Pentax K-70 Review

August 30, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Best JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 12Mb.

The Pentax K-70 produced photos of excellent quality. Noise is well controlled by the Pentax K-70, starting to appear at ISO 1600 and becoming more easily detectable at the faster settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 when viewing images at 100% magnification on screen (particularly in the RAW files). The fastest settings of 25600, 51200 and especially 102400 look much better on paper than in reality. Colour saturation is commendably maintained throughout the ISO range.

Image stabilisation via the camera body is a great feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. An added bonus is that it works with any lens that you attach to the K-70. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and Bulb mode allowing you to capture enough light in all situations. The built-in pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

The Digital Filters quickly produce special effects that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Custom Images can usefully be tweaked to suit. The D-Range options help make the most out of both the shadows and highlights in a high-contrast scene (and it works for both JPEG and RAW files), while the HDR mode greatly expands the dynamic range of a JPEG by combining three differently exposed images in-camera. The multi exposure mode combines between two and 2,000 different JPEG or RAW images into a single photo, while the anti-aliasing simulator helps to reduce moire without the need for an actual optical filter.

Pixel Shift Resolution is a new technology that creates finer detail and generates more accurate colours, although it's not very effective if the subject moves or the camera shakes.

Noise

There are 11 ISO settings available on the Pentax K-70. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg
   

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

iso51200.jpg iso51200raw.jpg
   

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

iso102400.jpg iso102400raw.jpg

File Quality

The Pentax K-70 has 3 different JPEG file quality settings available, with Best being the highest quality option, and it also supports RAW (Pentax's PEF format and Adobe DNG). Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Best (13.8Mb) (100% Crop)

Better (5.49Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_best.jpg quality_better.jpg
   

Good (2.71Mb) (100% Crop)

RAW (29.7Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_good.jpg quality_raw.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Pentax K-70 are Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction (Auto Picture, Scene) Flash On, Flash On+ Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Trailing Curtain Sync, Manual Flash Discharge (Full-1/128). These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (27mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (207mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (207mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting nor the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Shake Reduction

The Pentax K-70 has a Shake Reduction mechanism built into the camera body, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with Shake Reduction turned off, the second with it turned on. Here is a 100% crop of the image to show the results. As you can see, with Shake Reduction turned on, the images are sharper than when it's turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Shake Reduction Off (100% Crop)

Shake Reduction On (100% Crop)

1/15th / 27mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
1/15th / 207mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

D-Range

Similar to Nikon's D-lighting, Sony's DRO, and Olympus' Shadow Adjustment Technology, Pentax's D-Range allows you to correct the highlights (On or Off) and/or the shadows (3 different levels) before taking a JPEG or RAW image. Although this option is always at your disposal, remember that it is meant to be used in strong, contrasty lighting at base ISO. Below you can see a comparison between Off and both highlight and shadow correction set to on/full strength; the difference is mainly noticeable in the shadowed areas on the left and right sides of the photo.

Off

On

drange1.jpg drange2.jpg

HDR Capture

The Pentax K-70's HDR Capture option takes three images with different exposures, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one, expanding its dynamic range. Here is an example which was shot with the five different modes (Off, 1, 2, 3 and Advanced). Although the K-70 can microalign images before combining them, allowing hand-held HDR shots to be taken, for best results it's important to always use a tripod to prevent camera shake from blurring the HDR image, and it doesn't work very well for moving subjects.

Off

HDR1
hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg
   
HDR2 HDR3
hdr_03.jpg hdr_04.jpg
   
Advanced  
hdr_05.jpg  

AA Filter Simulator

Rather than an optical anti-aliasing filter in the camera, the K-70 has an anti-aliasing simulator instead, which can be turned off (default setting) or on to either the Type1 or Type2 setting.

Off

Off (100% Crop)

aa_filter_01.jpg aa_filter_01a.jpg
   

Type1

Type1 (100% Crop)

aa_filter_02.jpg aa_filter_02a.jpg
   

Type2

Type2 (100% Crop)

aa_filter_03.jpg aa_filter_03a.jpg

Custom Images

Pentax's Custom Images, similar to Nikon's Picture Styles and Canon's Picture Controls, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings. You can change the saturation, hue, high/low key, contrast and sharpness for each of the seven options”. They are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences.

Bright

Natural

custom_image_01.jpg custom_image_02.jpg
   

Portrait

Landscape

custom_image_03.jpg custom_image_04.jpg
   

Vibrant

Radiant

custom_image_05.jpg custom_image_06.jpg
   

Muted

Flat
custom_image_07.jpg custom_image_08.jpg
   

Bleach Bypass

Reversal Film

custom_image_09.jpg custom_image_10.jpg
   

Monochrome

Cross Processing

custom_image_11.jpg custom_image_12.jpg

Digital Filters

The Pentax K-70 offers 9 different Digital Filters, which allow you to quickly apply an artistic effect to a photo before taking it (JPEG images only). They are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. Note that applying the Digital Filters slows the camera down somewhat, as it has to process the image for a few seconds after it's taken.

Extract Color

Replace Color

digital_filter_01.jpg digital_filter_02.jpg
   

Toy Camera

Retro

digital_filter_03.jpg digital_filter_04.jpg
   

High Contrast

Shading

digital_filter_05.jpg digital_filter_06.jpg
   

Invert Color

Unicolor Bold

digital_filter_07.jpg digital_filter_08.jpg
   
Bold Monochrome  
digital_filter_09.jpg  

Multi-exposure

The Pentax K-70 has a fantastic multi-exposure mode that allows you to combine between two and 2,000 (!) different JPEG or RAW images into a single photo. Here is an example.

Multi-exposure

multi_exposure.jpg

Pixel Shift Resolution

The in-body SR (shake reduction) mechanism is used to move the image sensor unit by a single pixel pitch at a time to capture four shots. Pixel Shift Resolution merges those shots into a single image to generate an ultra high-definition image. This method differs from the traditional Bayer method, which acquires only a single element of color information for single pixel, by acquiring all RGB color information for individual pixel. This difference makes it excellent for detail and color reproduction, creating super high-definition images. This also prevents false colors from occurring theoretically, and also has a high-sensitivity noise reduction effect when compared to normal shooting.

Off

Motion Correction On

pixel_shift1.jpg pixel_shift2.jpg
   
Motion Correction Off  
pixel_shift3.jpg