Pentax K-r review

With full specs, price, sample images, high ISO samples and more

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Pentax k r

One significant change compared to the Pentax K-x is the newly expanded K-r ISO range. With a slight adjustment to the custom settings menu you can set the ISO as high as 25,600. That's twice as sensitive as the Pentax K-x and Canon 550D, and four times that of the Nikon D5000.

So what can you do with it? We're pleased to report that below ISO 1600 you won't really need to worry about your images – our tests came back virtually indistinguishable from each other. You can even set up the Pentax K-r to prevent it reaching for undesirable ISOs: set the maximum at ISO 1600 and we doubt you'll ever have a serious problem with noise.

The higher you go the softer images become. At ISO 3200 noise is still fairly well controlled, and the Pentax K-r samples we took provided commandingly accurate colours – sharpness appeared to be the only casualty.

Go a stop further and you'll begin to hit problems, though. ISO 3200 provided us with an image in which smooth textures had been replaced by mottled JPEG compression, and sharpness was all but gone. Go further still and colours begin to shift badly – the final two stops are best avoided unless you're presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The SMC DAL 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Pentax K-r kit lens is another treat: it's light weight and, while its specifications are run of the mill, like the kit lens on the Pentax K-x, it's pretty sharp and chromatic aberration is kept to the barest of minimums. Our only complaint is the audible noise: the Pentax K-r's in-body focus motor sounds decidedly old-school and will definitely prick up the ears of any quietly grazing wildlife.

Our review unit came as a package with an SMC DA 50mm-200mm F4-5.6 ED lens as well, with which we were less impressed. When it was mounted the K-r had a little trouble picking out fine details in our test shots, and although the Pentax K-r image sensor shifting Shake Reduction (SR) is built-in, we struggled to get sharp images at 1/60sec when using the 50-200mm lens at its longest point, our video tests were particularly badly affected by shake. Take a tripod!

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution12.4 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Optical Zoom3.1x, 3.1x (Lens 1) - 4x (Lens 2)
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesAperture Priority, Continuous Shooting Mode, External Flash Shoe, Manual White Balance
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)544 g
Image Sensor Size23.60 mm x 15.80 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4288 x 2428
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height97 mm
Width125 mm
Depth68 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1) - 50 mm to 200 mm (Lens 2)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelK-r
Product NameK-r Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program (P)
  • Shutter-Priority (Tv)
  • Aperture-Priority (Av)
  • Manual (M)
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number14649
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Incorporating a high sensitivity CMOS sensor with 12.4 megapixels combined with the high-performance PRIME II (Pentax Real Image Engine) imaging engine, Pentax K-r produces high-quality images with fine details, rich gradation and superb rendition, while suppressing digital noise to a minimum. The K-r indeed offers an impressive noise management.

Package Contents
  • K-r Digital SLR Camera
  • smc DA 18-55mm II f/3.5-5.6 Lens
  • smc DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year