What Digital Camera’s review of the Pentax K-r discovers whether the K-r adds something extra to the recent run of promising Pentax DSLRs. Read our full Pentax K-r test…

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Pentax K-r

Overall score:87%
Image Quality:85%


  • Good low-mid ISO image quality


  • No video autofocus


Pentax K-r Review


Price as reviewed:



Pentax K-r review – Performance

In use and the Pentax K-r’s AF performance in good light is as good as instantaneous, and remains quick in less than ideal conditions too. In really poor light conditions the K-r employs a green-tinted AF-assist light to help find focus and prevent any prolonged focus hunting. With options for spot and single-point AF, the K-r helpfully indicates which AF points are being used when set to automatic AF. The viewfinder is bright and clear enough, but does only covers 96% of the frame.

A fixed 3in, 921k-dot LCD adorns the back of the K-r. It’s bright and easily viewable from all angles, but does become much harder to use in bright sunlight. In review mode the K-r’s Info button toggles between histogram and general shooting information for each recorded image, while the selection wheel allows you to magnify each image to check for sharpness.

Pentax K-r review sample image

The Pentax K-r’s live view mode uses the contrast-detection method and is pleasingly quick to achieve focus – not quite as fast as Sony’s Alpha range of DSLRs, but certainly on a par, if not quicker, than comparable Nikon and Canon models. We also like how the K-r automatically zooms into the central focusing box to confirm accurate focus before zooming out again to letting you capture the image.

The provided 18-55mm kit lens feels pretty solid in comparison to many of the standard kit lenses offered by rival manufacturers, but it’s also rather noisy. In fact, noisy operation is a bit of an issue with the K-r generally as the shutter mechanism is far from quiet too. In many situations this won’t be a problem, but at a wedding or when shooting wildlife, or indeed anywhere where a noisy camera might be an issue, it’s worth noting that the K-r is almost certain to make itself heard.

In addition to long-exposure and high ISO noise reduction controls, the Pentax K-r also offers a distortion correction feature that can correct barrel and pincushion distortion, along with a feature that automatically removes chromatic aberrations from high-contrast borders. Be warned though: switching either of these two features on significantly increases processing time (by several seconds, no less) making continuous burst shooting all but impossible.

The Pentax K-r also offers an in-camera HDR function that takes three successive images at different exposures before blending them together into a single image. The results aren’t bad, but to use the feature effectively the camera really needs to be used on a tripod as there can otherwise often be evidence of notable ghosting.

  1. 1. Pentax K-r review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Movie/Video Mode
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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