ad stars
ad Bestseller
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
PW

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.

camera

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.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-S1
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
20 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100 - 51 200
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
410 shots per battery charge
121 x 93 x 70 mm, 558 g


badge

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.

Pentax K-S1 vs credit card front
K-S1 versus credit card top view
K-S1 and credit card rear side

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.

scroll hint
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-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
2.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 470 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
4.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
5.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
6.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
7.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
8.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
9.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
10.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
11.
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599i
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.

Pentax K-S1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

Pentax K-S1 sensor measures

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.

scroll hint
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-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
2.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
3.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
4.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
5.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
6.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
7.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
8.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
9.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
10.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
11.
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374

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.

Feature comparison

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.

scroll hint
Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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-S1optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D5500optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D5300optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
5.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
6.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Sony A581440 n2.7 / 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.

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-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D5500Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Nikon D5300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Pentax K-S2Ymono / monoY-micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
6.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-500Ymono / mono---2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-30Ymono / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
11.
 
Sony A58Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Expert reviews

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]).

scroll hint
Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-S14/5......4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
2.
 
Nikon D55005/5+..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
4.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5......5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
5.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5......5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
6.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
7.
 
Pentax K-500........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
8.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
9.
 
Pentax K-304/5....78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
10.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
11.
 
Sony A583/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
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?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI109 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

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.

~
    loader
    Specifications Summary
    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 Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 367 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    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
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 5.4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type D-LI109 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 121 x 93 x 70 mm
    (4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 558 g (19.7 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Pentax K-S1 Review

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference.
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.