Pentax DSLRs are known for their innovative, unique qualities like weather sealing; the manufacturer's 2013 advanced enthusiast model, the K-3, has piqued our interest with an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off. Anti aliasing filters prevent patterns, such as the pattern in certain textured clothing, from becoming distorted. However, when the filter isn't needed, it's just another filter for the light to pass through. Cameras without the anti-aliasing filters tend to perform better in low light and capture more fine details than other cameras with similarly sized but filtered sensors. But, until the K-3, you'd need two cameras to have both options. The K-3 allows the user to turn the filter on and off and even adjust the intensity. And while the anti aliasing feature is what first grabbed our interest, the K-3 also has 8.3 fps continuous shooting, which is quite high for the category. The K-3 also has a redesigned autofocus with 27 AF sensors and improved video quality over the K-5. And, the K-3 is still weather sealed. The K-3 looks to be an excellent option among the advanced APS-C DSLRs.
Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.
The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.
Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.
Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.
Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.
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