Pentax KP Review

Pentax KP Review: Pentax KP APS-C reflex camera introduced

In February 2017, Ricoh launched the Pentax KP, a newly designed APS-C DSLR that is 300 dollars more expensive than the previous APS-C flagship model K-3 II. The 24-megapixel sensor reaches up to ISO 819,200 and is of course mounted on a movable mount for image stabilization. The KP is one to two millimetres more compact than the K-3 II in every dimension, but still has a high-quality magnesium housing that is sealed against splash water and dust, as with all Pentax DSLRs. However, the modular handle concept with three different sizes results in half the battery life.

The retro Pentax KP has a magnesium housing that is splash-proof and dust-proof thanks to 67 seals. [Photo: Pentax]

The SLR viewfinder of the Pentax KP works with a high-quality glass pentaprism, covers 100 percent of the image field and magnifies 0.95 times (0.63 times corresponding to 35 mm). [Photo: Pentax]

The screen of the Pentax KP can be folded up 90 degrees upwards and 45 degrees downwards. [Photo: Pentax]

Pentax has built the KP around a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor of the latest generation. This does not require a low-pass filter and now allows up to ISO 819.200. The sensor is mounted in an electromagnetic field, which allows Pentax to realise all kinds of additional features in addition to the five aperture settings for effective image stabilisation on five axes. These include low-pass filter simulation by micro-movements of the sensor to suppress moirés, or the Pixel Shift Resolution function, which shifts the sensor by one pixel in four exposures, thereby increasing color resolution and detail sharpness while reducing noise. Furthermore, there is a horizon correction, a (minimal) shift function and the Astrotracer function. Here the sensor is moved during long exposures of stars to compensate the earth’s rotation, for which however the optional plug-on GPS O-GPS1 is required. In contrast to the K-3 II, the KP does not have a built-in GPS, but can be used with a built-in flash, which can also serve as a master for wireless TTL flashing.

Another new feature is the possibility of using a vibration-free electronic shutter that is up to 1/24,000 seconds short. This can be activated in the mirror lock-up or live view function. However, this is not possible in combination with the image stabilizer. The longest electronic shutter speed is 30 seconds. The mechanical shutter, on the other hand, allows exposure times from 20 minutes to 1/6,000 second. The Pentax KP records videos in full HD resolution at a maximum of 24 to 60 frames per second. The sound is transferred to the audio track in stereo. Optionally, an external stereo microphone can be connected. The Pentax KP can only create 4K videos from an interval recording sequence.

The SLR viewfinder is based on a high-quality glass pentaprism and shows 100 percent of the image to be captured. The viewfinder matte discs can be changed, Pentax offers for example those with grid lines as accessories. The 0.95x viewfinder magnification corresponds to a small-frame equivalent viewfinder magnification of 0.63x. The rear 7.5-centimetre screen has a resolution of 920,000 pixels and can be folded up 90 degrees upwards and 45 degrees downwards, enabling both near-ground and overhead perspectives.

The 24 megapixel APS-C sensor of the Pentax KP is mounted on a movable base for image stabilisation. [Photo: Pentax]

The Pentax KP screen measures 7.5 centimetres diagonally and has a resolution of 920,000 pixels. [Photo: Pentax]

The Pentax KP’s operating concept is based on interchangeable handles (here the flattest of the three versions supplied) and many configurable rotary switches and buttons. [Photo: Pentax]

The Pentax KP does not have a built-in GPS, the pluggable O-GPS1 is available as an optional accessory, but instead there is a pop-up flash in the prism hump that can also be used as a wireless TTL master. [Photo: Pentax]

The Pentax D-BG7 battery handle fits the KP and not only extends the battery life, but also increases the ergonomics in landscape and portrait mode. [Photo: Pentax]

The robust housing of the Pentax KP consists of a magnesium alloy, 67 seals are supposed to keep out dust and humidity, even frost down to -10 degrees Celsius does not do any harm to the camera’s function. The housing is somewhat more compact than, for example, that of the K-3 II. With the modular handle concept, the ergonomics should be adaptable to the photographer’s needs. Three different sized grips are included in the KP. However, this has shrunk the battery, which is still sufficient for 400 shots due to the energy-saving DSLR concept. For comparison: the Pentax K-3 II takes 720 pictures on one battery charge. By the way, the KP can be optionally equipped with a battery portrait handle. The operating concept, in turn, should offer the greatest possible flexibility. Many knobs and dials can be assigned individual functions, such as the HDR recording mode. For example, the KP takes over the function wheel of the K-1.

The phase autofocus works with 27 measuring fields, 25 of which are designed as high-quality cross sensors. Pentax wants to have improved the precision once again. A slower contrast autofocus with 3,445 measuring fields is available in Live View and for videos. Exposure is measured using an RGB colour sensor with a resolution of 86,000 pixels. Movements are also analyzed to increase the accuracy of the exposure measurement. The system is even capable of learning and takes into account corrections made by the user in the past.

Since February 2017, the Pentax KP is available in silver and black at a price of almost 1,300 dollars. [Photo: Pentax]

Pentax KP product presentation, as part of the press release to photography websites and distributors. [Photo: Pentax]

In addition, the Pentax KP has a WLAN module, which not only allows images to be transferred to smartphones and tablets with the corresponding (free) Android or iOS app, but also allows remote control of the camera.

Pentax KP data sheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)24.2 megapixels (physical) and 24.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 3.9 µm
Photo resolution
6.016 x 4.000 pixels (3:2)
4.608 x 3.072 pixels (3:2)
3.072 x 2.048 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.280 pixels (3:2)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard (version 2.0)
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
Maximum recording time 25 min
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Pentax K

Focus

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 27 sensors, 25 cross sensors and 2 line sensors, autofocus working range from -3 EV to 18 EV, contrast autofocus with 3,445 spot sizes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (10x)
Sharpness control Depth-of-field control, depth-of-field button, preview image

Viewfinder and monitor

SLR viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (prism viewfinder) (100 % image coverage), 20 mm interpupillary distance with 0.95x magnification, dioptre compensation (-2.5 to +1.5 dpt), replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 3.0″ (7.6 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels, non-reflective, brightness adjustable, colour adjustable, tilts 90° up and 45° down

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 86,000 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/6,000 to 30 s (automatic
)1/6,000 to 30 s (manual)
1/24,000 to 30 s (electronic shutter)
Bulb with maximum 1,200 s exposure time
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic (with program shift), Shutter automatic, Aperture automatic, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 5 shots, 1/3 to 2 EV increments, HDR function
Exposure Compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 819.200 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 819.200 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, cable release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Picture effects Cross-processing, HDR effects, high-contrast monochrome, landscape, vivid colors, monochrome, negative, portrait, retro, toy camera, 10 more image effects
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Fine Tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Tungsten light, Kelvin input, Manual 3 memories
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 7.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 8 stored photos, 7 fps up to 28 consecutive images at JPEG
Self-timer Self-timer with interval of 2 s, special features: or 12 seconds optional
Timer Timer/interval recordings with max. 2,000 recordings, start time adjustable
Recording functions Mirror lock-up, AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (flip up
)Flash shoe: Pentax, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync speed 1/180 s
Flash code Guide number 6 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, manual flash output (8 levels), red-eye reduction by pre-flash, master function, flash exposure correction from -2.0 EV to +1.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer Sensor shift (optical)
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (wired or plug-on receiver)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Pentax D-LI109 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion)
)400 images according to CIPA standardPentax
K-AC168 Power supply
Playback functions Video editing, cropping, image rotation, image protection, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 16.0x magnification, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Face recognition Face recognition
Image parameters Sharpness, contrast, color saturation, noise reduction
Special functions Electronic spirit level, grid fade-in, orientation sensor, Live View, user profiles with 5 user profiles and 24 options
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0WLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
AV Connections AV output: HDMI audio input
: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Audio output: no
Tripod thread 1/4″ in optical axis
Housing Splash water protection, frost-proof up to -10 °C
Special features and miscellaneous CTE white balancePixel
Shift Resolution to increase color resolution Automatic sensor cleaning systemLow-pass filter simulation
to suppress moiréAnti-Moiré
Exposure bracketing with 3 shotsFade-in
grid styles (third, golden section, scale)
Composite mode (multiple exposures)
4K/FullHD Interval shootingHorizon correction
by sensorShiftDynamics
Range ExpansionLens correction functionVideo effects:Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vivid,
High Contrast Color Extraction, High Contrast SWWorld Time ClockAF Fine Adjustments

+/-10 levels with 20 memories

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 131 x 101 x 76 mm
Weight 703 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Pentax Eyecup FR (Eyecup
)Pentax D-BC109 Special Battery ChargerPentax
D-LI109 Special BatteryPentax
FK (Hot Shoe Cover)
Power Cord (D-CO2E), Software (CD-ROM) S-SW168, Housing Cap, Battery Handle Protective Cap, Carrying Strap O-ST162
additional accessories Pentax CS-130 cable remote releasePentax
CS-205 cable remote controlPentax
D-BG7 battery/battery handlePentax
IR remote control F (infrared remote control)
Pentax K-AC168 power supplyPentax
ME-60 (dial)
Pentax MF-60 (dial)PentaxMI-60 (dial)Pen

tax

ML-60 (dial)
Pentax O-GPS1 (GPS receiver)
Battery charger set K-BC-90E, SLR bag, SLR backpack, sensor cleaning set O-ICK1

Previous articleSony Alpha 99 (Sony A99) Review
Next articleCanon G9 X Review
Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.