The DSLR isn't dead yet! Pentax set to launch a new model: the KF

Pentax KF leaked images
(Image credit: Future, Ricoh)

When was the last time we saw a new DSLR launch? By our reckoning, it was the Pentax K-3 Mark III (opens in new tab) in April 2021. And if you exclude Pentax, you've got to go back to around February 2020 in those pre-lockdown halcyon days when the Nikon D6 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS 850D/Rebel T8i (opens in new tab) were breaking cover. Such is the dominance of the mirrorless camera market, we're even seeing once-popular EF-mount and F-mount lenses from the likes of Sigma and Tamron quietly being discontinued, with only mirrorless variants remaining.

The KF will allegedly launch with the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR as its kit lens (Image credit: https://digicame-info.com)

But in the face of this seemingly irreversible tide, Pentax remains committed to the good old DSLR formula and is set to launch a new model - the KF - at the end of November. Sadly nothing is yet known about specifications, as it seems only images of the KF have leaked. Rumor has it we're looking at a successor to the K-70 (opens in new tab) - so an upper entry-level model, with what we might speculate to be a sensor resolution in the 24MP region, 5-axis IBIS, a huge ISO sensitivity range, and maybe some degree of weather sealing for good measure.

(Image credit: https://digicame-info.com)
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What we do know, thanks to Japanese website Digicame-info (opens in new tab), is that the KF will be available in three body color options. In addition to the usual black plastic, you'll also be able to choose either white or blue colorways. Pentax already has history with white and blue DSLRs: the K-S1, K-S2, K-50 and K-x could all be had in white - useful, if you wanted to stay under a polar bear's radar when snapping arctic wildlife shots. And the K-S1, K-30 and K-r were also available in blue, presumably to please those with a thing for Smurfs or Avatar. If either special color takes your fancy, you'll need to be quick, as apparently the white and blue options are limited to only 700 units of each.

(Image credit: https://digicame-info.com)
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But honestly, we're a little disappointed. Sure, three color options is two more than most other camera makers would produce, but it's a far cry from Pentax's glory days. Rewind to 2009 and you could spec your K-x in 100 different color configurations.

Just one of the kaleidoscope of color options that the Pentax K-x came in (Image credit: Future)
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Then if that wasn't enough, when the K-50 dropped in 2013, it could be had in a whopping 120 body color combinations. At that time, Canon would only offer you black or silver versions of its entry-level DSLRs, while Nikon went as far as producing red variants of cameras like the D3200 and D5300 (opens in new tab). But nobody came close to the retina-searing rainbow explosion coming out of Pentax's factory doors around a decade ago.

The entire Pentax K-50 range, circa 2013. Just soak it in :) (Image credit: Ricoh)
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It wasn't just DSLRs that Pentax offered in a range of colors: 2013's Q7 mirrorless camera was also available in 120 color options via a bespoke order process. (Image credit: Ricoh)
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Still, even if the KF is a little conservative in its styling relative to Pentax's DSLR back catalog, we're just grateful it exists at all. There's definitely something to be said for the analog DSLR immediacy of being able to see directly through the lens while composing shots - something even the best electronic viewfinders in mirrorless cameras just can't quite replicate. Vive la DSLR!

Read more:

The best DSLR cameras (opens in new tab) you can buy
The best Pentax cameras (opens in new tab)
The best Pentax lenses (opens in new tab)
The best pink cameras (opens in new tab)

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Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.