Pentax K-3 II vs Olympus OM-D E-M1

  • APS-C
  • 24 megapixels
  • Pentax KAF2
  • 42
    Overall
  • 15
    Imaging
  • 61
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Four Thirds
  • 16 megapixels
  • Micro Four Thirds
  • 47
    Overall
  • 21
    Imaging
  • 74
    Features
  • 74
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Pentax K-3 II vs Olympus OM-D E-M1: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to make a detailed comparison of two cameras that fall into different categories. While the first model we are looking at, Pentax K-3 II belongs to a Semi-Pro DSLR category, the other model, Pentax K-3 II is a Pro Mirrorless camera. Pentax K-3 II is equipped with a 24.0 MP CMOS sensor, while Olympus OM-D E-M1 comes with a 16.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - DSLR and MirrorLess. Keeping in mind all the distinctive features of each category, it will be hard to make a detailed comparison of these two models. However, we will do our best to make this review as unbiased and detailed as possible.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Pentax K-3 II Key Features:

  • 24.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 51200
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 8.3 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 131 x 100 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 800 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Pentax K-3. Compare

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Key Features:

  • 16.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 10.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 130 x 94 x 63 mm
  • Weight: 497 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced by Olympus E-M1 II.

Pentax K-3 II substituted Pentax K-3. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Pentax K-3 II vs. K-3
Pentax K-3 vs. Olympus OM-D E-M1

Why is Pentax K-3 II a better choice than Olympus OM-D E-M1

Gps Built-in vs No Has GPS
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP vs 16.0 MP 33.3% more pixels
Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 vs 224.9 mm2 38.7% larger pixel area
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Battery Life 720 shots vs 350 shots 370 more frames with a single charge
Headphone Port Yes vs No Has headphone port
Dxo Color Depth 23.6 vs 23 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 13.6 vs 12.7 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 1106 vs 757 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Olympus OM-D E-M1 over Pentax K-3 II

Continuous Shooting 10 fps vs 8.3 fps 1.7 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 81 vs 27 54 more focus points
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Weight 497 g vs 800 g 303 g lighter
Viewfinder Magnification 0.74 vs 0.64 0.1 better magnification

Key PROs of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Screen Resolution 1,037k dots | 1,037k dots High resolution screen
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Continuous Shooting 8.3 fps | 10.0 fps Nice continuous shooting
Image Stabilization Yes | Yes Built-in stabilization
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions

Key CONs of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1

Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash

Pentax K-3 II vs Olympus OM-D E-M1: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 from the front view.

Pentax K-3 II
Olympus OM-D E-M1
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Pentax K-3 II
Olympus OM-D E-M1
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Olympus OM-D E-M1 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 303g less than the Pentax K-3 II. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Comparing Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Pentax K-3 II features a 24.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a Prime III processor . Olympus OM-D E-M1, in its turn, comes with a 16.0 MP Four Thirds sized CMOS sensor and TruePIC VII processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 by the size of their sensors.

Pentax K-3 II
Olympus OM-D E-M1
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Pentax K-3 II has a sensor area 0.6x bigger compared to Olympus OM-D E-M1. What does it mean? This basically means that if you these cameras them with the same aperture and focal length, the first model will give you more control in terms of the blurry background and depth of field.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Pentax K-3 II Olympus OM-D E-M1
Portrait Photography
98%
70%
Street Photography
94%
95%
Sports Photography
94%
93%
Daily Photography
74%
93%
Landscape Photography
95%
87%

Pentax K-3 II for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Pentax K-3 II for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large APS-C(23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (131 x 100 x 77 mm)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Four Thirds(17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (130 x 94 x 63 mm)

Pentax K-3 II for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (25)
  • Big size (131 x 100 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (8.3 fps)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (27)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (1106)
  • Small battery life (720 shots)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (81)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (10.0 fps)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (757)
  • Small battery life (350 shots)

Pentax K-3 II for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (800 g)
  • Big size (131 x 100 x 77 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big weight (497 g)
  • Big size (130 x 94 x 63 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Pentax K-3 II for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.6)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Low Light ISO (1106)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Good Dynamic Range (12.7)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (16 MP)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (757)

Comparison of Pentax K-3 II vs Olympus OM-D E-M1: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Pentax K-3 II or Olympus OM-D E-M1, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Pentax K-3 II and Olympus OM-D E-M1 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Olympus OM-D E-M1 deserves a higher Total Score than the Pentax K-3 II. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Pentax K-3 II vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Pentax K-3 II Olympus OM-D E-M1
General
Brand Pentax Olympus
Model K-3 II OM-D E-M1
Announced Apr 23, 2015 Oct 28, 2013
Body Type Mid-size SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Four Thirds
Sensor Dimensions 23.5 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13 mm
Sensor Area 366.60 mm2 224.90 mm2
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP 16.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 6016 x 4000 4608 x 3456
Max Native ISO 51,200 25,600
Max Boosted ISO n/a n/a
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Pentax KAF2 Micro Four Thirds
Number of Lenses 144 94
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 2x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center Yes Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 27 81
Number of Cross Focus Points 25 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Tilting
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 1,037k dots 1,037k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 2,360k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.64 0.74
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 60 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 8.3 fps 10.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Trailing Curtain Sync, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync (available with dedicated external flash) Flash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (2nd curtain), Manual
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 80 73
DxO Color Depth 23.6 23.0
DxO Dynamic Range 13.6 12.7
DxO Low Light ISO 1106 757
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p) 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 H.264, Motion JPEG
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 800 g 497 g
Physical Dimensions 131 x 100 x 77 mm 130 x 94 x 63 mm
Battery Life 720 shots 350 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model D-LI90 BLN-1
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Built-in
Storage Type Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 2 1

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