Pentax KP vs Sony RX10 IV
The Pentax KP and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and September 2017. The KP is a DSLR, while the RX10 IV is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (KP) and an one-inch (RX10 IV) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV? 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 Sony RX10 IV 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 RX10 IV 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 Sony RX10 IV is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Pentax KP. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 IV 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 RX10 IV can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the RX10 IV 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.||Sony RX10 IV||133 mm||94 mm||145 mm||1095 g||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||115 mm||78 mm||51 mm||399 g||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||141 mm||83 mm||46 mm||495 g||350||Y||Jan 2016||1,699|
|6.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|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.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|17.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Notes: 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. 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. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax KP features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX10 IV an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 IV is 68 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.1MP, the KP offers a higher resolution than the RX10 IV (20MP), but the KP nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 2.41μm for the RX10 IV) due to its larger sensor. However, the RX10 IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the KP, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the KP has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 Sony RX10 IV are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The RX10 IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the RX10 IV, 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
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.||Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|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|
|17.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
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 RX10 IV provides a better video resolution than the KP. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 IV has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the KP has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the RX10 IV has a higher magnification than the one of the KP (0.70x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax KP and Sony RX10 IV 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||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||2360||n||3.0 / 1620||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic GH5||3680||n||3.2 / 1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The RX10 IV has a touchscreen, while the KP has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 has 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.
The KP writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 IV uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV 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.||Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Panasonic GH5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||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.||Sony A6300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the KP and the RX10 IV are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The RX10 IV replaced the earlier Sony RX10 III, 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 Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax KP and the Sony RX10 IV? 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 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2017).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.63x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the KP requires a separate lens.
- 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 modern: Was introduced somewhat (7 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 IV emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 12 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 Sony RX10 IV place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom 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 RX10 IV. 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.||Sony RX10 IV||5/5||+||..||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2017||1,699|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||5/5||+||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||1,699|
|6.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|8.||Pentax K-3 III||..||..||..||..||..||..||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.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A6500||5/5||+ +||3.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|17.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|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. 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 Sony RX10 IV
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||Sony RX10 IV|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|Launch Date||January 2017||September 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax KP||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.56 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 819,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||64 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME IV||BIONZ X|
|Screen Specs||Pentax KP||Sony RX10 IV|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax KP||Sony RX10 IV|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/6000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||24 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/24000s||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax KP||Sony RX10 IV|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax KP||Sony RX10 IV|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||390 shots per charge||400 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)
133 x 94 x 145 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.7 in)
|Camera Weight||703 g (24.8 oz)||1095 g (38.6 oz)|
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