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Pentax K-70 vs K-S2

The Pentax K-70 and the Pentax K-S2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2016 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The K-70 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the K-S2 provides 20 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-70 versus Pentax K-S2
Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 20 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-102,400 ISO 100-51,200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second 5.4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
126 x 93 x 74 mm, 688 g 123 x 91 x 73 mm, 678 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-70 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-70 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The K-70 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the K-S2 is available in six color-versions (black, grey, pink, orange, green, white).

Size Pentax K-70 vs Pentax K-S2
Compare K-70 versus K-S2 top
Comparison K-70 or K-S2 rear

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 somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Pentax K-70. Moreover, the K-S2 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the K-70. 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.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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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.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
2.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 II 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i
4.
 
Panasonic G9 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
9.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
10.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
12.
 
Sony A9 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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. The K-70 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the K-S2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Pentax K-70 and Pentax K-S2 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the K-70 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the K-S2. This megapixels advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the K-70 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.28μm for the K-S2). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the K-70 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the K-S2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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-70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-S2 are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The K-70 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

Unlike the K-S2, the K-70 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 Pentax K-70 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-S2 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).

K-70 versus K-S2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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
1.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
2.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
4.
 
Panasonic G9 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p........
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
6.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
8.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
9.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
10.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
11.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282
12.
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the K-70 provides a higher frame rate than the K-S2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the K-S2 is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The K-70 and the K-S2 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.63x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Pentax K-70 and Pentax K-S2 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.
 
Pentax K-70optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
4.
 
Panasonic G93680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
5.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
6.
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
8.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-50optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
12.
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The Pentax K-70 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 K-70 and the K-S2 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 Pentax K-70 and Pentax K-S2 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.
 
Pentax K-70YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
2.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--
4.
 
Panasonic G9YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-Y
5.
 
Panasonic GH5YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
6.
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--
7.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-50Ymonomono--micro2.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY

Both the K-70 and the K-S2 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The K-S2 replaced the earlier Pentax K-S1, while the K-70 followed on from the Pentax K-50. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax K-70 and the Pentax K-S2? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-70:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 3 months after the K-S2).


Advantages of the Pentax K-S2:

  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the K-70 is the clear winner of the match-up (6 : 2 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 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.

K-70 06:02 K-S2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-70 and the Pentax K-S2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-70 or the K-S2 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
2.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 II5/5+ +85/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i
4.
 
Panasonic G9..+ +85/1005/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i
5.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax KP4/5..82/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
9.
 
Pentax K-505/5....5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
10.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Pentax K-54/5..83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
12.
 
Sony A95/5+ +89/1005/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Pentax K-70:
Check Amazon price
Pentax K-S2:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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: Pentax K-70 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2016 February 2015
    Launch Price USD 649 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 4.28 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 5.45 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 102,400 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME MII PRIME MII
    Screen Specs Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x 0.63x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/6000s 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 5.4 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body 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 Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini 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
    Body Specs Pentax K-70 Pentax K-S2
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 D-LI109
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 93 x 74 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in)
    123 x 91 x 73 mm
    (4.8 x 3.6 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 688 g (24.3 oz) 678 g (23.9 oz)

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