Pentax Announces K-r DSLR For $800

Pentax has updated its DSLR line with the new K-r, successor to the K-x. The improvements are modest: you’ve got improved ISO range (up to 25600 expanded, but I wouldn’t), a better burst rate (6FPS, which is sweet), and a much-improved LCD (3″ at 640×480). You’ve still got the same 12 megapixels and the 720p video is limited to 25 FPS, which is likely what I’d choose anyway (well, 24, but eh).

I’m just not sure it’s competitive — the improvements aren’t very serious, and considering what’s come out in the meantime, it’s not looking so hot any more. The stellar Canon T2i and new Nikon D3100 are nothing to laugh at.

That said, you also have Pentax’s excellent lens selection. To that end, they’ve also released a new 35mm F/2.4 lens for $220, which sounds like a pretty decent buy to me. Also, it comes in storm trooper colors.

The body-only kit will cost $800; adding an 18-55mm kit lens will put it at $850, and a few other lens options bump the price further. Both the camera and new lens will ship in October. Here’s the full press release:


GOLDEN, CO. September 8, 2010…PENTAX Imaging Systems Division has announced a new digital SLR line with color accents that allow owners to choose one that matches their personal style. The colorful PENTAX K-r DSLR camera offers advanced yet simple to use features at an attractive price.

The compact, lightweight PENTAX K-r is easy to use with Auto Picture, Scene, and Custom Image Processing modes that take the guesswork out of shooting stunning images while still offering a high degree of manual and priority control. The K-r offers a variety of new and improved features including a fast framerate, high ISO sensitivity, responsive autofocus, an improved 12.4 megapixel low-noise sensor and widescreen HD video capture that take it a step above an entry-level DSLR camera.

Key features of the PENTAX K-r that are new or have been improved upon from the most recent entry to mid-level PENTAX DSLR models include:
• Three stylish color choices include traditional black, the new classic white, and PENTAX red reflect any owner’s personal style.
• Large 3 inch LCD with 921,000 dots of resolution.
• Faster high speed 6 FPS framerate that captures 25 images in a single sequence.
• A maximum 1/6000 second shutter speed.
• Viewfinder focus point indicator.
• Improved in-camera HDR image capture including a Night Scene HDR mode.
• High sensitivity 100-25600 ISO range with improved noise performance from the new 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor.
• Versatile dual-power-source design, which offers the choice of either a rechargeable lithium-ion battery or four AA-size battery power (using optional AA Battery Holder D-BH109).
• Infrared data transfer compatible with the IrSimple™ high-speed infrared data transmission system for wireless data transfer to the web or other IrSimple-compatible devices (includes a match-game between two PENTAX K-r’s).

Other important features of the new K-r models include:
• Widescreen 720p HD video at 25 FPS.
• PENTAX-original Shake Reduction mechanism for sharp, blur-free images that works with every PENTAX lens ever made
• Dust Removal mechanism, to shake dust off the CMOS image sensor.
• Highly responsive and accurate 11 point SAFOX IX autofocus system with dedicated AF assist lamp.
• Wide range of in-camera image processing and special effects filters.

With a highly portable, compact and lightweight body in a choice of colors, the K-r holds appeal for busy parents, family memory-keepers, travelers and anyone who reflects personal style in all their pursuits including their journey into photography or videography as a skill or hobby. The PENTAX K-r digital SLR will ship in October 2010 for as follows:
K-r Body Kit $799.95 USD
K-r Lens Kit w 18-55 $849.95 USD
K-r Double Lens Kit w 18-55, 50-200 $899.95 USD
K-r Double Lens Kit w 18-55, 55-300 $999.95 USD

PENTAX also announced the smc PENTAX DA 35mm F2.4 AL, standard lens designed exclusively for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras. This new lens is versatile enough to be used with a wide range of subjects and applications for high-resolution images with edge-to-edge sharpness.
It is a perfect choice for digital SLR beginners to familiarize themselves with the basics of using interchangeable lenses.

The PENTAX DA 35mm F2.4 AL lens also will ship in October for $219.95 USD.