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.
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.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 819 200|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)|
|7 shutter flaps per second|
|390 shots per battery charge|
|132 x 101 x 76 mm, 703 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 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.
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.
|1.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|2.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|3.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999|
|6.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|8.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|9.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|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.
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.
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.
|4.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
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.
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.
|1.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|4.||Panasonic GH5||3680||n||3.2 / 1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|6.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 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.
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.
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.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Panasonic GH5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
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.
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]).
|1.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|2.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|3.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|5.||Pentax K-3 III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2021||1,999|
|6.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|7.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|8.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|9.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|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?
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.
|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 Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||367 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm|
|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|
|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||Tilting 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||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|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||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI109 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||390 shots per charge|
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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