Finally, Pentax Gets It Right With Their Gunmetal-Grey K-3 Prestige Edition

Finally, Pentax Gets It Right With Their Gunmetal-Grey K-3 Prestige Edition

Pentax has had a long fall in the industry since the digital era of photography. Once a major player in the film industry, Pentax now only touches on about 6% of the entire DSLR market and under 2% when you account all digital camera purchases in the last few years. But they did get one thing right, and that is the Gunmetal-Grey Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition.

Now I’m certainly not one to look at cosmetics when it comes to photography gear. I like that my Canon 5d Mark III is simple in styling, and if you’ve seen my lighting gear before, you’ll notice how it looks like it’s been on a few tours of active duty. However, what does appeal to me is the flashiness of the Gunmetal-Grey without coming off too strong - a topic that Pentax hasn’t ever really hit before.

While it’s still a Pentax, and likely an under-performer in today’s standards, the styling and design are a fresh take on something I never thought I’ve wanted. You see, I’ve always liked that my camera comes in one color, boring matte-black. I’ve looked at Pentax’s previous installments with their Lego and fishing lure inspired color designs, and have always felt a sense of pride when it came to my boring old Canon. But this new Gunmetal-Grey has me swooning a little bit, after ignoring the badge below the hotshoe, of course.

Again, Pentax hasn’t always done this right either, priding themselves on customizability of colors over features. What they’ve left users in the past is a series of clashing colors, and ugly combos that make them look like they’re more of a Hasbro brand than an actual camera company.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to look at dynamic range, sensor capabilities and frames per second beyond all else, and not willing to buy into a camera system that doesn’t have the best features to accommodate me. However, the Pentax Gunmetal-Grey K-3 has gotten me excited to look at a camera - a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. Perhaps now, I’m ready to diverge from my little black generic box of a camera, and hope that Canon provides me with some Gunmetal-Grey options in future installments (seriously, even the name sounds awesome).

So perhaps with the announcement of the Pentax Gunmetal-Grey K-3, we can see a new side of Pentax. A side that is serious, that is tough, and a side that has some sexiness to it. Something we can all hope, with the soon to be release of the Pentax CMOS 645Z Medium Format camera. But until we’re sure of their new face and changes, we just have to sit and shallowly crush on this new little camera announcement.


If you’re shallow, and have fallen in love with the Pentax K-3 in Gunmetal-Grey, you can preorder it here.

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20 Comments

Paul Monaghan's picture

" A side that is serious, that is tough, and a side that has some sexiness to it"

To be honest I've always liked the look of the higher end pentax camera's, they have always been serious, tough and personally looked better than similar priced nikon/canon counter parts.

Then there is the lens, the Limited range are dam nice little lens that look awesome with their metal construction.

I agree though that the gunmetal k3 is pretty awesome and they should roll out a 645z version asap!

An old shot of my pentax k5 with an old pentax 85mm f2 M lens.

Zach,
I agree with your assessment of the gunmetal-grey Pentax K3. It's functional, subdued, and sexy. It doesn't look like it came out of a M&M bag of candy or from Mentos.
The Canon cameras that I own are all classic black: A-1, F-1N, and 5D Mk III. If I were a Pentax guy, would I buy this camera? I don't know. Last year, when I was looking for a Canon F-1N, KEH had a 1984 Olympics edition priced $200 more than a standard F-1N. I picked the standard because the 1984 edition may have become a "shelf queen".

JOE DDD (Daniel Dalin Drechsler)'s picture

I gotta say, that's a beautiful looking camera! Gorgeous.

Spy Black's picture

The red trimming on the lens kills the effect tho. Sticks out like a sore thumb to me and kinda defeats the neutral tone of the gunmetal finish.

Sven Uckermann's picture

Actually I would love to have some of the higher end military grade gun paints on my camera. I'm not an gun nut but the paints are all high quality stuff. Like this one dude with his kahki camera. It is a good additional protection and also the heat transfer is quite good (guns get hot so the paint is good in transfering heat)

Spy Black's picture

The multicolor Pentax cameras are just fun however, with surprisingly good sensor quality. The K3 is hardly an "under-performer in today’s standards" however. Certainly better than Canon's own APS-C offerings.

That's the bit that I was puzzled with as well. I don't understand how someone who, in their own words, "will always look at dynamic range, sensor capabilities and frames per second beyond all else", can say that Pentax K3 is "likely an under-performer in today’s standards".

Zach Sutton's picture

As Spy Black Stated --

"Certainly better than Canon's own APS-C offerings."

I don't shoot APS-C because they're not up to my standards. So my statement still stands. I shoot Canon full frame and PhaseOne Medium Format, so I don't consider most APS-C sensors to work well for the work I do.

Spy Black's picture

Yes, but it's highly attractive to some nature and sports photographers who like the extended reach they get from the combination of crop and sensor pixel density. For them, a full frame camera would be an "under-performer in today’s standards". Nature photographer Tom Hogan has taken it one step further, he's all hot for the crop sensor/pixel density combo of the Nikon 1 system. So it's all relative, really.

Spy Black you are the one who should be doing the review.
Zack is posting a puff piece and then comparing apples to Phase One. Pro bodies with APS C are here for a reason and he doesn't even know what that is, I personally use medium format digital for the feel you get for the sensor size and lens combination. I prefer the phase with the 150mm lens over the DSLR FF with the 85mm it comes down to lens compression for beauty photography for me but in real life the file size when printed isn't much different so the choice is in feel not standards for me. Canon 5D MII or MIII are more than enough I'm considering a fuji x pro for non beauty because the files are beautiful from an APS C sensor.

Zach Sutton's picture

-_-
I completely understand the reasoning behind a APS-C sensor size, and it's purpose in the market. However, there is also a reason that about 85% of the people who buy a APS-C eventually upgrade to a full frame sensor - because the image quality is better. So if we're in agreement on that assessment, lets look at stance on the topic.

"I don't shoot APS-C because they're not up to my standards."
A standard that I share with a large portion of the industry, and a standard that is my own, and you're not forced to identify with.

But then again, how can I expect you to have an eye for detail when you can't even spell my name correctly. :-)

Wow another useless post, I'm not sure why you even wrote the review are you hoping that by writing about Pentax that they will float you a 645z to review?
I also like this response about how APS-C is not up to your standards since you took a test drive of a Phase One last month you are now a full fledged Phase One user. You just sound a little pretentious in a completely empty review of how a camera looks.

Zach Sutton's picture

If I wanted a 645z to review, I wouldn't need to create a piece to entertain the idea to Pentax. We're a reputable news source in the industry, and certainly someone will get a loaner 645Z to review for this website if they'd like....regardless of this post.

Furthermore, this post doesn't state anywhere that it is a review. It's an announcement of a color scheme of an already released camera. There is nothing different from this camera from the previous models of the K-3; other than the color of course.

If only pentax focuses on full frame format cameras for cheaper price. :)

doctor sid's picture

I don't like to shoot weddings so it would be a disservice for me to write an article about shooting weddings. Just as I also don't shoot with crop frame cameras. It's kind of a disservice to Pentax to have a reviewer write about a crop frame camera when the reviewer doesn't feel they meet his standards. He already has a negative opinion about them just as I do weddings. If you get a chance to review this in person, please have a regular crop frame shooter to review it.

Zach Sutton's picture

It's an announcement piece, not a review.
This camera is not yet available.

I have not stated anywhere that I plan to review this camera.

Mihael Julius's picture

My K1000 that I found at a thrift store for $20. Pristine and hardly used waiting for an owner like me. The standard for most photography classes, back in the day.

"While it’s still a Pentax, and likely an under-performer in today’s standards"?????????
WTF? That shows that the guy who wrote this never had a Pentax in his hands... APS-C DSLRs from other producers that are priced the same are neither as feature rich as a pentax nor can you order them in nearly every color you want it.
In-Body-SHAKE-REDUCTION, selectable low-pass-filter..., Astro-Tracer-Function with the very professional O-GPS(a real GPS, not an assisted GPS) bracketing functions, in cam raw editing, live view focus peaking, catch in focus with manual lenses, focus confirmation with manual lenses...(no extra chip needed) nearly (if not THE)the widest offering of APS-C dedicated lenses. POINT. I could go further. And i dont want to buff zach here, but somebody's gotta say it. Often Canikon Promotion-Machinery buys out PENTAX from reviews... That is a fact... I got it black on white... Just read sone lens reviews carefully: same lens(Sigma or Tamron( with the same glass) should perform half as good only because sigma or tamron screw a k-mount onto it? And don't bother me with the flange focal distance. Nikons have nearly the same FFD. I don't see any scientifical reason for a 50% performance loss. DEFINITELY NO underperformer. more likely bought out of the market by an enormous marketing budget. A. Pentax FF-DSLR would blow away Canon and Nikon easily if the would not have this gigantic marketing machinery.
If one once heard or read the words "Shutter Sound Design" he will know what is hot air and what is performance. Dont get me wrong, Canon and Nikon both do just great. One big advantage of canon is the flange diameter... But looking at price/performance(weather resistancy adds up to the features i mentioned before) i would say PENTAX-Ricoh is more kind of an overperformer than anything else... And BTW the camera looks really great. ;)
But i am also with that guy who said that, the sand color for military useage would be the real deal. (That's a win for Nikon. 'cause i once saw a Nikon D3 sand-colored. Does anybody know if that was a custom work?)

Poor old Pentax really do get short shrift compared to the Canons and Nikons of this world. The K3 is a fantastically designed, brilliantly well built, excellent camera - despite the fact it's an APS-C sensor.

I'd love one.

Besides, nowadays we get totally carried away with the "image quality" argument. I can still produce beautiful images from my Canon 30D - a relatively aged camera. I'd say that it's way more down to the person behind the lens than the technology in between! (past a point - modern imaging equipment is incredibly capable - certainly more capable than it's ever been)

"While it’s still a Pentax, and likely an under-performer in today’s standards"
"I don't shoot APS-C because they're not up to my standards. So my statement still stands."

Your statement didn't stand at all because you specified it was *Pentax*

I don't use Pentax, i use Nikon, but i felt that for the single reason that both nikon and pentax share the same sensor in some of their cameras, and even though the internal processing might be diferent, they share the same heart...

Oh and by the way, your beloved Phase One Brand also Shares it's sensor with the Pentax 645z.