The 8 Best Pentax Cameras to Buy in 2018

Buy the latest and greatest Pentax DSLRs

Whether you’re looking to capture memories casually, want a great introductory camera or a weatherproof model, there’s a Pentax camera for everyone. If you're still not sure which one might be best for your needs, take a look at our list of the best Pentax cameras on the market.

The Pentax K-50 makes the top of our list for its reasonable price, weather sealed body, high ISO speed and 16-megapixel capability. It’s one of the highest rated Pentax Cameras on the list, and overall, one of the best overall cameras on the market today.

The K-50 comes packed with a 16 MP APSC-C CMOS Sensor, capable of producing high performance images with leveled sensor strikes to balance both resolution and image quality. Its ISO speed goes up to 51,200, which allows for high sensitivity shooting, so you can capture images in low lighting.

Some of the state of the art tech it includes is its Eye-Fi compatibility, allowing the user to upload images to their smartphone – and you can even resize before transmission. It also includes an innovative in-body shake reduction mechanism and is weather-sealed, dustproof, and cold proof – so whether you’re on a bumpy safari ride or in the middle of a sand storm, you’re able to capture perfect shots.

Users on Amazon love the camera for its price point, durability, user friendliness and crisp image captures. More critical reviewers note that if you do need to repair it, it can be a hassle. Colors come in black, red and white.

Best for Stabilized Zoom: Pentax K-1 Mark II

When it comes to technology like image stabilization, manufacturers tend to produce something more intricate and impressive with each iteration of a model. You can see it in Sony’s or Olympus’ mirrorless lines, and you see it here, too with Pentax. The Mark II of the K-1 line is the full package, offering a full frame sensor, an astronomical amount of pixels and — of course — stabilization. 

The K-1 Mark II's sensor provides more than 36 MP to play with, meaning you can blow up your photos in nearly any application. They’ve thrown in insane ISO capability as well, giving you up to 819,200 in ISO sensitivity. The 3.2-inch LCD offers a resolution of over a million dots with brightness and saturation customization built right in. The auto-focus system is top-notch too, giving you tracking capability to 33 different points of AF. They’ve even thrown in an accelerator unit and an imaging engine for extra flexibility on image quality output and sharpness.

With this camera, Pentax hangs its hat on impressive Pixel Shift technology. Essentially a composite photo mode, Pixel Shift stitches together multiple images to increase sharpness and detail, allowing them to appear to be even beyond the full 36 MP the sensor is capable of. But the real star of this category is the camera's in-body shake reduction which lets you zoom to greater distances and magnifications without fearing blurry shots. Overall, it’s a top-of-the-line camera with the most well-researched image stabilization you’ll find in the Pentax line right now.

Best 4K: Pentax K-S2

Looking for a high quality camera with the highest quality resolution on the list? The Pentax K-S2 provides a 4K resolution for interval movie capture and 1080p HD video. It also includes built in WiFi, so you transferring images without manual wire hookup is a breeze.

The Pentax K-S2 is a 20-megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor and includes ISO speeds up to 51,200. It’s equipped with a large high-resolution three-inch LCD monitor that’s adjustable to multiple angles, so you can see what your subject looks like before snapping a picture. Like other Pentax cameras on the list, it’s weather-sealed for dust and coldness, making it able to withstand multiple environmental conditions.

Users who’ve bought the K-S2 love that it’s an entry-level camera with a high-resolution output for video captures. Others mentioned that it’s hard to hold and the controlling the layout can be a little cumbersome.

Best Megapixels: Pentax K-1

The highest megapixel output camera on the list is the Pentax K-1. It includes a whopping 36.4 megapixels with a filter-less CMOS anti-aliasing sensor that includes 33 autofocus points and pixel shift resolution. It also includes a GPS, an electronic compass, as well as astro-tracer, so you can capture stars in low light settings.

The K-1 includes a cross-tilt LCD display with a weather resistant body. It’s able to capture 1080/60i video outputs with a peaked focus in video mode that can assist with manual focusing. It also has one of the highest ISO in it’s class, packing a whopping 204,800 – making it ideal for capturing subjects in low lighting settings.

Users on Amazon love its professional build, high quality image output and ergonomic design. More critical reviewers mentioned its price point and WiFi compatibility issues with Android devices.

Best for Night Vision/Low Light: Pentax K-70

Much like the Pentax K-1, the K-70 provides an ISO of up to 204,800, so it's a great camera to pick for dark and low light atmospheres. But its equipped angle LCD monitor with night vision really make it the best camera on the list for low light settings.

The K-1 is a 24.24-megapixel anti-aliasing dustproof and weather-resistance DSLR camera with in-body shake reduction. It’s weatherproof in 100 areas, allowing for use in harsh environments for travel, landscape and nature photography. Like other Pentax cameras on the list, it includes built-in WiFi so you can sync and upload your images via Pentax’s dedicated app.

Users on Amazon showcased some of their impressive low lighting photographs from the K-70, which is proof that it's well-built for any conditions. More critical reviewers mentioned that the included lens isn’t the best in matching the quality of camera body itself.

Best Entry-Level Compact Kit: Pentax K-S2 with 50–200mm Lens

When Pentax dropped the K-S1 it was in response to a couple of growing trends. First — DSLRs were getting smaller and lighter (probably to compete with mirrorless systems), and second — since all camera systems look virtually the same, it was time Pentax did something to differentiate the brand. The K-S1 provided futuristic accents and a small, compact body. Now, the K-S2 iterates on this with an upgraded set of specs.

A 20MP APS-C CMOS Sensor gives you a pixel count that holds its ground with most other entry-level cameras and an ISO that goes up to 51200. Pentax has also built Wi-Fi functionality right into the camera body to ensure you can transfer your photos without having to fire up a computer or bust out a USB cable. The 921,000-dot LCD is plenty sharp enough for reviewing photos, and it even swings out to make sure you can see your captures well — no matter what angle the camera is at. There’s in-body, anti-shake technology, and Pentax has even fully weather-proofed the camera for dust, rain and cold (though it isn’t quite as modern as the Pentax KP). You can record full 4K video on this camera. This kit is our choice as it comes with the standard 18–50mm lens (which comes with the camera normally), plus a surprisingly pro 50–200mm lens, giving you great bang for your buck in a compact system. 

Best Budget: Pentax Q-S1

If you’re looking for a good deal on a Pentax camera, it’s best to turn to the brand's mirrorless line — as the models are compact and affordable. The Q-S1 offers a ton of value and even more features for a price that’s super-impressive. The camera's sensor gives you 12.4 MP of backlit, CMOS photo quality which while not breaking any pixel records, does get the job done. Pentax has even thrown in some clever software features including Smart Effects (essentially high-quality filters that you can change just by manipulating the dials) and a cool software bokeh control, just in case you want to increase the appearance of depth of field. Interchangeable lenses swap out via Pentax’s bayonet Q-mount system, which is proprietary to the brand, so you’ll need to shop their lenses. But the positive news there is they have a good amount of lenses to choose from, including standard primes to a compact zoom lens. The Q-S1 also includes limited sensor-shift shake reduction to help sharpen moving shots and a 460,000-dot rear LCD screen for reviewing and framing up your subjects. All in all, it’s a great camera that offers a base level of features and a compact body for a fraction of the price of other models. 

Best Weather-Sealed: Pentax KP

Just because Pentax doesn’t have the same market share as Nikon and Canon, doesn’t mean they don’t offer cameras with competitive specs. The Pentax KP offers a super compact size as well as a weather-sealed body. There’s a 24.3 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, putting it right smack in the middle of the DSLR field. The electronic shutter speed is pretty impressive at 1/24000 seconds and then there’s Pentax-branded 5-axis shake reduction technology and Pixel Shift Resolution which means your photos will be sharp even with minimal movement. There’s standard autofocus, continuous autofocus, multi-point autofocus and face detection built in as well. Pentax has boosted the KP's ISO sensitivity up to 819,200, which will allow you to shoot in really low light (though you’ll be introducing some noise). The system is compatible with KAF4, KAF3, KAF2, KAF and KA mount lenses so you’ll be able to select from a ton of compatible glass for any shooting application. And, as mentioned, it’s completely weather-sealed, allowing you to shoot in even dire conditions, so you won’t miss a photo-perfect moment.

Disclosure

At Lifewire, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.