Ricoh’s Pentax brand introduced Wednesday the next version of its ruggedly designed K-3 DSLR that adds the ability to capture Full HD 1080 30p/60i video.

The Pentax K-3II DSLR, which will be available in May at a $1,099.95 suggested retail price, features a 24.3 “effective megapixel” (24.71 native MP) APS-C sized CMOS image sensor. The camera further sharpens image details by omitting a low-pass filter.

More on the K-3 II features and specs after the break:

Other new features include: built-in GPS, built-in electronic compass with directional readout on the LCD, 4.5-stage camera shake reduction system, and an “Astrotracer” function for capturing the movement of stars and planets in stills.

For Full HD movie recording, the K-3 II features an assortment of creative tools.

The K-3  II captures Full HD movie clips at a 60i/30p frame rate in H.264 compression. The camera also has an interval movie mode, which Ricoh said “captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips at a fixed interval.”

Dan Savoie, Ricoh product marketing manager, explained to HD Guru that the K-3 II uses the “Intervalometer” to take a series of photographs at set intervals. Therefore, the camera takes photos at a resolution equivalent to 4K video and creates a 4K video file in .avi format from the interval images.

In video, 4K is equivalent to approximately 8 megapixels of still image resolution, while Full HD 1080p is equivalent to approximately 2 megapixels.

The user has the ability to select: 4K, Full HD, and HD resolution at intervals of: 2 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec., 20 sec., 30 sec., 1 min., 5 min., 10 min., 30 min., and 1 hour.

Also included are a host of other visual effects for movie recording, although the frame rate capability of the camera may vary depending on the selected special effect that is used.

For audio recording in video mode, the K-3 II is equipped with a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection and a headphone terminal. Audio recording levels can be manually adjusted while monitoring sound-pressure levels during microphone recording.

Pentax explained its Pixel-Shift Resolution technology is designed for capturing still-life subjects with ultra-high resolving power. The system uses the camera’s in-body Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism while moving the image sensor at single-pixel increments for each of four separate images, which are then combined into a single high-resolution image.

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Ricoh said that when compared to the conventional Bayer system, in which each pixel has only a single unit of color data, this new system obtains “all color data in each pixel,” delivering “more truthful color reproduction and much finer details.” At the same time, the system is said to reduce high-sensitivity noise. Recorded images can also be synthesized, either on a computer using the supplied utility software, or with the camera’s in-body RAW-data development function.

Ricoh said the benefits of Pixel-Shift Resolution (not available for video) are “higher resolving power, reduced false color and improved overall image quality of non-moving subjects.”

Image processing is handled with Ricoh’s Prime III imaging engine, which is also used in the Pentax 645Z medium-format digital SLR camera.

To improve sharpness the camera removes the camera’s low-pass filter. So in order to eliminate moiré artifacts, Ricoh applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure. This anti-aliasing (AA) filter simulator provides the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. Unlike an optical filter, users have the ability to adjust the level of the anti-aliasing filter effect.

The camera’s upgraded in-body SR mechanism can be used with any compatible Pentax lens. This includes: K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mounts; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions are not available with certain lenses.

To do this, Ricoh uses a high-precision gyro sensor that is said to yield more stable shake compensation than before. The shake reduction system has an extra-wide compensation range with as much as 4.5 shutter steps. The system is said to be effective even while taking panning shots.

The built-in GPS module enables recording location, latitude, longitude, altitude, Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) and direction at the time of shooting. GPS data is accessed using a computer, to browse images, check on shooting locations and position data on the screen. Other tools include: a GPS log, which keeps track of the photographer’s movement; Electronic Compass, which displays the camera’s direction on the camera’s LCD monitor; and Astrotracer, which simplifies the tracing and shooting of celestial bodies by coupling GPS data with the camera’s SR mechanism.

For outdoor shooting, the Pentax K-3 II features stainless chassis and magnesium alloy body with 92-seal points to resist exposure to dust and water.

The camera does not include a built-in flash.

Other features in the K-3 II include: a 27-point (25 points cross type) SAFOX 11 auto focus (AF) module; continuous AF accuracy improvement of continuous shooting 8.3 frames/sec. (60 shots in JPEG, 23 shots in RAW in one interval); an 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor; 100-51,200 ISO range; optical penta prism viewfinder with 100 percent field of view, 0.95x magnification; 3.2-inch 1.037 million dot LCD monitor; High Dynamic Range (HDR) shooting mode with RAW-format data filing; dual SD card slots; remote operation from smartphones, tablets and PCs with optional Flu Card; and USB 3.0 and HDMI terminals.

By Greg Tarr

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