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