sensitivity range. The other three cameras are fairly closely matched, and are the nearest competitors to the K-3.
Raw signal to noise ratio
The K-3 also does a good job for raw format files (after conversion to TIFF). It starts off at roughly the same point as the other cameras on test, before beating them from ISO 200 - 3200, where it is overtaken slightly by the Sony Alpha 77 and the Nikon D7100.
JPEG dynamic range
In terms of dynamic range, we have another impressive performance for JPEG files. At the very lowest sensitivities (ISO 100 - 200), it is beaten by the Nikon D7100, but after that, the K-3 beats all of the other cameras in test. This is borne out by the bright and punchy images that the K-3 is capable of producing.
Raw dynamic range
Unsurprisingly, the K-3 also puts in a good performance when looking at raw format (after conversion to TIFF) files. Here again it is matched very closely with the Nikon D7100 and the Sony A77 at ISO 100, but from here onwards it beats all of the cameras in the test until it reaches ISO 12800, where the Nikon D7100 takes over, slightly.
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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.