Conclusion: When I reviewed the Pentax K-x last year, I was left with rather mixed feelings. It clearly offered a lot of camera for the money, but unfortunately retained one of the biggest shortcomings of its predecessor -- the lack of any autofocus point indication in the optical viewfinder. Thankfully, the Pentax K-r corrects that oversight, while retaining much of what made its predecessor great.
Pros: Relatively compact body with good control layout, Very good high ISO performance, ISOs up to 25,600, Much better color accuracy than the K-x at default settings, 3-inch hi-resolution (921K dot) LCD, Optional lens distortion and CA correction, Excellent compatibility with older lenses, Built-in image stabilization, Useful D-Range and HDR features, Very flexible NR options, Improved 11-area AF system with 9 cross-type points, Dedicated AF assist lamp, Fast autofocus whe...
Cons: Mediocre kit lens, Below average battery life, Autofocus struggles in low light, Subtle NR applied to high ISO RAW files which can't be disabled, High ISO NR has trouble with low-contrast areas in the red channel, Contrast setting impacts saturation, Color moiré interference patterns in some shots, Auto white balance is quite variable in low light, LCD coverage not 100% in Live View mode, Takes too long to switch from still to movie capture, Movies only up to 720p, us...
Summary: We found a plethora of lengthy, detailed, test-based reviews for the Pentax K-r at photography specialist sites DPReview.com, DCResource.com, Steves-Digicams.com, DigitalCameraReview.com and PhotographyBlog.com. Some of the owner reviews at Amazon.com reveal substantial photography experience and are very helpful.
Pros: Several upgrades over older Pentax K-x, Lots of features for the price, Very good images, even in low light, Solid build, Fun colors
Cons: Some exposure issues, High def video mode not as good as rivals, No HDMI port, Fewer lens choices than Canon or Nikon
Conclusion: The Pentax K-r is an excellent entry-level model. It’s ideal for those looking for a very easy-to-use DSLR that is packed full of creative features, although it should be noted that some, such as the extensive choice of scene modes, picture settings and digital filters, may prove superfluous to needs. That said, they’re there if you need them.
Excerpt: It may not come in quite as many swanky colors as the entry-level K-x (white, black, and red for now), but Pentax is hoping their new K-r DSLR will appeal to users trying to take another step up. At its heart is a 12.4 megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor with dust removal and Shake Reduction (image stablization). They have jacked up the maximum ISO to 25600, which is a full stop more than the K-x could manage.
Summary: The Pentax K-r is a great entry-level camera, and fully capable of matching models from Canon and Nikon. If you don't mind the lack of Full HD video, and want a model purely for still photography, then the Pentax K-r should sit right at the top of your list.
Excerpt: Quote from review: “The new Pentax K-r is a mid-range DSLR camera that fills the gap between the entry-level K-x and prosumer K-7 models. The 12 megapixel K-r combines the best of both cameras, inheriting the compact size and simple layout of the K-x and the high-resolution screen and AF system of the K-7. Is that enough to still remain competitive in 2010? Read our Pentax K-r expert review to find out..
Summary: A very competent upper entry-level camera that delivers decent image quality across the ISO range and at six frames per second comes with one of the fastest continuous shooting rates in its class. There's some stiff competition in the upper entry-level bracket of the market but the K-r is definitely worth a look.
Pros: Good detail and color in JPEGs at base ISO, Good high ISO performance, Compact dimensions for a DSLR, ISO range up to ISO 25600, 6.0 frames per second continuous shooting is class-leading, Option to use AA batteries (with optional adapter), Decent Live View AF, Good viewfinder, LCD color fine-tunable, Good control over high ISO noise reduction, User-definable Auto ISO, AF fine adjustment, Distortion and chromatic aberration correction for DA and DFA lenses (also avail...
Cons: Outdated Motion JPEG format produces very large movie files, No direct movie button, Tendency to clip highlights in high-contrast scenes, Relatively little RAW headroom means it is difficult to pull back blown detail even when shooting RAW, Slightly unreliable auto white balance in overcast conditions and in artificial light (but very good presets and WB fine tuning), Shake-reduction not too efficient compared to other systems, No HDMI-connector
Summary: Pentax's K-r is fun to use and has enough resolution for prints as large as most family shooters are likely to want. That it has one more stop of acceptable noise control than Nikon's D3100 and Canon's Rebel T2i adds to its appeal.
Conclusion: The entry-level Pentax K-r boasts fast continuous shooting and does a good job in low-light, but this D-SLR ships with a kit lens that is anything but sharp and lacks autofocus capability during video recording.
Pros: Fast continuous shooting. In-body shake reduction. High-resolution rear LCD.
Cons: Small viewfinder. Poor kit lens. No autofocus during video.