45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Rugged DSLR kit with nice lenses,
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This review is from: Pentax K-r 12.4 MP Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 55-300mm f/4-5.8 Lenses (Black) (Electronics)
Here's my story...
I purchased my first DSLR, an Olympus E-420, in May this year, and really caught the photography bug. The great thing about the Olympus, especially with the 25mm pancake lens, is that it is as easy to carry as a point and shoot, but takes GREAT pictures, **as long as there is plenty of natural light**.
When I read the introductory preview of the Pentax K-R on dpreview.com, it got my attention because it was noted for great performance in low light / high iso conditions, such as shooting indoors without a flash, or shooting your daughter/son playing basketball in a gymnasium, where built-in flashes do not have the range. This, plus in-camera image stabilization and very usable 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses, sounded worth trying. So I found a great deal through Amazon, and bought the Pentax K-R right around Thanksgiving.
The first thing I noticed about the Pentax when I unpacked it was that it felt much more robust than the Nikon D5000 or Canon Rebel that I had checked out at Costco; but it also sounded like it was broken. There was something flopping around inside when I tipped the camera back and forth. This was disconcerting next to my rock solid Olympus. The second thing I noticed was that after I charged the battery and powered up for the first time, the display glitched. I fooled around and took a few shots, and they came out really great, but I was still concerned, so the next day I called Pentax. Pentax tech support was very helpful, and explained that the part moving inside is the sensor, which floats on a magnetic field so that it can compensate for camera movement when taking pictures. The glitch on startup, however, was not normal, and they suggested I return the camera for a replacement.
So I contacted Amazon, and there was only one problem setting up the return/replacement: They were out of stock. So I waited, and kept reading the K-R booklet and reviews online... I wondered if I should wait for the replacement, or just return it and get something else.
Then, earlier today I received an email from Costco that the new Rebel x2ti was available at a substantial discount with an 18-55 and a 55-250 kit. I picked one up on the way home, and when I walked in the door my wife was ready to kill me. The replacement K-R had come from Amazon, so I now had two Pentaxes, the Canon, and the original Olympus...
Long story short, comparing the Pentax and the Canon side by side, the Pentax was the hands down, no contest winner. It is a much more substantial feeling camera, with better buttons, and a much more professional "feel." The lenses seem more solid, and the front element does NOT turn the way that it does on the Canon when focusing, which is important if you use a polarizing filter. It's also nice to have the flexibility of 18-55 and 55-300mm lenses with the Pentax kit versus 18-55 and 55-250mm with Canon. And the Pentax SR image stabilization system works great. I'm taking pictures indoors with the 18-55 f3.5 lens without any flash, and getting perfect exposures without blur. Much better results than I can get with the 25mm f2.8 Zuiko on the Olympus with the same light. I'm sure that once I can afford a higher speed prime lens from Pentax, I will be even happier.
In summary, if you value excellent build quality, lens design, and low light / high iso performance, you will be very happy with the Pentax K-R.