A Great Camera Nobody Will Want: Pentax K-3 Mark III

A Great Camera Nobody Will Want: Pentax K-3 Mark III

It's a perplexing state of affairs: the DSLR as a product category is officially on life support now that more mirrorless cameras ship every year. Of what is left of the DSLR sector, Canon and Nikon hold a staggering 98% of it. So, why on Earth is Pentax releasing a flagship model?

Pentax has officially unveiled the K-3 Mark III, its flagship 26MP APS-C DSLR that builds upon the previous iterations. For those with hazy memories, the 24 MP Mark I arrived in 2013 with a great sensor, IBIS, and much-improved autofocus. There was also a novel virtual anti-aliasing filter that worked using the IBIS system. The Mark II arrived in 2015 with an in-built GPS unit that had additional Astrotracer functionality, as well as a pixel shift feature that allowed for higher-resolution raw files. The Mark III now sports a new 26 MP sensor with a top ISO of 1.6 million and includes a panning module, a completely revised autofocus system, better IBIS, and 4K video. Perhaps the biggest changes are with the body, which has undergone significant revision including an all-new pentaprism viewfinder, something Pentax is keen to highlight.

Perhaps what Pentax has best captured with the K-3 range is a fully featured APS-C DSLR that plays to its core customers. This product category has something of heritage, with the likes of the much-beloved Nikon D300 and its eventual replacement, the D500. As I've commented on before, the APS-C market is comprised of two segments: firstly, higher-end users who need great reach and fast shooting speeds and secondly, a more amateur-focused market, where cost is a greater differentiator. Off the bat, the K-3 range has never intended to be in the first of these. Pentax has a heritage built upon well-made, competitive cameras that can use their vast back catalog of lenses. And once you are tied into a system, you tend to stick with it. It's for this reason that we see the development of high-end APS-C models, and the K-3 Mark II had strong competition in the form of the Canon EOS 70D, Fuji X-T1, Nikon D7200, and Sony A6000 to name but a few. This isn't a surprise, as with the contraction of the camera market, the focus has shifted to more profitable segments, such as the high-end amateur.

A Mirrorless Future?

So, where does all this leave Pentax and the K-3 Mark III? Is it better than the Nikon D500 (or D7500) or Canon Rebel T8i? Or the Fuji X-T3, Sony a6600, or Nikon Z50? It's certainly got some fine credentials based around favorable Pentax ergonomics, a good optical viewfinder, and that IBIS system that is used to great effect with the virtual anti-aliasing filter and pixel shift system. Yet the biggest problem it has is that it's a DSLR.

As a reminder, the camera market peaked at 120M units shipped in 2011 and has subsequently shrunk from that highpoint to the current low of 8.7M. It's not necessarily as desperate and bleak as that figure suggests — COVID has severely impacted all businesses, and in 2019, the number of cameras shipped was a more respectable 14.8M units, similar to the number in 2000. In short, we seem to be returning to a high-ticket, niche technology item rather than a mass-market compact camera sector. That manufacturers are targeting high-value goods is no surprise.

However, the other big news for 2020 is that more mirrorless cameras were shipped than DSLRs. In fact, the latest 2020 figures suggest there were just 2.4M units sold with only 40,000 not attributed to Nikon or Canon (which Pentax will account for). DSLR sales are unwinding quicker than might have been anticipated, which has caused Nikon to rapidly restructure its Imaging Division. In fact, any release of a DSLR is now a surprise, with the 2020 arrival of the Canon Rebel T8i met with some bemusement. Was this a case of historic development plans, squeezing every last penny out of a dying market or just plain crazy business? Whatever way you look at it, the days of volume DSLR camera sales are long past, and while lens sales will likely persist for some considerable time, it is hard to see any kind of future for DSLR development.

Pentax and the K-3 Mark III

Following on from the above, the delayed and belated release of the K-3 Mark III is somewhat baffling. I've commented before on the bizarre business strategy of Pentax, with the headline for its brand vision website:

Pentax believes in the future of SLR photography

Yet that's patently not the case. The brand vision is therefore not so much about the fundamental principles of Pentax as a business and how it will build its camera division going forward, but rather as a backstop to justifying a DSLR-only ILC development strategy. I don't doubt the cost of developing a new mirrorless is hefty; in a general sense, Nikon's financial results demonstrate this, as it has had to maintain the absolute cost of research and development while income has dropped. As a result, a greater percentage of income is going to R&D. This was fine when camera manufacturers were cash-rich at the height of the market, but is much more difficult to justify in a declining sector.

The key question for Pentax that then follows is this: are existing sales enough to maintain a DSLR-only approach? Given that Olympus divested itself of its Imaging Division on sales of up to 10 times the number of cameras, it would be difficult to argue for this. However, all camera businesses are not the same, and it is difficult to know what internal cross-subsidy might be happening. For example, Fuji has a small but successful digital camera division, where much of the profit is driven by its Instax business.

However, Pentax's portfolio is diminishing, increasingly stale, and outdated. Witness the 2014 medium format 645Z — sector-leading at the time — still on sale. The K-3 Mark III is a DSLR that appears to be able to rank alongside the best in the sector and bears some striking similarities in the target market to the Olympus' OM-D E-M1X. That fact is at least reassuring for customers; however, Olympus' future took a sharp turn shortly after the release of the E-M1X. What Pentax's future is remains to be seen.

Lead image and body image courtesy of Joergens.mi/Wikipedia (and also here) via Wikipedia, used under Creative Commons.

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41 Comments

Kurt Hummel's picture

The K3 III will sell to current Pentax users but won’t bring many new users and I doubt any first time ILC buyers. $2000 price range has a lot of offerings for new users to consider.

Jeffrey Puritz's picture

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. they may want to be the slr version of Leica. exquisitely crafted, amazing feeling in the hand, beautiful to look at and oh by the way amazing image quality? IDK but I have fantasized about dumping my existing mirrorless gear and getting one with a few well chosen lenses just for the enjoyment. (unfortunately I will likely come to my senses). Still the allure is there. My first serious camera was a K5 and I enjoyed using it more than probably any mirrorless today so maybe...?

Martin Peterdamm's picture

but their UI and DSLRs are ugly a.f. and I have a warm spot for Pentax in my heart. The first camera I ever used was one when they still had some taste in design but this is so damn ugly. their Menu Interface is beayond ugly, I cannot touch as someone working as someone involved with design/fashion/photography

Cullen Wassell's picture

Menus are completely reworked in K-3 III. Pentax DSLRs have been the best looking of modern-aesthetic (that is, all black, deep grip with shutter button on top of said grip, etc) DSLRs since the release of the K-7. Ugly cameras? You're thinking of Canon.

RP UT's picture

Hmmm. Can't say I've ever seen the menu system appear in any of my photos.

But a good menu system can sure make those photos easier to take. Pentax excels in this area.

Stefan Senf's picture

Oh, I am very confident that this body will find its customers. You just have to take a cursory look at the forums and you can already feel the interest and a large number of pre-orders. In my opinion, your article has some gaps. First of all, the Pentax KP is missing in the ancestral line of the K-3 III. it was a side step in many ways, but it's important nonetheless. Because it closes the apparent gap in time. The KP appeared at the end of 2017, a good 3 years before the K-3 III. A second aspect is the unique new optical viewfinder of the K-3 III. It offers the magnification of a FF viewfinder and at the same time has become even brighter and distortion-free. And then it also offers additional information and grid lines that can be faded in via LCD. There has never been a Finder comparable in an APS-C Body. Pentax traditionally takes care of the customers who love this concept with the best optical viewfinders and that is a good thing. The fact that the price of the camera is very high suggests that it will probably have to stay in the market for a very long time. So that she still earns money after years. That's a good Idea in a shrinking Market.

Brendon Zhang's picture

All the praises of the new optical viewfinder of the K3 III, that it matches the magnification of a FF viewfinder, doesn't make sense at all. At the price of K3 III, I can buy a full-frame DSLR (i.e. Nikon D780) and enjoy a FF viewfinder along with a FF sensor....

"The fact that the price of the camera is very high" suggests that it won't sell many units. The price beats a full-frame camera (be a DSLR or mirrorless)...

Philip Wowk's picture

For me personally, it's the nostalgic side of it. Like some people have said, using a mirrorless camera can sometimes be like using a large mobile phone. They can be TOO quiet. I love the distinctive sound of the picture taking process. And on my budget,a Nikon d3500 paired with a 35mm 1.8, the results are cracking. To get the equivalent results would cost a fair bit more. I won't be going mirrorless any time soon. I've shot weddings with that combination and ive had nothing but praise and astonishment at the sharpness of the prints.

Ivar Dahl Larsen's picture

I am inclined to disagree with the author.
If dslr cameras are built to suit the customer, there will be a competition between them and mirrorless. Pentax K3 lll as I understand it, has developed a unique viewfinder which is of paramount significanse to serious photographers. Secondly, if all the other gadgets surpasses what mirrorless has to offer as what you see through the viewfinder is what you get, in other words that you can trust that the camera renders the right picture colourwise under all circumstances, many will I assume, prefer such a camera. Especially photographers who takes time to compose and do not just snap away.

They are also given the opportunity to make use of the display at the same convenience as mirrorless users except for a swivel or tilting display.
My concern however is, size, weight and size of lenses together with this one as well as price. I have photographed professionally as well as passionably with both slr, mirrorless, dslr and been through all stages since 1969. A dslr must have today all the assets of mirrorless as size, weight together with the same requirements for their lenses and stand out in regard to the viewfinder and price! Then you have a winner!

Does Pentax K3 lll have it? That remains to be seen. Their philosophy I gather is right! I myself photograph with Fuji xpro1, xt1, xh1, the latter as the main but have recently been using my Canon 70D again, to very much delight! I subjectively would like to see Pentax succeed since they have proven up through the years, how serious they are and well their cameras perform. Pentax LX enters my mind as my favourite, long time ago, a wonderful slr camera! I am interested but the price scares me!

Rod Alalay's picture

In your world maybe, but mirrorless is sucks. The majority of professionals like me are still intact with pentax and dslr. You are like other you tubers pretentending that is dslr is dead. Nostalgia is more important than marketing your stupid imagination. The dilemma is, you are not seen tbe the reality. If dslr is dead then why not film is still alive. You are only paid to do this..

Fritz Asuro's picture

I wouldn't say it "sucks". Mirrorless (not a word) cameras have been great in terms of features. And cameras from Sony and Canon has been reliable versus their previous offerings.

DSLR won't die that easily as long as there are people who likes it.

James Fuqua's picture

Everyone talks about how everyone and their mother is going to mirrorless and can't understand how anyone wants to stay with dslr. People say how great the mirrorless canons and nikon's are and they are so fast.... But as the battery gets below 70% they slow way down and the af starts to go to hell. I think mirrorless has a long way to go.

Cullen Wassell's picture

Probably people who've received check$ from Sony and Fuji talking that way.

Mirrorless cameras are "too" digital for many, myself included. I only plan to buy one, at some point, for one reason, and one reason only: the Fotodiox AF adapter. AF with screw-mount Super-Takumars FTW!

Manny Robalino's picture

"as the battery gets below 70% they slow way down and the af starts to go to hell."

Wut?
Never heard of this happening.

Petr Svitil's picture

I went from the 5Div to the RP. Yes, the IQ is slightly lower, but I got Eye-AF, faster AF in general, and a body that's half the size and weight. So yeah, mirrorless all the way for me

00rob00 Rob00Rob's picture

I'm more than certain this will sell. Once it's actually bing used and you dive into the system to make use of its features and options. Recently I've learned how to better use what a camera has to offer which helps with being less reliant on post processing. Pentax cameras tend to offer a lot when it comes to that however that's for those who take the time to look what's inside. Of course this can be said about other cameras today yet it's unfortunate the emphasis is not that rather AF, (when I feel many don't even know how to utilize it) and MP. I'm starting to see the argument for shoot JPG and pentax at least allows you to take JPG and save it as a TFF

Cullen Wassell's picture

DSLRs aren't going anywhere. Namely because mirrorless cameras are, for all intents and purposes, premium point-and-shoots. Seriously - one of the largest touted advantages of the mirrorless platform is the AI.

For many hobbyists - myself included - who like not only taking photos, but the cameras we take photos with, mirrorless simply won't cut it as it's far too electronic. Many early adopters of mirrorless have burned out on the platform and returned to DSLRs.

I just bought a Pentax KP and in 10 days of having it I've taken over 4,000 photos. That's because I made a connection with it right away and just can't put it down. That wouldn't have been the case with a Fuji X-T4 or any other mirrorless that disconnects you from the camera itself by using an EVF.

I will buy a K-3 III too. Its AF will work better in low-light situations than that of the KP. But I still see myself using the KP a bit more, in general.

Stephen Strangways's picture

What AI in mirrorless platforms are you referring to? Subject recognition and tracking for autofocus?

Matt Williams's picture

lol what

Premium point and shoots? This makes no sense whatsoever.

Largest advantage is AI? What the hell are you even talking about? The touted advantages are live-view, ergo live exposure preview, on sensor focusing (and on sensor PDAF), superior tracking, significantly higher focus point coverage, smaller bodies, potentially smaller lenses (mainly at the wide end and/or slower lenses), video, focus peaking, tilt screens (yes, some DSLRs have those but they're rarely used because you need to be in live-view which sucks on almost all DSLRs, etc etc etc.

Many early adopters of mirrorless have burned out and returned to DSLRs? Source? Because I call total bullshit on that. Unless you mean early adopters of, like, Olympus/Panasonic mirrorless cameras ten years ago. Adopters of mirrorless in the past 6-7+ years.... no, many of them have not returned to DSLRs. If that were true, why would companies be expanding mirrorless development and shrinking DSLR.

Geoffrey Clowes's picture

Great article Mike. I will buy this body. I won't run out and buy it on release day but eventually I will. Why, because I trained on a K1000 45 years ago and have never used anything other than Pentax either as a punter or as a professional. Secondly I have no reason to switch to a mirrorless body. My K-1 II has served me fine for years as has my K-7 as a second body. My five year old son is now training on my old K1000. So, nostalgia, yes; brand loyalty, yes; but mostltly they make a quality product and haven't given me a reason to change.

Francisc Adamovici's picture

Its not just about the dslr, the entire cameras industrie is in distress, they are trying to make money bringing incremental improvment on outdated technology. That's why today the real buyers are almost only professionals, they need those incremental improvements, but for an amateur makes no sense to spend alot of money just because a camera has ibis or eye focus. An amateur will use a 5DMk3 until the end of time itself. There is a need of technological revolution, otherwise people wont feel the urge to buy new cameras. Things like global shutter, curved sensors, sensors who can have areas of different exposure value for the same picture, cameras on android able to make edits on the run, real weather sealing,

Walter Berger's picture

How come an image of the K3 III was not used in the article?

Rob Allen's picture

It would be nice to have a new camera reviewed on its merits, rather than merely recite a specification list, followed by a polemic about the viewfinder technology. Haven’t you actually used one, yet? I’m guessing not.

Michael Piziak's picture

I guess I'm a nobody, cause I want

Peter Patoschka's picture

someone in here stated it may be for pros,
who take their time framing a shot and who value the viewfinder...
This may be correct, SOMEHOW...
But lets be honest, looking at most photos from "so called" professionals,
or even watching those so called professionals shooting...

Makes me believe, the only thing making some people able to claim themselves "professional",
is just their social contacts...
I mean most of them are shooting like idiots...
Like turning the flash up'n'back in the outside where there is no surface behind them which would reflect the light their hotshoe unit throws away.
And its ESPECIALLY ""PROs"" like that,
lifting up MILC sales... and those utterly idiots also influence non-pros...
So yes I do see the essence of the article being right.
Since most of them will not care about an improved viewfinder,
most of them will not care having improved DR and LowLight capabilities,
most of them will not care about the new AF, since my good guess is, it will not work as good as it should in video.
(and video is just very important for all those hipsters and whatnotcameoutofthemillenials)
most of them will not care about the "once again" very rugged build(full alloy chassis) build being sealed way better than the others...
most of them will not care about the reliabilty and other advantages the cam has to offer.

Its a really great camera but most people will just not buy it even if they previously shot DSLR.

I also guess that even some hardcore PENTAXIANs now drop their love for the brand, since its priced way too expensive for what it offers,
since in many terms its still HALF a step behind all the competitors. (be it DSLR or be it MILC)

The thing hurting the most is,
that I cant even have CFExpress on an APS-C PRO-DSLR costing 2000Euro from PENTAX...
And this happens 2021 A.D. !! (-‸ლ)

And right after I see that I have to save the shots I take with my precious takumars and other pentax glass on the same media disneys toy cameras may use ..
The second deep cut into my Pentax-loving heart is that they chose for touchscreen over an articulating screen.

I really dont see where this "Bells&Whistles"-attitude, which hurts all the design principles of the once great bodies like K-5IIs and original K-3,
makes sense and it seems it all started with those useless extra wheels which originated in a helpless design decision when they had to design a FF body with age old D800 tech to make it more attractive to modern day hipsters and retired manchilds.

And now you have a touchscreen on your pentax which took away good R&D money, that would have been better invested in some other aspects of the camera.

The only things tempting me despite all the disappointments(since most of its advantages have been pentax standard and also are available in the K-3II f.i.), is that it may offer tethered shooting on top of the new viewfinder,... the low-light capabilites, and the framerate, and of course the vastly improved AF.

But the price-tag is indeed a shock, given that it AGAIN misses serious video functions, as well as it misses the articulating screen and as it misses (AT LEAST ONE!) pro-media slot.

Its not that I find it is a bad camera, but what really depresses me the most, is that it really could have been a way way better camera with just a few different design decisions, and then it would sell a whole lotta more units,
even if priced at 2000 bucks, but as it works out now. ... NAH... I dont see that camera selling as a success.

I guess they could have also attracted a lot of buyers by just adding the new AF. and keep everything else at KP standards, but selling for a very attractive price.

Or imagine if the only thing different in the K-3III would be a FF sensor instead of an APS-C sensor.
yep ... they could sell a ton of those for 2000bucks.

but since it is an APS-C sensor camera, I also doubt it will sell a lot of units.

So the articles header is 100% correct AFAICS.
But i really dont see the bottomline (an MILC would be better?? why?) correct.
Since its about the features a camera offers and not what kinda tech makes it tick.
No one buys a A7rIII because of its viewfinder ...(which still doesnt go easy on your eye)... they buy it becaus of its AF, Video(inc. Log and a lot of Framerates to choose from), burst framerate etc.
I am pretty sure, if properly advertised the D500 f.i. could have sold a lot o more units.
Sony also is very aggressive when it comes to marketing... I guess they even outnumbered Nikons product placements in movies and TV series, everywhere you look in new movies you'll see the heroes and villians shooting sony cameras.
World Photograpy Awards ... Sony. Closest corporation to ZEISS ... Sony.
The ugly truth is:
Its about convincing people and not about being professional or better.

Robert Lavers's picture

A rather silly title to this article but obviously meant as click bait. The problem with the author’s attitude is that it is focused entirely on technology and not on how effectively photographs can be made, it’s like obsessing on what is under the bonnet of a car rather than how it drives. Nikon and Canon have twice changed their mounts rendering previous lenses redundant and have to race to fill the gaps, and so far there are huge gaps in their mirrorless ranges; compare this to Pentax when you know that all k-mount lenses will still work with any future body upgrade so lenses become a true investment. That makes economic sense apart from any other consideration,

Chris Rogers's picture

Oh I deffo want it but I'm just not going to plop 2G's down for APSC DSLR. I could chose from several full frame cameras for that price.

Jon Miller's picture

I started with Pentax, later went to Minolta, switched to Nikon when those two weren't ready for digital, used a lot of Canon over the years when shooting with other photographers or with an employer's equipment, etc. But I've been 100% Pentax since 2011. I love their lenses enough that I left Nikon's wireless flash system when Pentax didn't have one ready for prime time, and their interface is the best match for the way my brain works (Nikon is a close second; Canon is dead last, again *for me*).

That said, when I purchased my KP a year ago I decided it was the last Pentax I would buy if they don't get their act together and get us some decent video options (I would take higher framerate or higher resolution than 1080p@30, though both would be ideal). I figured I would end up going to Sony or Panasonic. With the K3-III they're finally paying more attention to video. I haven't decided yet if I'll grab it, but at least I know I don't have to think about jumping ship yet. I can finally use my Limiteds for 4k video! (In fact the existence of this new body helps me justify buying a longer macro that I've been putting off, not sure if I would be switching systems.)

Use the numbers you reported about camera sales being down to turn of the century numbers to think about this again. Consider what that means for both manufacturers and users: people aren't upgrading like they used to. Marginal gains with each generation. This reminds me of oldschool body sales. Flagships like Nikon F4 and F5 were available new for almost a decade each. I remember reading that the Pentax K1000 was produced so long it was on the consumer price index to track inflation over time. (I don't have verification of that, but it was definitely produced long enough for that to make sense.)

We're heading back to that sort of market. Long-term investments by both manufacturers and their customers. Pentax has officially stated that they aren't interested in mirrorless customers. It's not their target market. If you can't reconcile that with the belief/assumption that mirrorless is the only market left then you aren't spending enough time questioning your own assumptions.

Pentax has never been the company for the types of users who would upgrade with each new release, let alone those nutty enough to switch systems with each leapfrog advancement by Canon and Nikon in the 2000s. They never wanted anything to do with that market. Their philosophy all along has been better aligned with how the market was in the 70s to 90s, which is something like what we're shifting back to now.

Greg Lovern's picture

First, Ricoh is obviously subsidizing Pentax as a prestige brand. Second, relative to N/C sales numbers, Pentax doesn't need to sell many of these to ... I was going to say make a profit, but I don't think that happens for Pentax anymore. I think they just have to keep their cost to Ricoh down to a level Ricoh considers tolerable. Third, if you think all pros prefer mirrorless, you aren't paying attention. The market is certainly headed in that direction, but a fair number of pros still prefer a pentaprism. And by all accounts, this is by a large margin the best pentaprism ever fitted to an APS-C DSLR. There's a market for that, even at the high price of US$2,000. Not a big market, but they don't need a big market.

I think the bigger story is coming up next, when Pentax applies that awesome new pentaprism technology to the K-1. Which will also likely have Sony's new 61MP FF sensor. Combine that with Pixel Shift. the K-1 iii should be an amazing camera. And as far as I can tell, there are more pros who prefer an FF pentaprism DSLR than an APS-C one.

The K-3 iii is probably several years in my future. I just upgraded to a used K-3 ii circa 2015, from a K-5 ii.

Mihael Tominšek's picture

As Pentax shooter, I still agree with the title "A Great Camera Nobody Will Want", because 98% of people already have their DSLR and play safe and now buying MILC because industry shifted toward it. So Pentax is left with 2% of users that also are not all Pentaxians. To make a dent in the market new K3iii have to be so revolutionary everyone would want that feature. Even than, other company have 100's of times more budget to quickly answer to that demand and keep users at their system. Let say PixelShift. No one really shifted to Pentax because of it. It was quite a buzz at the time, Sony quickly adopted the feature (maybe even with help of Pentax tech) and that was it. Astro? Same. No one really pay attention to that. On photographers meetings I'm the only Pentax shooter. Colegues sometimes admire my camera and are sorry their camera does not have that, may admire build, ergonomy or menus, or manual lens aids, but that is it. No one will switch system for it. They rather use Pentax-M lenses adapted to their "fiddly" cameras and continue to use that. In the end, MILC started from zero and was (still is) was behind DLSR in many ways, but Sony succeeded to trip the industry toward it. It's like many technology before: Betamax-fail, inferior VHS won. Minidisc-fail, DAT-fail, DiscMan-so-so, WalkMan-mega-success, sicne Cassette itself was success, despite again being inferior to that time competitor, while Digital Cassette and D-VHS failed miserably; mostly being to late and to expensive. Last but not least DIGITAL camera won over FILM actually with 1st Nikon D1 camera, despite really superseded film in every level of quality only 20 years after. Pentax was 1st with AF camera and FF DLSR, but failed both. Was one of the 1st in MILC, but failed. I studied all those formats, technologies and what won over time - mostly when something give reasonable good experience and is easy to use and cheap to make/buy. Also it need to be easy to clone/copy, because with heaps of cheap clone devices they will spread among masses and gain interest only then original companies have leverage to market their top tier devices.

I think K3iii is camera to go for all Pentaxians that are still shooting with Pentax professionally. But that is around 10% of all Pentaxians. Other are enthusiasts that either are retired or have other systems for pro work. Despite they love Pentax, have lenses, they already invested toward other gear and will remain to have Pentax as nostalgia gear. Why invest $2000 into nostalgia? Some will. But it will be enough? I believe (since announcement) new K3iii will be no worse than the best. But MILC is fashion, is marketed offer some unique advantages, ... AF is marketed as outstandingly better. But comparing my K3 mark2 with Sony A7 mark2, I eas shocked how much Sony is worse. To my spoiled taste useless AF. And so much marketed as great and already mark2 ... any every time one say bad thing about MILC, someone will say, yes, but now mark 3 is out, that is holly grail now. And story repeats. It was the same story back then when Nikon ruled in DSLR ... holly grail of AF. Until I compared D610 and D810 in the dimm lighting of photo event, to my Pentax K5ii and K3ii. Boy, how useless D810 was without AF-beam and even than. D610 was better, though, but still Pentax returned more keepers regarding AF than Nikon. Bring any MILC in that venue and they will only be neck decoration. Is MILC the future? It's like electric cars. It's a step in new direction, but not final solution. This was Pentax might as well stay with DLSR. Until I can nail focus each time, I'm fine how technology is called. Same with cars: Until they are frugal and reasonable priced I don't care the motor under the hood. Latest Pentax K3iii gave me also phone connection to use it as external monitor and trigger - what I wanted for years seeing other duded doing realestate photography.

I'll buy one, just for the sake of completeness. If it return me joy as previous one, I'll buy more lenses... future will tell, what we will buying in next decade. Industry sometimes just change technology for the sake of new sales.

Rex Hadro's picture

I'm inclined to buy a couple of bodies with battery grips with my income tax returns just like I did back in 2007 when I bought two K10Ds with battery grips.

James DePietro's picture

first camera was a pentax k100d with 50 1.4 lens and led me on a path to paying clients
miss the pentax color of the older ccd sensor sometimes..

Joseph Balson's picture

I am nobody

Joshua Thorne's picture

This is a hard sell. APS-C has become entry level, and 2k for entry level is steep.
I've been using the K3-II for years. The next camera I get will either be the next full-frame K1 or I'll make the shift to Sony. I'm very hesitant to make that shift, I only shoot with old manual lenses which has kept me in the Pentax eco-system.
As much as I like this product line, the APS-C format seems redundant if it's not affordable.

Interesting and informative article on Pentax's single lens reflex philosophy. "It's like vinyl"
https://petapixel.com/2020/12/28/pentax-cannot-go-mirrorless-ricoh-imagi...

Henry Block's picture

Pentax can make money on its tiny market share for now. The weatherproofing and in-camera 5- stop stabilization (or whatever it is) keeps loyal customers.Will Pentax make money on these cameras 5 years from now? I’ll bet the smartphone will have $300 adapters turning them effectively into basic DSLRs, and that is good enough for
most people.

Doug Birling's picture

I think you miss the reason why mirrorless took off, and it's not for the sake of being mirrorless. Sony became attractive because of things like the IB stabilization, the superior dynamic range, vastly higher resolution, the video capabilities at a time when Canon was lagging, it had great focus in video mode, and likely a few others bells and whistles. As a canon shooter with a 5D3 at the time, I did give it a VERY serious look, but not because it was smaller by a little. The lenses are still quite large, and my camera bag is literally the smallest part of my kit when you add in stands, lights, modifiers, etc. This new camera will do well if it contains enough features, if not it wont. The never ending boner for mirrorless is just exhausting!

Shaun Whitson's picture

If you look at a camera like the Pentax KP, it has most of the mirrorless advantages, except video and focus points but reviewers still looked down on it as well. It's smaller and more lightweight than comparable mirrorless systems when you add on the lenses too so I know where you are coming from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORqzQce9wto

Chris Diller's picture

The 1.3 million ISO is intriguing.

Tom Weis's picture

“A Great Camera Nobody Will Want”
Presumptuous much?

Kurt Hummel's picture

Sale numbers don't lie and Pentax only has 3% of the dslr market. Total sales numbers were around 40,000 for all their models. It will be a nice upgrade for current Pentax shooters but it will not make many people switch brands.

Ed Shropshire's picture

While the title may have been overly dramatic, I do wonder about the size of the potential market. Pentax does have a loyal user base, but their market base is not large. The price will price out a fair size of the existing Pentax users. A crop sensor DSLR priced around the same price as many full frame will also pose challenges in getting anyone other than a loyal Pentax user to consider the camera.

My biggest challenge Pentax will have is the same one all of the active camera companies have, the overall size of the camera market. Last weekend I visited two US National Monuments and one major National Park. I had my R5, other than myself I saw 2 maybe 3 DSLRs, one Gopro and maybe two others not using their cell phone to take pictures. The market for all non cell phone cameras has shrunk considerably over the last few years. Fewer people are willing to carry around big cameras these days. I find that true for my self. Often when traveling abroad on business, even if I have a lot of free time to explore I will only bring my phone or my Sony 100xIII.