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Pentax K-3 Mark III finally announced, and flagship DSLR could be a low-light king

Pentax K-3 Mark III
(Image credit: Ricoh)

Pentax has finally announced the name and specs of its incoming flagship APS-C DSLR, but the Pentax K-3 Mark III won't be available to buy until 2021.

That's quite a wait considering Pentax first announced that it was developing the Pentax KP successor at the end of 2019, but there are at least a few reasons for DSLR and Pentax fans to hold on for the full launch in February.

As it had teased previously, the K-3 Mark III's optical viewfinder will have an impressive 1.05x magnification, which gives it a viewing angle that's as wide as the full-frame Pentax K-1. That's certainly a feature that will go down well with DSLR traditionalists.

Even more impressive is the ISO performance, which stretches from ISO 100 to a staggering ISO 1.6 million. That doesn't necessarily equate to great low-light performance in the real world, but it certainly suggests that the K-3 Mark III will be comfortable shooting at high ISOs that are beyond rival APS-C DSLRs.

This will be aided by an improved, five-axis Shake Reduction II system for steadying handheld shots, while other notable features include a new 25.7MP APS-C sensor and the ability to shoot 4K / 30p video. The K-3 Mark III will also apparently have a phase-detection autofocus system, with Pentax having previously stated that this will include "improved tracking of active subjects".

Pentax DSLR

(Image credit: Pentax)

Old and new

Despite these new additions, not everything about the Pentax K-3 Mark III is entirely modern. Unusually, the DSLR's 3.2-inch screen will be an entirely fixed affair, with no tilting or articulation, though it will at least be a touch-sensitive panel.

Those specs, and the incredibly slow pace of development, make the Pentax K-3 Mark III feel like something of an anachronism in a world of cameras like the Canon EOS R5, and even smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 12 Max Pro

But Pentax clearly knows its target audience, which is most likely those who have already bought into the K-mount, or have an existing DSLR like the Pentax KP. Indeed, for those fans, Pentax is claiming that the K-3 Mark III will be the "best APS-C format SLR model ever produced by Pentax".

The only downside is that there's still going to a slight wait for the full launch. According to Pentax, the "launch target" is the period around the CP+ photography show, which starts on February 25. In typically relaxed fashion, Pentax also says the price is "not decided".

With Sigma announcing in 2019 that it would stop supporting the K-mount, the signs didn't look good for Pentax DSLRs, but it seems that we will eventually still see a new DSLR from the classic camera brand – we'll just have to wait a bit longer to finally see it in the flesh.