Andy Westlake tests Pentax's latest fully featured mid-range DSLR with in-body image stabilisation
Pentax K-70 – Autofocus
If there’s one area where the K-70 lags behind its peers it’s autofocus. It’s not terrible, but the 11-point system feels dated, particularly when compared to the Nikon D5500’s 39-point set-up that’s more densely packed and covers a larger area of the frame. This makes the biggest difference when trying to track moving subjects, and is much less important if you mainly shoot static ones. One distinct flaw is the red marker for the active AF area, which is dim and difficult to see in bright light. This makes it too easy to find yourself using the wrong focus point and risking misfocused shots.
When it comes to working in live view, the K-70 is the first Pentax DSLR to include on-sensor phase-detection elements to provide a hybrid focusing system. In reality, these seem to do very little; the K-70 doesn’t seem much improved over the K-S2. It’s not too bad as DSLRs go, but it’s much slower autofocusing in live view than any mirrorless competitor, and personally I found it too clunky for normal use. This is compounded by the camera’s insistence on flipping the mirror down and up again to take a picture in live view, which feels about a decade out of date.
If you wish to focus manually, however, the K-70 provides a somewhat better experience than its competitors. The large, bright viewfinder makes judging correct focus easier, while almost all lenses include ‘Quick Shift’ manual focus by turning the focus ring, even in AF mode. In live view you get an optional focus-peaking display, and you can access magnified view simply by pressing the OK button.