Is this the new Pentax K-3?
The rumor mill is on overdrive right now, speculating about the highly-anticipated (to Pentaxicans at least) K-5 replacement. Everyone's been calling it the K-3 assuming that the number four bears some taboo in Japan, and this early spy photo suggests that will be the name.
But looky here, is the K-3 really smaller than the K-5 and its successors K-5ii/s??? Did the engineers at Ricoh Pentax manage to fit more goodness in a smaller package? Wow.
Mind you, it doesn't look a ton smaller, but when you think of it's competitors like the Canon 7D and Nikon D300 (both long overdue for a refresh, unless they're effectively replaced by the budget full frame cameras of their respective marques), the K-5 was already a welterweight amongst heavyweights. And now this, the K-3 looks to be a middleweight!
Alas, the camera is likely to still be considered large by the current mirrorless fans of cameras from Olympus and Sony. But the K-3–if it follows the natural order of things and represents an improvement over the already very good K-5iis–can off faultless ergonomics. And when compared to the Panasonic GH3 it should be able to offer better still image quality, although I'd be surprised if it even got close to the GH3's class leading video capabilities. It's taken Panasonic three generations to get where it is; it's not likely that Pentax will leapfrog them.
The most natural competitor that I'd see the K-3 up against is, oddly enough, the Fuji X-Pro1. After all, they are both APS-C interchangeable lens cameras supported by some pretty sweet primes. If you've ever held an X-Pro1, you know how surprisingly large they are. Likely larger than the K-3. But they are lighter, and at the end of the day, users aren't likely cross-shopping the two as they offer two very different shooting experiences. And from what I've seen, you've got your SLR people and your rangefinder people, and never the 'twain shall meet.
Let's see what the next few days bring. Bring it on, Pentax!
UPDATE: Some sharp knives over at PentaxForums.com have pointed out the risk of using the green ring of the DA18-135. That ring, you see, is likely several inches away from the body, and unless the two cameras are photographed the same focal length there may be distortion that changes the relative sizes of the lens vs. the body. So, the K-3 may be similar in size to the K-5 after all. We'll just have to wait and see. Wouldn't be a bad thing.