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1. An optional adapter lets you run the K-r off of four AA batteries. 2. The mode dial provides quick direct access to a number of shooting modes. 3. You can assign the "green button" a number of useful functions.

Pentax K-r

ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $849 (with 18-55mm zoom)

The Pentax K-r packs a lot of features and performance into its compact body. Despite its tiny size for a conventional DSLR, the K-r features a big, 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot Live View LCD monitor, making it easy to use menus, check images and shoot 720p25 HD video. The top shutter speed is 1⁄6000 sec., 50% quicker than the 1⁄4000 sec. top speed generally seen in this camera category, and the 6 fps maximum drive rate is quick for an entry-level DSLR.

Also unusual for a DSLR in this class, the K-r provides intervalometer and multiple-exposure operation, and can shoot RAW images in two formats: Pentax's proprietary PEF or Adobe's DNG. The 11-point AF system features nine cross-type points, capable of "reading" both vertical and horizontal lines. A number of special effects can be applied to images in-camera, and there's a versatile three-shot, in-camera HDR function. The camera also can correct distortion and lateral chromatic aberration when Pentax DA, DA L, D FA and some FA lenses are used, and there's even AF Fine Adjustment to make and save custom corrections for up to 10 lenses.

The 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor provides good image quality, with a normal ISO range of 200-12,800, expandable to 100-25,600. Like all recent Pentax DSLRs, the K-r features sensor-shift Shake Reduction and sensor-dust reduction.

The K-r comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. An optional AA battery holder allows operation on four AA batteries. There's a built-in flash (ISO 100, GN 12 in meters, 39 in feet), plus a hot-shoe for optional external flash units.

Like all Pentax DSLRs, the K-r can use all Pentax lenses, even medium-format and old screw-mount optics (via adapter, and with some operating limitations).

STANDOUT FEATURE: Quick shutter and drive rate for an entry-level DSLR, combined with exceptional noise performance and an improved autofocus system.


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