Pentax went color crazy when it released the K-x digital SLR. The company now offers 12 different colors ranging from olive green to pink to orange. Things seems to have calmed down a little for its latest release, with the K-r only coming in three colors. The new addition features a 12.4 megapixel sensor, huge sensitivity range and six frames per second continuous shooting. It's also capable of capturing 720p high definition video and benefits from a dual power design.

The new K-r digital SLR from Pentax falls somewhere between the K-x and the K-7 and shares specs with both of the earlier releases. It has a new 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with integrated dust removal mechanism and sensor shift image stabilization and a 3-inch (7.6 cm.), 921,000 dot resolution LCD display. Image processing is undertaken by the company's own PRIME II imaging engine, plus the camera features 720p high definition video capture at 25 frames per second.

Where the K-r becomes a more attractive option to both of the previous models is with the huge sensitivity range on offer. The standard range runs from ISO200 to ISO12800 but this can be further expanded to ISO100 to ISO25600, which should cope with even the most testing of low lighting conditions. The new camera also captures up to 25 images in a single sequence at six frames per second and, for the first time on a Pentax digital SLR camera, infrared data transfer is possible with devices compatible with the IrSimple system.

In addition to numerous in-camera effects and filters, including posterization and bleach bypass modes, the K-r also features an Auto Picture mode which is said to take much of the guess work out of digital photography by automatically adjusting settings for the best shot. Pentax has taken the AA-size batteries from the K-x and the Li-ion battery from the K-7 and made it possible for the K-r to run on both. If the included Lithium-ion battery pack unexpectedly runs out of juice, the camera can also be powered by four AA-sized batteries.

The 11-point autofocus system gets an upgrade to SAFOX IX but still offers nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle and spot beam assist. In addition to a normal HDR mode, which captures three shots at different exposures and then blends them into one optimized image, the K-r also has a special Night Scene HDR mode.

The new addition is compatible with SD/SDHC memory cards but a firmware upgrade should expand this to SDXC (which seems a rather odd way to do things). Although there's USB 2.0 and AV-out, sadly there's no HDMI-out.

As you can see from the gallery, the new K-r will be available in three colors – black, white and Pentax red – when released in October. It will cost US$799.95 for the body only or US$849.95 for the body with an 18-55 lens. There will also be a couple of double lens kits available – a body, an 18-55 lens and a 50-200 lens will cost US$899.95, while a body, an 18-55 lens and a 50-300 lens will cost US$999.95

View gallery - 9 images