Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 334 for Thursday April 20th, 2023. In today’s Episode, I want to talk about the recent announcement by Pentax that they are producing a K3 MKIII that will be Monochrome only. Why would Pentax or Leica for that matter, who has been doing it for years, why would they make a Monochrome only camera?
So in the world of photography, there are a large number of photographers who love to shoot in Black & White only as this style of shooting is so forgiving when it comes to small issues in color, etc. I love to sometimes shoot in Monochrome as I love the contrast that I can get in Monochrome only shooting and it is a very good way to shoot Street or Documentary only photography, but why make a Monochrome only camera?
Well, because there are things that can be done with a Monochrome only sensor that you cannot get from a color sensor shooting in Monochrome mode. This camera is equipped with a sensor capable of shooting a color world in a feature rich Black & White style with super high resolution capture and images that are truly stunning with immense details in the lights as well as the shadows for truly breath-taking images.
“Monochrome (or black-and-white) photography is the origin of photographic expression. Without color data, monochrome can more clearly depict the form and texture of a subject using light, shadow and the in-between gradations. This means that the photographer can create images that are more impressive and persuasive.
For users who want to master monochrome photography, the PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome features an image sensor specifically designed to capture monochrome images only. By designing the camera solely for the purpose of monochrome photography, each pixel detects brightness data of the light coming through the lens. The obtained data is then directly converted to compose an image.
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 obtained color data while using adjacent areas of the image field as a reference.
Since a monochrome-specific image sensor can faithfully reflect the brightness data obtained by each pixel in the image — without the interpolation process — the photographer can create extra-fine monochromatic expression, in an image high in resolution and rich in gradation.
Image quality has been re-evaluated and redesigned to optimize the imaging characteristics of the monochrome-specific image sensor. Unlike a color sensor that requires the interpolation process, each pixel of the monochrome-specific image sensor corresponds precisely to each pixel in the resulting image. The result is minimal deterioration of the data obtained, and optimal visual expression. To optimize these advantages, the imaging process has been completely restructured to assure 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.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome features three Custom Image modes exclusively designed for the monochrome-specific image sensor: Standard, Hard and Soft. Each mode provides minute adjustment of parameters such as tone, key, contrast and sharpness. This allows the photographer to personalize images for the desired finishing touch.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome provides white backlight illumination on the LCD data panel positioned on its upper panel, while featuring the Monochrome lettering printed on the upper-left shoulder of the back panel. The camera’s User Interface menu features a black-and-white color 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.
Minimum ISO of 200:
Since the monochrome-specific image sensor is free of the color filters that cause a loss of light, it can take in more light. This allows the camera’s minimum ISO to be set at 200.
Unlike full-color photography, in which color reproduction varies depending on the light source (or color temperature), monochrome photography doesn't require white balance control. In the PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome, the white balance button of the PENTAX K-3 Mark III is replaced with the Fx (function) button.
The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome incorporates an advanced SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which lets the photographer use all types of lenses — from the latest to vintage — and to capture sharp, blur-free images while optimizing the distinctive visual expression of each lens.”
As you can see directly from Ricoh/Pentax, they spent a LOT of time thinking through the design of this new camera. They considered all the things they could do to make this camera truly amazing for image capture for those that absolutely LOVE shooting in Monochrome only for their personal work or client work. Those that take their time with what they capture and truly think every composition through in its entirety before they ever press the shutter.
As I mentioned earlier, Pentax is not the only camera maker to build Monochrome only cameras as Leica has been making them for a very long time as they have a large fan base of shooters that love shooting in Monochrome only. I would love to have one myself but I am not a dentist or lawyer so I cannot afford a Leica but this Pentax K3 MKIII is an intriguing camera and considerably cheaper than the Leica Monochrome M11. The only problem is I have no desire to go back to a DSLR after shooting Mirrorless since early 2019 and I don’t want to have to buy another system with different lenses.
But if you are shooting Pentax, this could be one of the most exciting cameras in a while, especially if you are the kind of photographer who loves to shoot Monochrome only, then your prayers are answered! What are your thoughts? Are you interested in this new camera from Pentax? Feel free to leave your comments in the post in the show’s Facebook Group.
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