Pentax on Wednesday announced the new K-r, a successor to last year’s well-received K-x mid-level DSLR. The K-r improves on the core features of the colorful K-x in a number of ways. It has a new 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor optimized for low-light, 720p HD movie recording at 25 frames per second, in-body image stabilization, and 6 fps continuous burst shooting. There is also a bumped-up 11-point autofocus with a focus assist lamp.
Taking a cue from the popularity of camera phone image editing apps, the K-r has added creative new in-camera effects. There are 18 digital filters such as Sketch, Starburst and Retro, that can be applied individually or stacked on top of each other for differing results. There are a few cross-processing effects with the option to have the camera choose one at random. The K-r also has a high dynamic range (HDR) function, which takes three images at different exposures and combines them into one photo. Even movies can use the filters, which are chosen before shooting or added later. The idea behind these fun, consumer-level add-ons is to encourage experimentation, and to give users pictures and movies that are ready for sharing without needing a trip to an editor.
Being able to choose between two types of batteries is a welcome new option. The rechargeable battery allows approximately 560 shots, based on CIPA testing standards, and an optional battery holder allows four AA batteries to power the camera in a pinch.
The K-r has an infrared data transmission system. IrSimple-compatible devices can act as a wireless conduit for sending pictures from the camera to the web. Two K-r cameras can also use IrSimple to play a simple match game comparing exposure settings. Given the limited number of devices that support IrSimple, this feature will probably be of little use to most consumers.
Pentax is also releasing a new smc Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL prime lens. This bright lens has a f/2.4 maximum aperture and is better than the kit lenses for capturing low-light images and creating shallow depth of field. The lens will also ship in October and sell for an estimated $220.