Nikon Z7 vs Pentax K-1 II
The Nikon Z7 and the Pentax K-1 II are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2018 and February 2018. The Z7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the K-1 II is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 45.4 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 36.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon Z mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|45.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor||36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 64-25600 (32-102400)||ISO 100-819200|
|Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 2100k dots||3.2" LCD, 1037k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)|
|9 shutter flaps per second||4.4 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|330 shots per battery charge||670 shots per battery charge|
|134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g||137 x 110 x 86 mm, 1010 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Z7 and the Pentax K-1 II? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon Z7 and the Pentax K-1 II. 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-1 II can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Z7 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-1 II is notably larger (11 percent) than the Nikon Z7. Moreover, the K-1 II is substantially heavier (50 percent) than the Z7. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the Z7 gets 330 shots out of its EN-EL15b battery, while the K-1 II can take 670 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack. The power pack in the Z7 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon Z7»||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||Nikon Z7|
|Pentax K-1 II«||5.4 in||4.3 in||3.4 in||35.6 oz||670||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Pentax K-1 II|
|Nikon Z6« »||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850« »||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R« »||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.8 oz||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699||Panasonic S1R|
|Pentax K-1« »||5.4 in||4.3 in||3.4 in||35.6 oz||760||Y||Feb 2016||1,799||Pentax K-1|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony A850« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The K-1 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 41 percent) than the Z7, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon Z7 offers a higher resolution of 45.4 megapixels, compared with 36.2 MP of the Pentax K-1 II. 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 4.35μm versus 4.88μm for the K-1 II). However, it should be noted that the Z7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the K-1 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 Nikon Z7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Z7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 27.5 inch or 104.9 x 69.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 22 inch or 83.9 x 55.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 18.3 inch or 69.9 x 46.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-1 II are 36.8 x 24.6 inch or 93.5 x 62.4 cm for good quality, 29.4 x 19.6 inch or 74.8 x 49.9 cm for very good quality, and 24.5 x 16.4 inch or 62.3 x 41.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Z7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the Z7, the K-1 II has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Nikon Z7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 32-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-1 II are ISO 100 to ISO 819200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99||Nikon Z7|
|Pentax K-1 II||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Pentax K-1 II|
|Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100||Panasonic S1R|
|Pentax K-1||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||25.4||14.6||3280||96||Pentax K-1|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the Z7 provides a higher video resolution than the K-1 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z7 has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), while the K-1 II 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the Z7 has a higher magnification than the one of the K-1 II (0.80x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon Z7 and Pentax K-1 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||Y||Nikon Z7|
|Pentax K-1 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||full-flex||n||1/8000s||4.4||n||Y||Pentax K-1 II|
|Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||n||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R||5760||Y||3.2||2100||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||Y||Panasonic S1R|
|Pentax K-1||optical||Y||3.2||1037||full-flex||n||1/8000s||4.4||n||Y||Pentax K-1|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Z7 has a touchscreen, while the K-1 II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Nikon Z7 and the Pentax K-1 II 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.
The Z7 writes its imaging data to XQD cards, while the K-1 II uses SDXC cards. The K-1 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Z7 only has one slot.
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 Z7 and Pentax K-1 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon Z7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z7|
|Pentax K-1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax K-1 II|
|Nikon Z6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic S1R|
|Pentax K-1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax K-1|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-1 II (unlike the Z7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the K-1 II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the Z7 and the K-1 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The K-1 II replaced the earlier Pentax K-1, while the Z7 does not have a direct predecessor. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon Z7 better than the Pentax K-1 II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z7:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (45.4 vs 36.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1037k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 4.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 335g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the K-1 II).
Advantages of the Pentax K-1 II:
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (670 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2018).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z7 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Z7 and the Pentax K-1 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Z7 and the K-1 II in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
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. 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon Z7
- Canon M5 vs Nikon Z7
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon Z7
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon Z7
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Nikon Z7
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Nikon Z7
- Nikon D600 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Nikon Z7 vs Olympus TG-4
- Nikon Z7 vs Sigma fp
- Panasonic GX80 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Pentax K-1 II vs Samsung NX30
- Pentax K-1 II vs Sony A58
Specifications: Nikon Z7 vs Pentax K-1 II
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 Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon Z mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2018||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 3399||USD 1999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 23.9 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||858.01 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.1 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||45.4 Megapixels||36.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8256 x 5504 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.35 μm||4.88 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.30 MP/cm2||4.20 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||64-25600 ISO||100-819200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||32-102400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||PRIME IV|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||99||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2668||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||2100k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||4.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||300 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||XQD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon Z7||Pentax K-1 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||670 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
134 x 101 x 67 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
137 x 110 x 86 mm
(5.4 x 4.3 x 3.4 in)
|Camera Weight||675 g (23.8 oz)||1010 g (35.6 oz)|
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