September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Pentax K3 monochrome overview – what an incredible digicam!

8 min read

Because of Fowa, the parents who convey Pentax cameras to Italy, I acquired an opportunity to check out the Pentax K3 MkIII monochrome (buy here) for a couple of weeks. If I have been to sum up how I really feel about this digicam, it might be this: I’m in love.

I’m a fan of black and white images, each in movie and digital. That is the primary time I’ve used a digital digicam the place I felt just like the digicam is simply serving to me create my artwork as a substitute of being an advanced gadget that I needed to wrestle with.

The Pentax K3 monochrome

Let’s discuss in regards to the Pentax K3 monochrome itself. The Pentax K3 MkIII, the regular color version, has been round for a bit. It’s a perfectly made 26 Megapixels Aps-C reflex digicam that has acquired constructive suggestions from many photographers. The physique is sturdy, weatherproof, tremendous user-friendly, and has a tremendous viewfinder.

Despite the fact that mirrorless cameras are all the trend today, Pentax has caught with reflex cameras. In case you’re somebody who actually appreciates optical viewfinders, you’ll actually respect the high-quality viewfinders on Pentax cameras. I examined the K1 MkII, a full-frame digicam, and the K3 mkIII, and I can inform you that regardless that the K3 has a smaller sensor, it has a superb viewfinder that doesn’t appear restricted by its dimension.

Pentax has an incredible popularity for top-notch building, and I have to say that I’ve at all times discovered Pentax cameras to be very snug to make use of, with a give attention to good ergonomics. They appear to suit my hand completely, and the buttons at all times appear to be simply the place I want them.

The monochrome model of this digicam has the identical actual physique and construct high quality as the unique, however with a slick all-grey look. The parents at Pentax actually put within the effort to make the Monochrome physique look distinctive.

In each variations of this digicam, you’ll discover that you could simply attain the principle capabilities utilizing the customizable buttons and the very well-organized menu system.

The Pentax K3 monochrome Black and White sensor

Now, let’s discuss in regards to the sensor within the monochrome model. It’s the identical 26 Megapixels sensor as the colour model however with out the colour Bayer filter in entrance of it. This ends in a number of benefits for black and white images. The noise within the photographs is decreased, and also you get extra natural-looking photographs with none unusual patterns or artifacts.

In a nutshell, with out the Bayer filter, the digicam can create a clearer, higher-quality picture. If you wish to study extra, here’s a geeky clarification. Be at liberty to skip, if realizing that monochrome sensors usually produce higher images is sufficient info for you.

Monochrome sensors vs. Coloration Sensors

In an effort to seize shade info, digital cameras use a course of referred to as demosaicing. This course of is important as a result of most digital cameras use a picture sensor that’s inherently monochrome. Which means each pixel within the sensor can solely seize the quantity of sunshine hitting it, however not its shade.

To get round this limitation, digicam producers cowl the picture sensor with an array of tiny shade filters in a sample referred to as the Bayer sample, which is called after its inventor, Bryce Bayer of Eastman Kodak. This sample consists of a 2×2 grid with two inexperienced filters, one purple filter, and one blue filter. This association is as a result of human eye’s sensitivity to inexperienced gentle and gives extra decision for this shade.

In a typical Bayer sample, 50% of the filters are inexperienced, 25% are purple, and 25% are blue. So when gentle hits the sensor, every pixel can solely seize one of many three major colours. The lacking shade info for every pixel is then interpolated from the encircling pixels throughout a course of referred to as demosaicing. For instance, a pixel with a purple filter will use the close by inexperienced and blue pixels to calculate its inexperienced and blue values.

Nevertheless, this course of isn’t good and can lead to artifacts, corresponding to moiré patterns or false colours in high-frequency particulars. The Bayer filter additionally blocks a good portion of the incoming gentle, which reduces the signal-to-noise ratio, a key think about picture high quality. That is particularly important in low gentle circumstances the place the digicam has to amplify the sign, which additionally amplifies the noise

Pentax K3 monochrome picture high quality

By way of picture high quality, this digicam is an actual powerhouse. I used to be blown away by the outcomes whether or not I used to be taking pictures within the studio or out on the planet.

The digicam performs rather well as much as 6,400 ISO, and the pictures have a pleasing grain, much like a low ISO movie, as much as 51,200 ISO. And even on the most sensitivity of 1.6 million ISO, the pictures are nonetheless fairly usable.

Pentax K3 monochrome vs Pentax K3 at ISO 200
Pentax K3 monochrome vs Pentax K3 at ISO 200

I in contrast the K3 MkIII shade with the Monochrome model, and the distinction is admittedly noticeable. The pictures from the Monochrome digicam are extra naturally sharp and pleasing to the attention.

Actual-world use

Once I’m testing a digicam, I prefer to see the way it handles each common and tough conditions. It helps me perceive what it will probably do on a day-to-day foundation and the way far it may be pushed. I used to be clicking images on the Vicoforte Mondovi Sanctuary in Italy, and I believed I discovered the digicam’s restrict. There was this window with daylight blazing via, making a robust distinction with the darkish church inside. However guess what? The digicam took it in stride and nailed the distinction!

Check out the JPEG model of the photograph. Discover how the darkish areas are virtually invisible? Now, examine that with the processed RAW file. I managed to convey again the shadows and particulars with out introducing a bunch of noise. Fairly spectacular, proper? I had the digicam set at 400 ISO and used a setting on the meter to protect the highlights, a nifty function on the K3 MkIII, obtainable in each shade and monochrome.

This picture additionally reveals why you may need to choose RAW over JPEG as your go-to file format.

The Pentax K3 MkIII, in each its shade and monochrome variations, has this actually useful publicity meter setting. It helps preserve the intense areas of your photograph (the highlights) from getting too vivid. That is particularly helpful for the monochrome model as a result of it’s tougher to repair overexposed highlights with out the three shade channels. So, whether or not it’s you or your digicam’s meter, make certain the pixels don’t wander too far to the suitable on the histogram.

Each topic I shot, be it evening scenes or fields underneath a cloudy sky, was fantastically captured by the digicam when set to computerized publicity mode. The K3 Monochrome is tremendous user-friendly due to its wonderful publicity meter.

Pentax K3 monochrome dynamic vary

One other factor that wowed me about this digicam was its dynamic vary, or what we used to name ‘publicity latitude’ again within the movie days.

I wished to see how a lot dynamic vary the digicam may deal with, particularly after noticing how nicely it dealt with the darkish areas. I photographed a shade goal on my bookshelf, and the outcomes blew me away.

The digicam may simply get better particulars from a picture underexposed by 5 stops. A little bit of noise crept in at -7 stops, and at -10 stops the noise was extra noticeable however nonetheless manageable in a pinch. Principally, you’ll be able to have elements of your picture underexposed by as a lot as ten stops and nonetheless get better some particulars, reaching a Zone I within the ultimate print. Nevertheless, you’d need to keep away from overexposing with this digicam. The higher restrict is round 3 stops, possibly a bit much less.

In comparison with the colour model, the distinction is stark. The colour model has a few cease’s value of benefit in overexposure, however the Monochrome shines in relation to underexposure, leaving the colour model trailing by at the very least three stops.

This isn’t shocking because the absence of Bayer filters ends in a greater signal-to-noise ratio, which is an enormous purpose for making a devoted black-and-white digicam.

Take a look at a few of these photographs I took with the K3 Monochrome.

Mid-tones on the Pentax K3 monochrome

One factor that stands out with the Pentax K3 Monochrome is its dealing with of mid-tones, or the shades of grey between gentle and darkish. It blends these tones easily, and but every tone is distinct. Even if you happen to loosen up very darkish areas throughout enhancing, the standard of the mid-tones stays top-notch.

Be at liberty to take a look at the gallery under for some images. There are additionally some RAW information you’ll be able to obtain and mess around with!

Put up-processing

Modifying images taken with this digicam is a breeze, due to its excessive dynamic vary. Principally, you simply must tweak the brightness and darkness ranges and typically convey out the shadows.

Whereas it’s true you’ll be able to’t use shade filters in enhancing, you’ll be able to simply get round this through the use of filters once you’re taking pictures, identical to you’ll with movie.

It’s frequent today to see images which are closely edited, so having some limitations can truly be factor. This digicam encourages photographers to be extra considerate and artistic earlier than taking the shot, somewhat than fixing all the pieces afterward on a pc display.

Pentax K3 monochrome conclusion

Pentax actually nailed it with this digicam. In case you’re a fan of black-and-white images, this digicam is a stable funding. The images it takes are noticeably higher than what you’d get from a shade digicam.

In a world the place it seems like each new digicam is only a slight variation on the final one, it’s refreshing to see an organization attempt one thing totally different and pull it off so nicely. In case you’re searching for a pure black-and-white digital digicam, your different possibility is a Leica, however these aren’t SLRs they usually value about as a lot as a kidney. So, hats off to Pentax for doing a tremendous job!

Concerning the writer

Luigi Barbanois an artist, writer, and inkjet printing knowledgeable based mostly in Italy. He printed photographic and technical books. ith greater than 20 years of expertise within the discipline of business communication and fixed skilled upgrading, his studio is ready to supply/present purchasers with an entire vary of providers vital in as we speak’s world of picture communications. You may see extra of Luigi’s work here.

Extra images from the Pentax K3 monochrome

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