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Pentax K-1 II Comparison Review

The Pentax K-1 II is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in February 2018 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 36.2 megapixel.

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Is the Pentax K-1 II a good camera? The K-1 II has a Camera Elo of 3023. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The K-1 II ranks among the top 10 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the K-1 II ranks among the top 40 percent.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-1 II
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60i Video
ISO 100 - 819 200
Optical viewfinder
3.2 LCD, 1037k dots
Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)
4.4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
670 shots per battery charge
137 x 110 x 86 mm, 1 010 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Pentax K-1 II vis-à-vis a credit card. 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.

Pentax K-1 II vs credit card front
K-1 II versus credit card top view
K-1 II and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-1 II alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Pentax K-1 II 5.4 in 4.3 in 3.4 in 35.6 oz 670 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Canon R 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.3 in 23.3 oz 370 Y Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z6 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Panasonic S1 5.9 in 4.3 in 3.8 in 35.9 oz 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i
 
Panasonic S1R 5.9 in 4.3 in 3.8 in 35.8 oz 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Panasonic S1H 5.9 in 4.5 in 4.3 in 37.1 oz 400 Y May 2019 3,999 i
 
Pentax K-1 5.4 in 4.3 in 3.4 in 35.6 oz 760 Y Feb 2016 1,799i
 
Sony A7 III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A850 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-1 II was launched in the US market at a price of $1,999. 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.

Pentax K-1 II:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Pentax K-1 II features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-1 II among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Pentax K-1 II sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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
 
Pentax K-1 II Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i........
 
Canon R Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.513.5274289
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
 
Panasonic S1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.5333395
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525100
 
Panasonic S1H Full Frame 24.0 6000 40006K/30p........
 
Pentax K-1 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i25.414.6328096
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
 
Sony A850 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.812.2141579

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The K-1 II indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-1 II can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-1 II has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.70x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-1 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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
 
Pentax K-1 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y
 
Canon R3690 Y 3.2 2100 swivel Y 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Panasonic S15760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Panasonic S1H5760 Y 3.2 2330 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Pentax K-1optical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A850optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y

One useful feature of the K-1 II is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Connection 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 Pentax K-1 II 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
 
Pentax K-1 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--
 
Canon RYstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Panasonic S1YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Panasonic S1HYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Pentax K-1YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A850Y----mini2.0---

It is notable that the K-1 II has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-1 II handle or perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Pentax K-1 II..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Canon Ro79/1004.5/54/54/5 Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z6....4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Panasonic S1+ +88/1004.5/5..4/5 Feb 2019 2,499 i
 
Panasonic S1R..89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Panasonic S1H..90/100...... May 2019 3,999 i
 
Pentax K-1..84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2016 1,799i
 
Sony A7 III+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A850..75/100..4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Pentax K-1 II FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-1 II.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the K-1 II based on?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Pentax equipped the K-1 II with the PRIME IV image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-1 II?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 819200.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-1 II?

Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 300 000 actuations for the K-1 II. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the K-1 II over, say, three years, one would have to take about 300 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Pentax K-1 II?

Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-1 II has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Pentax K-1 II has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax K-1 II?

The K-1 II offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Pentax K-1 II feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The K-1 II's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Pentax K-1 II support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the K-1 II use?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI90 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the K-1 II?

Yes, Pentax offers the D-BG6 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Does the Pentax K-1 II support geotagging?

The K-1 II has a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) module and can embed location information in the EXIF data of the captured image.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, 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.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax K-1 II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2018
    Launch Price USD 1 999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 862 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 36.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7 360 x 4 912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.88 μm
    Pixel Density 4.20 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 819 200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME IV
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)670 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 137 x 110 x 86 mm
    (5.4 x 4.3 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 1 010 g (35.6 oz)

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