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Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 camera image

Pentax K-3 Mark III

Pentax K-3 Mark III
Nikon D500
Pentax K-3 Mark III
K-3 Mark III
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
January 06, 2016
March 30, 2021
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Nikon D500 with a score of 83/100 compared to the D500’s 75/100. Both cameras are DSLRs, announced in 2021 and 2016 respectively, and share a similar launch price of around $2000.

The Pentax K-3 Mark III is smaller and lighter, measuring 135 x 104 x 74mm and weighing 820g, while the Nikon D500 measures 147 x 115 x 81mm and weighs 860g. This makes the Pentax more portable and convenient for photographers on the go.

However, the Nikon D500 has its advantages as well. Being an older model, it has a longer track record and a more established user base, which can be helpful for support and community advice.

Considering the specifications, the Pentax K-3 Mark III is the clear winner due to its higher score, smaller size, and lighter weight. Nevertheless, the Nikon D500 remains a viable option for those who value the benefits of an established camera model.

Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Overview and Optics

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Nikon D500 in optics with a score of 82/100, compared to the Nikon D500’s score of 69/100. This 13-point difference is significant when comparing the cameras’ optical capabilities.

Both cameras share some common specifications, including a CMOS sensor, an APS-C sensor size, and compatibility with their respective lens mounts – Nikon F DX for the D500 and Pentax KAF2 for the K-3 Mark III. However, the similarities end there, with the Pentax K-3 Mark III offering superior features in other areas.

The Pentax K-3 Mark III has a higher megapixel count at 26, compared to the Nikon D500’s 20.9, allowing for more detailed and high-resolution images. Additionally, the K-3 Mark III boasts a faster shooting speed of 12 frames per second, as opposed to the D500’s 10 frames per second. The Pentax K-3 Mark III also has a higher DXOMARK score for its sensor at 96, compared to the Nikon D500’s score of 84, indicating better overall image quality.

The Nikon D500, on the other hand, features an Expeed 5 processor, which may provide faster processing and better noise reduction. However, this advantage is not enough to overcome the Pentax K-3 Mark III’s superior optical performance.

One notable feature that sets the Pentax K-3 Mark III apart is its built-in image stabilization, which the Nikon D500 lacks. This feature helps to reduce camera shake and produce sharper images, especially in low-light situations or when using slower shutter speeds.

Considering the significant differences in optical performance, the Pentax K-3 Mark III is the clear winner in this comparison. With its higher megapixels, faster shooting speed, better sensor score, and built-in image stabilization, the K-3 Mark III is a more capable camera for capturing high-quality images. While the Nikon D500 may have a slightly faster processor, it falls short in other critical areas, making the Pentax K-3 Mark III the better choice for photographers seeking superior optics.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
20.9 MP
26 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
5568 x 3712 px
6192 x 4128 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
15.7 x 23.5 mm
23 x 15.5 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
10 fps
12 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F DX
Pentax KAF2
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
Prime IV
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Optical (pentaprism)

Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Video Performance

The Pentax K-3 Mark III emerges as the winner in video capabilities with a score of 83/100, compared to the Nikon D500’s score of 70/100. Both cameras share common specifications, such as a maximum video resolution of 4K, maximum video dimensions of 3840 x 2160, and built-in time-lapse functionality.

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Nikon D500 in terms of video frame rate, offering a maximum of 60fps, while the Nikon D500 only supports up to 30fps. This difference allows the Pentax K-3 Mark III to capture smoother and more detailed videos, making it a superior choice for videographers who prioritize high-quality footage.

On the other hand, the Nikon D500 does not have any notable advantages in video capabilities over the Pentax K-3 Mark III. Both cameras share the same 4K resolution, video dimensions, and time-lapse features, and the Nikon D500 falls short with its lower frame rate.

Taking these points into consideration, the Pentax K-3 Mark III proves to be a better choice for video enthusiasts due to its higher video score and superior frame rate. The Nikon D500, while still a capable camera, does not provide any additional benefits in the video aspect when compared to the Pentax K-3 Mark III. Therefore, those looking for a camera with strong video capabilities should opt for the Pentax K-3 Mark III.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
60 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.

Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Features and Benefits

The Nikon D500 and Pentax K-3 Mark III both have a feature score of 87 out of 100, indicating that these cameras are quite similar in terms of features. Both cameras have a 3.2-inch touchscreen, GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth capabilities. However, there are some differences that make each camera stand out in its own way.

The Nikon D500 has a higher screen resolution of 2,359,000 dots compared to the Pentax K-3 Mark III’s 1,620,000 dots. This means the Nikon D500 provides a clearer and more detailed image preview on its screen. Another advantage of the Nikon D500 is the presence of a flip screen, which allows for more versatile shooting angles and is particularly useful for vlogging or taking selfies.

On the other hand, the Pentax K-3 Mark III does not have a flip screen, which may limit its versatility in certain shooting situations. However, it is worth mentioning that both cameras still offer a high-quality touchscreen display, making it easy to navigate through menus and adjust settings.

In terms of features, both the Nikon D500 and the Pentax K-3 Mark III are quite comparable, with the main differences being the screen resolution and the presence of a flip screen on the Nikon D500. These differences may influence a photographer’s decision, depending on their specific needs and preferences. While the Nikon D500 has a slight edge in terms of screen quality and versatility, both cameras still offer a solid set of features that cater to a variety of photography styles and requirements.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
2,359,000 dots
1,620,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Storage and Battery

The Pentax K-3 Mark III takes the lead in storage and battery with a score of 81/100, while the Nikon D500 trails with 79/100. Both cameras feature two memory card slots and accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. However, the Nikon D500 is UHS-II compatible and also supports XQD cards, providing faster performance and larger storage capacity.

In terms of battery life, the Nikon D500 outperforms the Pentax K-3 Mark III with 1240 shots, compared to 800 shots. The D500 uses an EN-EL15 battery, while the K-3 Mark III uses a D-LI90 battery. Although the D500 has a longer battery life, the K-3 Mark III offers USB charging, allowing for more convenient charging options.

Considering these factors, the Pentax K-3 Mark III has a slight advantage in storage and battery due to its USB charging capability. However, the Nikon D500 offers better battery life and faster memory card performance, making it a strong contender in this category.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
SD / SDHC / SDXC (1 slot is UHS-II compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
1,240 shots
800 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
24.1 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Alternatives to the Nikon D500 and Pentax K-3 Mark III

Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-3 Mark III Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D500 or the Pentax K-3 Mark III:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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