Pentax KP Review

Written by Gina Stephens

The Pentax KP is a 24MP APS-C DSLR with styling and authorities lifted largely from the full-frame K-1. Sold as a body only at a price of $1099, it includes standard Pentax features like full weather-sealing and in-body five-axis Pulsate Reduction, and includes all the interesting features enabled by the aforementioned system, including ‘Pixel Shift Resolution’. It also offers interchangeable front command system as part of its rather pretty design.

On the face of it, the Pentax KP is a confusing proposition. It launches at the same price as their APS-C flagship the K-3 II did all through a year ago, while trading useful K3 features like GPS in favor of the extra control dial, swappable grips, and a built-in flash.

Key Features:

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with max ISO of 819,200
  • 27-point AF sensor with 25 essential cross-type points
  • 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor aids subject tracking and exposure
  • PRIME IV Processor
  • In-body ‘SR II’ 5-axis image stabilization
  • 7 fps persistent shooting
  • Interchangeable grips
  • Improved ‘Function Dial’ from the K-1
  • Electronic shutter up to 1/24,000 sec through the viewfinder
  • Wi-Fi communication

The surprisingly tiny pentaprism-equipped camera borrows styling cues and controls from the full-frame K-1, and even shares some in common with Nikon’s retro-reborn Df. JPEG duplicate quality has received some massaging courtesy of the new PRIME IV processor, expanding the KP’s high ISO capabilities all the way to the ludicrous value of 819,200.

 Pentax KPPentax K-3 IINikon D7200
Amount$1099 (body only)$1099 (body only)$1199 (body only)
ISOAuto, 100-819200Auto, 100 – 51200Auto, 100 – 25600
Image StabilizationYes (in-body)Yes (in-body)In-lens merely
Focus Points27 (25 cross-type)27 (25 cross-type)51 (15 cross-type)
AF Point SelectionShared with direction padShared with direction padShared with captaincy pad
Viewfinder Magnification0.95x0.95x0.94x
Continuous Drive7 fps8.3 fps7 fps
Battery Life3907201110
READ  Fujifilm X-T30 review in progress

When compared to the outgoing K-3 II and long-in-the-tooth D7200, we see that with some highlights like burst rate and battery life the KP is a step backwards. On the other hand, we see a better control layout, higher ISO capabilities, and the new SR II system. It ignores GPS, and takes a hit in areas like battery life and burst rate. The addition of the K-1’s Function Dial means the top plate LCD screen is lost from the K-3 II as fine. 

These changes indicate that maybe the KP wasn’t designed solely with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel outdoing the competition, or even the K-3 II, in mind. It certainly doesn’t appear like an outright replacement, but instead a different lineup aimed at being a bit more portable for enthusiasts or casual shooters.

In some ways, the KP prompts us of the PEN-F: a combination of distinctive looks and improved image quality in a compact, premium body. While looks alone may not sell it for some, there are parties of the KP’s design that are excellent, possibly even market leading. Let’s take a closer look at what is right with the KP.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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