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.
Is the Pentax K-S2 a good camera? The K-S2 has a Camera Elo of 2217. 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.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses|
|20 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 51 200|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.4 shutter flaps per second|
|410 shots per battery charge|
|123 x 91 x 73 mm, 678 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-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.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-S2 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.
|1.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|2.||Olympus E-M1 II||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|3.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|4.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|7.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|8.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849|
|9.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|10.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|11.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|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.
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.
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.
| DXO |
|2.||Olympus E-M1 II||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|10.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|11.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
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.
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.
|2.||Olympus E-M1 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|10.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|11.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
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.
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.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Olympus E-M1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
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.
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], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|2.||Olympus E-M1 II||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|3.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|4.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|7.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|8.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849|
|9.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|10.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|11.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|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.
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.
|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 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|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen|
|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||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-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|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI109 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge|
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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