Ricoh has announced the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome: a variant of its 25.7MP APS-C DSLR with no color filter array.
The K-3 III monochrome gains all the usual benefits of removing the color filter: sharper images by avoiding the need for demosaicing and one stop better tonal quality than the color version, at any given ISO, because no light is being lost to filters. The low-light benefit is further enhanced by an absence of chroma noise, which means all noise presents as luminance noise, which can be read as ‘grain’ or additional detail.
The Monochrome version has revised processing modes and parameters in place of the usual color modes, to allow options such as high- and low-key photography. As well as stills, the K-3 III Monochrome can shoot black-and-white video at up to 4K/30p.
As well as the removal of the color filter, the K-3 III Monochrome has a white backlight to the LCD status panel on the top of the camera and features grey function labels and icons for its buttons. The menu system is also monochromatic, at least by default.
The move sees Ricoh join Leica and Phase One in offering a mono version of its cameras and fits with the idea that the company is increasingly targeting niche audiences who love the DSLR experience, in much the same way that Leica has continued to use the rangefinder focus system that’s otherwise been all but abandoned by the rest of the industry.
The K-3 III is built around the same APS-C sized 25.7MP BSI CMOS sensor as its color-aware sibling, with the removal of the CFA boosting its base ISO by one stop. Interestingly the maximum ISO setting has not been increased.
The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome will be available from late April at an MSRP of $2199.95 (a $200 premium over the launch price of the standard model).
Ricoh announces PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome digital SLR camera
DSLR with exclusively-designed image sensor delivers the ultimate in black-and-white photography
PARSIPPANY, NJ, April 12, 2023 — Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome camera, exclusively designed to capture black-and-white images. The only monochrome-specific digital SLR camera currently on the market, it captures high-resolution images rich in gradation, enabling users to express a distinct view of the color-rich world in high-quality black-and-white images.
“The concept of a monochrome-specific digital SLR camera attracted a great deal of attention and interest from photographers who participated in an online fan event held in November 2021,” said Ken Curry, president, Ricoh Imaging Americas. “PENTAX has since conducted extensive research on the development of a commercial product based on this concept and we’re excited to announce it today.”
The new model’s design is based on the PENTAX K-3 Mark III — the flagship model of PENTAX’s APS-C-format series that integrates remarkable imaging performance and a host of advanced features in a compact, durable body — while totally redesigning and optimizing the imaging characteristics by adding a new, monochrome-specific image sensor with approximately 25.73 effective megapixels. A typical color image sensor composes a black-and-white image by converting the color data to monochrome. This new custom sensor does not have to convert the any data because it can reflect the brightness obtained by each pixel in the image, thus producing extra-fine sharpness in images that only the monochrome-specific sensor can deliver.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome features three Custom Image modes exclusively designed for black-and-white photography to provide distinctive finishing touches. In addition to Standard mode, it offers Hard mode to produce high-contrast images and Soft mode to create high-key, low- contrast images. Each mode allows minute adjustment of parameters such as tone, key, contrast and sharpness so that users can personalize their images with the desired finishing touch.
The exterior design of the camera has also been customized to reflect its monochrome capabilities. Design features include white backlight illumination on the LCD data panel, “Monochrome” lettering printed on the upper-left shoulder of the back panel, a menu screen featuring a black-and-white visual scheme as default, and icons printed on buttons and switches across the camera’s exterior finished in three shades of gray.
1The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome camera body will be available late April at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com as well as at Ricoh Imaging-authorized retail outlets for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,199.95.
| Main features of the PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome |
Monochrome-specific CMOS image sensor
To optimize the quality of monochromatic images, the camera incorporates a monochrome- specific, APS-C-format CMOS image sensor free of an AA (anti-aliasing) filter with approximately 25.73 effective megapixels. Typical color image sensors are designed to receive light passing through red (R), green (G) and blue (B) color filters, so each pixel detects only one color-data component. To compose a monochrome image, color sensors must convert color data into monochromatic data by interpolating the color data they collect. The new monochrome-specific image sensor, however, can faithfully reflect the brightness data obtained by each pixel in the image — without the interpolation process — to produce extra-fine monochromatic expression, in images high in resolution and rich in gradation.
Image quality exclusively designed for monochrome photography
The image quality produced by the original PENTAX K-3 Mark III was thoroughly re- evaluated and totally redesigned to optimize the imaging characteristics of the new monochrome-specific image sensor. The result is highly sensitive expression with a natural bokeh (defocus) effect, rich gradation and extra-fine sharpness — an image only the monochrome-specific image sensor can deliver.
A selection of monochrome-specific finishing touches
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome provides three Custom Image modes exclusively designed for monochrome photography to provide distinctive finishing touches. In addition to Standard mode, it also provides Hard mode to produce high-contrast images, and Soft mode to create high-key, low-contrast images. Each mode provides minute adjustment of parameters such as tone, key, contrast and sharpness. This allows the photographer to personalize their images with the desired finishing touch.
Exterior design reflecting the monochrome photography concept
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome provides white backlight illumination on the LCD data panel positioned on its upper panel, while featuring “Monochrome” lettering printed on the upper-left shoulder of the back panel. Its menu screen features a black-and-white visual scheme as default, while the SR (Shake Reduction) badge is finished in silver. The icons printed on buttons and switches across the camera’s exterior are finished in three shades of gray to assist the users with their camera operation. All in all, the concept of monochrome photography is evident throughout the camera body.
Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome specifications
|MSRP||$2199 (body only)|
|Body type||Mid-size SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6192 x 4128|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2|
|Effective pixels||26 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||27 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23 x 15.5 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||None|
|White balance presets||0|
|Custom white balance||No|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||5.5 stop(s)|
|JPEG quality levels||Best, better, good|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||101|
|Number of cross-type focus points||25|
|Lens mount||Pentax KAF2|
|Focal length multiplier||1.5×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Viewfinder magnification||1.05× (0.7× 35mm equiv.)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/16000 sec|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)|
|Flash modes||Auto, Auto + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow- speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Continuous drive||12.0 fps|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|Storage types||Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II supported in slot 1)|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via wireless)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||820 g (1.81 lb / 28.92 oz)|
|Dimensions||135 x 104 x 74 mm (5.31 x 4.09 x 2.91″)|