Pentax K-S1 Comparison Review
The Pentax K-S1 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in August 2014 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 20 megapixel.
Is the Pentax K-S1 a good camera? The K-S1 has a Camera Elo of 1864. This rating puts the K-S1 among the top 40 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-S1 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses|
|20 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 51 200|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.4 shutter flaps per second|
|410 shots per battery charge|
|121 x 93 x 70 mm, 558 g|
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 physical dimensions of the Pentax K-S1 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-S1 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|2.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|4.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|7.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549|
|8.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|9.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849|
|10.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|11.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-S1 was launched in the US market at a price of $749. 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.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Pentax K-S1 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-S1 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The K-S1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-S1 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the K-S1 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.63x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Pentax K-S1 and comparable cameras.
|1.||Pentax K-S1||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|6.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Pentax K-500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-30||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
One convenient feature of the K-S1 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax K-S1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-30||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-S1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|2.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|4.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|7.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549|
|8.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|9.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849|
|10.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|11.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Pentax K-S1 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-S1.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the K-S1 based on?
The camera is build around 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-S1 with the PRIME MII image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-S1?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-S1?
Pentax does not publish a shutter rating for the K-S1. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my K-S1?
Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-S1 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax K-S1?
The K-S1 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-S1 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-S1's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.
Does the Pentax K-S1 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-S1 use?
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 60D vs Pentax K-S1
- Canon G7 X Mark III vs Pentax K-S1
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Pentax K-S1
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Pentax K-S1
- Leica S3 vs Pentax K-S1
- Olympus E-M1X vs Pentax K-S1
- Olympus TG-6 vs Pentax K-S1
- Panasonic G80 vs Pentax K-S1
- Pentax K-S1 vs Pentax KP
- Pentax K-S1 vs Sony A58
- Pentax K-S1 vs Sony A6100
- Pentax K-S1 vs Sony RX100 VI
|Camera Model||Pentax K-S1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 749|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||367 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5 472 x 3 648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.28 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.45 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51 200 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME MII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1061|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||No front-flip|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||D-LI109 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge|
121 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||558 g (19.7 oz)|
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