Pentax adds an affordable, weather-resistant dSLR model to its enthusiast lineup, the K-70. In many ways it's essentially the less power-user-focused K-S2, but with a design that targets gloved-hand operation and with an updated autofocus system.

It's slated to ship in July for a body-only price of $650. UK and Australian prices aren't yet available, but that directly converts to £445 and AU$863.

Though it's not a kit, Pentax also announced an updated version of its 55-300mm lens intended for the K-70 photographer, the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f4.5-6.3ED PLM WR RE. It adds a direct-driving motor for faster operation (Pulse Motor), an electromagnetic diaphragm for smoother exposure changes during video, its HD coating to reduce flare and a more compact, water-resistant and lightweight design. It's also scheduled to ship in July for $400 (directly converted, £275 and AU$533).

What's new

  • Hybrid autofocus. One of Pentax's weak areas has been its Live View autofocus -- the contrast autofocus that makes it possible to focus when shooting via the back LCD rather than the optical viewfinder. Although the company didn't share any details, the new autofocus should make it possible to perform continuous autofocus while shooting video. It also is rated for being able to focus in much lower levels of light than before.
  • Image processor. The new version of Pentax's PRIME MII processor adds a stop of sensitivity -- I believe it's the first inexpensive dSLR to reach a maximum ISO sensitivity of ISO 102400 -- plus a mode optimized for night and astrophotography that reduces the impact of ambient light.

My take

This looks like another great value from Pentax, with a lot of powerful features that similarly priced competitors lack for a relatively cheap price.

Comparative specs

Canon EOS Rebel T5i
EOS 700D
Nikon D5500 Pentax K-S2 Pentax K-70
Sensor effective resolution 18MP CMOS 24.2MP CMOS 20.1MP CMOS 24.2MP CMOS
Sensor size 22.3 x 14.9mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.5x15.6
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x
OLPF Yes No No No
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 51200 ISO 100 - ISO 102400
Burst shooting 5fps
6 raw/22 JPEG
(without continuous AF and IS off)
100 JPEG/raw n/a
30 JPEG/9 raw
(with focus fixed on first frame)
40 JPEG/10 raw
(mag/effective mag)
95% coverage
95% coverage
100% coverage
100% coverage
Hot Shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 9-pt AF
center cross-type
39-pt AF
9 cross- type
11 pt AF
9 cross type
hybrid phase- and contrast-detection
11 pt AF
9 cross type
AF sensitivity -0.5 - 18 EV -1 to 19 EV - 3 - 18 EV - 3 - 18 EV
Shutter speed 1/4,000 to 60 secs; bulb;
1/200 sec x-sync
1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync 1/6000 to 30 seconds; bulb; 1/180 x-sync 1/6000 to 30 seconds; bulb to 20 minutes; 1/180 x-sync
Metering 63 zones 2,016-pixel 3D color matrix metering II 77 segment 77 segment
Metering sensitivity 1 - 20 EV -1 - 19 EV 0 to 22 EV 0 to 22 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 25p, 24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p,
24p, 25p; 720/50p, 60p
H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p,
24p, 25p; 720/50p, 60p
Audio Stereo, mic input Stereo, mic input Stereo Stereo, mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Aperture only n/a
Maximum best-quality recording time 4GB 20 minutes/29m59s 4GB/25m 4GB/25m
Clean HDMI out No Yes n/a n/a
IS Optical Optical Sensor shift Sensor shift
LCD 3 in/7.7 cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3.2 in/8.2 cm
Articulated touch screen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.7 cm
921,000 dots
3 inches/7.7 cm
921,000 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection No Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes Yes Yes No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 440 shots (VF); 180 shots (LV) 820 shots
(1,230 mAh)
410 shots
(1,050 mAh)
410 shots
(1,050 mAh)
Size (WHD) 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in
150 x 99 x 79 mm
4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in
124 x 97 x 70 mm
4.4 x 3.6 x 2.9 in
123 x 91 x 73 mm
5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in
126 x 93 x 74 mm
Body operating weight 20.8 oz
589.7 g
16.8 oz
476 g
24 oz
680 g
24.3 oz (est.)
688 g (est.)
Mfr. price (body only) $650
AU$850 (est.)
Release date April 2013 February 2015 March 2015 July 2016