Pentax announces KF DSLR, a rebranded K-70 with a few improvements
posted Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
Why introduce a slightly different K-70 with a new name? We talked to Ricoh ahead of today's announcement and it ultimately came down primarily to production constraints. Some of the components required to build the K-70 are difficult to source, so the team looked at ways to change the internal design and components to ensure continued production. Along with component changes, there are also some noticeable differences to the KF.
One of the biggest changes is a new vari-angle LCD. The K-70's touchscreen has 921K dots, while the new KF's display has 1.037M dots. The KF also includes new custom image modes, including Satobi, Bleach Bypass and Cross Processing. Satobi, which has been added to some other Pentax cameras via firmware update, delivers cyan-tinged blues, subdued yellows, and faded reds. You can read more about Satobi at Ricoh Imaging Japan's website.
While Satobi, Bleach Bypass and Cross Processing work with any lenses, the KF also includes two special-edition Custom Image modes, Kyushu and Katen. These modes are only compatible with Pentax Limited-series lenses. These modes emphasize specific colors, with Kyushu designed for fall colors and Katen built to make summer scenes more dramatic. You can read more about these special lens-specific modes here.
Alongside the higher-res display and new custom image modes, the KF also ships with a different battery charger than the K-70. The KF ships with a USB to USB-C connector, similar to the one that comes with the K-3 Mark III. The KF no longer ships with a CD-ROM with software, given that many users no longer have computers with disc drives. The software is included on the camera and can be accessed via a folder when you connect the camera to your computer. This is also how Pentax delivered utility software with the K-3 III.
Other than these changes, the Pentax KF is just a new version of the K-70. "With the Pentax KF, even first-time SLR users can easily and effortlessly enjoy the benefits of SLR photography and explore the entire process of making digital images," said Ken Curry, president of Ricoh Imaging Americas. "The Pentax KF is an extension of our PENTAX K-70, sharing many of the same features and proven performance even in extreme outdoor conditions. As the only major manufacturer still producing true SLR cameras and building on our legacy and roots in SLR, high-quality still photography, we’re proud to fill the gap in the market and offer a high-quality, full-featured DSLR for less than $1,000."
If you're unfamiliar with the K-70 or want to know what to expect from the Pentax KF, you should head to our in-depth Pentax K-70 Review. There you'll find a full Field Test, extensive lab testing results, sample images and real-world photos. In our K-70 review, we wrote, "This is a heck of a lot of camera for the money if stills are your main focus, and for that reason the Pentax K-70 just squeaks a Dave's Pick award in spite of our reservations about its Wi-Fi capability."
We'll give you the main rundown of the KF here, however. The Pentax KF is built around a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor. The sensor is paired with a PRIME MII imaging engine and promises high ISO speeds of up to 102,400. The body is dustproof and weather-resistant, ideal for outdoor photography. There are 100 seals throughout the camera body, and it's been designed to work well in freezing weather, including when the user is wearing gloves. The optical viewfinder has about 100% field of view and 0.95x magnification, so it's quite a large OVF.
The KF includes Pentax's original Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism, which promises up to 4.5 stops of shake correction. It also allows for the KF's Pixel Shift Resolution feature, allowing users to combine four images into a single frame with improved resolution and color accuracy.
Autofocus is driven by a Hybrid AF system during Live View and contrast detection when shooting through the viewfinder. Admittedly, its 11-point AF system seems a little dated in 2022.
However, what remains quite state-of-the-art is Pentax's excellent astrophotography features. The camera works alongside an optional O-GPS2 GPS Unit to deliver advanced astronomical features like Astrotracer. The rear LCD can also be used in a special night vision mode, turning it red and protecting your night vision. A special Star Stream Movie mode records the traces of stars in a 4K resolution time-lapse. There's no native 4K video recording mode.
This marks the end for the Pentax K-70, although you can still find some in stock at various retailers. Future orders for Pentax's entry-level, compact and rugged DSLR will be for the Pentax KF. The KF will be available later this month for a body-only price of $849.95 in the US and $1,099.99 in Canada. The KF will also be available in a kit with the SMC Pentax DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR lens for $949.95 in the US and $1,229.99 in Canada.
Alongside the standard black camera, Pentax will also release two special-edition color models in crystal blue and crystal white. These bodies will cost a bit extra, $899.95, and will be available exclusively in the US via Ricoh.