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Canon SX70 vs Pentax K-S1

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Pentax K-S1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and August 2014. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-S1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and an APS-C (K-S1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 20 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX70 versus Pentax K-S1
Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5 Pentax K mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 20 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-51,200
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 5.4 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
325 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
127 x 91 x 117 mm, 608 g 121 x 93 x 70 mm, 558 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Pentax K-S1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX70 and the Pentax K-S1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The K-S1 can be obtained in four different colors (black, grey, orange, white), while the SX70 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX70 vs Pentax K-S1
Compare SX70 versus K-S1 top
Comparison SX70 or K-S1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-S1 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon SX70. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX70 nor the K-S1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 has a lens built in, whereas the K-S1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the SX70 gets 325 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the K-S1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its D-LI109 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX70 127 mm 91 mm 117 mm 608 g 325 n Sep 2018 549 i
2.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
5.
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
7.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
8.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
9.
 
Canon SX1 128 mm 88 mm 88 mm 615 g .. n Sep 2008 599i
10.
 
Nikon B700 125 mm 85 mm 107 mm 565 g 350 n Feb 2016 499 i
11.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
12.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
13.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
14.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
15.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
16.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
17.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX70 was launched at a lower price than the K-S1, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX70 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-S1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-S1 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX70 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-S1 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX70 and Pentax K-S1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the Pentax K-S1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 4.28μm for the K-S1). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the K-S1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-S1 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).

SX70 versus K-S1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
2.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
5.
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
7.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
8.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
9.
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
10.
 
Nikon B700 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
11.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
12.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
13.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
14.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
15.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
16.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
17.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX70 provides a higher video resolution than the K-S1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the K-S1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX70 and Pentax K-S1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX702360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
5.
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon B700921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
11.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
14.
 
Pentax K-500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
15.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
16.
 
Sony A681440 Y 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
The SX70 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the K-S1 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX70 and the K-S1 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and Pentax K-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX70-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
2.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
7.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
8.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
10.
 
Nikon B700-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
11.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Pentax K-500Ymonomono---2.0---
15.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
16.
 
Sony A68YstereomonoY-micro2.0---
17.
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX70 has a microphone port, which is missing on the K-S1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

The SX70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the K-S1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-S1 was succeeded by the Pentax K-S2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Pentax websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX70 or the Pentax K-S1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-S1 requires a separate lens.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the K-S1 launch.

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Advantages of the Pentax K-S1:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 325) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX70 comes out slightly ahead of the K-S1 (11 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX70 11:10 K-S1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX70 and the Pentax K-S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX70 and the K-S1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX70..+ +..3.5/53.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i
2.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
5.
 
Canon 77D4.5/5..82/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
7.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
8.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
9.
 
Canon SX1..+ ++..3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
10.
 
Nikon B700..+..4/54/5 Feb 2016 499 i
11.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
12.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
13.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
14.
 
Pentax K-500......4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
15.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
16.
 
Sony A683/5....4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
17.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX70:
Check Amazon price
Pentax K-S1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX70 vs Pentax K-S1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5 Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2018 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 4.28 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 5.45 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 8 PRIME MII
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1061
    Screen Specs Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 5.4 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon SX70 Pentax K-S1
    Battery Type LP-E12 D-LI109
    Battery Life (CIPA)325 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 91 x 117 mm
    (5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
    121 x 93 x 70 mm
    (4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 608 g (21.4 oz) 558 g (19.7 oz)

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