The Pentax K-70 itself is really good. It’s a compact, solid and very well specified camera that also delivers good value for money. It’s packed with innovative features, and there’s enough here to keep novices, enthusiasts and even more experienced photographers occupied for a long time to come.
The articulated screen is useful, and the new hybrid live view autofocus system – a first for Pentax – makes live view shooting an enjoyable and practical alternative to using the viewfinder. It’s not quite as slick and speedy as using a mirrorless camera, but it does close the gap considerably.
The 18-135mm kit lens, however, was a disappointment. It handles well, it focuses quickly and it offers a much longer zoom range than most rivals. Unfortunately, the image quality just isn’t up to the mark. It’s okay at shorter focal lengths, but this lens softens considerably as you zoom in, which takes away the advantage it has in overall zoom range.
If you are tempted by the K-70 – and it really is a good camera – you might be better off getting it in body-only form, and investing in more expensive glassware. Pentax offers better lenses than this one, as do independent makers Sigma and Tamron.
Now overshadowed – but only slightly – by the newer Nikon D500, the D7200 still delivers excellent resolution, great overall image quality and good handling. Bought as a kit with Nikon’s very good 18-105mm kit lens, however, it’s still pretty pricey.
Read the full review: Nikon D7200
Canon EOS Rebel T6s / EOS 760D
With its 24-megapixel sensor, vari-angle display and hybrid CMOS AF sensor, the EOS Rebel T6s (known as the EOS 760D outside the US) is a close match for the K-70 in all but ruggedness. The wide choice of quality lenses and accessories makes it a camera that can grow with you, and it’s very affordable too.
Panasonic Lumix G80 / G85
Panasonic's Lumix G85 (or G80 if you're outside the US) is a cracking mid-price mirrorless camera with a vast range of compatible lenses. Its 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor might not be quite a match for the K-70's, but it's not far off thanks to the absence of an optical low-pass filter. Handling and AF are great; throw in advanced 4K video capture, and you have a very nice camera.