Pentax's top DSLR uses image stabilization to reduce noise

Given the moribund DSLR market, Ricoh wasn't about to mess around with the follow-up to its popular Pentax flagship, the K-3. Sure enough, the K-3 II retains the weather-proof body, fast 8.3 fps shooting speed and high-quality 24.4-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor of the last model, while getting some enticing new tweaks. First and foremost is the so-called Pixel Shift feature which uses in-body shake reduction to sample pixels four times, significantly reducing noise at low-light levels. While the feature only works for static subjects, it should be ideal for astrophotography and other applications.

The revised in-camera shake reduction also improves stabilization to 4.3 stops. The K3-II has a new, built-in GPS receiver that can record shooting location, camera orientation and other features. Together with acceleration sensors and the in-body stabilization, it can sync the CMOS sensor to the movement of celestial bodies with its "Astrotracer" function, another boon for star shooters. Unfortunately, the GPS mechanism replaces the built-in pop-up flash, which may disappoint casual users.

Other new features on the K-3 II include new algorithms for its 27-point autofocus system and automatic horizon correction, but, WiFi still isn't built-in and has to be done through a FLU card. The price is perhaps the best feature of all: at $1,099, it's $200 less than the last model and $700 cheaper than Canon's 7D Mark II, for instance. It'll arrive in the US next month.