Pentax announces new K-r entry-level digital SLR

The new Pentax K-r follows a successful formula of delivering great specs at low prices (and fun colors!) with a potential Canon Rebel T2i competitor.
Written by Janice Chen, Inactive

In a digital SLR market where the likes of Canon and Nikon easily dominate the scene, Pentax has eked out a nice niche delivering impressively specified digital SLRs with very aggressive pricing. Last year's Pentax K-x (which I included on my list of Top 10 Digital SLRs earlier this year) found success following this formula, adding a unique rainbow of brightly colored body options to further differentiate itself. The camera maker's latest offering, the new Pentax K-r, continues on the same path, ratcheting up some key specs while maintaining a competitive price point. Currently it's only available in black, white, and red body color options, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the company add more colors later as it did with the K-x.

The K-r keeps the same 12.4-megapixel sensor as its predecessor, but bumps up the LCD significantly to a 921,000-dot, 3-inch model (which puts it closer to potential competitors like the Canon EOS Rebel T2i and Sony Alpha DSLR-A550).  It also bumps continuous shooting speed up to 6 fps (besting the T2i's top speed of 3.7 fps). Like the K-x, the K-r uses an 11-point autofocus system (vs. the T2i's 9-point system) but it has a broader sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 12,800 (100 to 25,600 expanded) than the K-x, T2i and the A550, though the recently announced (but nowhere to be seen) successor to the A550, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A560, should offer a similar range if it ever comes to market.  Like the K-x, the new K-r's movie mode is limited to 1280x720, compared to the 1920x1080 HD capabilities of the T2i and the A560.

Here's a quick specs comparison with similarly priced competitors. Note that the Sony A550 is on sale for $850 with an 18-55mm lens as I write this, but as mentioned above, the A560 was announced last month (with pricing listed at $750 with an 18-55mm lens), though it seems to have disappeared from the SonyStyle site.

Pentax K-r Canon EOS Rebel T2i Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha DSLR-A560
Price $850 (with 18-55mm lens), shipping in October $900 (with 18-55mm lens) $850 (with 18-55mm lens) $750 (with 18-55mm lens), shipping in October
Sensor 12.4 megapixels, 23.6×15.8mm CMOS 18-megapixels, 22.3-14.9mm CMOS 14.2-megapixels, 23.5x15.6mm Exmor CMOS 14.2-megapixel, 23.5x15.6mm Exmor CMOS
Continuous Shooting Speed 6 fps 3.7 fps 7 fps 7 fps
LCD 3-inch, 921,000 pixels (fixed) 3-inch, 1,040,000 pixels (fixed) 3-inch, 921,600 pixels (tiltable) 3-inch, 921,600 pixels (tiltable)
Autofocus 11-point (9 cross-type) 9-point 9-point 15-point (3 cross-type)
Sensitivity ISO 200-12800 (100-25,600 expanded) ISO 100-6400 (12,800 expanded) ISO 200-12800 ISO 100-12800 (25,600 expanded)
Live View Yes Yes Yes Yes
Storage Media SD, SDHC SD, SDHC Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD, and SDHC Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD, and SDHC
Movie Mode 1280x720 (25 fps)/640x480 (25 fps) 1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps),1280x720 (60/50 fps), 640x480 (60/50 fps) none 1920x1080/1280x720/640x424
Dimensions 4.9x3.8x2.7 inches 5.1x3.8x3.0 inches 5.4x4.1x3.3 inches 5.4x4.1x3.3 inches
Weight 19.2 oz (body) 21.1 oz (body) 21.1 oz (with batteries)
For some early hands-on looks at the K-r, check out:

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