October 9, 2013

New Pentax K-3 DSLR Has a Customizable Anti-Aliasing Filter & is Capable of Internal 4K Time-Lapse Video

Announced at the same time as the D610, the new Pentax K-3 APS-C DSLR doesn't seem all that exciting from the outside, but the now Ricoh-owned name has all sorts of interesting tech going on inside. While many cameras are starting to forgo low-pass filters which help avoid aliasing, the downside is that this can mean additional moire while shooting photos or videos. The Pentax camera solves this issue in a very interesting way, and also is apparently capable of shooting 4K video. Check out more details below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIaXsoICqT4

The major specs:

  • 23.35MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • User-Selectable Anti-Aliasing Filter
  • 1080i: 60 fps, 50 fps
  • 1080p: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
  • 720p: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
  • Still Images: DNG, JPEG, RAW
  • Movies: AVI, MOV, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
  • 3.2" 1,037k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Continuous Shooting up to 8.3 fps
  • In-Camera Shake Reduction Stabilization
  • WiFi Camera Control
  • Dual SD Memory Card Slots
  • USB 3.0, HDMI, Mic, Headphone Jack
  • Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Availability: November
  • Price: $1,300 Body Only, $1,600 with Battery Grip, $1,650 with 18-135mm lens

Check out how the low-pass or AA filter is simulated with the sensor vibration:

Housed in the PENTAX K-3's sleek and ergonomic body is a host of cutting-edge technology including the innovative and proprietary selectable AA filter which allows photographers to toggle anti-aliasing functionality on or off using the lauded PENTAX SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism. This breakthrough in imaging technology empowers photographers to retain greater control of image output while eliminating the need to commit to supreme resolution or superior moiré control by providing both options in a single camera body.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82ym_GdFlcE

Here is the bit about the 4K option in the camera, which allows you to create 4K time-lapse videos right in the camera:

The K-3 also features an enhanced video recording experience including the ability to change from still image to video recording with the flip of a dedicated switch to capture full HD movie recording in H.264 format. The K-3 comes equipped with a headphone terminal and stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection. The user can also adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound levels during recording. In addition to a variety of creative special-effect modes, the K-3 also provides an upgraded interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips (3840 x 2160 pixels) at a fixed interval.

Pentax-K-3-Back

There is still a lot we don't know about the camera, and it looks like no video samples have been released yet. That's not to say video will be bad (after all this may actually have the same sensor as the solid Nikon D7100), but we just don't know what we're dealing with until we get some samples. Other Pentax cameras were capable of using the body stabilization while shooting video, so it's certainly possible it will be the case here. Sensor stabilization, which physically moves the camera instead of lens elements, is much better for video because it means that old prime lenses will also be stabilized, leading to much smoother-looking video. If you've ever turned on stabilization while shooting with a Canon DSLR (or any other camera) you've seen how much this can help certain handholding situations.

The user-selectable AA filter is well ahead of some other manufacturers, but it remains to be seen how good it will work, and whether it works for video at all. It's definitely a step in the right direction instead of creating two separate bodies just for the few people who could benefit from no AA filter.

I think there are a lot of things to like about the K-3 just from the spec sheet alone. The Pentax K lens mount isn't the most adaptable in the world, but there have been many, many different lenses produced for the K mount, most of which should work with the camera, especially the excellent Samyang lenses. If video quality is good, and stabilization works just as well in video mode, it will be excellent for shooting video without a rig. 1080 60i isn't quite the same as 60p, but it is possible to do a little post work and get a result that looks pretty good. That is certainly more than can be said for many Nikon and Canon cameras which don't even have an option.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of features from the K-3 will make it into other brands (like Nikon and Canon), as DSLR video shooting will certainly become more of a niche as large sensor video cameras get smaller, cheaper, and more capable.

We'll add video samples when possible. For more information, head on over to the links below.

Link: Pentax K-3 -- B&H

[via Engadget & DPReview]

Your Comment

36 Comments

Hello, Pentax... :-)

October 9, 2013 at 6:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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4K for timelapse isn't that much as I tought it would be reading the title of this article.

October 9, 2013 at 6:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Yeah me neither.

October 9, 2013 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hubert

Well if that's not a misleading title. I can do a 4K Timelapse with nearly any digital stills camera on the market! Being able to pull this off in-camera doesn't make it "capable of 4K video".

You're a good writer, Joe. You don't have to sensationlize like this.

October 9, 2013 at 7:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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which captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips (3840 x 2160 pixels)

October 9, 2013 at 7:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

I figure this depends on the rebuffer time, which isn't specified in the release. If you're doing a time lapse and the rebuffer doesn't matter too much, then you do get a 4K video out of it, probably in one second increments (8.3x24M = 8.3M x 24). A landscape shoot would look like a continuous motion, especially in a slow pan or on a pre-programmed slider. And, if you're doing it in a city, it's kind of a blur anyway. 4K would work for portraits too. You'd just have to stay still ... in these one second increments.

October 9, 2013 at 8:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Pentax is always coming up with inventive stuff like in-camera shake reduction. What a lot of videographers may not know is that pentax have a set of lenses that are simply excellent and on par with zeiss. They are small too and I would recommend their 'Limited" fixed focal series for video work are these lenses are renowned in the photography world for the bokeh and image quality. The down side for photography with the pentax system has always been autofocus of which has been drastically improved in recent times but since this is little concern to videographers, I would highly recommend it - I think a lot will be surprised.

October 9, 2013 at 7:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Since when in 3840x2160 the same as 4K??? Thats UltraHD not 4K.

We were never allowed to call 1920x1080 2K so the same should apply to UltraHD.

While I'm on a little rant its neither unless it can sustain at least 23.98fps or above. Thats why a Gopro is not 4K. I'm going back in my box now....

October 9, 2013 at 7:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Forgot to add, looks like a cool camera and look forward to see what it can do.

October 9, 2013 at 7:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Pentax/Ricoh went to 4K. Though some can't see it, and despite all the perceived valid arguments against it, the video world is going to 4K, and higher. I have heard Panasonic may not have 4K in the next GH. But I don't think I believe it. If you want your camera to be competitive in a quickly changing landscape you have to get 4K into it, even though a large percent of your customers will not be using it right away. The small percentage that will use it immediately make it worth it. The rest that won't want it right away still may find 4K in a camera attractive since they will be future proofing themselves in their investment.

October 9, 2013 at 7:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Funny, every DSLR I've ever owned can do better than 4K for time-lapse. It's called still photography with a shutter timer.

October 9, 2013 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Swissted

Most manufacturers should have 4k in cheap cameras. There has been a cheap 4k design solution for over a year.. Even the Chinese don't have a cheap 4k camera out. What gives?

Something is desperately wrong in this industry that goes against rules of free trade and competitive behaviour. Where advances are held back for many years from their true price points.

October 9, 2013 at 8:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Concerned citizen

My eyes do better than 4k. And those are free. Nothing to see here

October 9, 2013 at 8:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I might be a little bit behind here, but can someone point to a solid explanation of OLPFs, AA filters, and how each effect resolution vs image artifacts?

October 9, 2013 at 9:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I am not a photog and someone will beat me up here for this explanation, but OLPF/anti-aliasing filter is used to eliminate moire/color banding. But it does soften up the image coming out of the sensor. How much of an effect it has depends on a slew of variables - lens, sensor, filter, etc.
.
On some shots banding can be a problem - see folks in densely striped shirts - and on others it may not be. However, most OLPF's are permanently installed/embedded and can't or shouldn't be removed while operating the camera. This is one of the reasons Nikon made two identical cams with D800. The E version has its OLPF removed for a sharper look. Pentax removed the physical filter - which is, essentially, a very thin glass prism - and moved the filter function into an electronic realm. Click on, click off. It's that easy.
.
BTW, Arri Alexa has a fairly unique OLPF/IR filter/s that is allegedly responsible for giving it a "filmic" look. The Red cams do not and many folks install their own "softening" filters to emulate the Alexa/filmic look.

October 9, 2013 at 10:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I see, thanks. This is probably why the F5/F55 is getting a new removable OLPF as well.

October 10, 2013 at 3:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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No big deal with 4K interval recording, almost any digital camera can do that. What would impress me is if the camera shoots the 4K time lapse then compresses it into a mov file in camera. So less post time. Primarily I would want to compile in post for best image qaultiy, but internal time lapse isn't a bad feature to have.

October 9, 2013 at 9:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Caleb

Soooo it's still not as good as a 5d and it hasn't even come out yet? Seriously enough with the consumer gimicks. It's just like the megapixel race of several years ago. When a dslr comes stock able to shoot RAW then I'll be interested.

October 9, 2013 at 10:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mike

There is one more feature listed in the specs which should be worth mentioning if it works in movie mode, and that's the K-3's apparent ability to distinguish different light sources in a mixed White Balance detection mode. I always shoot with available light, and have used both Pentax K-5 as well as the K-01 and recently the Canon 5D Mk III but when your subject is sitting under a lamp with dayligt coming in through the window you always have to choose for one or the other. If this feature works it will definitely save me some headaches.

October 10, 2013 at 12:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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There's your Black Magic 4K (uploaded in 1080p, however). [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA7-Ajnq03s]

October 10, 2013 at 1:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I didn't see the moire that some people said it was going to have.

October 10, 2013 at 9:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

I don't think those are from the 4K.

October 12, 2013 at 7:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

OK, here's another, more recent one - [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWzKtZ5-VYQ ]

October 10, 2013 at 1:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

The push to 4k is industry led, designed to sell more units,we'll see how it works, there's quite a large inertia behind it though

October 10, 2013 at 1:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dom

I also read the first version claiming 4k video capabilities and laughed, not in a good way, when I saw it was about time-lapse. I see the headline is corrected now.

Anyway, the ACTUAL "4k" time-lapse capability is great and it's something that I'm waiting for Canon to implement in the 1Dc. I have ZERO interest in burning shutter actuations in when doing time-lapses, but if the cameras implement it the right way, just like the Pentax here via a movie function, then its great and usable.

October 10, 2013 at 2:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hello,
does anyone know if this camera is movie continuous focus too?
Cheers

October 10, 2013 at 3:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Michele

Pentax K3 is a big jump for me from K10/20& K01. I move to videography with K01 & making good money with this small camera / small investment but with great video. So small that make other videographers suprise at many events yet I produce better video than them. K01 is a multipurpose tool that enjoy using.
Pentax K3 must be a much better DSLR with all that great specs. I can live with whatever shortcomings on Pentax K3. I pre order mine today .

October 10, 2013 at 5:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kalai

Meh, still no official raw video at 1080p at least *yawns, breaking the jaw*

October 10, 2013 at 7:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Natt

My last Pentax, the K-30 recorded at a low 17 mbps and moire / aliasing were brutal so I'm not expecting miracles from the K-3 based only on marketing copy.

October 10, 2013 at 7:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Markus

As many have said, that 4K is a (bad) joke. My $600 nex-5n does 5K time lapse (not internal, ok, but so what?).
The camera does seem interesting, but... "shunter" releases? "Spartphone"? Wtf? Did they get an intern to write the stuff? And 60fps Full HD - but 1080i.
It would really be better to stick to actual innovations, which might be interesting indeed.

October 10, 2013 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Theo

I don't know why all you guys are ragging on Joe for this. 4k timelapse in cam is a pretty big deal to people who want to do time-lapse. It saves your shutter life, and 1080p timelapse in cam with magic lantern never quite looks sharp enough on my 60D. Having something that I could down-res in post would make my work so much cleaner!

October 10, 2013 at 4:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kat

Well, time-lapse is stills photography and 4k video mean shooting movies.

To qualify in the 'big boy' club of 4k movie shooting machines you need to be able to do 24 fps or greater.

This site should, and does, know better than to call a 4k time-lapse function 4k video capability (as was previously the case).

But as you say, and what had already been stated above, 4k time-lapse saved directly into a movie container is a great function nonetheless.

October 10, 2013 at 4:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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October 10, 2013 at 11:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I'm not sure what you meant. Panasonic has a 4K tv out now. I just saw it yesterday on display at a Best Buy. They're releasing a 20" 4K tablet any day now. I wish I could afford it at $6000.00. And they have a 4K camcorder coming out in November. Why did you say lip service? I must not have understood you.

October 12, 2013 at 7:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

I was an oldschool Pentax fan, and arrived here prepared to be impressed, and was merely disappointed.
ANY digital camera with an 8 megapixel sensor can take a bunch of "4K" stills. If the big advance here is that it does the post-production in-camera, that's not really helpful. Ditto the internal software AA "filter" here.

I DO wonder how many frames per second can be captured in this time lapse mode, since plenty of cameras can capture 8 MP images at 4 fps or faster.

This promo video didn't really shows us much of anything new, other than some seriously implied weatherproofing. And it's metering now apparently measures red, green and blue light separately, and that is trying to accommodate for (yawn) hardware by running software internally.

I was also amazed by at least one typo that made it through: UP TO 200,000 SHUNTER RELEASES. (at the 48 second mark) It makes them look careless.

We did get a nice look at the rear LCD screen. It looks big and bright and non-movable. With no mention of video output, and no articulating screen, and 60i as the the top frame rate, this camera is not well placed for video capture and just feels very 2011.

What it DOES feel like is just another point and shoot consumer DSLR that might be released in 4 different vivid body colors.

October 11, 2013 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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indyola

No, it will not do continous focus in movie mode

December 19, 2013 at 8:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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JiaminC