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k-3 II

Blending outstanding image quality, refined operation and tank-like toughness, the K-3 II is designed to meet a photographer’s greatest demands. Here you’ll find out all about its essential functions and newly developed features that make it stand out from the crowd.

MODULE NAVIGATION

Find out what every button, dial and light on your camera is for by clicking or tapping on any of these symbols.

Whenever you see a greyed-out product or image, click on it to make it live and access even more content.

Click on the buttons at the bottom of the page to navigate through the exciting and innovative features on your K-3 II.

getting started

pentax dna

As a Pentax DSLR, your K-3 II offers certain distinctive features, which will not only improve image quality, but also allow you to shoot in situations where some other cameras would struggle. Click on the buttons to the left to find out more about how this unique Pentax DNA opens up a world of photo opportunities…

front e-dial

Positioned naturally under the forefinger when gripping the camera, you’ll find one of two E-dials. When shooting, this dial works in combination with the rear E-Dial to change camera settings, such as shutter speed. It can also be used to cycle through menus and images in Playback mode.

AF Assist light

To improve its autofocus performance in dim conditions and on low-contrast subjects, the K-3 II employs its AF Assist Light. When shooting in AF.S mode, this tiny LED emits a burst of bright green light to help lock on and achieve pin-sharp pictures. It can also be switched off if required, for example when it might disturb the subject.

Contoured handgrip

To make shooting a more comfortable experience, the K-3 II features a deep, ergonomically sculpted handgrip. The area also has a rubberised texture to prevent your hand from slipping in wet or hot weather conditions, providing a more stable grip and less chance of dropping the camera.

Self-timer lamp / remote receiver

In Self-Timer Drive mode, this little light flashes red to count down the seconds until the picture is taken – useful if you’re posing. It also acts as the receiver for the Remote Control F unit allowing you to fire the shutter from a distance.

Lenses

Your choice of lens and focal length changes your view on the world. For example, this 18-55mm standard zoom lens is a great for a variety of subjects; landscapes at its wide end and portraits at the long end. Plus, its Weather Resistant (WR) build complements the rest of the camera.

shake reduction system

SR is the sign that you can enjoy clear, blur-free shots at slow shutter speeds via the K-3 II’s Shake Reduction mechanism. SR shifts the sensor to compensate for camera shake, providing steadier shooting and sharper results. Sharpness when using telephoto lenses is also improved.

Lens unlock button

One of the great things about owning a DSLR is that you can swap lenses at will, allowing different views of the subject, from highly magnified to wide-angle. See the Eco-system button below for more on the range of Pentax lenses.

playback button

This button takes you into Playback mode for image review on the 3.2in LCD screen. If you’re in Playback mode, it takes you back into shooting mode.

AE metering/delete button

When shooting, this button allows you to change the Auto Exposure (AE) Metering mode using the rear E-dial. Multi-segment (which reads the whole scene), Centre-weighted (emphasis on the middle) and Spot (limited area) are available. In Playback mode, it brings up options to delete images.

eyecup

The K-3 II comes with the Eyecup FS installed, and its soft rubber creates a comfortable shooting position with your eye to the viewfinder. You can remove and upgrade the eyecup to a different design such as the larger Eyecup MII.

Viewfinder

The K-3 II sports a high-quality pentaprism viewfinder offering a 100% view of the scene. Important shooting information, such as exposure settings, is visible beneath the scene you’re composing, so you can make changes without taking your eye off the action. The focus point is overlayed on the view.

monitor

The K-3 II’s 3.2in monitor can be used to display shooting information and exposure settings, show an electronic compass, an electronic level, or switched off entirely. It’s also where you access menus and view images in Playback mode.

dioptre adjustment dial

You can adjust the sharpness of the image in the viewfinder, depending on your eyesight, using this dioptre dial. Turn it until the AF frame in the viewfinder is at its sharpest.

live view/movie REc button

This switches the screen into Live View mode for composition and is also used to start or stop recording in Movie mode.

Rear e-dial

When shooting, this dial is used in tandem with the front E-dial to change camera settings, such as the aperture in aperture-priority (Av) mode. It can be customised to fit other functions such as exposure compensation. The dial also cycles through menus being displayed and zooms in and out of images in Playback mode.

AF button

This button can be used to activate autofocus, in the same way as half-pressing the shutter release button – an operation sometimes called ‘back-button focus’.

AE LOCK button

This button locks the auto exposure (AE) settings so that you can base the exposure on one part of the scene, then recompose before shooting another. In Playback mode, it also lets you save the last JPEG recorded in Raw mode, allowing greater editing potential later.

green button

This button can be used to provide an auto exposure when working in manual (M) or shutter-and-aperture priority (TAv) mode. It can also be used to switch on the Auto ISO function when holding the ISO button.

Capture mode selector lever

Helpfully placed within easy reach of your thumb when gripping the camera, this lever switches between still and movie recording, allowing you to swap from high-resolution photos to HD video.

Drive modes

The four-way controller’s up button accesses the Drive modes, allowing you to switch between Single Frame, Continuous Shooting, Self-timer, Remote Control, Exposure Bracketing, Mirror Lock-up, Multi-exposure, Interval Shooting and Interval Composite modes.

White-balance

The four-way controller’s left button is a shortcut to the white-balance settings, allowing you to set how the colours in the scene are recorded, including Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Flash, Color Temperature Enhancement, Manual reading and Color Temperature (K) modes.

OK button/four-way controller

Used as a shortcut to the Drive mode/Flash mode/white balance or Custom Image settings, the four-way controller also helps navigate menus and moves the focusing area when in that mode. OK is used to confirm selections when a menu or the control panel is displayed on screen.

custom image

The right button on the four-way controller allows you to access creative colour options including Natural (default), Bright, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome and Cross Processing. In this menu the strength of the effects can be set using the Info button.

flash modes

The down button on the four-way controller accesses the Flash modes, controlling the strength and style of lighting effects when an accessory flash-gun is used. Options include Flash Exposure Compensation, Red Eye Reduction and Slow-speed Sync for slow shutter speed effects with flash.

INFO BUTTON

This button brings up the Control Panel on screen with access to frequently used settings. It also changes what’s displayed on the screen, switching between the shooting information, the electronic level, the electronic compass or nothing at all.

menu BUTTON

This button toggles the Main menu on or off screen. When the menu is in use it acts as a back or cancel button, returning a setting to the previous one, or taking you back to the previous screen.

Change AF Point/Card slot switch button

Tap this to change the focusing area, using the four-way controller. It also swaps between SD card slots 1 and 2 when viewing images in Playback mode.

Mode dial

This sets exposure mode, such as auto (Green), program (P), sensitivity-priority (Sv), shutter-priority (Tv), aperture-priority (Av), shutter-and-aperture-priority (TAv), manual (M), bulb (B), flash X-sync speed (X) or one of the three user modes where custom settings can be saved. It can be locked to prevent movement.

hotshoe

This is the hotshoe accessory port into which you can slot an external flashgun like the Pentax AF540 FGZ II for increased control over the lighting of your subject. Flashes fitted can also be used to control additional lights for a studio style set-up. Other accessories like microphones can also be mounted here.

EV Compensation button

Press this to change the exposure compensation value, using the rear E-dial. A positive (+) setting will make the exposure lighter and a negative (-) one makes it darker.

ISO button

Use this button to control the ISO sensitivity value, making the camera more or less sensitive to light.

top-plate lcd screen

This small LCD, which can be illuminated for use in dim conditions, provides shooting information similar to that visible on the monitor or through the viewfinder, including the current shutter speed or aperture, ISO and any exposure compensation that’s being used.

shutter release/main switch

Press to take a picture, and half-press to focus (and in Playback mode use it to return to shooting mode). Surrounding the shutter release is the Main switch (on/off button), which also activates the depth-of-field preview, showing what’s in and out of focus. It can also be used to take a digital preview when using Digital Filters.

GPS Button

This turns on the K-3 II’s Global Positioning System mode where location and elevation data is written to images, helping you to keep a track on where you were shooting. GPS mode also helps you achieve better pictures of the stars in the K-3 II’s new Astrotracer mode.

X-Sync socket

This is the cover to the K-3 II’s flash-sync socket. Unscrew it and you’ll be able to plug in a PC sync cable and trigger a flashgun off-camera. Alternatively, you can plug a wireless trigger into the hotshoe accessory port on the top of the camera or use the K-3 II’s wireless flash settings.

RAW/Fx button

By default this button changes the image quality mode from JPEG to Raw with a single push, but it can also be customised to provide a shortcut to other settings such as exposure bracketing or Shake Reduction.

AF mode button

Use this button in conjunction with the front and rear E-dials to control the autofocus mode and the autofocus area, for example switching to AF.C (continuous AF) and Expanded Area AF for moving subjects.

focus mode switch

This switches between manual focus mode where you use the focusing ring on the lens to set the point of sharp focus and autofocus (AF) mode, which is aided by the camera.

microphone terminal

Here you can plug in an external microphone for improved sound quality when recording commentary on video.

USB Terminal

Protected by a weather-sealed door, a USB port allows you to connect the K-3 II to your PC for saving images if a memory card reader is unavailable.

HDMI port

Protected in a weather-sealed compartment, the HDMI connection allows you to play back images or video on an AV device, or use the camera’s Live View mode on a larger screen.

DC power port

To power the camera when connected to a computer or AV device, you can plug in an AC adapter here.

headphone terminal

This port allows you to connect headphones so you can monitor sound during recording or review captured audio in Playback video mode.

memory card door

Behind its weather-sealed door, the K-3 II features twin SD card ports, so you can double the capacity, or back up shots from one card to the other. Use an SD FluCard here and you’ll be able to enjoy wireless connection to a mobile device with the Pentax Image Sync app.

Cable switch terminal

This weather-sealed door provides access to the cable switch terminal, allowing you to plug in the CS-205 Cable switch and trigger the shutter without moving the camera when shooting macro or long exposures.

battery cover

Weather sealed like the rest of the K-3 II, the locking battery cover keeps the camera’s D-LI90 li-ion battery safe and dry. The battery itself is rated to shoot up to 720 images between charges.

battery grip contacts

Weather sealed to protect from harmful water and dust, this flap is removed when the D-BG5 battery grip is attached, the latter increasing power and allowing easier vertical shooting.

Tripod socket

To keep the camera still during long exposure photography, attach it to a tripod or monopod (or a quick-release plate to connect to a tripod) using this thread.

getting started

choose a mode

Good pictures come from adapting to the subject you’re shooting, so whatever you’re taking pictures of, setting the right mode is your route to success. Use the dial on the left to explore the K-3 II’s different modes…

core functions

image quality

One of the essential reasons for shooting with a DSLR is the improved image quality you get.
Click on the yellow plus buttons to find out how the Pentax K-3 II achieves its superb, high-resolution pictures…

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24-megapixel sensor and no AA filter

The K-3 II’s CMOS APS-C format sensor produces extremely detailed images thanks to its 24 million pixel resolution, and clarity is improved by the removal of the traditional anti-aliasing (AA) filter. Without an AA filter’s subtle blurring effect, images are clearer than ever before.

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extended ISO range, low noise

The K-3 II has an ISO range of 100-51,200, allowing precise control over the exposure settings you can use in a variety of lighting conditions. Crucially, however, results are delivered with well-controlled noise as the sensitivity is increased, so you can shoot at higher settings and still get great image quality.

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Precise exposure metering

Exposures are only as good as the metering system they’re based on and the K-3 II’s TTL 86k pixel RGB sensor intelligently calculates the setting required whether you’re in the multi-segment, centre-weighted or spot mode. It can even tell whether you’re shooting in tricky conditions like backlighting and adapt the exposure to suit.

core functions

lock onto the action

Precise focus is paramount, and to get it the K-3 II has a suite of modes allied to its new SAFOX 11 AF system. To begin you need to pick the general AF mode, then chose the AF area, which varies from Live View to viewfinder shooting. And if you want complete freedom, just switch the Focus mode to MF (manual) and use the lens’s focusing ring.

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live view

face detection
Here, the camera detects and tracks the faces of people in the frame.

TRACKING
Once the focus is locked, a moving subject can be tracked across the frame.

multiple af points
The focus area is chosen automatically by the camera, based on 45 segments.

select
You can position the focusing point precisely from any of the 45 segments.

spot
The focusing area is locked to the very centre of the frame.

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viewfinder

AUTO
Out of the 27 focusing points available, the camera selects the optimal position.

ZONE SELECT
Uses a grouping of 9 AF points that you can move around the frame.

SELECT
Allows you to choose any one of the K-3’s 27 AF points and focus with just that.

EXPANDED AREA (S)
Uses 8 additional points around the selected area in case the subject moves.

EXPANDED AREA (M)
Uses 24 additional points around the selected area for moving subjects.

EXPANDED AREA (L)
Uses 26 additional points around the selected area for highly erratic subjects.

spot
The AF point is locked in the centre of the frame for precise focusing technique.

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AUTOFOCUS MODES

SINGLE The camera focuses using the selected AF point and when focus is achieved, it is held.

CONTINUOUS The camera will continue to focus until the AF or shutter button is released.

AUTO-SELECT The camera switches between the AF.S and AF.C according to the subject.

core functions

capture every moment

Drive modes let you adapt to the subject, so you can capture every moment to perfection. On the K-3 II they’re easily accessible from the rear of the camera, by pressing up on the four-way controller. The default mode is Single, which takes one picture at a time, but in Continuous mode you can hit a top speed of 8.3 frames-per-second! On other occasions, like shooting long exposures, Self-timer or Remote are better suited. Other drive modes include: Exposure Bracketing to capture lighter and darker exposures of the same scene; Mirror Up (MUP) mode, which reduces vibrations for sharper pics; Multi-exposure, which overlays separate shots; Interval shooting for creating time-lapse effects; and Interval Composite, which combines several exposures over a long period.

what else Helps?

  • white-balance
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  • Custom image
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advanced features

pixel shift resolution

Pixel Shift Resolution (PSR) mode enables the K-3 II’s sensor to create sharper, more detailed images with truer-to-life colours. Allied to the camera’s Shake Reduction system, it works by shifting the sensor several times during a single exposure, moving it by a single pixel each time. This means that precise colour information can be recorded for each of the red, green and blue (RGB) photosites on the sensor, providing the truest possible reading of the colours in the scene. In a regular exposure, colour information is interpolated, which means it’s less accurate. The mode is easy to turn on; just hit the Info button and choose it from the menu. However, because of the way it works, PSR can only be used on single images at a time, and for best results the camera needs to be on a tripod to prevent any movement between the exposure.

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advanced features

master the night sky

  • astrotracer on
  • astrotracer off

Astrotracer uses the K-3 II’s built-in GPS receiver to move the sensor in a guided way, turning it to compensate for the rotation of the Earth and allowing the camera to follow the movement of the stars. Why is this useful? Well, regular exposures of the night sky require very wide apertures and high ISO settings along with long shutter speeds, and the latter picks up the movement of the Earth, rendering stars as streaks. Astrotracer removes this effect, keeping stars sharp for exposures of up to five minutes as you shoot from a tripod. These longer exposures mean brighter images are possible at smaller apertures and lower ISO settings, which can improve image quality.

advanced features

improve your landscapes

To improve image quality, the K-3 II features a full suite of lens correction functions. These control vignetting, fringing and distortions and, thanks to a new Diffraction Correction function, also counter the softening of details in images taken at very small apertures. You can turn all of these modes on via the Main menu’s Lens Correction option. The modes are available in most situations, except some specialist drive modes, like Multi-exposure and Interval Composite, and aren’t applied to Raw files, but they can be added while editing images in Playback mode.

lens correction functions

  • Distortion correction
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    Distortion correction

    Despite technology to reduce distortions within lenses themselves, some wide-angle or long telephoto lenses still show them. In wide-angles, this is seen as barrel distortion, where the scene looks bloated and straight lines curve outwards. In telephoto lenses it’s called pincushion distortion and has the opposite look with lines curving inward. Distortion Correction reads the lens you’re using and fixes these problems.

  • reduce fringing
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    reduce fringing

    Fringing, the blue, purple or green glow that you sometimes see around edges in a picture, happens more commonly at the extremes of a zoom lens’s focal range and when using very small or large apertures. The K-3 II’s Lateral Chromatic Aberration Adjustment (Lat-Chromatic-Ab Adj), mode reads the lens in use and corrects this by shifting the individual colour channels of the image.

  • remove vignetting
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    remove vignetting

    Vignetting is a darkening of the edges of the frame caused by a loss of light in these areas and happens most often at the long and short ends of a zoom lens’s focal range, and when using the widest and smallest apertures. To fix it, the Peripheral Illumination Correction brightens the edges of the picture.

  • diffraction correction
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    diffraction correction

    Diffraction is a softening of focus and it’s caused by the path of light being disrupted as it passes through very small apertures. So, while you might use settings like f/16 or f/22 to keep a scene sharp from front to back, this sacrifices some level of detail. Diffraction Correction combats this, improving performance of lenses, so a setting of f/22 will retain the same level of detail as if shooting at f/11.

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Wi-fi connectivity

This special SD card not only stores images, it also enables wireless connectivity with Pentax DSLRs including the K-3 and K-3 II (the K-S2 has wireless built in). By connecting to the camera in this way, you can not only download pictures to your smartphone or tablet and share them more easily, but also control the camera remotely using the free Pentax Image Sync app.

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LENS line-up

Changing lenses according to your subject or the style of image you want to take is what using a DSLR is all about; it gives you complete creative freedom in your photography. And there’s a huge range of options in the Pentax range, from wide-angle to extreme telephoto and everything in between, and many are weather sealed. You can also increase the range of lenses using the HD Pentax-DA AF Rear Converter 1.4x AW, which increases focal length by 1.4x.

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Pentax flash system

When you need extra illumination to improve exposure or add creative effects, you can turn to Pentax’s range of powerful, easy-to-use flashes. There are models to suit all needs, from the entry-level AF200 FG to the pro-spec AF360 FGZ II and AF540 FGZ, both of which are weather sealed and able to be controlled wirelessly in groups. There are specialist flashes too, like the AF160 FC ringflash for macro work.

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remote shooting

Firing the camera from a distance allows you to shoot group shots without using a timer, as well as get sharper exposures by avoiding the vibration of the camera and lens. The O-RC1 (pictured) is waterproof and also allows zoom control and use of your DSLR’s Function button. There’s also the Remote Control F with a range of up to five metres and the CS‑205 Cable switch that connects directly to the camera.

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camera bags

To transport your Pentax DSLR in safety, invest in a dedicated camera bag. There’s one to suit all needs: the Professional backpack (above) uses multiple compartments to store your DSLR, two lenses, a flash, a laptop and accessories; while for less gear there’s the Pentax Camera case, fitting a camera body, two lenses and accessories. Finally, for stowing just the camera and standard lens, try the Neoprene case that wraps around your gear and protects it from day-to-day use.

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connecting your camera

With the right cables in your kit you can connect your Pentax DSLR to your PC or to a TV, both for image transfer and to review shots on the big screen. For the former, you’ll just need a USB cable (USB 3.0 for the K-3 and K-3 II and USB 2.0 for the K-S2). And for viewing shots on TV or a compatible PC, a mini-HDMI lead is required.

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battery grip

Using a battery grip increases the power available by making use of a second cell or AA batteries (using an adaptor). It also allows more comfortable shooting in portrait (vertical) orientation as the controls mimic the regular layout of the camera back, so finding what you need is easy. The D-BG5 fits Pentax K-3 and K-3 II DSLRs and is weather sealed just like the bodies themselves.

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O-GPS1 unit

While the Pentax K-3 II features a built-in GPS reciever, you can still make use of exciting GPS-enabled features on other Pentax DSLRs. Just plug the O-GPS1 unit into the hot-shoe of the DSLR and after calibration it will provides all the poisitioning data required for functions like Astrotracer and Electronic Compass as well as allowing you to tag pictures with precise location information.

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extra BATTERies

Your Pentax DSLR comes with a high-performance battery offering plenty of shooting power, but get a spare and you’ll never be worried about running out on a shoot. If you have a Pentax K-3 or K-3 II you’ll need the D-Li90, while K-S2 users require the D-Li109.

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focusing screens

Pentax DSLRs allow you to easily change the focusing screen, so that you can frame up and focus with different compositional aids through the viewfinder. The screens will fit any model and include options like the AF Scale Matte screen (Li-80) that allows you to verify subject placement when it’s critical.

what else?

expand your creativity

Owning a DSLR is all about creative shooting options, and here you’ll find a range of Pentax kit that will open up new styles of photography, while also improving the handling of your camera