Good image quality
Great build quality
Impressive kit lens
Pentax lens system is limited
Mixed video quality and features
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Pentax has long been the bridesmaid of the DSLR market. As professionals almost exclusively opt for Nikon and Canon bodies to get access to top-end lenses and accessories, that apathy towards Pentax trickles down to consumers.
That hasn't stopped Pentax putting out some cracking consumer DSLRs, though. The Pentax K-x has long held a place in our hearts for its excellent image quality and top-notch kit lens, and the Pentax K-r is effectively its bigger brother.
Like the K-x, the K-r sensor is APS-C at 12.4 megapixels, and, also like the K-x, boasts a 720p Motion-JPEG video mode. It also has the same image processor as the K-x: the Pentax PRIME II.
There are improvements and changes elsewhere. The screen on the smaller, cheaper K-x has long felt a little tight at 2.7in; the Pentax K-r wisely upgrades to an industry-standard 3-inch LCD, and the resolution has increased sharply as well. The Pentax K-r also takes a unique approach to the K-x's double-edged sword of only accepting AA batteries, allowing you to fit either the included rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, or AAs depending on what you have to hand.
Pentax is playing a dangerous game, though. The K-x remains hugely desirable at just £400, while the circling sharks of Canon and Nikon's mid-range DSLRs are never far away. Can Pentax convince us it's worth the cash?
Dave is a professional photographer whose work has appeared everywhere from National Geographic to the Guardian. Along the way he’s been commissioned to shoot zoo animals, luxury tech, the occasional car, countless headshots and the Northern Lights. As a videographer he’s filmed gorillas, talking heads, corporate events and the occasional penguin. He loves a good gadget but his favourite bit of kit (at the moment) is a Canon EOS T80 35mm film camera he picked up on eBay for £18.