Pentax K-3

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pentax k3This is the new flagship of the Pentax K DSLR camera series, featuring a 24-megapixel sensor, new anti-aliasing simulator and 8.3 frames per second frame rate.

The camera also features a 27-point AF system; high-precision exposure control with a newly designed 86,000-pixel RGB light-metering sensor; a new, 3.2-inch high-resolution LCD monitor; and an optical viewfinder with the largest, brightness subject image in its class.

The new anti-aliasing simulator – developed specifically for the K-3 – allows the user to effectively minimize moiré without actually installing an optical anti-aliasing filter in the camera, providing a choice of filtered or filter-free shooting for a given scene or subject.

The K-3 also offers greatly- enhanced movie-recording features and smartphone-accessible functions, as well as dustproof, weather-resistant body construction.

[A K-3 Premium Silver Edition is also being launched, with a limited run of just 2,000 units worldwide. This limited-edition model has a silver body with a silver D- BG5 battery grip. The package also includes an exclusive leather strap and a spare battery. Specifications are identical to those of the K-3.]

The K-3 is equipped with a new APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with approximately 24-megapixels (effective). By coupling this sensor with a newly developed Prime III imaging engine with high-efficiency noise and image processing capacities and an anti-aliasing filter-free design, the K-3 is said to deliver high-resolution, fine-gradation images rivalling those of anit-aliasing filtered sensors with much higher resolutions.

It also offers a top sensitivity of ISO 51,200. That’s black cat at midnight territory.

The SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism can be used with any compatible Pentax interchangeable lens. Thanks to the addition of an SR-dedicated servo controller and an increase in the magnetic force driving the SR unit, this mechanism assures more stable, effective camera-shake compensation than ever before, says Pentax.

Newly developed for the K-3, the anti-aliasing simulator applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the subpixel level during image exposure, generating the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical anti-aliasing filter. Unlike an optical anti-aliasing filter that always creates the identical result, this innovative simulator allows the user to not only switch the anti-aliasing filter effect on and off, but also to adjust the level of the effect. This allows the user to set the ideal effect for a particular scene or subject.

Thanks to the SR unit’s flexible design, which tilts the image sensor unit in all directions, the K-3 can offer a host of shooting functions, including auto level compensation, image- composition fine-adjustment, and Astrotracer, which simplifies advanced astronomical photography in combination with the optional O-GPS1 GPS Unit.

The K-3 features a new Safox 11 AF module with an expanded image-area coverage using 27 AF sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). The centre sensor and two sensors just above and below it are designed to detect the light flux of an f/2.8 lens, making it easy to obtain pinpoint focus on the subject when using a large-aperture lens. This newly developed AF module is highly light-sensitive and covers an AF working range of –3EV to +18EV. Since the AF module takes data from RGB light sensors into calculation to optimize AF operation, the K-3 also provides such advanced functions as high-accuracy autofocusing during the shooting of fast-moving subjects, and the zone-select AF mode to automatically select the best possible in-focus point within a designated nine-sensor zone.

The K-3 is equipped with newly introduced Real-Time Scene Analysis System that consists of an approximately 86,000-pixel RGB light-metering sensor and improved algorithm, which allows it to not only control the exposure with extreme accuracy, but also to utilize the data taken in by the light-metering sensor to further enhance the accuracy of autofocusing and white balance adjustment. This has expanded the measurable minimum luminance level to as low as –3EV.

By detecting the type of scene or subject using the light sensor, the K-3 can not only select the exposure settings that are more consistent with the photographer’s creative intentions, but also it can make a more precise distinction between the main subject and the background to improve the accuracy of the flash discharge level.

The K-3 continuously records as many as 22 images in the RAW format or 60 images in the JPEG format in a single sequence, at a maximum speed of approximately 8.3 images per second. This has been made possible through the use of several innovative technologies, including a high-speed, high-accuracy control mechanism that regulates the shutter, mirror and diaphragm independently; a damper mechanism that effectively minimizes mirror shock; and a high-speed data transmission system incorporated in the Prime III imaging engine.

The K-3’s glass prism has been treated with a new coating that is designed to improve reflectance, resulting in a much brighter viewfinder image. The eyepiece optics have been completely redesigned to assure an approximately 0.95X viewfinder magnification to provide a broader image field, making it easier for the photographer to confirm the subject’s focusing status and compose the image.

The K-3 captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30p frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. The camera also comes equipped with a stereo microphone terminal for external microphone connection and a headphone terminal. The user can even adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound levels during microphone recording. In addition to a variety of creative special-effect modes, the K-3 also provides an upgraded interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips (3840 x 2160 pixels) at a fixed interval.

By installing an optional 16GB memory card in the K-3, the user can release the K-3’s shutter, check the live-view image, and browse and download the images recorded on the card using a smartphone. [This software supports smartphones operating on iOS6 or later and Android 4.2 or later.]

On its back panel, the K-3 features a newly-designed 3.2-inch high-resolution LCD monitor. In addition to its wide-view design, this monitor also features a protective tempered-glass front panel for added durability, and a unique air-gapless construction in which the air space between LCD layers is eliminated, effectively reducing the reflection and dispersion of the light to improve visibility during outdoor shooting. During playback, the K-3 even allows the user to check recorded images at life-size magnification.

The K-3’s exterior casing is made of lightweight magnesium alloy. Thanks to the inclusion of 92 special sealing parts in the body, it boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring solid operation at temperatures as low as -10°C.

The camera also features a shutter unit that can handle some 200,000 shutter releases.

Other features include dual SD card slots; Dust Removal II mechanism for elimination of dust on the image sensor using ultrasonic vibration; HDR (high dynamic range) shooting mode with RAW-format data filing; mode dial with a choice of lock mechanism engagement; redesigned grip; compensation of various parameters, such as lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, brightness level at image-field edges, and fringe effect (available in RAW-format processing only).

An optional battery grip accepts six AA-size batteries as well as the standard lithium-ion rechargeable battery, provides an extra set of shutter-release, AE-lock, AF, ISO, exposure-compensation, and green buttons, as well as a preview lever and dual electronic dials to facilitate vertical-position shooting. It features the same dustproof, weather- resistant construction as the K-3 body.

Newly developed for the K-3, a special SDHC memory card offers wireless LAN connection to a compatible smartphone. Via a designated Web browser, the user can inspect a live-view image, release the K-3’s shutter, shift the AF sensor point, and check images recorded on the card using the smartphone screen.

The Pentax K-3 will be available in November at a suggested retail price of $1,299.99. The K-3 Premium Silver Edition with D-BG5 Grip will be available in very limited quantities at a suggested retail price of $1,599.99.

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