STILL NOT DEAD: Pentax is working on a brand new full-frame DSLR!

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(Image credit: James Artaius)

Brand new DSLR. Three little words I didn't expect to hear in 2024, but that's exactly what's happening: Ricoh has confirmed that it is working on the Pentax K-1 Mark III.

If you've been following the Ricoh / Pentax saga of late, this should come as no surprise. This is, after all, the company that could be launching four new film cameras in 2024, and the company that earlier this year released the Pentax K-3 Mark III – not just a DSLR, but a DSLR that only shoots in black-and-white.

And when you consider that our list of the best DSLRs includes three of the best Pentax cameras, there's no arguing that the manufacturer really knows what it's doing when it comes to old-school tech. 

So, news that a successor to the full-frame flagship Pentax K-1 Mark II is on the way probably shouldn't raise many eyebrows. And with Canon and Nikon having abandoned DSLR development, with the last non-Pentax body being 2020's Canon EOS Rebel T8i / 850D, it will have the market all to itself.

While no information on the camera is yet available, its existence was recently confirmed during a Taiwanese interview with Ricoh executives Tomoki Tanaka (general manager of the Business Division) and Takeo 'TKO' Suzuki (product designer / planner).

"In order to achieve higher accuracy, more time was invested than initially expected," they explained (via China's Xitek forum, machine translated). 

"Sourcing digital camera components has become more challenging than ever. However, rest assured it is currently in progress and please be patient for further news."

What could a Pentax K-1 Mark III look like? Well, the K-1 Mark II featured a 36.4MP sensor with a 33-point (25 cross-type) phase detect AF system, and a sensitivity of ISO100-819,200. 

Given that the K-3 Mark III featured a new image processor that facilitated a top ISO of 1.6 million, it's possible that this will make its way to the new camera – particularly given Pentax's propensity for astrophotography.

Indeed, the K-1 Mark III is almost certain to once again have in-body image stabilization (IBIS) – and not just for shake correction, but also to operate in conjunction with the GPS for streak-free astro shooting in Astrotracer mode. 

The previous model also used the IBIS system's pixel-shift capability to deliver an anti-aliasing simulation, giving the effect of an optical low-pass filter.

In short, despite its long-in-the-tooth DSLR technology, I expect the new K-1 camera to be pretty dang cutting-edge – and it might even manage to give the best mirrorless cameras a run for their money. 

See where things currently stand in the DSLR vs mirrorless cameras debate, and take a look at the best black-and-white cameras on the market if you love shooting in monochrome.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.