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:


Value & Verdict

Pentax K-r review – Value

Released in the autumn of 2010 with a recommended retail price of £530, the K-r has not really fallen in price all that much, with current street prices from reputable photographic dealers falling between the £450-£490 mark.

Pentax K-r review sample image

Compared to the similarly-priced, albeit older, Canon 500D the K-r does hold up relatively well though. While the K-r lacks the 1080p video capabilities of its rivals – an area where other DSLR manufacturers are placing a lot of focus.

Since Sony discontinued the Alpha A450, the nearest rival it has to the K-r is the cheaper Alpha A390, which when compared side-by-side against the better-featured K-r, comes off a distant second best. The Sony A560 might well be better placed to challenge the K-r more directly.

Pentax K-r review – Verdict

It’s hard not to like the K-r. Reassuringly solid build and yet surprisingly compact, it sits nicely in the hand and is easy to operate. The menu layout actively encourages you to experiment with the built-in custom image presets and digital filters, combining one or more for fun effects, or even creating your own unique look with. Purists might argue that this is something best left to dedicated image-editing software at the post-production stage, however as the K-r is able to shoot perfectly neutral Raw images as well.

Video recording is more of an added extra than a standout feature, and we were disappointed that the K-r isn’t able to autofocus while recording. But aside from this there is little else to fault about the K-r and plenty to praise. In the end, most users are going to judge their camera on its image quality and in this respect we’re happy to report that the K-r is capable of delivering consistently good results, with high ISO performance especially noteworthy.


ISO:200-12,800 (100-25,600 in expanded mode)
Lens Mount:Pentax KAF2
White Balance:Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent, Flash, Manual, Custom
Built-in Flash:Yes, GN12 at ISO 100
Memory Card:SD, SDHC
Cable Release:Remote release
Exposure Comp:Yes, ±3.0EV (in 0.3 steps)
Compression:JPEG Large (12MP), JPEG Medium (10MP), JPEG Medium (6MP), JPEG Small (2MP), plus one- to three-star rating for JPEG quality level
Output Size:4288 x 2848 pixels
Viewfinder Type:Fixed eye-level system with roof mirror
PC Socket:No
LCD:3in, 921k-dot
Field of View:96% approx
Colour Temp Control:Yes
White Balance Bracket:No
AF Points:Eleven with nine central cross-type sensors
Sensor:12.4 megapixels APS-C CCD sensor, 23.6 x 15.8mm
Max Flash Sync:1/180th sec
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
DoF Prview:Yes
Dust Reduction:Yes
Metering System:16-segment
Built-in Image Stabilisation:Yes, sensor-based
Movie Mode:Yes, 720p @ 25fps or VGA @ 25/30fps , no autofocus while recording
Live Mode:Yes
Exposure Modes:P, A, S, M, Sensitivity, Auto, 11 Scene, Flash off, Macro
Connectivity:USB 2.0 (standard mini connection)
Weight:598g (inc battery and card)
Power:Rechargeable li-ion battery, 4x AA battery (via adapter)
Dimensions:125 x 97 x 68mm
File Format:Raw (Adobe .DNG, Pentax .PEF), JPEG, Raw + JPEG
Shutter Speeds:1/6000–30secs, bulb
Focusing Modes:Single shot, Continuous, Automatic, Manual
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
Drive Mode:Single, Continuous hi and low, 12sec and 2sec timer, Remote commander, Interval
  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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