The Pentax Ok-Three Mark III is Ricoh’s newest high-end APS-C DSLR. It is constructed round a 26MP BSI-CMOS sensor and has been redesigned from the bottom as much as turn into, on paper, essentially the most succesful, most usable Ok-mount digicam ever made.



Though it shares a lot of its styling with the Ok-Three II, launched in 2015, the third iteration has been considerably redesigned and re-thought to supply enhancements throughout the board. From the viewfinder and the sensor proper right down to the shutter button, it is basically an all-new DSLR.

Key specs

  • 25.7MP BSI-CMOS sensor
  • SAFOX 13 AF module with 101 AF factors (25 cross-type)
  • 5-axis in-body stabilization rated to five.5EV
  • Climate-sealed magnesium alloy building
  • Viewfinder with 1.05x magnification
  • Revised three-dial management system
  • 8-direction AF joystick and touchscreen for AF positioning
  • UHD 4K film seize at as much as 30p

As well as, the Ok-Three III has all the same old modes making intelligent use of the picture stabilization system, together with Anti-Aliasing Filter Simulation and the multi-shot Pixel Shift Decision mode that shoots and combines 4 offset photos to cancel out the Bayer sample and take away the necessity for sharpness-sapping demosaicing.

The Ok-Three III shall be accessible from late April in a selection of black or silver with a really useful value of $2000. A weather-sealed D-BG8 battery grip with matched controls will even be accessible. A package combining the physique and grip (together with a strap and extra battery) is priced at $2300.


What’s new…

Sensor

On the coronary heart of the Ok-Three III is a brand new BSI CMOS APS-C sensor. Ricoh describes it as a 25MP chip, however the cameras decision is definitely 25.7MP, elevating the likelihood that it is associated to the one utilizing in Fujifilm’s X-T4 (albeit with a extra typical colour filter array and no pixels masked for section detection).

Both means, the sensor has no anti-aliasing filter and is able to 14-bit readout at as much as 12 fps. Ricoh says the brand new sensor has higher excessive ISO noise traits than the 24MP chip within the KP and that this combines with improved processing energy from its PRIME V processor and ‘Accelerators Unit II’ pre-processor to present higher element retention and noise discount in low-light situations. Although this might nicely imply noise discount utilized in to Uncooked knowledge, because it did with the Ok-1 Mark II.

The digicam can shoot at as much as ISO 1,600,000.

Viewfinder

One of the vital important revisions within the Ok-Three III is an all-new viewfinder. Constructing on a Pentax custom of enormous, prism-type viewfinders, the Ok-Three III’s viewfinder is a pentaprism providing a powerful 1.05x magnification.

Ricoh says the Ok-Three III’s viewfinder has a 10% enchancment in brightness over the Mark II

Viewfinder magnification figures are normally calculated with 50mm lenses, no matter sensor measurement, so a few of that top determine comes from the obvious magnification of the digicam’s APS-C sensor. However, even taking this into consideration, it could be equal to a 0.68x magnification finder on full-frame, making it solely a fraction smaller than the 0.70x finder within the Pentax Ok-1 fashions. That is small by the requirements of many mirrorless cameras, through which viewfinder measurement is not depending on the viewing angle of the sensor, however is the biggest ever fitted to an APS-C DSLR.

Extra than simply the dimensions, the brand new finder has been designed utilizing a clear show panel within the viewing path, relatively than having the show of a separate panel projected into the finder, as was the case in earlier Ok-3s. Ricoh says this modification gives a 10% enchancment in brightness over the Mark II. It additionally permits extra flexibility in show customization.

New Autofocus module

Ricoh has developed a totally new AF module for the Ok-Three III. The Safox 13 has 101 AF factors, 25 of that are cross-type. 41 of the AF factors might be manually chosen and the centermost 9 factors can focus at right down to -4EV when paired with lenses which are F2.Eight or brighter.

The optics in entrance of the lens module increase the protection of AF factors to be 20% wider within the body than the Safox 11 module within the Ok-Three II.

On prime of this, the digicam’s steady AF system has been fully reworked. The Ok-Three II makes use of a 307k-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor that gives the AF system with a higher-resolution view of the topic for topic recognition and monitoring. A overview of the predictive AF algorithms and the deep-learning-trained capability to acknowledge faces, eyes and topics reminiscent of birds guarantees improved AF-C efficiency in a variety of conditions.

Improved in-body stabilization

In-body stabilization is now not the rarity it was when Pentax first launched its Shake Discount system, and the Ok-Three III’s system has been re-worked to maintain up with the competitors.

The five-axis ‘SR II’ IS system is rated at 5.5EV, utilizing CIPA customary testing, which is a 1.0EV enchancment over the rated efficiency of the Ok-Three II, and 0.5EV greater than the Ok-1 Mark II. A devoted ‘SR’ button enables you to change the digicam between the default Auto mode, off, or ‘Panning’ mode, which helps you to alter the response, if the Auto mode is not accurately detecting gradual, intentional panning actions.

Shutter mechanism

As with all the opposite main elements of the digicam, the Ok-Three III’s shutter mechanism has been fully reworked. It makes use of a coreless motor to drive each its shutter and mirror mechanisms, enhancing response instances. The mirror mechanism has been made lighter, to cut back inertia.

The redesign means the mirror settles faster, giving shorter viewfinder blackout instances and giving the AF and metering techniques extra time to evaluate the scene between pictures. This helps assist the digicam’s capability to shoot at as much as 12 fps (11 fps with steady autofocus).

The shutter unit is rated to resist 300,000 releases, and the adoption of a leaf change mechanism below the shutter button helps give a smoother response in addition to elevated sturdiness to match.

4K seize

The Ok-Three III turns into the primary Ok-mount digicam to supply 4K video seize. It might shoot UHD 4K at as much as 30p and consists of touchscreen management to keep away from including noise throughout recording.

Ricoh says the brand new IS system is quiet sufficient for use throughout video seize, that means the Ok-Three III is ready to provide 3-axis (Roll, pitch and yaw) correction utilizing mechanical stabilization, relatively than the digital IS utilized in earlier fashions.

Return to index


The way it compares…

It is truthful to say that the APS-C DSLR market shouldn’t be what it as soon as was. So we have tried to incorporate significant reference factors, nevertheless you select to have a look at the Ok-Three III.

In the event you’re available in the market for an enthusiast-level APS-C digicam, Fujifilm’s X-T4 is the one to beat. In the event you’re not set on an APS-C sensor then you will get the very succesful Nikon Z6 II for the same amount of cash. If it needs to be a DSLR, then Nikon’s D500 stays a powerful contender, however you probably have Ok-mount lenses you must use, the Ok-1 Mark II can also be price a glance.

Pentax Ok-Three III Fujifilm X-T4 Nikon Z6 II Nikon D500 Pentax Ok-1 II
MSRP (physique) $1999 $1699 $1995 $2000 $1999
Sensor res. 26MP 26MP 24MP 21MP 36MP
Sensor measurement APS-C APS-C Full-frame APS-C Full-frame
In-body picture stabilization 5.5 stops 6.5 stops 5.Zero stops Lens solely 5.Zero stops
Autofocus system Secondary PDAF
(101 pts)
On-sensor On-sensor Secondary PDAF
(151 pts)
Secondary
PDAF
(33 pts)
LCD sort Fastened Absolutely articulating Tilting Tilting Versatile-tilt
LCD measurement/res 3.2″ 1.6M-dot 3.2″ 2.1M-dot 3.2″ 2.1M-dot 3.2″ 2.1M-dot 3.2″ 1.0M dots
Viewfinder res / magazine
(equiv.)
Optical, 0.68x (equiv.) 3.69M-dot
0.77x
3.69M-dot
0.8x
Optical, 0.67x (equiv.) Optical
0.70x
Burst pace 11 fps (12 fps with AF locked) 15 fps / 20 fps mech/
e-shutter
14 fps 10 fps 4.Four fps
Storage 1 UHS-II SD;
1 UHS-I SD
2 UHS-II SD 1 UHS-II SD;
1 CFexpress Kind B / XQD
1 UHS-II SD;
1 XQD
2 UHS-I SD
Video
(inside)
4K/30p
8-bit
4K/30p (4K/60p w/ 1.18x crop)
10-bit
4K/30p
(4K/60p w/ 1.5x crop)
8-bit
4K/30p
(1.5x crop)
8-bit
Full HD / 30p
8-bit
Mic / headphone socket Sure / Sure Sure / Sure (with included adapter) Sure / Sure Sure / Sure Sure / Sure
Battery life 800 pictures 500 pictures 410 pictures 1240 pictures 670 pictures
Weight 820g (28.9oz) 607g (21.4oz) 705g (24.9oz) 860g (30.3oz) 1010g (35.6oz)

Making a decide from such a various record is, after all, difficult. The Ok-1 II will provide higher picture high quality when you mount full-frame lenses (and what are more likely to be fairly aggressive, albeit ~15MP, photos when cropped to APS-C), however it makes use of an older AF system, cannot shoot as quick, is heavier and might’t shoot 4K video. The total-frame Nikon will once more provide higher picture high quality and has a really succesful AF system. The Fujifilm can shoot quicker and has a significantly better video spec, however just like the Nikon cannot provide the longer battery life or optical viewfinder of a DSLR.

Primarily, it is inconceivable to say whether or not the Ok-Three III is smart for you with out figuring out why you are contemplating it. Nevertheless, what ought to be clear is that it is a well-specced machine even in contrast with the newest mirrorless rivals, which suggests it is a truthful step ahead from older APS-C Pentaxes.

Return to index


Physique and dealing with

The Ok-Three III iterates on the ergonomics of the exiting Ok-Three fashions, which we have often praised. We’re happy to have the ability to say that the Ok-Three III does not diverge an excessive amount of from this sample: the magnesium alloy building maintains the impressively dense and stable feeling that its predecessors conveyed. And, after all, it presents the in depth weather-sealing Pentax cameras have turn into identified for.

The handgrip and dial place shall be instantly acquainted to Pentax shooters: it is a digicam that feels instantly comfy within the hand.

Sensible perform button

The Ok-Three III iterates on the ‘Perform Dial’ idea of the Ok-1 II. This provides an additional dial to the digicam’s prime plate, simply ahead of its rear command dial, which can be utilized to rapidly entry digicam capabilities past the fundamental publicity controls of the 2 primary command dials.

Fairly than having a fourth dial to dictate the motion of the Perform Dial, the Ok-Three III has a button that cycles the dial’s perform between the choices customized assigned to it. You possibly can choose as much as 5 choices from an inventory of 22, to present you fast entry to settings reminiscent of ISO, publicity comp, AA Filter Simulation, white steadiness or crop mode.

It is even attainable to customise which of the sub-options of specific settings are assigned to the dial, giving fast entry solely to the capabilities you need to use.

As an alternative of a perform dial, the Ok-Three III has a small management to the proper of the viewfinder hump for switching between viewfinder pictures, dwell view taking pictures and video mode.

Joystick

The Ok-Three III features an 8-direction joystick, which permits speedy AF level choice by permitting diagonal motion. Urgent the joystick inwards resets the AF level to its central place.

Touchscreen

The Ok-Three III’s rear panel is a big, 3.2″ 1.62M-dot LCD. It is a fastened panel, providing no articulation or motion, however it’s touch-sensitive in all of the ways in which make sense in a DSLR. In dwell view mode it may be used to place the AF level, place the AF level and focus, or place, purchase focus and hearth the shutter. It might do comparable issues in film mode and these settings might be outlined individually.

The digicam’s menus have been redesigned to make them contact operable and you can also make all of the anticipated pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-scroll actions that you simply would possibly count on in picture playback mode.

The Ok-Three III’s viewfinder has a watch sensor that switching off the display screen whenever you put your eye to the digicam. The finder additionally protrudes farther from the again of the digicam than on its predecessor, decreasing the chance of unintentionally touching the rear display screen together with your nostril.

Battery

The Ok-Three III makes use of the identical D-LI90P battery because the Ok-1 Mark II. That is rated to ship 800 pictures per cost, per the CIPA customary take a look at strategies. As ordinary, these figures do not essentially replicate what number of pictures you may get (it is not unusual to attain double the rated determine, relying on the way you shoot), however the capability to shoot with none show panels energetic offers the DSLR design a serious benefit over mirrorless rivals.

The battery might be charged over the digicam’s USB-C socket. Sadly the Ok-Three III does not include an exterior charger for its battery, it depends on a equipped USB wall adapter and cable.

Return to index


Preliminary impressions

The Ok-Three III features an SR button. The precise perform of all these buttons might be fine-tuned.

For transparency it ought to be made clear that, regardless of press releases, teasers and mockups courting again to not less than September 2019, we have not had an excessive amount of time with the Ok-Three Mark III, therefore the dearth of picture samples.

Nevertheless, the time we now have spent, together with the small print Ricoh has launched clarify how a lot effort has gone into this digicam. We additionally know that the Pentax system has a devoted following who need to find out about it, so we have tried to supply as a lot element as is at present attainable.

It is clear Ricoh’s engineers have checked out each element and requested ‘what may very well be executed to make this higher?’

Alongside this announcement, there’ll little question be loads of YouTube movies ridiculing the thought of spending a lot effort and time growing an fanatic DSLR in what may very well be seen because the post-DSLR period. However that is not the way in which I see issues. I am no Shakespearean scholar: I come to not bury the Ok-Three III, however to reward it. In idea not less than.

Once we reviewed the Nikon D850, it struck me that it could be the head of DSLR design. Partially as a result of it was so good in so some ways but additionally as a result of, apart from just a few fashions for the pro-sport/photojournalism area of interest, it appeared unlikely that there’d be many contenders for its crown.

I am unable to but say how nicely Ricoh has executed on this regard, however it’s clear that its engineers have checked out each element of the Ok-Three II and requested ‘what may very well be executed to make this higher?’

Ricoh has additionally developed an identical battery grip, the D-BG8. It options the identical controls because the digicam physique. The second battery it provides may also be charged utilizing the digicam’s USB port.

There’s an argument that that is proof of Ricoh making an attempt to supply the proper buggy whip* when most different corporations are taking a look at methods to substitute the interior combustion engine, however maybe this solely issues when you assume that each digicam is making an attempt to be the most effective digicam for everybody. It might make sense for Ricoh to attempt to be the final firm providing an up-to-date DSLR for these photographers who love the optical viewfinder expertise.

The Ok-Three III’s value may also look considerably anachronistic. The Nikon D500 was launched for $2000 and Canon’s EOS 7D Mark II for $1800, however a very long time has handed since these cameras had been launched. It is now not unusual for full-frame cameras to be launched at or beneath $2000 (together with Ricoh’s personal very spectacular Pentax Ok-1 fashions).

For some folks it will be higher to have an improved DSLR for his or her Ok-mount lenses than to have one more mirrorless choice

However that also assumes that these different cameras would make acceptable substitutes for the Ok-Three III. In the event you’ve spent a good chunk of your life and your earnings increase a set of fine Pentax lenses, that might not be the case. For some folks it will be higher to have an improved DSLR for his or her Ok-mount lenses than to have one more mirrorless choice that will nonetheless require a complete new set of lenses or threat a sub-optimal expertise with adaptors.

Maybe the one query that issues for the Ok-Three Mark III is: does it provide sufficient of an enchancment to immediate present Pentax house owners to improve? We won’t know for sure till we have examined it, however it’s clear that Ricoh has executed all it could possibly to make it a ‘sure’, with promised enhancements to only about each side of the digicam. Possibly we have not but seen the final nice DSLR, in any case.

Return to index


*An arguably flawed metaphor from Theodore Levitt’s 1960 Harvard Enterprise Overview essay ‘Advertising and marketing Myopia‘ which means that corporations want to recollect what buyer want they deal with, relatively than the specifics of how they at present deal with it.

Shop Amazon