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Featured Review

Pentax K-3 Review

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Recommended Pentax Photo Gear

Our writers and editors have handled every Pentax DSLR ever made as well as virtually every lens and peripheral currently available for Pentax cameras.  Each piece of equipment found on this page has been carefully-selected as something that delivers the best in terms of performance and value.  So, if you're looking to expand your Pentax kit or upgrade to a new camera, we're confident that you'll be very happy with our recommendations!

If you live in the US, shop with confidence at B&H Photo and Adorama: the two largest Pentax retailers that stock the entire Pentax lineup year round.  Links to learn more and order are included alongside each item in this guide. Also, don't overlook our in-depth reviews, which are also linked in the listings below.

Glossary

  • WR: Weather Resistant (weather sealed)
  • AF: Autofocus
  • SDM / DC: Silent autofocus (Pentax lenses)
  • HSM: Silent autofocus (Sigma lenses)
  • DA: Pentax digital lenses
  • DA*: Professional Pentax lenses
  • DFA: Pentax lenses compatible with full-frame cameras
  • APS-C: 24x16mm sensor with high image quality
  • FPS: Continuous bust framerate

To learn more about the different Pentax lens series, check out Pentax Lenses Explained or browse our lens database.

Cameras

The 2013 Pentax camera lineup has something for every type of photographer.  Start with a camera that you can't go wrong with, and then pick your lenses and accessories to create the ultimate kit.

WR

Pentax K-3

Advanced DSLR • APS-C • 24 Megapixels • 3.2" Screen • $1199

The Pentax K-3 is an advanced enthusiast DSLR featuring superb image quality thanks to its 24 megapixel sensor. Fully weather-sealed, it also has an extensive array of built-in functions, including the camera industry's only On-Demand AA-Filter with multiple strengths to choose from. A new updated video mode allows you to record at full HD up to 60 frames per second, and thanks to a new, faster processor, the K-3 has the fastest burst shooting of the industry's APS-C segment. 8.3FPS, ISO 100-51,200, 24 Megapixels. $1199

Recommended For
  • Hi-Res Prints
  • Video
  • Sports
  • Professionals
WR

Pentax K-50

Mid-Range DSLR • APS-C • 16 Megapixels • 6FPS • $499

The Pentax K-50 is an attractively-priced outdoor DSLR, perfect for beginners or those stepping up from an entry-level DSLR. In addition to featuring full- weather sealing (the only in the industry in the entry/mid-range segment) and a very easy-to-use interface, it has Full HD video recording as well as live view focus peaking, making it the ideal camera for manual lenses. Should color be your thing, you can choose from 100+ color combinations to best capture your personality. 16.3 megapixels, ISO 100-51,200, 6FPS. AA battery compatible w/ optional adapter. $499

Recommended For
  • Everyday Photos
  • Outdoors
  • Intermediate Users

Pentax K-500

Entry-Level DSLR • APS-C • 16 Megapixels • 6FPS • $399

The Pentax K-500 is nearly identical to the K-50: its key omission is the lack of weather sealing. Because of the cost savings associated with that, it's great as a first DSLR. The K-500 is class-leading with a 100% pentaprism viewfinder and dual control wheels, something no other brand offers at this level. In addition to an easy-to-use interface, it has Full HD video as well as live view focus peaking, making it the ideal camera for manual lenses. 16.3 megapixels, ISO 100-51,200, 6FPS. Includes AA batteries, rechargeable D-Li109 battery is optional. $399 w/18-55mm

Recommended For
  • Everyday Photos
  • Family Photos
  • Beginners

Ricoh GR

Pro Compact • APS-C • 16 Megapixels • $699

The Ricoh GR is the latest installment in the Ricoh GR family of fixed focal length compact cameras, with this iteration sporting the same filterless sensor as the superb Pentax K-5 IIs. Fixed at 18mm for a 28mm field of view in 35mm terms, the award winning GR was and still is the world's smallest camera with an APS-C sized sensor, small enough to fit in your pants pocket, making it an excellent and highly recommended tool for street photographers. Filterless APS-C Sensor, ISO 100-25600, 16.3 Megapixels. $749

Recommended For
  • Travel
  • Landscapes
  • Close-Ups
  • Street Photos

Zoom Lenses

Many photographers reach for zoom lenses because of the convenience and versatility that they offer in the field. Below are our top zoom lens pics for Pentax DSLRs.

WR

Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8

Professional Walkaround Zoom • Silent AF • $1296

The DA* 16-50mm is the only F2.8 walkaround zoom lens for Pentax that has weather sealing. This high-end lens is designed for demanding photographers and professionals seeking a constant aperture and a versatile zoom range for many common applications. We recommend it alongside the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, which is slightly better optically but lacks weather sealing. $1296

Recommended For
  • All-In-One Lens
  • Events
  • Weddings
  • Travel

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 'C'

Prosumer Walkaround Zoom • Silent AF • $449

The Sigma 17-70mm 'Contemporary' is our top recommendation for a standard zoom lens. It truly has it all: excellent image quality, excellent build quality, silent and fast autofocus, and all in a very compact and affordable package! If it were weather sealed, it would have been perfect. If austere environments aren't your typical shooting locale, then this lens is a must-have. $449

Recommended For
  • Everyday Photos
  • Close-Ups
  • Travel
WR

Pentax DA 18-135mm

All-in-One Lens • Silent AF • $496

This lens provides a very flexible zoom range along with fast and silent DC (SDM) autofocus and weather-sealing. If you're looking for a mid-range walkaround lens, this is the choice for you! It's also an excellent companion to the weather-sealed K-50, K-5 II, and K-3 bodies. It is often bundled with Pentax DSLRs at a reduced price. $496

Recommended For
  • All-In-One Lens
  • Everyday Photos
  • Family
  • Travel
WR

HD Pentax DA 55-300mm

Prosumer Telephoto Lens • $446

This is an affordable supertele zoom with a long reach all the way to 300mm and an ideal companion to the 18-55mm WR kit lens. It is ideal for the beginner or amateur who wants to experiment with longer focal lengths and tight crops as the related smaller field of view provides for. At F4-5.8 it provides sufficient brightness for reliable auto focus and is thus suitable for school sports photography. $446

Recommended For
  • Wildlife
  • Events
  • Sports
  • Beginners
WR

Pentax DA* 60-250mm F4

Premium Telephoto Zoom • Silent AF • $1396

Pentax's premium supertele zoom offers a constant F4 aperture throughout its entire zoom range. Coupled with stunning sharpness even from max aperture in a proven surpremely weather sealed build quality, this is one of the most popular lenses among advanced enthusiasts and professionals alike. $1396

Recommended For
  • Sports
  • Wildlife
  • Events
  • Tripod Photography

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 OS

Fast Telephoto Zoom • Silent AF • $1249

If you require a telephoto zoom with a fast constant aperture of F2.8, look no further than this Sigma lens. Packed with the latest optical technologies as well as speedy silent HSM autofocus, this is a professional-grade lens available at an affordable price. $1249

Recommended For
  • Sports
  • Wildlife
  • Events
  • Tripod Photography

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are those with fixed focal lengths. Compared to zoom lenses, primes have two key advantages: they deliver better image quality and they can be made more compact. They often also offer faster maximum apertures and therefore nicer bokeh. If you only shoot with zooms, we recommend that you add at least one prime lens to your kit to expand your camera's capabilities and train your photographic eye.

HD Pentax DA 15mm F4 Ltd.

Premium Compact Ultra-Wide Lens • Metal Barrel • $696

The widest prime lens in the premium DA Limited line of lenses and the second widest prime lens in the entire Pentax lineup. The HD DA 15 is a superlative lens boasting excellent image quality that comes in two colors, silver and black. Featuring an all-metal body, it may fuel an obsession to not only take pictures with it, but of it as well. $696

Recommended For
  • Travel
  • Landscapes
  • Ultra-Wide Angle Photos

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art

Professional Wide-Angle/Normal Lens • Silent AF • $899

Arguably the sharpest lens currently made for the Pentax K-mount, this 35mm 'standard' prime earns a stellar rating from us. While it is a bit on the larger side, especially compared to Pentax's nearest competitor, the FA 31mm F1.8 Limited, it is sharp at max aperture, produces beautiful bokeh, and suppresses aberrations and distortion! $899

Recommended For
  • Studio
  • Portraits
  • Low Light
  • Weddings

Pentax DA 35mm F2.4

Entry-Level Normal Prime • $175

Looking to take low-light photos and don't want to spend more than 200 bucks? This is the lens for you. Featuring a 35mm focal length, images from this lens appear almost as those seen by the human eye on Pentax DSLR's. Recommended for intermediate photographers who have mastered the basics of composition, and that feel comfortable without a zoom range. $175

Recommended For
  • Landscapes
  • Travel
  • Everyday Photos
  • Beginners

HD Pentax DA 40mm F2.8 Ltd.

Premium Ultra-Compact Pancake Lens • Metal Barrel • $546

Looking for a compact yet exceptionally sharp lens? Look no further than the Pentax 40mm pancake! Just over a centimeter tall, this is one of the smallest DSLR lenses out there today from any brand. It's also one of the most popular and highest-rated Pentax lenses: its smc predecessor has withstood the test of time with a score of 9.8 in our lens review section. It promises better bokeh and less ghosting with the new HD variant that features rounded aperture blades. Also, it is available in both black or silver all-metal finishes. $546

Recommended For
  • Street Photos
  • Travel
  • Events

Pentax DA 50mm F1.8

Entry-Level Portrait Lens • $181

Looking to take portraits with that 3D look and beautiful bokeh and don't want to spend more than 200 bucks? This is the lens for you. Featuring a 50mm focal length, this lens is a mild telephoto on Pentax DSLRs. $181

Recommended For
  • Portraits
  • Low-Light
  • Beginners
WR

Pentax DA* 55mm F1.4

Professional Portrait Lens • Silent AF • $796

This is Pentax's premium portrait objective, as well as its fastest aperture lens making shooting in extremely low light a breeze. One of the most popular and highly rated lenses of a the already premium-grade DA* line of lenses, it is extremely sharp and features Pentax's silent SDM autofocus in-lens motor. Also, because of the very fast aperture, and coupled with its proven environmental sealing, no matter the circumstances or weather, nothing will get in the way of your photos having that distinctive 3D pop! $796

Recommended For
  • Portraits
  • Weddings
  • Studio
  • Low-Light

Bower 85mm F1.4

High-Quality Portrait Lens • Manual Focus • $269

This manual focus, auto aperture portrait lens is an amazing value. With optics almost as good as those of competing premium lenses, you really can't go wrong with this one. This lens is often re-branded under the Samyang, Falcon, Rokinon, Vivitar, and Pro Optic brands. $269

Recommended For
  • Portraits
  • Studio
  • Low-light
  • Telephoto

Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro

1:1 Macro Lens • $499

This affordable 1:1 macro lens is a great alternative to the Pentax 100mm macro for those who do not require weather sealing or if you're on a budget. We even have a comparative review featuring the two lenses! $499

Recommended For
  • Macro
  • Close-Ups
  • Telephoto
WR

Pentax DFA 100mm F2.8

1:1 Macro Lens • Metal Barrel • $846

This lens is a 'Macro' lens because it allows for extreme magnifications - 1:1, or lifesize. Razor sharp, this lens is unanimously accepted as being a 'mistake'. The mistake being that 'Limited' is omitted from its official name because of its 'Limited-esque' all-metal build quality that is akin to the DA and FA Limited line of premium Pentax lenses. One of the sharpest lenses in the entire Pentax arsenal, it doubles as a great telephoto lens too! $846

Recommended For
  • Macro
  • Close-Ups
  • Outdoors
  • Telephoto
WR

Pentax DA* 300mm F4

Premium Telephoto Prime • Silent AF • $1396

This telephoto prime lens delivers exceptional image quality without the added weight that a F2.8 lens would entail. The Pentax 300mm includes a rotating tripod collar for easy tripod shooting and is therefore perfect for a variety of applications such as sports and wildlife. Like other pro-grade DA* lenses, the 300mm features silent autofocus and dust/moisture sealing. $1396

Recommended For
  • Sports
  • Wildlife
  • Stars
  • Tripod Photography

Accessories

Not everything in photography can be boiled down to just your camera and lens. Here are our recommendations for how to best accessorize your kit.

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod

Versatile Travel Tripod • Lightweight and Sturdy • $239

Incorporating a tripod into your photographic regimen is one of the most obvious yet neglected ways to be more deliberate and dedicated to the quality of your photographs, and in that light, at less than the size and weight of a liter bottle of water we can't stress enough how the Sirui T-025x may just be the perfect photographic accessory. Whether in your bag, under your car seat, or attached to your belt loop, you'll always have it with you. $239

Recommended For
  • Travel
  • Landscape
  • Night Photography

SanDisk 32Gb Extreme SD

Reliable Memory Cards • $40 - $61

Just like film was needed to capture the image, memory cards are the venerable 'film' of the digital photography world. We recommend SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro cards and capacities around 32Gb. These cards are proven reliable and extremely fast, which Pentax's latest K-3 and future follow-on cameras will support to maximize the speed capabilities of the camera. Pentax K-3 users should opt for the 'Extreme Pro' cards. All other Pentax cameras will max out at the speed of the 'Extreme' cards. $40 - $61

Recommended For
  • All Users!

Giotto's Rocket Blower

A Crucial Cleaning Accessory • $8

The 'Rocket Blower' accessory is used to remove dust from your sensor and lenses. If there's dust on your sensor that the automatic dust removal system just can't seem to shake, this handy little tool ought to do the trick. We recommend it for everyone, and suggest you take it with you on every outing! The large model is the most effective. $8

Recommended For
  • Sensor Cleaning
  • Lens Dusting

Remote Control F

IR Remote for any Pentax • $29

This infrared remote control is useful from anything from group photos where the photographer wants to be in the shot, over mirror-up macro shooting to night photography in B exposure mode. In B exposure mode the camera can be set so that the first push of the remote's button opens the shutter and the second push closes the shutter. $29

Recommended For
  • Family Photos
  • Self-Portraits
  • Astrophotography
WR

K-3 Battery Grip (D-BG5)

Doubles Battery Life • Makes Shooting Verticals Easy • $229

Extend the battery life and egronomics of your K-3 by getting the optional battery grip. This grip has several additional controls to make vertical shooting easy, and can also hold either an additional li-ion battery, or 6 AA's, which can directly power your camera (AA compatibility is great for traveling!). The grip also has a slot for an extra SD card. Recommended for advanced photographers that take many vertical/portrait orientation photographs, and for photographers going on extended trips with no charger $229

Recommended For
  • Vertical Shooting
  • Travel
  • Portraiture

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Photo Editing and Workflow Software • $109

Adobe Lightroom is one of the leading photographic tools to enhance your photography by harnessing the RAW power of your camera. As as import, apply contrast, tone, exposure, saturation, and many other changes, and then simply export your photos in the manner you choose to maximize the potential for your image quality. We highly recommend Lightroom if you want to maximize the potential of your and your camera's image quality capabilities. $109

Recommended For
  • Photo Organization
  • Touch-Ups
  • Advanced Editing

It is of course impossible to anticipate every scenario and need when putting together a guide such as this one.  Therefore, if you have questions about any of the items on this page, we suggest that you ask for further advice on the forum!

Additional Guides and Resources