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Rugged, smart and offering pretty good value for money, the 24.2MP Pentax K-70 should appeal to those willing to break out of the mindset of narrowing their DSLR choice down to just Canon or Nikon.
For its reasonable price tag, it offers something that most at this level don’t: a weather-resistant exterior. It's capable of operating in temperatures down to -10°C, and is presented as body only or body-and-lens combo, the main pitch being that it offers the kind of advanced features previously only found on high-end DSLRs.
With a viewfinder offering a nigh-on 100% field of view, plus a built-in Shake Reduction mechanism equivalent to 4.5EV stops and a top sensitivity of ISO 102,400, it goes out of its way to deliver features that genuinely make a difference for the better to everyday shooting.
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AF performance is also noteworthy. Taking a best-of-both-worlds approach, the camera uses what Pentax refers to as ‘Hybrid AF’ when using live view, namely a combination of phase-detection AF and contrast-detect AF. When shooting conventionally, the K-70 offers an 11-point AF system that seems low compared with rivals, but it's fast at locating its targets, responding with a beep of affirmation and not being foxed by busier scenes.
Semi-professional construction and focusing aside, the camera is slightly disappointing when it comes to battery life, managing around 480 shots per full charge. This falls a little short of what we’d commonly expect from a DSLR, although this figure is no doubt in part down to that useful sensor-based image stabilisation feature, something that most DSLRs don't have on account of it being included only in selected lenses. At 688g (with both battery and card in place), it's also slightly weightier than competitors in its class.
Nevertheless, it somewhat redeems itself with plenty of additional neat features. The Anti-Aliasing Filter simulator, for example, helps to reduce aliasing effects in fine patterns (a striped shirt, for example). We also get Wi-Fi for sharing images to smartphones or tablets and a vari-angle LCD, a feature that has increasingly crossed over from bridge cameras. Perhaps most importantly, we're also impressed by the default output from the Pentax K-70 over its rivals; there’s very little you need to do when it comes to image processing.
To conclude, the K-70 is a little clunky and chunky when compared with more streamlined alternatives, but features like its weather-resistant body normally cost more than is being asked here. So, if you want a competent, consistent and fully featured DSLR that will deliver sharp, well-saturated images without extra image processing required, the K-70 is well worth seeking out.
Pentax K-70 key specs
An outsider that's worth seeking out for its more idiosyncratic feature set
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Pentax K | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 1080p (Full HD) | User level: Enthusiast