Best Pentax DSLRs
What's the best Pentax DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Pentax DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.
We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Pentax DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.
Price: £460/US$630/AU$650 (body only)
Specs: APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p
One of the most attractive selling points of the Pentax K-30 is that it has a high build quality and is sealed so it can take more exposure to inclement weather than competing cameras.
The K-30's AF system is pretty good, provided that you don't use the standard 18-55mm kit lens. The smc DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR lens is a much better performer in this respect, but this adds around £250($300) to the kit price.
Read our Pentax K-30 review
Price: £570/US$740 (around AU$855) (body only)
Specs: 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p
Pentax's current flagship model brings together a 16.3MP CMOS sensor, 7fps burst shooting and Full HD video capture, while its magnesium-alloy body is weather sealed. Just as impressive is the 100% coverage of its pentaprism viewfinder, and its sensitivity span of ISO 80-51,200.
Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs
Pentax K-5 II price: £730/US$1,100/AU$1,100 (body only)
Pentax K-5 IIs price: £860/US$1,200/AU$1,200 (body only)
Specs (both): APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p
Pentax has two K-5 II offerings, the K-5 II and the K-5 IIs, but the only difference between them is the anti-aliasing filter in the Pentax K-5 II. Despite being more expensive, the Pentax K-5 IIs has no anti-aliasing filter over the sensor, and this enables it to capture a little more detail but with heightened risk of moiré patterning.
Aside from a slightly improved LCD screen and an allegedly revamped sensor, the most notable difference between the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-5 it replaces is its SAFOX X autofocus system. This offers a noticeable speed and accuracy boost over the original Pentax K-5, and focusing is swift even in quite dark environments.
Like the Pentax K-30, the Pentax K-5 II (s) is weather-sealed so it can be used with confidence in during inclement spells.
We found the image quality is high, but the K-5 II failed to impress with its resolution scores.
Best Olympus DSLRs
What's the best Olympus DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Olympus DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.
We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Olympus DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.
Price: £1,270/US$1,700/AU$1,790 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p
The flagship Four Thirds DSLR, the Olympus E-5 upgrades the resolution and processor of its predecessor, while also squeezing in an articulated 3-inch LCD with a 920,000 dot resolution on the rear. An HD movie mode also makes an appearance, and the XD card slot has been dropped in favour of the more common SD standard (in addition to CompactFlash).
Read our Olympus E-5 review
Best Sigma DSLRs
Sigma has just a pair of DSLR cameras in its current range, the SD15 and the SD1 Merrill, so choosing the best Sigma DSLR isn't as difficult here as it is with some of the other manufacturers. Following a significant price drop, the latter is a much more tempting proposition, although the cheaper SD15 has potentially wider appeal to more users.
Price: £585/US$930 (around AU$880) (body only)
Specs: 14MP, HD video: none
Sigma's only mid-range DSLR offering, the SD15 incorporates a Foveon X3 sensor and a 3-inch LCD screen with a capable - though not particularly competitive - 460,000 dots. Other features of interest include a 77-segment metering sensor and a DDR II buffer said to be twice as large as that found in the previous SD14 model.
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Price: £1,840/US$2,300 (around AU$2,760) (body only)
Specs: 46MP, HD video: none
Recently rebranded and cut in price by around £4,000/$6,000 (!), the SD1 Merrill is Sigma's answer to both professional DSLRs and medium format systems. It sports a new 46MP sensor as well as a magnesium alloy body and an 11-point twin cross AF system. Other features of note include 3-inch LCD screen with a 460,000 dot resolution as well as pentaprism viewfinder.
Read our Sigma SD1 Merrill review