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Pentax K-S1

Ergonomics 
 5.8
Build Quality 
 8.3
User Interface 
 8.3
Autofocus 
 8.7
Features 
 8.2
Value 
 8.8
Image Quality 
 9.2
Noise 
 8.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
7 24,966 Thu June 9, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $480.00 8.43
Pentax K-S1

Pentax K-S1
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Pentax K-S1
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Pentax K-S1
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Pentax K-S1
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Pentax K-S1
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Pentax K-S1
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Description:

The Pentax K-S1 is a mid level DSLR in a design that breaks with the past. The control layout has been modified with the mode switch now located around the four-way controller on the back, and movie mode is engaged with the power switch surrounding the shutter button.

Another new feature is the EFFECT setting on the mode dial. By setting the mode dial to the EFFECT position, the user can apply the desired visual effect to an image while previewing the outcome on the LCD monitor. It provides a choice of 10 distinctive effects, including three new options: "Fresh" with a crystal-clean finishing touch; "Fade Color" for an elegant finish with subdued colors; and "Infrared" for a black-and-white finish like that of an infrared photo.

The camera has a 20 MP sensor without an AA filter and sports moiré suppression through a selectable Anti-alias filter simulator, that achieves its effect by vibrating the sensor, a technology that was pioneered on the Pentax K-3.

12 different color combinations are available.

Major features subsequently added through firmware updates:

  • Version 1.20: Support for lenses with KAF4 mount, i.e. lenses that have foregone the mechanical stop-down lever
  • Version 1.10: Support for AF buttons on the barrel of the HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm lens

Camera Manuals:


Pentax K-S1
Year Introduced
2014
In Production
No (Discontinued 2016)
Current US Price
$399
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor
Sensor Format
APS-C
Sensor Type
CMOS
Megapixels
20.12
Resolution
3648 x 5472 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
No
Bit Depth
12
Minimum ISO
100
Maximum ISO
51200
ISO Range
100 - 51,200
Imaging
Exposure Modes
Auto Picture, Scene, EFFECT, P, Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, M, B
Program Modes
Normal
Maximum FPS
5.4
Continuous Shooting
Hi: 5.4 fps up to 20 frames (JPG), 5 frames (RAW) Lo: 3 fps up to 100 frames (JPG), 8 frames (RAW)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s - 1/6000s (stepless)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 30s - 1/6000s, Up to 300s in Astrotracer mode
Shutter Life
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV
Auto bracketing
3 frames, one-push bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Yes
Self timer
2 s with mirror lock-up, 12 s
Metering Sensor
77-Segment
Meter range
0 to 22 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
Yes
Interval shooting
No
HDR mode
Yes
Multiple exposures
No
Pixel mapping
Yes
Scene Modes
20: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, Food, Pet, Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Restrictions
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
No
Stabilization
Yes (sensor-shift SR)
Power zoom
Not supported
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses. Support for lenses with the KAF4 mount variant requires a firmware update. Manual focus only with K-, M-, and A-series lenses. Stop down metering only with K- and M-series lenses. M42, Pentax 645 and Pentax 6x7 lenses with the appropriate adapters (stop down metering and manual focus only).
Lens correction
Distortion,Lateral Chromatic Aberration,Vignetting,Diffraction
Focusing
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX IXi+, 11 focus points (9 cross type))
AF Points
11
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustments for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Yes
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
Viewfinder/LCD
Viewfinder
0.95x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Yes
Exchangeable screen
Yes
Depth of field preview
Yes
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Yes
Top LCD
No
Focus Peaking
Yes
Back LCD
3 in. 921,000 dots, 3:2
Body
Weather resistant
No
Control wheels
1
Battery grip
No
Card slots
1
Dust removal
Yes, Sensor Shake DR
Dust alert
No
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-1 compliant), Eye-Fi, FLU card
Size (W x H x D)
120 x 92.5 x 69.5 mm 4.72 x 3.65 x 2.75 in.
Weight
558 g (19.7 oz) with battery
File format
PEF (RAW),DNG (RAW),JPG,MOV
Battery life
480 images with Li-Ion battery (no flash use) 410 images with Li-Ion battery (50% flash use)
Battery
D-LI109 lithium-ion rechargeable
Flash
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 10 (ISO 100/m)
Sync speed
1/180s
P-TTL flash
Yes
Flash functions
Auto discharge, On (leading curtain sync), Redeye reduction, Slow-speed sync, Trailing curtain sync, High-speed sync*, Manual, Wireless*, Contrast control* * Available when combined with external flash
TTL flash
No
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Video
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 30p, 25p, 24p
1280x720 (16:9) at 60p, 50p
MPEG4 AVC/H.264
Exposure Modes
P, Av and M
Movie mode restrictions
In Av and M mode: Aperture must be set prior to shooting (unless using a lens with manual aperture setting)
AF During Recording
No
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo
Interfacing
GPS
Via Accessory
Tethering
Via O-FC1 FLUcard
Connectivity
USB 2.0, HDMI out
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
Notes
Astrotracer compatible, Embed copyright information in EXIF, High ISO NR can be customized for each major ISO value, In-camera RAW development, Image plane indicator

Megapixels: 20
ISO Range: 100-51,200
FPS: 5.4 fps
LCD: 3.0", 921k dots
In Production: Buy This Item
Type: Entry-Level DSLR
Weather Sealed: No
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-S1 in-depth review!



Add Review of Pentax K-S1 Buy the Pentax K-S1
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Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 37

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 9, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: $335.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: picture quality
Cons: none, really
Years Owned: less than one    Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

It's trendy to slag this camera for its ergonomics. Well, I got mine two weeks ago, and I got used to it in about 2 hours, and now it's "normal". Each time I go to either my K10 or K3, there is a bit of an adjustment . . . they are all a bit different. Same here. You soon learn to deal with this nifty little machine's quirks.

And that's what I would call the K-S1. A nifty little machine. Solid, too.

I bought it as a travel camera. Small, light, and pretty much K3 picture quality. I bought a white one because I rather liked it. I'm completely happy with the camera on a general level, and completely thrilled with it's image quality. As I'm a slow, careful worker who uses a DSLR on Manual 90% of the time, uses a lot of old M series lenses because I still shoot film, disables matrix focussing and use only the central spot for that purpose, and employ a spot meter for exposure, I could really not care less about any of the "professional" features and modes so beloved of amateurs, so I'll not speak about them. To me, the K-S1 is a body with shutter speeds, an aperture control and variable light sensitivity. Kind of like an old Pentax MX. From this standpoint, it's a dandy.

My travel kit is the kit lens, a 100mm Macro, and a 50mm f1.4 M series. That's it. I can handle anything with this kit, and it fits into a small bag with lots of other doodads that come in handy.

As this camera was a real flop commercially, there's still lots of them around new in the box for bargoon prices. I'd snap one up. Awesome picture quality, a story to tell and really solid yet tiny body makes this a dead certain future Cult Camera. I'd get in on it. Recommended. I'm going to buy another.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Queensland, Australia
Posts: 73

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 12, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image Quality, AF, Size
Cons: AF/MF button placement, Overexposure on Manual lens
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I got this little beauty for the equivalent U.S. price of about $300 and that included the much maligned DAL 18-55 kit lens. I wanted good image quality and reliable focusing to complement my K50. I had a K01, but found the lack of viewfinder and focusing to be somewhat problematic

Got this just before a 2 week holiday so took it over to Queensland, Australia for a road test. There have been negative comments on the ergonomics of this camera, but after 2 weeks it felt fine to use if a tad compact. That said, when I returned home, the K50 felt like some full-frame monster to handle!

Overall, I like this camera. Image quality is excellent and definately better than the K50, though the handling is not quite as impressive in the smaller camera. That said, there's some handy features here- enjoyed some of the effects mode at times- and the exposures were pretty accurate when used with the 18-55. It did significantly overexpose on the other lens I had with me, a Super Takumar 50mm 1.4, which required -2 on exposure comp.

By the way, the DAL 18-55 is not that bad a lens. it's lightweight, balances well on the KS1 and stopped down produces reasonable results.

Some images taken with KS1 with 18-55 and Super Tak 1.4
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Sydney
Posts: 844

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 6, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, high ISO, size
Cons: Loud shutter
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

I'm a k-5/k-3 owner, so when first using this camera my immediate thought was that it felt a touch plasticky, and the shutter was loud. I used to own a k-x, so it is very reminiscent of that (I think I've been spoiled by the k-5/k-3 for too long!). Overall though, the build quality is fine for this price point.

The first few shots I took, I couldn't get images in focus. After a few minutes though, I realised it was just the way I was holding the camera (I've been spoilt by the k-3 grip). After a slight readjustment, this camera really started to flex it's muscles!

The viewfinder is great. Right up there with the k-3. The autofocus speed and accuracy is an improvement over the original k-5, although obviously 11 focus points can't match the 27 on the k-3.

The image quality? Top notch! It's a huge improvement over the k-5! At low ISO the k-3 is better, but at high ISO (3200) I actually prefer the output from the k-s1. The images seem to retain more detail at high ISO, and the noise that is there is more aesthetically pleasing. That was something that I found surprising. For image quality alone, I'd recommend this camera over a k-5 or k-50.

I've heard some people complain about the lack of a second wheel, and if that's something that bothers you, then this camera is not for you. For me though, I don't see it as a major drawback, it just takes an additional button press every so often, but it doesn't make the camera unusable!

To the guy below complaining about noise reduction at high ISO, you can adjust that to your taste (I turned it off completely).

All in all, there's a lot to like about this camera. I'd have no problems recommending it! (Unless the lack of weather sealing or second control wheels are deal breakers for you - in which case go for the k-s2 instead).
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 451

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 8, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, weight, features, sensor rendition especially
Cons: AF/MF switch

I bought this camera specifically for the low weight, and the compactness. I wanted a camera that I could take with me everywhere, using my 3 tiny primes, the DA21 ltd, the DA70 ltd, and the 40XS. I was delighted to find an even better reason for owning it - the quality of rendition from the 20MP sensor. My wife was encouraging me to buy the K-3, but was convinced I made the right choice the moment she saw the results from this little gem.

I rate the ergonomics much higher than many other people, it seems. I think people's opinions on ergonomics are frequently affected by habit. In my opinion, most problems with the K-S1 result from unfamiliarity. At the moment I keep pressing the ISO button on the K-S1 because I am remembering where the backfocus button is on the K-5, and when I use the K-5 I keep pressing the AE-L button because I have started to learn where the backfocus button is on the K-S1. These problems won't last, because the K-5 will be retiring soon, to become a rarely used backup.

However the AF/MF button does suck. I dismissed other people's misgivings, then when I got the K-S1 out to write this review, the AF/MF stuck halfway, then focussing my DA21 didn't work, all that happened was a horrid wheezing braying noise, most alarming. Fortunately the AF/MF status is shown on the lcd screen, so I must make a habit of checking as I raise the camera to my eye, but the detent on the button should be much stronger. I don't even mind if it goes to the wrong place, but the halfway sound felt like it was seriously stressing the motor or the lens.

Other than that, the ergonomics are tolerable, except that I would prefer the positions of the LV button and the review button to be swapped. I very rarely use the LV button, but use the review button frequently, so would prefer to have it on the left. My fingers are short, fat, and stubby, rather like me, but I am still happy with holding the K-S1. In fact, curling my little finger (and sometimes even my ring finger) under the body feels more secure than holding the entire grip in a claw-like grasp with my fingers.

I also quite like the single control wheel of the K-S1. Maybe I am lazy, but I don't use the K-5 often enough to remember which wheel does what, so the K-S1 telling me on the lcd which setting I am changing when in Tav mode is very useful, and switching from one to the other is simple.

But bah to ergonomics, they are just part of the learning curve, unless they are truly dreadful. (I used to use and love a Ross Ensign bellows camera...)

The most appealing thing about the K-S1 is the rendering, in my opinion. I like the size, I like the weight, but above all I absolutely LOVE the IQ from it. I am not keen on exaggerated colours, I usually dislike HDR, I used to hate Velvia - but the K-S1 gives me results that seem identical to the way I see the world. The colours are natural but very rich, the data included in the RAW files is very malleable, and the few jpgs I have posted in a singlein.. monthly challenge are much less overblown than the jpgs from my K-5.

To be honest, my main reaction after using the K-S1 for an admittedly short time is that I actually want another one, then I can carry both with the DA21 and the 100WR macro pre-mounted.







   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Belgium
Posts: 61

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 8, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: compact,solid,in different colors
Cons: handing not as good as K5
Years Owned: 2015    Ergonomics: 3    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 8    Value: 8    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 6    New or Used: New   

This is a good camera in the same line up as the K3, very affordable now and with a good 20MP sensor.
Jpeg is disappointing (like the K3) and you need to work with RAW for best results (specially above 400 Iso).
Ricoh engeneering now seems to use agressive noise reduction on the new models. Compared with my old K5, it's a bad news because i could use easily until 1600 Iso the very good versatile JPEG engine of the camera. Now it's impossible to do it with K3 and K-S1 and probably new models coming up.
Excepted that, the K-S1 works like a K3: good AF, good image quality (Thx to the free AA filter sensor).

Here some shots made with K-s1
https://www.flickr.com/photos/freelock7/sets/72157647849007544
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Canberra
Posts: 35

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 17, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: $585.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact, looks good, well featured, seems pretty rugged and well built.
Cons: The grip doesn't well suit large hands. MF switch moves too easily. Image files are large.
Years Owned: One week    Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Some of these notes are lifted from my posts on the KS1 under the thread 'Ergonomics of the KS1'. The rest is a hotch potch of observations after just one week of ownership.

I inevitably compare the KS1 with the Kx, K30 and K01 which I also own. The KS1 weighs 558g (virtually the same as the K01 (560g)), it's slightly less than the Kx (580g with AA lithiums) and significantly lighter than the K30 (650g). In dimensions it's considerably smaller than the K30, a tiny bit smaller than the Kx, and if you disregard the prism housing, about the same as the K01. So it's small.

However, the KS1 is rather heavy for its size and has a small grip, with not a lot of ‘purchase’ at the rear (the MODE dial gets in the way); hence you really need to hang on to the lens as well (the problem is exacerbated if you have large hands like me). For this reason, very small lenses are awkward; I’ve decided to avoid using the P 40/2.8 XS, and P 21/3.2 and P 70/2.4 Limiteds— other lenses I've tried so far are fine. A larger lens like the 510g Tamron 28-75/2.8 feels well balanced to me, but you really do need to hang onto the lens with your left hand. You can carry it around awhile in just your right hand if you cradle it in the vertical position with the short side pointed up to the sky. I'm using the KS1 with a hand strap, not a neck strap, so if I'm going to walk around much past the front door I'll take a small snoot case with neck/shoulder strap to rest the camera in as required.

The rear placed mode dial needs a positive twist, preferably using two fingers (at least you don't accidentally shift it!), and I find the 4-way controller buttons hard to use. I've found it helps to lean your finger against the mode 'ring' while pressing the relevant quadrant of the 4-way controller— this makes the action more positive. And 'leaning' against the mode dial certainly won't accidentally change modes. I'm quickly getting used to the layout, and it's certainly tidy.

Most everything else is fine by me. I could quibble about the rubber flap covering the output ports (it's a bit tricky to close (shades of the K01 rubber flap chronicle), the playback button and playback functions are labelled in blue writing on a blue camera! and more annoying, I find the focus mode switch can move into the MF position when you didn't intend it to. And the USB port needs a different cable from that on my other cameras; this camera is not supplied with one! (I found my wife's Samsung phone cable works). Also, for the first time ever in my Pentax experience the camera comes with only a short version printed manual, if you want one you have to print it out yourself. Finally, while 20Mp results in great IQ the files sure are large (I need a new computer).

I'm a user of Pentax's post capture digital filters; the KS1 has introduced some new ones and made changes to some of the old ones (mainly for the better). I particularly like the new 'unicolor bold' and the improved 'fish eye'.

It might result in a large hump on the top of a small camera, but the pentaprism is excellent. Focussing is fast. The IQ is great. Good results are obtainable at high ISO (up to 3200). The KS1 is a real pleasure to use and has a better quality feel than the K30 or Kx (but I'd have to say the K01 feels even better). The colour is a matte finish blue; from pictures of the KS1 I was expecting a more glossy finish, but I'm more than happy with the colour.

Battery life is only just adequate, not as good as the K01 with its larger battery, and nowhere as good as the Kx (where I use AA lithiums). And unlike the K01 I am seldom using live view on the KS1, but it does work very well if you need it. With K30 I make do with the optional AA battery holder as required. With the KS1 you must acquire a spare battery. However I'm pleased to note that even if the KS1 won't take AAs, its lithium-ion battery is interchangeable with the K30.

I consider the five front mounted coloured LED's really enhance the function/flavour of the self timer which I use occasionally. And the other lit up controls are great.

A couple of surprise bonuses I've found is (1) image downloads are about 3 times as fast as my other cameras (something to do with the funny (not supplied) cable? and (2) you can change filenames, eg from IMGPxxxx to KS1_xxxx. This camera's output can then safely be mixed with any of my IMGPxxxx cameras.

I will now attempt to attach some images to this 'review' (Failed- I can't see how to put up new photos. Where is this 'attachment system below the thread editor'?). Looking forward to more owners putting up a review of the KS1.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 1,316

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 30, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-S1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Image quality, weight, construction, AF, write speed
Cons: Ergonomics, grip slickness, grip size, battery drain, button layout
Ergonomics: 3    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 6    Autofocus: 8    Features: 6    Value: 7    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

TL;DR: Great image quality, wonky ergonomics and grip, I'd recommend it if you're in the target audience.

Overall, this camera's strengths outweigh the negatives for me. The image quality consistently stunned me and I think that this has the best sensor of any APS-C camera Ricoh is currently making (late 2014.) In terms of image quality, this camera will not disappoint you. I have pretty high standards for image quality, and this camera exceeded my expectations. I wish, honestly, that I could have this sensor swapped with my K-3's sensor. Not only would the burst mode last longer, but holy cow does this sensor have nice colors and dynamic range.

This camera's target market is, I think, first-time DSLR owner, casual photographer, and entry-level users. The users for whom this camera is designed will really love this camera.

If you have used and love a K-3, K-5, K-7, or better, you will probably not like this camera. (It is worth mentioning that this camera has a number of features from the K-7, but the layout is not nearly as good.)

While everyone I've shown the KS-1 to has agreed that the grip is slippery and the ergonomics poorly laid out, the reviews of the looks have been universally positive. I, personally, am no fan of the looks. However, a LOT of randos on the street have stopped me to ask about it. Oddly, TWO people thought it was a retro design. One, in fact, said "how old is that camera? That's the oldest camera I've ever seen." I said "It was just released this month." I tried to say something like 'yeah, but it does look retro.' I guess I was probably not convincing with the latter part of that. If there were a rating above for styling, I'd personally give this a five, but I think many people would give it an eight or better.

Were I to have my way and were I able to make a couple changes to this camera for all future production bodies, I would add a rubber grip in lieu of the silver thing, add a separate button to delete photos, and include interval shooting as a menu option. There are some other things this camera lacks, but those are the primary ones.

Here's a link to my Pentax KS-1 videos on YouTube:
http://youtu.be/qsOXu3bfhJ8
Video 1, general overview: http://youtu.be/NoA2eUX45QM
Video 2, the interface: http://youtu.be/wa-YVp1-VaA
Video 3, the menu system: http://youtu.be/NIP9XjSJFHU
Video 4, movies: http://youtu.be/AuKviT4Rnvs

Here are some sample images:












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