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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 2613. 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 also ranks among the top 20 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 100-819200
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 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Pentax KP 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
 
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
 
Fujifilm X-H1« » 5.5 in 3.8 in 3.4 in 23.7 oz 310 Y Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
 
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
 
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-70« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.9 in 24.3 oz 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i i Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-3« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Pentax K-5« » 5.2 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 26.8 oz 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099- i Pentax K-5
 
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A77 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 22.8 oz 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i----Pentax KP
 
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
 
Fujifilm X-H1« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-H1
 
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
 
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-70« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i----Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-3« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680Pentax K-3
 
Pentax K-5« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282Pentax K-5
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A77 II« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Sony A77 II

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.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('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
Camera
Model
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y Pentax KP
 
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
 
Fujifilm X-H1« »3690 Y 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y Fujifilm X-H1
 
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
 
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-70« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-3« »optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y Pentax K-3
 
Pentax K-5« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y Pentax K-5
 
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A77 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77 II

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.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--Pentax KP
 
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
 
Fujifilm X-H1« »YstereomonoY-micro3.0Y--Fujifilm X-H1
 
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
 
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-70« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-3« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Pentax K-3
 
Pentax K-5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Pentax K-5
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A77 II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Sony A77 II

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Pentax KP-82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
 
Canon 80D« »+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
 
Fujifilm X-H1« »+86/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
 
Nikon D7500« »+ +86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
 
Panasonic GH5« »+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-70« »-79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »--5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i i Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-3« »-83/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Pentax K-5« »-83/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099- i Pentax K-5
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A77 II« »-80/1004.5/54/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
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 Pentax 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 online shutter count 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 1099
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6016 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.90 μm
    Pixel Density 6.56 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100-819200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME IV
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus 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 Build-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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