Pentax K-70 Review

The Pentax K-70 is a new mid-range 24.24-megapixel DSLR camera. Key features include a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor with an anti-aliasing simulator rather than an optical anti-aliasing filter, a vari-angle LCD display screen, 11-point SAFOX X Hybrid AF system, weather-resistant construction, ISO range of 100-102400, Full HD 1080p video at 30, 25 and 24fps, 6fps continuous shooting, Pixel Shift Resolution System, AA (anti-aliasing) filtration system simulator, Large Dynamic Range mode, and a range of in-built digital filter effects. The K-70 also offers a shutter designed for 100,000 releases, top shutter speed of 1/6000th second, optical viewfinder with nearly 100% frame insurance coverage, 77-segment matrix meter, dust removal, and shake-reduction systems, built-in wi-fi online connectivity, 14-bit RAW files, and a timer exposure mode.

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Pentax K-70 Price, Deals & Discounts

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Ease of Use

The Pentax K-70’s is externally similar to its 3-year-previous predecessor, the K-50, although the more “curvy” styling of that camera has been replaced with a squarer edged look. The Pentax K-70 is similar in size – 93(H) x 125.5(W) x 74(D) – and slightly heavier – 628g without the battery or memory card fitted. Despite its all-plastic structure, the K-70 feels pretty solid, and it’s also dust, cold and water-resistant, thanks to a system of unique seals used throughout the design, meaning that it can operate at. This shows itself most obviously via the electric battery compartment and the memory card slot.

The SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR kit zoom lens is better built and even more weather-proof than the product lenses of its rivals. The smc PENTAX-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6AL WR lens features a simplified weather-resistant construction designed to minimize the intrusion of water and moisture into the lens barrel. There’s also a special coating that repels dust, drinking water and grease and makes it easy to wipe off fingerprints and cosmetics. Therefore it seems well-matched to the K-70, although it’s a rather slow zoom lens at both ends of the focal duration (f3.5-5.6).

The K-70 includes a shutter unit which provides a fast top shutter speed of 1/6000th second and a 100,000 shutter launch life-span, a figure more commonly associated with much more expensive professional cameras. Rather than an optical anti-aliasing filtration system in the camera, the K-70 has an innovative anti-aliasing simulator instead, which can be turned off (default setting) or on to either the Type1 or Type2 setting, which adjusts the level of the effect.

The Pentax K-70 is quite a complex camera with regards to functionality and the number of external controls that it provides, with 19 in total and a lot of them having more than one function. Despite the presence of so many buttons and switches, the Pentax K-70 doesn’t feel too cluttered or intimidating, although it will certainly take some time to adapt to for people moving up from a simpler entry-level DSLR.

Departing from the recent trend of ultra-compact SLR models, the Pentax K-70 is definitely designed for “normal” hands. The camera has an also deeper handgrip than its predecessor on the right-hand side, coated in a rubberized compound to aid grip, which enables you to use three fingers to hold it and a right forefinger to operate the shutter button. There is a new thumb grasp on the rear where your right thumb sits, covered in the same coverage as the front handgrip. Curiously the left-hand part (viewed from the trunk) and the remote control port on the right also have a rubber covering, with the rest of the body finished in a shiny black.

On leading of the camera body is the RAW / Fx1 key, which instantly sets the image quality to the RAW format, useful if you are shooting in JPEG and desire to quickly switch to Natural mode for a particular image. This button can also be customized to optionally control either Direct exposure Bracketing, Optical Preview, Digital Preview, Composition Adjustment or AF Active Area. Located underneath may be the Autofocus Mode change, with two available modes, and above a small button for opening the pop-up flash, which extends quite high above the lens to help minimize red-eye.

Back of the Pentax K-70

The K-70 doesn’t have a built-in GPS unit. Instead, you can buy the optional O-GPS1 GPS Unit to take advantage of the camera’s particular built-in Astrotracer function, which calculates the earth’s rotation to greatly help that superstars are captured without streaking.

Using the in-body SR (shake reduction) mechanism, Pixel Shift Resolution works by shifting the picture sensor by a single pixel in four different directions and merging four pictures together, so that each photosite on the sensor captures reddish colored, green and blue from the color filter array, instead of just a single color as on a Bayer sensor. Pentax claims that this creates “super high-definition images” with more accurate color reproduction, finer details, elimination of false-color aliasing and less noise. Images taken with the Pixel Shift Resolution function turned on can be processed on the camera and also developed using the included utility software. Note that you should use a tripod or additional support when using this feature, plus one of the Self-timer, Remote Control, or Mirror Lock-up functions, and in addition that it can’t be used successfully for moving subjects.

On the bottom of the K-70 is the weather-sealed battery compartment, housing the supplied rechargeable D-LI109 battery pack which only offers a fairly mediocre efficiency of around 480 shots before being depleted. Note that the K-70 no longer accepts AA batteries as well, unlike the previous K-50 model. There’s also a steel tripod mount that’s properly in-line with the center of the zoom lens mount.

On the right-hand aspect of the K-70 may be the weather-sealed SD / SDXC memory space card slot, and located below is a fresh HDMI slot and the USB interface. Remember that the Pentax K-70 no more has a remote cable discharge connector, a disappointing omission.

The Pentax K-70 includes a shooting setting dial on the top-best of the camera which allows you to select either one of the advanced mode like Aperture-priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual, or the more point-and-shoot Auto and Plan modes. There are also a variety of 19 scene settings, signaling its intent as a camera that’s equally suited to more casual users. You’ll instantly notice that the K-70 includes a couple of unusual shooting modes that you won’t have seen before on any various other cameras (apart from older Pentax DSLR versions). These are the Sensitivity-Concern and Shutter & Aperture-Priority settings, and they are genuinely useful additions.

Tilting LCD Screen

The K-70 can record Total 1080p HD movie footage, recording high-definition video at either 1920 x 1280 pixels, 1280 x 720 pixels or 640 x 480 pixel at 30fps, 25fps or 24fps in the MOV structure. The maximum size of an individual video clip is either 4 gigabytes or 25 minutes. There’s an integrated microphone for mono recording. You can connect the K-70 to a standard TV set via NTSC/PAL, and there’s right now an HDMI port as well.

There are some notable drawbacks to the Pentax K-70’s video setting. It’s still quite difficult to actually start recording one. You have to move the Off/On/Movie switch to the Movie environment, then press the AF-On or half-press shutter button to set the focus, and then press the shutter button to begin recording (with the same switch ending the movie). It’s not on a par with the one-button program that some rivals offer, and you can’t take a still shot during recording possibly. As with most modern DSLR cameras that offer a video mode, you can autofocus during film recording, and it benefits from the same velocity improvements as the still photo mode. You can even now established the camera to constantly autofocus when capturing video, bringing the K-70 in line with newer DSLRs.

To the proper of the viewfinder is the rear e-dial, mainly used for changing the aperture, and the AF/AE-L key, handily placed for autofocusing and locking the publicity. Underneath may be the traditional 4-way navigation pad which is split into separate buttons, providing instant access to the ISO rate, drive setting/self-timer, white balance and flash settings, with the OK button confirming actions.

The Menu switch accesses all of the 80+ different menu options that the camera offers, reflecting the fact that this is fairly a complex and customizable DSLR. Thankfully you will only have to set about half of the configurations once and will then forget about them. The menu system has a fairly logical tabbed program with five main tabs, Record, Movie, Playback, Setup and Custom, each divided into several sub-pages, and it’s quickly readable with a bright display and a large font size making it perfectly visible actually in low light.

The Pentax K-70 In-hand

The Pentax K-70’s Great Dynamic Range (HDR) Capture option (only available for JPEGs) takes three pictures with different exposures, with 4 different strengths on offer, and then records a single image that combines the properly exposed parts of each one, expanding its dynamic range. It is important to always use a tripod to prevent camera shake from blurring the HDR picture, and it doesn’t work very well for moving subjects.

Pentax’s Custom Images, comparable to Nikon’s Picture Styles and Canon’s Picture Handles, are preset combos of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone settings. You can change the. The Pentax K-70 additionally offers 9 different Digital Filters, which permit you to quickly apply an artistic effect to a photo before taking it (JPEG images only). Note that applying the Digital Filter systems slows the camera down somewhat, as it has to process the image for some seconds after it’s used. The K-70 may also be set to immediately compensate for both distortion and lateral chromatic aberration of any DA- and DFA-series lenses.

The rather innocuous-sounding AF Great Adjustment custom function will become of particular interest to current Pentax owners. For those who have a collection of older Pentax lenses and you’ve never been quite sure how accurate they focus when mounted on a DSLR, this is the function for you. Essentially it allows you to alter the focus of each Fine Adjustment option, after that test again until perfect focus is achieved. With most other DSLR systems you’d have to send the camera and lens off for calibration (and maybe even have to pay for it), but with the K-70, you can calibrate all of your lenses in the comfort of your own home.

The start-up time of the Pentax K-70, from turning the camera to being ready to have a photo, is very quick at around 1 second. Focusing is also quick and consistent in good light with the standard 18-135mm kit zoom lens, and the camera happily achieves concentrate indoors and in low-light situations. The powerful AF Assist lamp can be utilized also if the built-in flash isn’t raised, and there’s a very convenient peaking function that’s great for manual focus users which today works for video along with stills.

It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image at the highest quality setting with no discernible lockup between acquiring shots, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the storage card. For RAW pictures the Pentax K-70 will take about 2 seconds to store an image and again there is no lockup between photos. In the constant shooting mode, you can hold down the shutter key and take 6 pictures per second for up to 40 JPEG or 10 RAW documents. The camera does lock up for a couple of seconds once the maximum number of shots is definitely reached, although you can continue to shoot continuously, just at a much slower rate.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Best JPEG setting, which gives an average picture size of around 12Mb.

The Pentax K-70 produced photos of superb quality. Noise is well controlled by the Pentax K-70, needs to appear at ISO 1600 and becoming more easily detectable at the faster settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 when viewing pictures at 100% magnification on the screen (particularly in the RAW data files). The fastest configurations of 25600, 51200 and especially 102400 look much better on paper than in reality. Color saturation is commendably taken care of through the entire ISO range.

Image stabilization via the camera body is a great feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. An added bonus is that it works with any lens that you attach to the K-70. The night photograph was exceptional, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and Bulb mode enabling you to capture enough light in all situations. The built-in pop-up flash proved helpful well indoors, without red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

The Digital Filters quickly produce special effects that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Custom Images can usefully end up being tweaked to suit. The D-Range options help make the most out of both the shadows and highlights in a high-contrast scene (and it works for both JPEG and RAW files), as the HDR mode greatly expands the dynamic selection of a JPEG by combining three differently exposed images in-camera. The multi direct exposure setting combines between two and 2,000 different JPEG or RAW images into a single photo, while the anti-aliasing simulator helps to reduce moire without the need for an actual optical filter.

Conclusion

The Pentax K-70 is outwardly a minor refresh of 2013’s K-50 DSLR camera, supplying a very similar control layout with a better, deeper grip and brand-new thumb-rest. Inside, though, certainly are a lot of improvements inherited from the more expensive K-3 II and flagship K-1 cameras, including the innovative Pixel Shift Quality technology, an improved anti-shake system, AA-filter-free optical design with anti-aliasing filter simulation function, built-in wi-fi connectivity, and 14-bit RAW files.

The K-70 even includes a few aces up its proverbial sleeve in the form of the handy vari-angle LCD, wider ISO 100-102,400-equivalent range, a fresh hybrid AF system which includes on-chip phase-detect autofocus pixels, and full-period autofocus during movie capture, all of which we’d expect to see highlighted on all upcoming Pentax DSLRs. Although it might look like the 3-year-old K-50 at first glance, there’s a lot of new items going on under the hood that make this a compelling mid-range DSLR camera.

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