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Pentax K-S2 Comparison Review

The Pentax K-S2 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in February 2015 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 20 megapixel.

camera

Is the Pentax K-S2 a good camera? The K-S2 has a Camera Elo of 2187. This rating puts the K-S2 among the top 30 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-S2 ranks among the top 40 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-S2
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
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge
123 x 91 x 73 mm, 678 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 physical dimensions of the Pentax K-S2 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax K-S2 vs credit card front
K-S2 versus credit card top view
K-S2 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-S2 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.

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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-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
2.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
3.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
4.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
5.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
6.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
7.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
8.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
9.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
10.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
11.
 
Sony A77 II 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 647 g 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i
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-S2 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-S2:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Pentax K-S2 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-S2 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Pentax K-S2 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
2.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
3.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
4.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
5.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
6.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
7.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
8.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
9.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282
10.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
11.
 
Sony A77 II APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The K-S2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-S2 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-S2 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.63x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the 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
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-S2optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax KPoptical n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
3.
 
Pentax K-70optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
4.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
5.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
10.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Sony A77 II2359 Y3.0 / 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y

The LCD screen on the Pentax K-S2 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD is hinged on the side and can be flipped out for odd-angle shots in both portrait and landscape orientation. Also, this fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment is often appreciated by videographers for its flexibility. Moreover, v-loggers like the design because the screen can be turned to be front-facing.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the K-S2

One convenient feature of the K-S2 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-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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-S2Ymono / monoY-micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Pentax KPYstereo / monoY--2.0Y--
3.
 
Pentax K-70Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
5.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
6.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-30Ymono / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
11.
 
Sony A77 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the K-S2 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the K-S2 in practical situations. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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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-S24.5/5......5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
2.
 
Pentax KP4/5..3/582/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
3.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
4.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5......5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
5.
 
Pentax K-S14/5......4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
6.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
7.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
8.
 
Pentax K-304/5....78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
9.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
10.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
11.
 
Sony A77 II4/5....80/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Pentax K-S2 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-S2.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the K-S2 based on?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

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-S2 with the PRIME MII image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-S2?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the K-S2 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-S2?

Pentax does not publish a shutter rating for the K-S2. 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-S2?

Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-S2 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

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

No, the Pentax K-S2 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-S2?

The K-S2 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-S2 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-S2's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Does the Pentax K-S2 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-S2 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 are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, 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-S2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015
    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
    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 Swivel screen
    V-logging Friendliness Front-flip possible
    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 PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    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
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 91 x 73 mm
    (4.8 x 3.6 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 678 g (23.9 oz)

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