Today Pentax is announcing the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome, a DLSR camera designed with a monochromatic-only sensor exclusively for black-and-white photography and video.
The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome is based on the flagship Pentax K-3 Mark III APS-C-format camera, released in April 2021. The original K-3 Mark III improved on its predecessor with a better imaging performance and more advanced features but still continuing with Pentax’s durable DSLR body.
• Read More: How to see and shoot in memorable monochrome.
However, the new Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome sports a brand-new sensor that has been completely redesigned and optimized for monochrome photography. The new camera uses the 25.7-megapixel sensor from the Pentax K-3 Mark III but removes the color filter, which in theory should result in an improved sharpness not achievable with a color sensor.
The APS-C CMOS sensor is monochrome-specific, unlike typical color image sensors that use red (R), green (G), and blue (B) color filters to receive light, each pixel in this sensor detects only one component of brightness data, therefore, there is no need to interpolate color data to create a monochrome image, as the sensor can directly reflect the brightness data obtained by each pixel. This should result in extra-fine detail and sharpness and a richer gradation. The new sensor also does not have an AA (anti-aliasing) filter, which should help improve image sharpness.
The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome has three image modes specifically designed for getting the most from your black-and-white photography, including 'Standard', 'Hard' for a high-contrast image, and 'Soft' for a low-contrast image. Parameters such as tone, key, contrast, and sharpness can be freely adjusted in-camera to create ready-to-share images.
Unlike rival Leica and its Monochrom series of cameras, like the Leica M10 Monochrom, the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome can shoot video up to 4k/30p, although video will also be exclusively in black and white.
The design of the camera is relatively unchanged from the original K-3 Mark III, however, there are a few small touches to reflect its monochrome capabilities. The LCD data panel has white backlight illumination, and the back panel features "Monochrome" lettering printed on the upper-left shoulder. The default menu screen has a black-and-white visual scheme, and the icons printed on buttons and switches across the camera's exterior are finished in three shades of gray.
Pentax seems to believe there is sufficient demand for monochrome-only cameras, with Ricoh Imaging Americas President, Ken Curry, saying – "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". And with Leica and Pentax both marketing these cameras, there might be something in this.
The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome camera body will be available starting in late April directly from Pentax's online store and Ricoh authorized dealers, and will cost $2,199.95 in the US, or approximately £2100 / AU$3,900.