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Pentax KP Comparison Review

The Pentax KP is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in January 2017 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.1 megapixel.

camera

Is the Pentax KP a good camera? The KP has a Camera Elo of 2447. This rating puts the KP among the top 20 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the KP ranks among the top 30 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Pentax KP
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60i Video
ISO 100 - 819 200
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
390 shots per battery charge
132 x 101 x 76 mm, 703 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 KP relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax KP vs credit card front
KP versus credit card top view
KP and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax KP 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 KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
2.
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199i
3.
 
Nikon D7500 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i
4.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999i
5.
 
Pentax K-3 III 135 mm 104 mm 74 mm 820 g 800 Y Mar 2021 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
7.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
9.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
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 KP was launched in the US market at a price of $1,099. 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 KP:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

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

Pentax KP sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.

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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 KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
2.
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
3.
 
Nikon D7500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
4.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
5.
 
Pentax K-3 III APS-C 25.6 6192 41284K/30p........
6.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
7.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
9.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
11.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The KP indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the KP can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the KP 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 KP and comparable cameras.

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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 KPoptical n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
2.
 
Canon 80Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D7500optical Y3.2 / 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
4.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
5.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIoptical Y3.2 / 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
6.
 
Pentax K-70optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
9.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

The LCD screen on the Pentax KP is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the KP

One convenient feature of the KP 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 KP 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 KPYstereo / monoY--2.0Y--
2.
 
Canon 80DYstereo / monoYYmini2.0YY-
3.
 
Nikon D7500Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Panasonic GH5Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
5.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Pentax K-70Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Pentax K-S2Ymono / monoY-micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the KP 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the KP. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 KP4/5..3/582/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
2.
 
Canon 80D4/5+ +4.5/584/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199i
3.
 
Nikon D75004.5/5+ +4.5/586/1005/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i
4.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +..85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999i
5.
 
Pentax K-3 III............ Mar 2021 1,999 i
6.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
7.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5......5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5......5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
9.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5....80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Pentax KP FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the KP.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the KP?

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 KP with the PRIME IV image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the KP?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 819200.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax KP?

Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the KP. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the KP 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 KP?

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

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Pentax KP?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

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

No, the Pentax KP 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 KP?

The KP 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 KP 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 KP's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Does the Pentax KP 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 KP use?

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

Is there a vertical grip available for the KP?

Yes, Pentax offers the D-BG7 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

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.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax KP
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2017
    Launch Price USD 1 099
    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 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 016 x 4 000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.90 μm
    Pixel Density 6.56 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 819 200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME IV
    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 Tilting 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 7 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic 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 no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)390 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 132 x 101 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 703 g (24.8 oz)

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