Pentax K-r Review

4.5
November 1, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

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#1 Josef Salon

Will think about it!!!

4:13 pm - Monday, November 1, 2010

#2 Simon

Nice review!

@ Mark: please correct the typos - some parts of the review were probably cut&pasted; from the K-7’s, hence you can still find references to K-7 rather than K-r.

7:14 pm - Monday, November 1, 2010

#3 Jonathan

Thanks for the great review.

One thing not really mentioned is the K-rs new Timelapse mode - something alone that is tempting me to upgrade my K-x (really sick of doing manual timelapses!).

8:35 pm - Monday, November 1, 2010

#4 Mats

Nice review. Two things though:
1. Not all pentax shutters are loud, the k7’s pretty quiet.
2. Although I must say I’m a pentax fan myself, I think a big rival for this camera is the sony slt a33. Same price range, better video mode and packed with nice features.

9:48 pm - Monday, November 1, 2010

#5 Dave

Not sure if it is worth the $300 premium over the k-x.  Has brand new model over price

12:09 am - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#6 Jonathan

Mind you the K-x started out at a significantly higher price when it was first launched. I won’t be considering it until the price has dropped a bit.

2:04 am - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#7 bird

the price is absolutely right, if compare to other entry level DSLR D31** A39*...

3:53 am - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#8 Bhairav

What did you guys think of the AF speed? Improved over the speed of the K-x? Thanks.

4:59 am - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#9 Schazan

Yep, not all quiet. I recently brought the K5, the shutter and auto focus are fast and dont make a lot of noise. I shot a vid on the K5, check it out…

http://www.vimeo.com/blackwatchvideo

5:54 pm - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#10 John

I sure hope the AF has been improved
over prior models. Especially
tracking a moving subject.

11:50 pm - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#11 Fred

Pentax are doing a great job. They used to be playing catch-up, but in some ways have now overtaken Canon and Nikon.

Of course, if you look way back, it was canon and Nikon that were playing catch up to Pentax. Back in the 60’s Pentax sold more SLRs than every other manufacturer COMBINED.

The only downside is for the minority that require fast long glass. Even then, the fast aspect (other than DOF) is being eroded by improving ISO abilities, and the long aspect is being improved by higher pixel-count and the cropping abilities that affords.

Lastly, Pentax cameras just FEEL better. Better made, easier to use, and more comfortable to hold. Equivalently-priced Canon Rebels and Nikon D5000 feel like toys in comparison.

2:27 am - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#12 Ivo Verboon

Hi Mark,

I agree everything in your nice review. Stronger: I have the K-r for two weeks myself and I am realy in love with it.

Something about its class: before the K-r, I had the Canon eos 40D. The new K-r is including its kitlens, half the weigth of the 40D with 17-85mm.
That was first. Second: the results I have made for so far, are much better than Canon’s prosumer. You can take a quick look on my blog.

About the kitlens (18-55mm. You didn’t mention it. Its perhaps cheap in price but at 55mm/f.8 its is outstanding in quality. See also for that http://www.lenstip.com

For the purist among us. Compare the sensor quality on DxOmark between the K-x, the eos 500D
and the nikon D5000. Surprise!!

Many regards,
Ivo

9:19 am - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#13 Tom B

If you don’t mind me asking where can you it with the 18-55 kitlens for 599.00 as mentioned in the review. Its way more everywhere I searched. For 599. I would jump at it with all my current older film SLR glass.

3:12 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#14 Erik

I purchased it today body only for € 579,-. Couldn’t find it anywhere cheaper. The lens I purchased is the 18-55 WR, for € 119,-.

Kind regards,

Erik

3:25 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#15 Ivo Verboon

Hello there,
I bought the duo-kit at Cameranu.nl Urk, Holland for € 845,-. The same kit at the same store is now € 799,-.
You can take a look of the results at my blog:
http://www.foto-ivo.blogspot.com.

And I am not Mark Goldstein, but I also can Highly recommmend the Pentax K-r.

Kind regards, Ivo

4:26 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#16 bird

nice, seems like pentax is having a fight back, if admin saw my post, please and please review the pentax K-5, thank you. the competition will make every consumer happy, so please review the K-5!

5:57 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#17 dragra

There is a little error in your review, the IR-sensor for wireless communication is not placed in the grip but on the left side of the camera (above the PC/AV terminal).
Otherwise I quite liked your review, I have orderet the K-r and am getting it this friday! :)

11:10 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#18 Daniel

I’ve been struggling for the last 2 or 3 months to choose a camera and finally step-up from the P&S world (although keeping my FZ35 because of size and weight). I’ve being considering Nikons (D3100, D5000) and Canons (especially T2i), but they seem to have too many little flaws. The Nikon D90 (want it!) is just too expensive for me. The K-r seems to have a better grip (I holded a T2i last weekend, too much on the tiny side, I guess) and has superb low-light capabilities (I’d rather shoot without flash whenever I can), which wins big time for me. I don’t really care about video, so… Would any of you guys prefer the D3100 or the T2i over the K-r? Regards, Daniel

1:17 am - Saturday, November 6, 2010

#19 Ivo Verboon

Hi Daniel,

I had a bulky 40D from Canon (same as D90 from Nikon). But now I have half the weight and a much better IQ. I suggest to compare the camera’s on DxO mark. Surprise!
Regards, Ivo

8:00 am - Saturday, November 6, 2010

#20 Daniel

Hi, Ivo,
Thank you! Both cameras seem to have good enough sensors for me! I’ll save some money—and carry less weight, well thought—and buy the K-r. Now I’ll have a hard time choosing the lenses… LOL. Thanks again!

3:38 pm - Saturday, November 6, 2010

#21 Atrin

Been considering upgrading to this one since I first saw it’s specs. Thanks for the detailed review btw. I’ve been stuck on digital semi’s and lugging along the nice old analogue SLR I claimed from dad 8 years ago. It’s time for somethign new!

For those that bought it: I have small hands and therefore trouble with holding some of the bulkier ones. How would this one compare?

2:18 pm - Sunday, November 7, 2010

#22 Ivo Verboon

Hi Atrin,

This camera is comparing both to Canon and Nikon as half the weight, much smaller sizes en much more IQ for less money. See my latest handheld pictures from the Zoo at Rotterdam on http://www.foto-ivo.blogspot.com. I only can recomend the Kr. and this is my favorite hobby for many, many years.

You also can compare the sensor quality of the Kx en the big brothers from Nikon and Canon. Surprise!!

Greetz, Ivo

3:02 pm - Sunday, November 7, 2010

#23 Edgar_in_Indy

I’ve noticed a lot of comparisons/debate between the K-r and the Canon 500/550D (T1i/T2i). I bought a Canon T2i last year when it was first available, but I ended up returning it when I found out I could get the same high ISO performance from the Pentax K-x for literally half the price, and use the extra money for lenses. I was also disappointed in the build quality of the T2i.

The K-x already bested the T2i in several areas, and it sounds like the K-r is even better! You can read my detailed review of the K-x and comparison to the T2i on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1P2A4WDCVZEBZ/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B002OEBTD2&nodeID;=&tag;=&linkCode;=

Many people who buy the K-x and K-r will be new to DSLR’s, so I’ll share my recommendations on some great lenses that aren’t too expensive.

I mostly use the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was designed for full frame, so on an APS-C sensor you don’t have to step it down to get optimal results. The large f/2.8 aperture makes shooting in low-light much easier, and the fact that the aperture and focus remain constant as you zoom in and out make it a pleasure to use.

I have also gotten very nice images from the Pentax DA 55-300mm. I tried a superzoom, but wasn’t thrilled with the results.

I’m currently toying around with the idea of selling my Pentax 18-55mm, Sigma 18-125mm, Tamron 28-75mm, and Pentax 55-300mm lenses and replacing them all with the Tamon 17-50mm f/2.8 and the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8…two very highly regarded lenses. I’m just not sure I can actually stand to part with the Tamron 28-75mm.

And if I ever have enough extra play money, I’ll add the Sigma 10-20mm (the older one) and Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 lenses to my collection.

12:05 am - Monday, November 8, 2010

#24 Steve Minkler

I am very interested in the Pentax K-r camera. But I do have a question regarding the kit lenses. The supplied DAL 18-55mm AL lens comes with a plastic mount and no lens hood. I have read another review site which highly recommended buying the DA 18-55mm AL II lens with the metal mount and included hood. The review said that the sharpness and image quality of the AL II lens was better from edge to edge. I also wonder how the 55-300mm kit lens with plastic mount fares versus the metal mount version. Should I purchase the K-r body only and then buy the metal mount lenses separately (even though it will cost considerably more that way)? Or will it make much difference overall? I have shot with an old Canon AE-1P film camera for many years and am just now making the switch to digital. I would prefer some good prime lenses but need to keep the cost as low as possible. Any suggestions regarding the K-r kit lens quality would be appreciated.

7:27 am - Monday, November 8, 2010

#25 Edgar_in_Indy

Steve,

As far as I’ve ever been able to discover, the Pentax kit lenses (DA L) and the non-kit version (DA) are identical optically. If a reviewer got better results with the DA, then I would expect that was simply due to sample variation. I suppose it is possible that the DA lenses go through more extensive quality control, but I don’t know anything about that.

There are some advantages to buying the DA version though. As indicated above they come with a lens lood and have a metal mount. I’m not sure how much actual value a metal mount adds, but I’ve always thought it looked fancier and it feels better when mounting it.

The other big advantage of the DA lenses is the have Pentax’s “Quick Shift” focus system, which allows you to adjust focus manually without having turn off auto focus. This can come in handy, especially when recording video.

But if I were you, instead of spending money on the Pentax DA 18-55mm lens, I would put that money towards the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens if you can afford to spend a little more. You should also be able to sell your kit lens on eBay for $50 or $60.

2:23 pm - Monday, November 8, 2010

#26 Jonathan

Agree. From what I have also read they are optically the same.

I’m very happy with my DAL 55-300. Get some great images from it and I like it more than the DAL 18-55 (now have a Sigma 17-70 which I like better).
Personally I have no real reservations about the plastic mount. Seems pretty solid to me and has survived a significant fall!

9:09 pm - Monday, November 8, 2010

#27 Steve Minkler

Thanks Edgar and Jonathan for your comments. The review I spoke of is found here:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1172/cat/46

It seems that Pentax actually has three versions of this lens. The DAL 18-55mm, a DA 18-55mm WR (weather resistant) version, and the fairly new DA 18-55mm AL II version (with the “II” designation in red on the lens barrel). It is this new “AL II” lens I was referring to and this is also the lens that is reviewed on the site listed above. But maybe I’m making too much out of the tested differences between the lenses. I do think I will also want to get the 55-300mm lens since everyone seems to like it much better than the 55-200mm lens.

Most of my photography will be shooting landscapes and city skylines. And most of it will be done using a tripod at ISO 100 or 200 speeds. At those ISO levels, do you think the Pentax K-r equals the image quality of the Canon T2i (aside from the megapixel difference)? Would the noise level profiles be similar? Would the noise profile be even better for the Pentax since it has less pixels on it’s sensor than the Canon does? I am most concerned about noise-free images as I hope to submit photos to stock agencies and they are very particular about that. Thanks much!

10:04 pm - Monday, November 8, 2010

#28 Atrin

Lovely pictures there Ivo!

After sleeping on it I’ve decided to get the K-r. Also because it seems to behave fairly desent in low light situations. Would any of you have some suggestions what items to put on my wishlist? I plan to ‘accessorize’ the basic kit it comes with, to suit snaps taken at theater/concert.

Thank you.

2:03 am - Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#29 BobM

The fact that it has a noisy shutter bothers me. Your comments about the K-r being noisy puts me off from upgrading to this camera.

I am an avid wildlife photographer who is frustrated often by my noisy K-x. The camera is so loud it actually scares away or alerts animals to my presence. I have an especially hard time shooting birds in very quiet scenarios. Your comments about the K-r being noisy puts me off from upgrading to this camera.

The K-x also seems to have inconsistent image stabilization—I am often disappointed when I upload images to my computer only to find what should have been my best shots are blurred. I wonder whether the K-r would have the same problem.

Good to know however, that there is much less noise at higher ISO settings. Again, the K-x is weak in this area, demonstrating substantial noise in images at IS) 400 and above, and, noise comes on quick in low-light settings.

Still, for the dollar, the K-x is a very fine camera. I imagine the K-r is as well.

3:16 pm - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#30 dragra

Bob,
you have always an option for a blimp, because each camera makes some sort of noise. if you want a shutter as quiet as possible go K-5

concerning image stabilization, the so called inconsistency comes from the random hand movement. the SR system is good if you shake it the same each time.

;)

cheers,
d

4:51 pm - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#31 Superdan

I bought a k-r one month ago and I am very pleased.  I also bought the DA 18-55 WR and the DA 55-300.  Very good lenses for the aperture.  I do not find the shutter to be noisy, although I would have liked to compare the T2i and the D3100 side by side with the K-r.  It is rather difficult to do this in a noisy store. 

I have read a lot of early reviews before buying this camera and I am surprised to see that most people forget to mention a couple of key features.  One of them is the AF assist lamp.  For several reasons this is a plus for the K-r and the T2i (and the D3100 I think) do not have this feature.  They have to use the flash in strobe mode, which is often not a good thing.

6:58 pm - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#32 Daniel Winter

Now that the price of the Nikon D90 is falling (US$ 939 with the 18-105 kit lens), would anyone prefer the K-r with the 18-55 and the 55-300 over the D90 kit? I’m not sure which one to buy. Thanks!

8:44 pm - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#33 Edgar_in_Indy

D90 is a great camera, but I would go with the K-r. I’m a K-x owner, and one of the reasons I bought it was because it was one of the smallest and lightest DSLRs around. But despite that, it rivals larger, much more expensive DSLRs on features and image quality.

I read your question earlier in the day, so when I was at Best Buy a little while ago I handled the D90. It is much bigger and heavier than the K-x/K-r. I wouldn’t want to be lugging that thing around all the time if there was a smaller alternative such as the K-r.

The 18-105mm VR lens that comes with the D90 isn’t a bad lens, given the rather ambitious focal range, but it does have some weaknesses. It has a lot of distortion throughout most if its range (barrel distortion at the wide end quickly transitioning to pin-cushion distortion throughout the rest of the range), and CA isn’t well controlled.

The two pentax lens should provide better results, with the 55-300mm giving you a much longer reach (and making a great portrait lens too).

You might also consider the K-x, since there’s very little difference between it and the K-r. There’s some really good deals out there on the K-x now, so you would have money left over to spend on accessories or lenses.

Right now Amazon has the black K-x with the 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses for $649 and free shipping. Or you can get the K-x body-only for $479 at Adorama.com and use the rest of your budget for a great lens such as the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 or 28-75mm f/2.8 or the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8.

1001noisycameras maintains a price/stock page for the K-x here:

http://www.1001noisycameras.com/2009/10/pentax-kx-stock-status-and-availability-matrix.html

They don’t seem to have a K-r stock page yet.

11:06 pm - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#34 Daniel Winter

Terrific answer, Edgar! Thank you so much!
I’ll buy it soon so I can start shooting!

7:03 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#35 Steve Minkler

I agree that the K-r is a lot lighter than the Nikon D90. And the two-lens kit is an excellent buy. However, the D90 18-105mm kit lens does seem to have better edge to edge sharpness than either Pentax kit lens has (in sample images I have seen). And the D90 also has an HDMI output for easy connection to an HDTV - something that Pentax does not have on the K-r. The D90 also has an in-camera lens distortion correction feature and also automatic in-camera lateral CA correction so I wouldn’t worry about that too much. While both cameras take excellent photos, I have noticed that Nikon cameras render blue skies as smooth as glass at low ISO levels. Canon shows just a bit of chroma noise even at ISO 200. And Pentax shows just a tad bit of fine background grain when blown up to 100% at ISO 200 (when compared to the D90). I frequently need to inspect my photos at that size so it is an issue for me. But unless you need to do that, you probably wouldn’t see any image quality difference. In short, both are great cameras. It comes down to personal preference.

7:52 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#36 Daniel Winter

Thank you, Steve!
I agree (from what I read, so what I think doesn’t really matter much… LOL) that both cameras are good enough, and there are little differences that, considering I’m not very skilled yet, won’t probably matter much. I’ll sleep on it, but I’m happy to see that either way I’ll not be doing the wrong thing. Thanks for answering!

8:00 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#37 Edgar_in_Indy

Yes, I’ve heard the that the Nikon 18-105mm is a decently sharp lens. For the beginner though, absolute sharpness probably isn’t a priority since you won’t be able to tell a sharp lens from an average lens on most prints.

One of the things SLR novices like is being able to take pictures with blurred backgrounds (bokeh), and some lenses produce better looking bokeh than other lenses. I know from experience that the Pentax 55-300mm lens produces beautiful, smooth bokeh. I’ve tried searching for information for the type of bokeh to expect from the Nikon 18-105mm lens, and it seems to be fair but not great.

The Tamron and Sigma lenses I mentioned in the previous post are also known for producing wonderful bokeh (in addition to being very sharp).

9:12 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#38 BobM

draga, you can joke about the image stabilization issue on the Pentax K-x but I’m a better photographer than that. It’s not my hands shaking it’s the image stabilization not doing as good a job as it should.

I have also found that the K-x often hunts in AF mode depending on what I’m trying to photograph so I use manual focus quite a bit.

6:27 am - Thursday, November 25, 2010

#39 Edgar_in_Indy

Prior to owning the K-x, I owned an Olympus e-510 which also has sensor-based stabilization. The Olympus stabilization is highly regarded, and I have been satisfied with the stabilization on the K-x, except at longer focal lengths (maybe 200 - 300mm) where I think it could be more effective.

I have not been bothered by any AF issues, but I never really used the 18-55mm kit lens since I bought the Tamron 28-75mm lens at the same time I bought the camera. But, then again, I’ve never owned a high-end DSLR so maybe I just don’t know what a top-rate autofocus system feels like. But like I said, I’ve never had reason to complain.

7:06 am - Thursday, November 25, 2010

#40 Tony Scarpelli

3 months ago my girlfriend and I decided to get into photography with the idea of becoming professional and having business.  We took 3 classes on DSLR and editing.  Then we took weekend trips to do photo shoots to hone our skills.

We bought an entry Canon XSi, Nikon 5000 and K-x.  I knew from reviews I wanted the K-x and it was love at first site.  She played with the Canon for 30 days and then we returned it to Sam’s club on the 29th day and swapped it for the Nikon5000 kit.  She instantly fell in love with the Nikon for its swival window among other things. 

Fast forward 3 months and we just completed our first big shoot where we went to Miami for 2 weeks and took about 2500 photos between the two of us -of a large 135 member family on South Beach, A wedding, A shower and fun shots in Key West. 

The colors are more rich especially in low light situations.  The camera seems faster in normal light situations and Sun light.  It’s lighter to hold so doing 4 hrs shoots makes a noticable difference (yes we were on South Beach for 4 hrs in 82 d F sun).  For about $150 less than the Nikon, my litle red K-x more than holds its weight aganst the big guys (Canon-Nikon).

The only reason I have not upgraded to the K7 or now the K5 is that it is not avialable in Red and I have become very attached to my Maserotti red camera.

8:52 am - Friday, November 26, 2010

#41 Edgar_in_Indy

Tony,

Well said. Why pay more when you can get equal or better performance from the K-x for less money. And smaller and lighter too!

At the time I was upgrading from my Olympus e-510, the Canon t2i was just being released and was all the rage. I bought it, but quickly returned it when I found the K-x for literally HALF the price. And, like you, I’ve fallen in love with the style of the K-x (mine is white). I was hoping they would offer some color choices on the K-5.

So what lenses are you using with your K-x?

2:41 pm - Friday, November 26, 2010

#42 Jonathan

Hi Edgar,

I originally got the 18-55 and 55-300 kit option (still like the 55-300). Then I got an old Pentax A 50 1.7 - lovely lense and ideal when you want maximum image quality and depth of field control.
Then some M42 lenses (so cheap!): Asahi 135 f3.5 and 200 f4 and then an old soligar 400mm f6.3 (took some great photos of the moon with this).

Later I got a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5. Which I had focus issues with and had to send back to get fixed. Now its a great alround lense. Not the image quality of primes and only slightly better than the P 18-55 across the frame but with significantly more flexibility (I find both the f2.8 and the 70mm very useful).

Now thinking about the new “cheap” 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens. Would be a very useful focal length and performance is reportably very good.

9:35 pm - Friday, November 26, 2010

#43 1 Snap Music!

After weeks of pawing over reviews of other DSLR’s in it’s price range, I pulled the trigger at Amazon and ordered a red K-r, with the 18 - 55 mm kit lens! It’s due to arrive on Tuesday and am eagerly anticipating it and all the wonderful photographic art I can make with it.

7:50 am - Sunday, November 28, 2010

#44 JOSE

Peoples, in regards to interval shooting, Im finding various opinions in regards to the kr having a interval timer built in. I can’t seem to find any details regarding the question, hopefully this little cracker has a interval timer built in and without the restrictions of other pentax models with a limit of 99 shots, my average time-lapse is over 1000 cycles., if in has the feature the kr is a complete package in my opinion.
Any information would be appreciated.

12:49 pm - Monday, November 29, 2010

#45 Superdan

Congratulations Snap Music, you won’t regret it.  Shortly after I bought my black K-r a month ago both the T2i and the D3100 came on sale here in Canada (they became actually cheaper than the K-r).  I went back to the store to play with both of them again and…decided to keep my K-r!!!

1:43 pm - Monday, November 29, 2010

#46 Superdan

Hi Jose,

The interval goes up to 24 hours and the number of shots to 999.  You can also adjust the start time.  Hope this helps.

1:52 pm - Monday, November 29, 2010

#47 JOSE

Thank u Dan.
I’m surprised pentax never mentioned the kr had a interval timer, can the intervals be set up for example, a 5 second exposure with one second   Interval between them, or for instance 1 second exposure on every second so 60 frames per second?

4:43 pm - Monday, November 29, 2010

#48 Superdan

Hi Jose,

Yes you can set exposures of 1 or 4 seconds for example but the interval has to be sufficient to allow the camera to transfer the pictures to the SD card.  I have a Panasonic Class 10 card and the fastest I can do is 3 secs intervals at full 12 Meg pictures.  Lower picture resolution do not seem to affect the interval performance.

6:40 pm - Monday, November 29, 2010

#49 JOSE

Again thanks, it would interesting if the auto HDR function could be linked with intervalometer to produce awesome time lapses., or does the HDR function requires menu selection to produce an HDR image.?

2:05 pm - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#50 Superdan

Hi Jose,

When you select HDR in the camera menu the interval shooting mode is disabled.

DL

6:42 pm - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#51 Stickey

Can you use my Pentax 35MM slr lens on the K-r?

11:25 pm - Thursday, December 2, 2010

#52 Daniel

What do you think, Pentax K-r or Nikon D3100? I personally prefer, for some obscure reason, the Pentax; would you, unlike me, have arguments? :) Thanks!

12:48 am - Friday, December 3, 2010

#53 Superdan

Hi Stickey,

Yes, Pentax sells an adaptor and you can use screw mount 35mm lenses on the K-r.  I tried it in the store and it works.  Since the screw mount lens I was using does not have the electric connectors I had to set the aperture manually in the K-r.  The menu allows you to do that.  Cool!

Dan

1:51 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#54 Superdan

Hi Daniel (nice name!)

The D3100 has a low resolution LCD.  The K-r has an amazing his res LCD.  I did compare the two a month ago and did a spreadsheet (I am an engineer and use Excel all the time!).  Unfortunately I lost the spreadsheet when I left my previous job a month ago!

Anyhow you can search on websites and see the other differences.

Even more importantly, since the D3100 was on my list, I spent a fair amount of time playing with it in three different stores.  In the end the K-r felt much better in my hands and the LCD is far superior to review your pictures for focus and bokeh for example.

Superdan

1:56 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#55 Daniel

Thanks, Superdan! I’ll stop thinking and buy the K-r.
My father is an engineer too, so I’m familiar with spreadsheets for comparisons… :)
What was your choice of lenses? I’m considering the 18-55 and 55-300 kit, although I wish the kit lenses were a bit faster.
Thanks a lot!

2:16 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#56 Superdan

Hi Daniel,

In the end I chose the 18-55mm WR (in case one day I upgrade to the K-5 or something totally sealed) and the 55-300.  I read on many sites that the 55-300 is better than the 55-200. In 35mm equivalent the first gives you 300mm and the second 450mm, this is a significant difference in magnification for wildlife or even sports. I also upgraded my 55-300 to the DA model (from the DAL).  The DA lenses and WR have metal casings (not plastic like the cheaper DAL).  For the last 30 years I always bought metal lenses…:)  I would also prefer these tow lenses to be faster but have you seen the prices for f/2.8 zoom lenses???

I also received yesterday from eBay the “controversial” Sigma 30mm f/1.4.  Amazing fast lens to take pictures indoor without the flash but difficult to properly focus at times.  You really need to know what you are doing with your camera with these special lenses.  Even proper White Balance settings can have an effect on focus from my personal experience!

Happy shooting,
Superdan

2:31 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#57 Daniel

Yeah, f/2.8 zooms are really “unbuyable” for me at the time.
I’ll stick with the kit lenses for now, and later on think of primes for portraits with blurred backgrounds and low-light shooting.
Thanks for answering!

3:05 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#58 Dan

Where the heck can you actually handle a Pentax camera before you purchase? I’ve been to countless photo stores and big chain places playing with Nikons, Canons, Olympus, Sonys… NO Pentax anywhere! I’ve narrowed my choices to the Nikon D90 or D5000, but would LOVE to check out a K-r before making my final decision. I just can’t find one anywhere. Is everyone in the U.S. buying Pentax sight unseen??

3:21 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#59 Superdan

Hi Dan,

In Canada, Henry’s has Pentax.  Don’t know about the US. Pentax Marketing has been somewhat deficient for the last 5 years in North America…  At the same time Asia is going nuts with the white and red K-x (and now K-r).  Go figure.

There must be places in major cities in the US where you can see (and handle) Pentax cameras!

Superdan

3:29 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#60 Edgar_in_Indy

If you have a Fry’s Electronics anywhere near you, I’ve heard that they carry Pentax DSLR cameras.

3:43 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#61 Edgar_in_Indy

And yes, I did buy my K-x sight unseen. But when it was HALF the price of the T2i, which I had previously bought and then returned, it didn’t seem like such a big risk. And, just like the K-r, I loved the styling and I was only reading good things about it online.

If you’re worried about being able to return it, you could order it from B&H. They’ll let you return a camera for a full refund as long as it is in like-new condition with all packaging and documentation and has less than 200 shutter counts.

I don’t think anybody is going to return the K-r because of image quality issues, but if you don’t like the handling for some reason you should be able to figure that out before snapping 200 photos.

3:50 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#62 Superdan

Newegg also has very good prices for K-r kits but I don’t know what their return policy is on cameras.  I have bought several expensive PC parts and I have always been very satisfied with their service and fast delivery.

6:29 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#63 JOSE

Dan, as an alternative 2,8 standard zoom, I recommend the tamron 17-50 2.8, properly the cheapest fast standard zoom around but it’s a little cracker, I’ve used it on my backup camera the canon 7D for three weddings and put it up there in focus speed and image quality against my canon L range. An there’s a pentax version, sweet! My question is to find out whether there is an adaptor for the pentax to fit My canon lens onto.

12:05 am - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#64 Edgar_in_Indy

The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a great substitute for the kit lens, and the price is right. Another solid option is the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, which is what I have. I find it to be a more useful focal length range for my style of photography, which is mainly portraits and candids.

If you’re mostly photographing people, you’ll find the 17-50mm too short in many situations. But if you do a lot landscape photography or shoot in tight quarters a lot, you’ll find the 28-75mm not quite wide enough.

The 17-50mm is slightly smaller and lighter, in case that is important. The 28-75mm, being a little larger, looks very serious on the camera. The 28-75mm is also compatible with full-frame cameras, so if Pentax ever releases a 35mm equivalent DSLR, it could be used. Being a full-frame lens, it also has almost no vignetting and has better edge-to-edge sharpness at wide apertures than the 17-50mm.

I recently added the 17-50mm to my kit, but ended up returning it because it wasn’t as fast (bright) as my 28-75mm. When both lenses were set at f/2.8, the 17-50mm produced images that were about half a stop darker than the 28-75mm, so it was effectively an f/3.3 lens. At smaller apertures (f11 and up) the difference was a full stop.

Others have also reported underexposure issues with the 17-50mm. Based on my experience and everything I’ve read from other users, I believe that the lens is setting the aperture slightly smaller than it should be, or is not reporting it to the camera properly. Still a great lens, but in my experience with both lenses the 28-75mm be a better low-light lens.

I also compared my 18-55mm kit lens to the two Tamrons, and the 18-55mm produced identical exposure to the 28-75mm at equivalent apertures. So there was something funny going on with the 17-50mm.

1:01 am - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#65 Superdan

Thank you Edgar for the info.

I did not know about the Tamron.  I just checked and the price here in Canada is still 3 times what I paid for my Pentax 18-55WR in the kit.  Perhaps in 6 months I will upgrade, I do like f/2.8.  I wonder how much I would get on eBay for my 18-55WR.

One question about the Tamron 17-50, does the front element rotate with zoom or focus operation?

Thanks,
Dan

9:53 am - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#66 Edgar_in_Indy

No, the front element does not rotate.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll be fine with the kit lens for now. I was a total SLR novice, and it took me about a year to feel like I was bumping into the limitations of the kits lens.

When I bought my first DSLR, an Olympus e-510 w/two lens kit, I remember thinking that it was crazy that I was dropping $500 on a camera. I had only had point & shoot cameras before, and had never spent more than $150 - $200. Fast forward a few years later, and a few days ago I just dropped $750 on a new lens. (Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8)

2:50 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#67 Superdan

Thank you Edgar,

Yes it looks like a lot of money for sure. The K-r I bought a month ago is also my first DSLR.

I am planning on buying the 150-500mm Sigma lens (f/3.5 if I remember correctly).  It is $1,200 in Canada.  I am keeping an eye on eBay to see if I could get one at around $600.  I know it is somewhat risky to buy this type of lens from somebody you do not know…

I am found of architecture and when I go on a cruise I like to have a long lens to take pictures of coast line mansions.  It is amazing the view you get from the sea sometimes!  I wonder if the Sigma Optical Stabilization is good in general.

Cheers,
DL

9:06 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#68 Superdan

After I sent my last message I realized that it is f/5.0, not f/3.5 at the widest.

2:54 am - Monday, December 6, 2010

#69 Gustau

I am having a dilemma which I think is typical of people looking at this camera: should I buy the K-r (650 Euros with one kit lens), or the cheaper K-x (500 Euros including two kit lens, 18-55 and 50-200) .
Given that image quality is essentially the same (same sensor, same lens), is the extra dosh worth it, particularly considering the extra lens of the k-x? As far as I am concerned, the only real advantage of the Kr is the dual battery system, as I am worried about the performance of AA’s… but is that worth the extra cash? Any thoughts, specially from people who have upgraded, would be very welcome.
PS. This is going to be my first dslr, and hopefully a long lasting one at that…

12:40 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#70 Superdan

Gustau, if you are planning on keeping your camera for a long time then spend the extra money and get the K-r.  There are many more differences than what you mentioned.  For example the K-r has a much higher resolution LCD screen.  You also have focus confirmation points in the viewfinder.
I bought the K-r two months ago and highly recommend it.

1:49 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#71 Edgar_in_Indy

The K-r and the K-x are essentially the same camera, but as pointed out above the K-r does have a few upgrades. In addition to the above features, the K-r has a higher burst frame rate (6fps for the K-r vs 4.7fps for the K-x).

I own the K-x, and if I were buying a camera right now I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the K-x over the K-r if it was significantly cheaper. A nicer LCD would be nice, but I don’t need the increased FPS, and I’m not excited by the visual focal point confirmation.

I always have my camera set to the center focus point, so having the visual focus point confirmation would do absolutely nothing for me. My last camera had visual focal point confirmation, and I always found it annoying when it would lock onto a different point than the one I wanted, so I just set it to center. I put the center point where I want the focus, and then recompose if necessary after locking focus.

If going with the K-x would allow you to buy the 55-300mm lens, I would take that over the K-r with the 55-200mm lens. But if the price is not much different, you may as well get the K-r.

2:31 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#72 Edgar_in_Indy

I just checked Amazon, and here in the US you can get the K-x with the 18-55mm and 55-300mm for $649 w/free shipping. That would be about 500 euros. I don’t if you can get the same deal in Europe, but if so I would go for it.

Just for reference, the K-r with the 18-55mm and the 55-300mm is $849 here in the US. I would definitely not pay $200 extra for the K-r.

2:37 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#73 Gustau

That’s the thing, the other extra gadgets of the K-r seem pretty irrelevant to me: I will focus on center spot (so illuminated focus confirmation is unnecessary), I do not need an extra f.p.s. as I will rarely shot bursts and there is not much difference between 4.7 and 6 anyway, and live view will only be used for quick checks of the pictures, so I do not need the fancier (and probably more battery consumming) screen.
As I say, my main worry is whether the battery issue in the k-x would become annoying. I have also some doubts about HDR, which I hear is better implemented in the K-r. But are those two issues worth 200 Euro difference?

2:46 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#74 Superdan

I lived in Europe for 6 years…Do what a lot of Europeans do, buy your photographic equipment in the US or Canada when you go for a trip…If not, buy on-line and save 100 Euros…

2:49 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#75 Edgar_in_Indy

I don’t do much HDR, but when I do I use software in post-processing. I prefer having the extra control.

As far as batteries, one of the things I like about the K-x is that it uses standard AA batteries. I frankly don’t see the advantage of using specialized, proprietary batteries. Seems like a disadvantage to me.

I use Eneloop rechargeable batteries, and as far as I can tell battery life is comparable to Olympus and Canon DSLRs I’ve owned that used proprietary packs.

It’s nice to be able to use standard AA’s in a pinch, or to be able to steal batteries from the flash unit.

4:26 pm - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#76 Gustau

Is it me, or does it look like the k-x actually produces sharper pictures than the k-r?

10:44 am - Thursday, January 13, 2011

#77 ExRNsnapper

This is a nice camera but for about £100 more you can get the Sony A580 (see this Blog for review)which blows this camera out of the water. If you live in U.K. the A560 which is exactly the same as the A580 except it has 14.2 m/pxls against the A580 16.2 m/pxls will be available in March at about the same price as the Pentax K-r.

9:52 pm - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#78 Edgar_in_Indy

I don’t know much about the new Sony DSLRs. Can you please elaborate on the advantages of the A560/A580 (other than the megapixels you already mentioned).

10:32 pm - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#79 ExRNsnapper

It has a Sony CMOS sensor (as used by Nikon)with an ISO range up to 12800 (25600 with boost), built in stabilisation as per Pentax,15 point Phase Detection Auto focus, shutter range 30 sec-1/4000, a range of flash syncs, 7fps drive, a 921,600dot LCD which is multi-positionioned, a panorama sweep mode which stitches your photo’s together for a panoramic view,Dynamic range which brackets 3 different exposures to give detail in shadow and highlights and everything inbetween plus another mode which does a similar job in a different way (can’t remember the name of it).Hope this helps a bit but for a full roundown I recommend you go to the Sony A580 review on this blog which is really excellent.

1:43 am - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#80 Edgar_in_Indy

I just checked prices here in the US for the K-r body and the A580 body, and the lowest price for the K-r is $559 while the A580 is $799. With a $240 price difference that means the A580 is 43% more expensive than the K-r, so I really don’t see why anybody would compare these two cameras.

That being said, I’m still not seeing where the A580 “blows the K-r out of the water” as a great entry-level camera.

3:57 pm - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#81 Gustau

Actually, I ended up buying the Pentax K-x. Since the introduction of the k-r, the old k-x has been falling down in price, and I got mine new with kit lens for 400 Euro (very cheap for Spain, and cheaper than some compacts in fact). As far as I can see, all the substantive issues (image quality, high iso performance, image stabilization) are the same otherwise.

As for the Sony, I actually count more megapixels as a disadvantage: it means necessarily worse performance in low light (because the pixels are smaller), and for me the main point of an SLR is precisely its low light advantage against compacts.

Importantly, also, more pixels means more memory requirements, and that is an issue with the number of pictures I am taking. You would need to blow your picture to A2 or above to begin to notice the difference, and how many of those do you ever print?

8:28 pm - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#82 ExRNsnapper

Gustau- I’m happy you have made your choice and are happy with that choice. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Edgar_in_Indy you are also happy in your choice, you have both bought the Pentax K-x and your comments have made me consider that option. I am still looking. Gustau- I agree with your comments with regard to pixels, which is precisely why I am NOT considering the Canon 550D with it’s 18 m/pxls, however I feel the best balance in that respect is 14 mgs, not too much but plenty enough. Edgar_in_Indy, obviously ther are price discrepancies between the U.S. and U.K. In the U.K the price of the K-r is aprox. £490 & the K-x is £350, so I can see where you’re coming from with regard to the choice beween those two. Obviously neither of you are going to change your mind now having made your purchases, but from a purely theoretical point of view I again put the case for the Sony A560 v Pentax K-r(which is aprox.the same price) 14.2 mgs v 12.4. 4592x3056 v 4288x2848 max resolution. 15 focal points v 11. Noise is not all an issue until ISO 1600 and Sony have an innovative Multi-frame noise reduction feature which reduces this noticeability until ISO 6400, which alone must make this camera unique. There is a “Dynamic range Optimizer” which has 4 manual levels and Auto for increasing the amount of shadow detail by combining 3 exposures of the same scene, plus if that is not enough a setting called “High Dynamic Range” which uses a combination of 2 exposures to increase the captured detail from highlights to shadow in the same file. It has 6 “style” modes including B&W and Vivid, a panorama mode which can be improved to 3D panorama if you have a 3D TV to view it on. On top of all that from what I can see from the sample images supplied the quality of the photo’s is supperb. Oh and because Sony is the only company that uses a second sensor, focusing in live-view is faster by quite a distance than any other brand on the market. When you consider also that for every other product that Sony make (T.V.‘s, Laptops etc.) you pay a premium for the name alone, for such a reputable company to produce a range of products (DSLR’s)which match and in many cases surpass it’s competitors at lower prices with a like for like comparison in order to establish a presence in the market, you know you are getting good value for money. Also don’t forget that although they are fairly new to this particular market, they bought up all the expertise and resources of Minolta which in it’s day was every bit an equal to Pentax/Canon/Nikon/Olympus.

1:45 am - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#83 Edgar_in_Indy

My first DSLR was an Olympus, and I now have a Pentax, so maybe I’ll try Sony next. But I’m very happy with my lens collection and I really like some of the Pentax lenses that are available, so I probably won’t be switching systems anytime soon.

In a year or so when the K-5 has come down in price, I may consider upgrading to that. But I’ll definitely check out Sony.

3:33 am - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#84 ExRNsnapper

I am also considering the K-7 with it’s robust build quality now it has come down to about £700 in the U.K. market it seems a good buy. What are your thoughts?

11:23 am - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#85 Edgar_in_Indy

The K-7 is a great camera, known for almost perfect ergonomics and an extremely tough build quality. It’s weather sealed, so when you pair it with one of Pentax’s WR lenses, you can shoot in the rain with no worries. It has a much more advanced autofocus system than the entry level cameras and from what I’ve seen it produces gorgeous images.

Its one big weakness is high-ISO shooting. If you tend to shoot above ISO 1600 very often, it’s not a good choice. But otherwise, it’s an incredible camera.

2:00 pm - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#86 ExRNsnapper

Thanks Edgar, I’ll take a look at it then. Have you considered upgrading to this rather than wait for the K-5 to come down?

11:47 pm - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#87 Superdan

Great conversation!

I bought a K-r months ago and love it.  I like Pentax lenses and they tend to be cheaper because there is no image stabilization (it is on the sensor).  I may upgrade to a K5 in a year when the prices come down.  I like the fact that it is sealed (I already have a 18-55 WR lens) and it has more pixels than the K-r.  When I bought the K-r I also bought the money back guaranty where I can bring the camera back to the store and receive 50% of the selling price.  We will see what I decide to do…

Check the latest edition of Popular Photography magazine, there is a complete review of the K5 with high marks!

Cheers,
Daniel

4:38 pm - Friday, February 18, 2011

#88 PeAK

All batteries drop their output voltage when providing power (i.e current) to a camera. The eneloop batteries are provide not only less drop for a given level of power/current but start off at a higher output.

As the batteries run down, the camera detects this voltage and auto-magically shuts down at some predetermined voltage level. The combination of less drop and higher output are what gives the eneloop its class leading performance in power hungry devices.

Pentax should learn what a “kelvin contact” is and also read the following thread:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=194180&p=2822033#post2822033

9:17 pm - Friday, February 18, 2011

#89 joel

For the past 6 monyhs I’ve been reviewing internet sites trying to determine a good choice for my next major purchase.  For a while I decided that the K5 was the way to go (great reviews for a camera that doesn’t advertise) but recently relized I wasn’t a good enough photographer to justify the cost (the silver version sure is pretty).  Now to the Kr, can I mount a stabilizing lens to a sensor shift camera without negative affects?  Or, even better, do they compliment?
As for the 580 it uses the same Sony sensor as the K5 and D7000 but is overly large and plastic(as is the D7000 and for that matter the 60D).  The Sony, Nikon and even the Canon have great capabilties but for the price and ergonomics, I’m leaning towards the Kr.
Sorry I went on a tangent - could someone answer my stabalization question?
Best Regards,

Joel

3:36 am - Thursday, February 24, 2011

#90 Edgar_in_Indy

No, they won’t work together, and will actually work against each other. I guess you could say that while one IS system is zagging, the other is zigging. No worries though, since third-party lenses usually have an IS switch, or you could turn off your in-body IS.

I do wonder, though, if a 2-stage lens/sensor IS system *could* be developed. If so, that would be absolutely killer for a long telephoto.

4:59 am - Thursday, February 24, 2011

#91 superwei

Hi guys! I know you guys live in Europe and North America. I suppose after sales service for pentax is not a issue over there. But in the country I live in I am a little worry about after sales service given by the distributor. I like K-r and the 18-55 and 55-300mm lens, but the thought of service still hold me back.

4:58 am - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#92 Jonathan

Well I live in New Zealand and resorted to importing my Pentax K-x although they are sold here (just cost a lot more).

5:15 am - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#93 Snapper

Being an ex Minolta man I started by looking at the Sony A580 when I first decided to buy a DSLR. Then I considered the Nikon D5100 which I had waited patiently for after the D3100 came out, but I was disapointed. After considerable research I came to the conclussion that the K-r is better than the D5100 but sells at the price of the D3100. It has to be the best value DSLR on the market for image quality,build and specifications with loads of unique features. To my gratification I found that http://www.ephotozone think so too as they have put it at no. 3 on their top 11 DSLR’s. Incidentally no 2 was the Pentax K-5! No. 1? Oh some Canon costing over £5k

9:21 pm - Friday, July 29, 2011

#94 ExRNsnapper

The Pentax K-r is simply the best DSLR you can buy £ for £. If you discount such things as articulated screens and “state of the art” video, oh and unnecessarily high megs then what you have is this.A camera with image and build quality superior to anything Canon or Nikon produce in cameras costing hundreds of pounds more. The Nikon D5100 has 11 focus points with only 1 a cross type. The Canon 600D has 9, none being cross type. If you wish you had shot in RAW when you shot in .jpeg this clever camera lets you “change your mind”. It has built in HDR which the Canon hasn’t and doesn’t pander to silly tricks like “toy camera” likr the Nikon but allows you to do sensible things like correct aberations and check your horizon is straight. In a “Top 11 DSL” chart I found on the internet the K-r came 3rd with the Pentax K-5 at no. 2

10:00 pm - Friday, July 29, 2011

#95 ExRNsnapper

I don’t know why you think I’m spam. I’ve posted on this site many times before. What’s the problem?

10:33 pm - Friday, July 29, 2011

#96 Snapper

Go to http://www.ephotozine.com and you will be please to see that in their top 11 DSLR’s the K-r is at number 3 and the Pentax K-5 is at no. 2

11:15 pm - Friday, July 29, 2011

#97 MrB

It is worth noting that many kit lenses on entry/mid level dslrs have front elements that spin around when they focus, making the use of filters (e.g. a polariser) more difficult. Pentax kit lenses do NOT spin, therefore they should be preferred in reviews over the others that do.

10:23 am - Thursday, August 25, 2011

#98 jpl

I had the pentax kr for couple of weeks.I like the camera,good picture quality,fast,(6fpd),good in low light.My only concern is when you move the camera sideways,up@down,you can hear like a “klunk"noise ,like something is loose and moving or shifting inside the camera.Does anyone have an idea why the camera does that.Is that normal for this model kr?

6:07 am - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#99 Jonathan

Hi jpl,

This is one of the most asked questions over at pentaxforums. Its completely normal - my K-x does the same. The sensor block moves to provide SR (Shake Reduction) and sensor cleaning. When not taking the photo this bock is free to move and will rattle.

Cheers

Jonathan

9:22 am - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#100 jpl

thanks jonathan,now that I know that the klunk sound is normal ,how do you like your kx?Im testing the kr and the canon t3i.I like the speed of the kr,features like digital filters in playback etc.Picture quality in the t3i seems better,better video,I like the articulated lcd that helps when handling the camera in odd-angle situations.The third camera Im considering is the nikon 5100.I haven’t try the nikon yet but some reviews said that the 5100 is a superior camera,better performance in still shooting due to its improved sensor,better video with auto focus.Pentax kr is cheaper,$599, t3i and nikon 5100 both around 800 with a 18-55 lens.With all of that said, which camera you think is the best(best choice)I am new in dslr world and anyone’s input would be greatly appreciated.  thanks.

4:26 am - Thursday, December 8, 2011

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, 12 megapixel, beginner, DSLR, prosumer, pentax, 6fps, Pentax K-r Review, kr review, kr, k-r

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