Ricoh Imaging America has taken the wraps off a new Pentax K Series flagship camera that's been described by Executive VP Jim Malcolm as the most complete and capable APS-C offering in the history of the company. The K-3 high-end 24 MP enthusiast DSLR features a brand new sensor, the latest image processor and a sensor shift image stabilization system that's been persuaded to impersonate a low pass filter.

Ricoh has given the Pentax K-3 DSLR a new 24-megapixel APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) CMOS sensor, and included its PRIME III imaging engine. This combination makes for fast image processing, an ISO sensitivity high of 51200 for low-light, flash-free photography (though there is a pop-up flash and hot shoe mount if the need arises), and a maximum continuous shooting rate of 8.3 images per second for up to 22 RAW images or 60 JPEG images in one go.

Precise exposure control comes courtesy of an improved algorithm and a newly-designed 86,000-pixel RGB light metering sensor called the Real-Time Scene Analysis System. The camera also boasts a Safox 11 autofocus system with 27 sensors and a wide light sensitivity range of -3EV to +18EV.

The built-in Pentax sensor-shift shake reduction mechanism can be used with any Pentax lens. The unit can tilt the sensor in all directions for automatic level adjustment, and to cater for fine tuning of compositions. Rather than create a version with an optical anti-aliasing filter and one without, the K-3's SR system is used as an anti-aliasing simulator. Photographers can choose to shoot with or without a moiré-reducing filter effect by toggling the function on or off, and can even adjust the level of microscopic vibrations that the low pass filter replacement applies to the sensor during an exposure to suit the scene.

The K-3 is capable of recording Full HD video at up to 30 frames per second, or up to 60 fps at 720p. An interval movie mode is also available, that can record a series of 3840 x 2160 resolution clips at fixed intervals. Ricoh has included a port for plugging in a stereo microphone, and a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The camera benefits from a glass prism viewfinder with 0.95x magnification and almost 100 percent field of view, and a new coating that's said to offer photographers a much brighter image. Users can also choose to frame up a shot via the 3.2-inch, 1,037K-dot resolution LCD monitor. The air gap between the LCD panel and the tempered glass above has been removed for the promise of reduced reflection and improved outdoor visibility.

By throwing in a 16 GB Flu SDHC Card For Pentax in one of the camera's two memory card slots, users can remote-release the shutter wirelessly through a designated web browser interface on an iOS (6) or Android (4.2) smartphone. This can also be used to alter the AF sensor point, inspect the view through the lens, or transfer images from the card to the phone. The inclusion of a USB 3.0 port allows for fast file transfer over a cabled connection, and high definition videos can be played on a big screen TV via the HDMI port.

The K-3 features a dustproof and weather-resistant magnesium-alloy shell over metal casing with 92 seals against ingress, and can continue to operate in temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F).

The Pentax K-3 will be available from November for a body-only suggested retail price of US$1,299.95, or with a DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR zoom kit lens for $1,699.95. An optional weather-resistant battery grip has also been developed for the K-3, which takes six AA-sized batteries or a Li-ion battery, and costs $229.95. Ricoh will also be running off 2,000 special silver edition K-3 cameras for $1,599.95 each.

Product page: Pentax K-3

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