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?
Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
Image: While noise levels remain minimal at ISO 1600, the highest setting of 25,600 is best avoided for critical use
The 12.4-million-pixel sensor in the K-r is sparse in terms of pixel count when compared with much of its competition and will leave it at an immediate disadvantage on the shop floor against the 14 and 15-million-pixel models. That said, being less densely populated should allow the sensor to perform better in terms of noise, and the pixel count is more than adequate in terms of resolution for most potential users. On our resolution chart the K-r achieved an impressive 24 from the raw file and 20 from the JPEG.
By the top standard ISO of 12,800, both the raw file and the JPEG had slipped to just 18, and at the maximum ISO 25,600 the raw was still on 18, while the JPEG reached 16 due to the noise reduction. Images at up to ISO 6400 are free of any colour noise and feature only subtle artefacts. Even at ISO 12,800, images are very usable and can be well controlled with some post-processing. The maximum ISO of 25,600 does show heavy amounts of noise and is best avoided for critical work, but with a monotone conversion it can still produce a pleasant ‘grainy’ effect.
Resolution charts: These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using a Pentax 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.