Andy Westlake tests Pentax's latest fully featured mid-range DSLR with in-body image stabilisation

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Pentax K-70

Features:9/10
Build/Handling:8/10
Metering:8/10
Autofocus:7/10
AWB Colour:7/10
Dynamic Range:8/10
Image quality:8/10
LCD viewfinder:9/10

Pros:

  • Effective in-body image stabilisation that works with every lens
  • Large, bright viewfinder is the best in class
  • Good contingent of external controls makes it easy to change settings

Cons:

  • Relatively slow and clunky live view
  • In-camera JPEG processing needs a lot of twekaing for the best results
  • LCD screen isn't touch sensitive

Product:

Pentax K-70 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£559.00 (body only)

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At a glance

  • £559 body only / £799 kit with 18-135mm lens
  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Pentax K mount
  • ISO 100-102,400
  • 6fps continuous shooting
  • In-body image stabilisation

Pentax K-70 review – Introduction

Pentax K-70 review sample image

High ISOs are very usable, with strong colours and reasonable detail even at ISO 6400.

I have to admit to having a soft spot for Pentax DSLRs; I’ve used them on and off for almost a decade, and have always found them capable and pleasant to shoot with. But one thing I really don’t understand is their naming convention.

The subject of this review, the K-70, isn’t an update to the three-year-old K-50, as might be expected. Instead, it takes last year’s K-S2 and upgrades it with a 24.2-million-pixel sensor (from 20.2 million pixels), while adding a smattering of extra features, including the Pixel Shift Resolution system seen in other recent Pentax SLRs. But in terms 
of body design, it’s a dead-ringer for the K-S2, aside from a few 
small cosmetic changes. The logic of the naming progression escapes me completely.

Having got that out of the way, though, it’s clear that when you look at its specification, the K-70 follows both its predecessors in offering an awful lot of camera for your money. In terms of pricing, it’s up against mid-range DSLRs such as the Nikon D5500 or Canon EOS 750D/760D twins, but throws in lots of desirable features that they lack. From in-body image stabilisation that works with every lens you can mount, through twin control dials and extensive customisation options, to the large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage, it outscores its rivals in almost every respect. However, it’s bulkier and heavier than its rivals, and lacks a touchscreen. Unusually, it’s not sold with an 18-55mm kit zoom, but instead is available either body only, or with an 18-135mm lens that offers a useful 27-200mm equivalent range.

Despite the brand’s rich photographic heritage and undoubted value for money, Pentax DSLRs have struggled to gain market traction in recent years against the twin behemoths of Canon and Nikon. So does the K-70 offer anything sufficiently compelling to reverse that trend?

  1. 1. At a glance
  2. 2. Pentax K-70 - Features
  3. 3. Pentax K-70 - Viewfinder and screen
  4. 4. Pentax K-70 - Build and handling
  5. 5. Pentax K-70 - Autofocus
  6. 6. Pentax K-70 - Performance
  7. 7. Pentax K-70 - Pixel Shift Resolution
  8. 8. Pentax K-70 review - Dynamic range, resolution and noise
  9. 9. Pentax K-70 - Verdict
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