Nikon P950 vs Pentax K-S2
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Pentax K-S2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2020 and February 2015. The P950 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (P950) and an APS-C (K-S2) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Pentax K-S2? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-S2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The K-S2 can be obtained in six different colors (black, grey, pink, orange, green, white), while the P950 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-S2 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Nikon P950. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the P950 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P950 has a lens built in, whereas the K-S2 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 P950 gets 290 shots out of its EN-EL20a battery, while the K-S2 can take 410 images on a single charge of its D-LI109 power pack. The power pack in the P950 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799||amazon.com|
|2.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|11.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|Note: 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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon P950 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-S2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-S2 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 P950 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-S2 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the K-S2 offers a higher resolution than the P950 (15.9MP), but the K-S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.28μm versus 1.33μm for the P950) due to its larger sensor. However, the P950 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 10 months) than the K-S2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 resolution advantage of the Pentax K-S2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-S2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon P950 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix P950 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-S2 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||12.4||546||65|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 P950 provides a higher video resolution than the K-S2. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the K-S2 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon P950 and Pentax K-S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon P950||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-S1||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-S2 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the P950 and the K-S2 write their files to SDXC cards. The K-S2 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the P950 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Nikon Coolpix P950 and Pentax K-S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon P950||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-S1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the K-S2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the K-S2 from Pentax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-S2? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-S2 requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the K-S2 launch.
Advantages of the Pentax K-S2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- 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 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x91mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-S2 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-S2 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the P950 or the K-S2. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Nikon P950||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2020||799||amazon.com|
|2.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|11.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 77D vs Nikon P950
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Nikon P950
- Canon R5 vs Pentax K-S2
- Canon T100 vs Pentax K-S2
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Nikon P950
- Fujifilm X100V vs Nikon P950
- Leica M11 vs Nikon P950
- Nikon P950 vs Panasonic GH4
- Nikon Z fc vs Pentax K-S2
- Olympus E-M10 IV vs Pentax K-S2
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Pentax K-S2
- Pentax K-S2 vs Sony HX99
Specifications: Nikon P950 vs Pentax K-S2
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 Model||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2020||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.28 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 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 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||5.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
123 x 91 x 73 mm
(4.8 x 3.6 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||678 g (23.9 oz)|
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