Pentax KP vs Ricoh GR II
The Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and June 2015. The KP is a DSLR, while the GR II is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The KP can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GR II is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR II is considerably smaller (45 percent) than the Pentax KP. It is worth mentioning in this context that the KP is splash and dust resistant, while the GR II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR II has a lens built in, whereas the KP is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the KP gets 390 shots out of its D-LI109 battery, while the GR II can take 320 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Fujifilm X-H1||140 mm||97 mm||86 mm||673 g||310||Y||Feb 2018||1,899|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999|
|9.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|10.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|14.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|15.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|16.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GR II was launched at a lower price than the KP, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the GR II is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Pentax KP offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Ricoh GR II. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 4.79μm for the GR II). However, it should be noted that the KP is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the GR II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax KP implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the KP for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inches or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inches or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inches or 50.9 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Ricoh GR II are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the GR II, the KP has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Pentax KP has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 819200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|3.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|7.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||24.2||13.7||2083||85|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|16.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.7||1442||77|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the KP provides a higher frame rate than the GR II. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Ricoh is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the KP has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax KP and Ricoh GR II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X-H1||3690||Y||3.0 / 1040||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8/s||n||n|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the KP is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the KP and the GR II write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Ricoh GR II 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.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X-H1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the KP has a microphone port, which is missing on the GR II. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the KP and the GR II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The GR II replaced the earlier Ricoh GR, while the KP does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Ricoh websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax KP:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (390 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 7 months after the GR II).
Advantages of the Ricoh GR II:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the KP requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x63mm vs 132x101mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the KP).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the KP is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax KP and the Ricoh GR II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the KP or the GR II. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings 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]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Fujifilm X-H1||..||+||5/5||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||1,899|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||4/5||..||3/5||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2021||1,999|
|9.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|10.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|14.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|15.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|16.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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.
Specifications: Pentax KP vs Ricoh GR II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2017||June 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.56 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 819,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME IV||GR Engine V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1078|
|Screen Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/24000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||no handshake reduction|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax KP||Ricoh GR II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||390 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
132 x 101 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
117 x 63 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||703 g (24.8 oz)||251 g (8.9 oz)|
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