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Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Comparison

Storage & Battery

Pentax K-3 Mark III

Pentax K-3 Mark III

Pentax K-1 Mark II

Pentax K1 II camera image
Pentax K-3 Mark III
Pentax K-1 Mark II
K-3 Mark III
K-1 Mark II
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.
March 30, 2021
February 21, 2018
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Pentax K-1 Mark II with a score of 83/100 compared to 80/100. Both cameras are DSLRs and were launched at the same price of $1,999. They share similarities in their announcement dates, with the K-3 Mark III being released in 2021 and the K-1 Mark II in 2018.

The K-3 Mark III has the advantage of being smaller and lighter, measuring 135 x 104 x 74mm and weighing 820g, making it more portable than the K-1 Mark II, which measures 137 x 110 x 86mm and weighs 1010g. This difference in size and weight can be crucial for photographers who value mobility and ease of handling.

On the other hand, the K-1 Mark II might still appeal to some users due to its slightly lower score, which does not necessarily imply a significant difference in performance. Both cameras share a range of features and capabilities, and the choice between them might come down to individual preferences and specific needs.

Taking these factors into account, the K-3 Mark III stands out as the better camera, primarily due to its smaller size and lighter weight. However, the K-1 Mark II remains a viable option for those who don’t prioritize portability as much.

Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Overview and Optics

The Pentax K-1 Mark II comes out on top in the optics comparison with a score of 85/100, a 3-point lead over the Pentax K-3 Mark III’s score of 82/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, such as the CMOS sensor type, Prime IV processor, DXOMARK sensor score of 96, and image stabilization. Additionally, both cameras use the Pentax K lens mount system, with the K-3 Mark III using the KAF2 mount and the K-1 Mark II using the KAF4 mount.

The K-1 Mark II’s advantage lies in its higher megapixel count of 36 compared to the K-3 Mark III’s 26 megapixels. This results in higher resolution images, providing more detail and better image quality. Furthermore, the K-1 Mark II has a full-frame sensor, which offers better low-light performance and a wider dynamic range than the K-3 Mark III’s APS-C sensor.

On the other hand, the K-3 Mark III has a faster shooting speed of 12 frames per second, compared to the K-1 Mark II’s 4.4 frames per second. This makes the K-3 Mark III more suitable for capturing fast-moving subjects and action photography.

Considering these points, the Pentax K-1 Mark II is the better choice for photographers who prioritize image quality, resolution, and low-light capabilities. Meanwhile, the Pentax K-3 Mark III is a more suitable option for those who require a faster shooting speed for action photography. Both cameras offer excellent optics, but the K-1 Mark II’s higher score reflects its superiority in key areas that contribute to overall image quality.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
26 MP
36 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
6192 x 4128 px
7360 x 4912 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.
23 x 15.5 mm
35.9 x 24 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
12 fps
4.4 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.
Pentax KAF2
Pentax KAF4
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Prime IV
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)

Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Video Performance

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Pentax K-1 Mark II in video capabilities, with a score of 83 out of 100 compared to the K-1 Mark II’s score of 70. Both cameras share some common specifications, including a maximum video frame rate of 60fps and built-in time-lapse functionality.

The K-3 Mark III excels with its maximum video resolution of 4K and dimensions of 3840 x 2160, providing a significant advantage in terms of image quality and detail. This higher resolution allows users to capture more vibrant and detailed videos, making the K-3 Mark III an ideal choice for those who prioritize video performance in their camera selection.

On the other hand, the K-1 Mark II has a maximum video resolution of Full HD and dimensions of 1920 x 1080. While this is still suitable for many users, it falls short when compared to the K-3 Mark III’s superior 4K capabilities. However, the K-1 Mark II may still be a viable option for those who do not require 4K video resolution and prefer to focus on other aspects of the camera.

In comparing the video capabilities of the Pentax K-3 Mark III and the Pentax K-1 Mark II, it is evident that the K-3 Mark III is the superior choice for those seeking high-quality video performance. The K-1 Mark II, while still a capable camera, is better suited for users who do not prioritize 4K video resolution in their decision-making process.

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.
Full HD
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
1920 x 1080 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.
60 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.
MPEG-4, H.264

Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Features and Benefits

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Pentax K-1 Mark II in features, scoring 87/100 compared to the K-1 Mark II’s 72/100. Both cameras share similarities in specifications, such as a 3.2-inch screen, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, the K-3 Mark III surpasses the K-1 Mark II in certain aspects.

The K-3 Mark III has a higher screen resolution of 1,620,000 dots, providing a clearer and sharper display compared to the K-1 Mark II’s 1,037,000 dots. Additionally, the K-3 Mark III has a touchscreen, making it more user-friendly and convenient for navigating settings and reviewing images.

On the other hand, the K-1 Mark II has a flip screen, allowing for more versatile shooting angles and improved ease of use in certain situations. It also features GPS, which the K-3 Mark III lacks. This enables photographers to geotag their images, providing valuable information for travel and landscape photography.

Despite its lower feature score, the K-1 Mark II offers advantages in specific areas, such as the flip screen and GPS. However, the K-3 Mark III’s higher resolution touchscreen and overall higher feature score make it a more capable camera in general. Choosing between these two cameras depends on the individual photographer’s needs and preferences. If a flip screen and GPS are essential, the K-1 Mark II may be the better choice. However, for those prioritizing screen resolution and a touchscreen interface, the K-3 Mark III is the clear winner.

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.
1,620,000 dots
1,037,000 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.

Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Storage and Battery

The Pentax K-3 Mark III outperforms the Pentax K-1 Mark II in storage and battery, scoring 81/100 compared to the K-1 Mark II’s 65/100. Both cameras share common specifications, such as two memory card slots and compatibility with SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. They also use the same battery type, D-LI90.

The K-3 Mark III excels with its UHS-II compatibility in one slot, allowing for faster data transfer. It also boasts a longer battery life of 800 shots, compared to the K-1 Mark II’s 670 shots. Furthermore, the K-3 Mark III supports USB charging, adding convenience for users on the go.

On the other hand, the K-1 Mark II only supports UHS-I compatibility, resulting in slower data transfer. Although it has a shorter battery life, 670 shots are still adequate for most photography sessions. However, the lack of USB charging may be a drawback for some users.

In comparing storage and battery, the Pentax K-3 Mark III proves to be a superior choice with its faster data transfer, longer battery life, and USB charging capabilities. While the Pentax K-1 Mark II remains a decent option, the K-3 Mark III’s advantages make it a more appealing camera for those prioritizing storage and battery performance.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (1 slot is UHS-II compatible)
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I 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.
800 shots
670 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK

Alternatives to the Pentax K-3 Mark III and K-1 Mark II

Pentax K-3 Mark III vs K-1 Mark II Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Pentax K-3 Mark III or the Pentax K-1 Mark II:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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