In one of the longest-awaited sequels in DSLR history, Ricoh has finally formally announced its latest flagship APS-C DSLR, the Pentax K-3 Mark III. Don’t be deceived by the ‘Mark’ designation, though; compared to the Mark II of 2015, this is to all intents and purposes an entirely new camera.

Compared to its predecessor, the K-3 Mark III is effectively a completely new camera

Pentax has built the Mark III around a 26MP APS-C sensor that employs a backside-illuminated design in a bid to reduce noise and improve dynamic range. The sensitivity range is vast, stretching from ISO 100 to 1,600,000; however in the past we’ve found such ultra-high settings to look much better on the spec sheet than in actual photographs. The continuous shooting speed of 12 frames per second is genuinely impressive, though, especially for a DSLR.

A new AF-point selection joystick is located on the camera’s back

One notable feature is the SAFOX 13 autofocus system, which provides no fewer than 101 focus points, of which 25 are cross-type. The camera is also said to be able to autofocus in light as low as -4 EV, and a new 307,000-pixel metering sensor aids with subject identification for focus tracking purposes. Files are recorded to dual SD slots, one of which supports faster UHS-II cards.

The K-3 III’s control system is derived from the older K-1 and KP designs

Five-axis in-body image stabilisation is included, offering up to 5.5 stops shake reduction. The system also delivers a range of other goodies, some of which are exclusive to Pentax DSLRs. Alongside a pixel-shift multi-shot function, it can simulate the effect of an optical low-pass filter in suppressing imaging artefacts, and offers automatic horizon correction which can be really useful for hand-held shooting.

The optional vertical grip adds a duplicate set of controls for shooting in portrait format, including three dials and a joystick

Pentax DSLRs have traditionally offered excellent handling and superb viewfinders in robust bodies, and the K-3 III looks set to continue that trend. Its optical viewfinder is as large as those found on full-frame DSLRs, providing 0.7x equivalent magnification and 100% coverage of the image area. The three-dial control system is a development of that on the compact-bodied KP, and in a very welcome move, there’s a new joystick to position the AF area. As with previous K-3 models, the camera is extensively weather-sealed.

The Pentax K-3 Mark III will be available in a choice of silver or black

The Pentax K-3 III is due to go on sale in a choice of black or silver on 23rd April for £1,900 body-only, or £2,200 in a premium kit that includes the matched D-BG8 battery grip. This is more than double its predecessor’s price back in 2015, and £100 more than the full-frame K-1 Mark II’s street price. The grip itself accommodates a second battery for double the shooting time, boasts a duplicate set of controls for portrait-format shooting including a joystick and three control dials, and will cost £330 on its own.