Pentax is still making excellent DSLRs that many photographers highly recommend, even though it isn’t yet living up to its former glory days of rivaling Canon and Nikon. When you combine this with the wide range of fantastic Pentax lenses available for K-mount, Pentax becomes a very appealing choice for photographers, especially those on a budget.
With the announcement that Pentax will soon release a new flagship APS-C DSLR, interest in the excellent Pentax DSLR and medium-format camera lineup has grown, with particular focus on the excellent (and large) variety of Pentax lenses available. With such a long and illustrious past, there are clearly a plethora of fresh and antique K-mount lenses to choose from, and with Pentax DSLRs being ruggedly crafted machines ready for the outdoors, every daring outdoor photographer can find plenty to enjoy.
While we’ve already listed medium-format cameras, it’s worth mentioning that Pentax isn’t all for DSLRs! The Pentax 654Z is one of the most user-friendly and inexpensive medium format cameras available right now if you require more megapixels and commercial-grade image quality.
There is currently no mirrorless product from the company, and considering that the founders have stated their commitment to DSLRs on many occasions, this does not seem to be changing anytime soon. If you’re looking for a compact camera, Ricoh, the parent company, makes a few, including the Ricoh GR III, which is common with street photographers, and the waterproof WG-60.
However, for the purposes of this buying guide, we’ll be concentrating on Pentax DSLRs and medium format cameras. We ranked these cameras based on a variety of factors, including price, so you can be certain that our recommendations would provide good value for money.
Let’s Start with All-Rounder Pentax Cameras in 2021
1. Pentax K-70
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 MP | Screen: 3-inch tilting LCD, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: Full HD 1080p | User level: Enthusiast
- 24.24 effective megapixel, APS C AA filter less CMOS sensor, with ISO from 100 204800
- Dustproof and weather resistant with In body “SR” shake reduction mechanism
- Vary angle LCD monitor with Night vision red light LCD display
- Built in Wi-Fi for use with the Image Sync app; SAFOX X 11 Point AF with 9 Cross Sensors
- Pixel Shift Resolution with Motion Correction AA Filter Simulator: Moré reduction using "SR" unit and Pixel Shift Resolution with Motion Correction
Check Out: Best Lenses For Pentax K-70
The K-70 is possibly the best all-around Pentax camera enthusiast photographers can purchase, thanks to its weather tolerant shell, which is a rarity at its price. An in-body image stabilization (IBIS) device with a 4.5EV stop equivalent efficiency is also useful, as is the fact that the optical viewfinder has a near 100 percent field of view for traditionalists. When filming in live view, the Pentax uses a combination of phase-detection and contrast-detection AF due to its 11-point AF system.
We’re used to mirrorless cameras having a short battery life, so the 480 shots given here seem reasonable if a little disappointing for a DSLR. Even, when you pair this with a variable-angle LCD and a pictorial quality that needs very little, if any, change, the K-70 emerges as one of the most stable and consistent DSLRs around.
2. Pentax KP
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3 MP | Screen: 3-inch tilting LCD, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: Full HD 1080p | User level: Enthusiast
- 24.3 effective Megapixel APS C AA filter less CMOS sensor with Iso 819200 and pixel shift resolution
- 5 Axis shake reduction system
- Pixel shift resolution technology; Uses shake reduction to move the image sensor in single pixel increments, to capture 4 images that are combined into a single, Hi Res image
- A vertical tilt LCD monitor that facilitates high and low angle shooting
- Dustproof, weather resistant, -10 Degree built in Wi Fi
Check Out: Best Lenses For Pentax KP
This angular DSLR alternative offers body integral picture stabilisation, a durable weather proofed design with 67 seals, and a maximum ISO 819,200 light sensitivity setting to help low light efficiency, much like the less costly K-70.
The Pentax KP, like the K-70, has a modest battery life of 390 rounds, but it lacks the hybrid AF versatility of its sibling. Even, it has an impressive set of photographic features, such as depth of field bracketing and motion bracketing, as well as a generous trio of power dials for those of us who want to get our hands dirty.
The KP, like other Pentax cameras available, reliably produces decent-looking images with strong contrast and exposure, making it a viable alternative to the usual suspects.
3. Pentax K-1 II
Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 36.4MP | Screen: 3.2in pivoting screen, 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 4.4fps (6.4fps in APS-C crop mode) | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/professional
- 36 MP AA filter less shake reduction sensor with APS C crop mode for compatibility with Pentax k mount lenses
- Hand Held Pixel Shift Resolution that allows 4 images to be complied into an superior image with increased color rendition and sharpness
- Engine Accelerometer for reduced image noise, faster focusing and increased image sharpness
- Magnesium Alloy, Weather Resistant body for every demanding situation
- Astro tracer extended exposure mode with reduced star trails
Check Out: Best Lenses For Pentax K-1 II
Another classic DSLR alternative for those looking for the best Pentax digital camera to purchase that comes with a lot of features and is easy to use for photographers.
Since this is a Pentax, we get built-in shake reduction, but the full frame sensor with its 36.4 million pixel resolution is the true selling point. A ‘scissor motion’ articulating rear screen and expanded exposure modes, as well as two SD card slots, add to the appeal. However, the camera’s top burst speed while shooting in full frame is just 4.4 fps, which, while acceptable, would not please sporting or action photographers.
For its live view mode, there’s no hybrid phase detection AF system, and it only has Full HD video capabilities rather than 4K, but it does have the same accurate and well-performing 33-point AF system as its predecessor. Ultimately, you’ll be purchasing this flagship Pentax DSLR for its outstanding picture quality at a reasonable price.
Check Out: Best Full-Frame Cameras
4. Pentax 645Z
Type: DSLR | Sensor: Medium format | Megapixels: 51MP | Screen: 3.2in pivoting screen, 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 3fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Professional
- 51.4 effective mega-pixel CMOS sensor
- Class leading speed and response with 3FPS frame rate
- Versatile live view with a tiltable LCD panel
- Real Time Scene Analysis with 86,000 pixel sensor
If you need a high-resolution Pentax camera above all else, you’ll be glad to hear that this medium format choice operates similarly to Pentax’s K-3 DSLR, so it’s not too intimidating for those making the jump.
The Pentax 645Z, which replaced the earlier 645D, has a sturdy feel to it and is designed to withstand rain, making it one of the most affordable MF cameras on the market. It’s also versatile, with the ability to shoot up to 10 Raw files or 30 high-quality JPEGs at its highest recording speed of 3fps. Although that isn’t comparable to a high-end DSLR, most consumers would purchase a medium format camera for its resolution rather than its speed.
A tilting 3.3-inch screen, capable of both live view capture and aiding and abetting the capturing of Full HD movies (for which a stereo microphone port is provided), adds to the creative versatility.
There are also two SD card slots, which come in handy for storing all of that data. If you’re looking for a more approachable and slightly less costly medium format camera, the well-received 645Z checks a number of boxes.