This new mid-level DSLR offers a highly competitive feature list that will please current Pentax owners and new users alike, but does it have enough clout to ruffle the competition?
Build and Handling
The K-r is not much bigger than the K-x and looks almost identical. It is lightweight and compact, making it ideal for the entry-level market – regardless of the fact that it is not the lowest in Pentax’s range. Despite its small frame, it has a sizeable grip that is deeper and longer than most at this price point, and it means that I can (just about) keep all four fingers around it.
The body feels like a polycarbonate construction and isn’t weather-sealed so is suited more for the fair-weather shooter. It does feel solid, though, and the only rattle comes from the sensor motors, which really shake the camera when set for dust reduction on start-up.
Having the stabilisation in the body means that lenses can remain small, and even the pancake models can be stabilised. The only downside is that the image in the viewfinder is not stabilised, making composing trickier with longer lenses.
The layout of the K-r is functional, with buttons and dials kept to a minimum to appeal to the non-technical user. This, on the whole, is not an issue: by using the info button the display on the rear screen allows you access to the majority of functions, while the rest are accessed via the main menu or the four directional buttons.
The problem is that these directional buttons also double as the AF selection when in manual point selection. To switch between these two functions requires you to hold down the central OK button, which is far from obvious and a little fiddly. The shooting mode dial is also quite light, which makes it easy to knock and change mode, which it often did when placing the camera in a coat pocket.
The rear LCD hosts a graphical display of shooting information, which is clear and functional, if perhaps not overly stylish.
The main menu takes the same approach, with items divided into four main sections and scrolled across in subsections. This again is functional rather than sleek, but functions that have a quick access button – such as white balance and ISO – have been left off the main menu, when it might have been handy to have both options available. Without an eye sensor above the screen the display remains on until the shutter is half-pressed or turned off, which you may need to do when working in dark conditions.