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Pentax KP

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
7 20,880 Wed December 27, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,142.57 9.29
Pentax KP

Pentax KP
Pentax KP
Pentax KP
Pentax KP
Pentax KP
Pentax KP


The Pentax KP was announced on January 25, 2017, and is an advanced 24 MP APS-C format DSLR incorporating a number of features not seen before on a Pentax DSLR, hereunder an electronic shutter to 1/24,000s (the mechanical shutter goes to 1/6,000s), depth of field bracketing, and motion (shutter speed) bracketing.

The KP also includes a number of high end features seen on other recent Pentax DSLRs: AA filter simulation, 5 axis sensor based image stabilization, pixel shift super resolution, and an 86K RGB light meter sensor.

The 24 MP imaging sensor is of a new design which allows a top ISO of 819,200, which is higher than the other APS-C models in the Pentax catalog at the time of the introduction of the KP.

While the KP has a respectable burst rate of 7 fps, the K-3 II is still the king of the hill with 8.3 fps and a buffer accommodating 60 frames (JPG), where the KP just does 28 frames at 7 fps. We thus consider the KP as a camera placed between the K-70 and the K-3II even though it does have a more sensitive sensor and some new features not seen on the K-3 II.

The design is slightly retro with the shutter release button placed on the top plate like on film cameras. There are a couple of extra knobs on the top plate like on the Pentax K-1: a function dial and a third e-dial. The function dial includes three custom positions (C1, C2, C3) which can be set to control sensitivity, EV compensation, bracket value, custom image, AF mode, AF active area, focus peaking, program line, shutter mode selection, recorded pixels, AA filter simulator, grip display, LCD display options, image magnification, or outdoor view setting. The third e-dial then controls the assigned item. The exposure mode dial features five user exposure mode settings. The function of four of the push buttons can be customized as well as can the control panel that comes up on the rear LCD screen by pressing the INFO button. The user interface of the KP is thus highly customizable.

The grip on the body is exchangeable and available in three sizes. A battery grip is also available.

There is no IR port, so the KP can only be controlled remotely with a smart phone (or computer) via Wi Fi or a dedicated cable release via the microphone input socket.

Camera Manual:

Pentax KP
Year Introduced
In Production
Current US Price
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor Format
Sensor Type
4000 x 6016 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
Bit Depth
Minimum ISO
Maximum ISO
ISO Range
100 - 819,200
Exposure Modes
Auto (green), HyP, Sv, Tv, Av, TAv, M, B, User (5)
Program Modes
Auto, Normal, Action, Depth of field (deep/shallow), MTF priority
Maximum FPS
Continuous Shooting
Hi: 7 fps up to approx. 28 frames (JPG), up to approx. 8 frames (RAW), M: 3 fps up to approx 70 frames (JPG), 15 frames (RAW), Lo: 0.8 fps uup to approx. 100 frames (JPG), up to appox. 100 frames (RAW)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s to 1/6,000s (mechanical), to 1/24,000s (electronic)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 1200s to 1/6,000s (mechanical), to 1/24,000s (electronic). Up to 300s in Astrotracer mode
Shutter Life
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV (+/-2 EV in movie mode)
Auto bracketing
EV bracketing: 2, 3 or 5 frames, one-push EV bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Self timer
2 s with mirror lock-up, 12 s
Metering Sensor
86K Pixel
Meter range
-3 to 20 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
Interval shooting
Up to 2000 frames, 2 sec to 24 hours interval
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Yes, average, additive and bright, 2 to 2000 shots
Pixel mapping
Scene Modes
None. Auto (green) sets exposure based on scene analysis
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
Yes (sensor-shift SR II)
Power zoom
Not supported
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses. 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
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX 11, 27 focus points (25 cross type))
AF Points
Autofocus sensitivity
-3 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustment for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
100%, 0.95x
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnification)
Live View
Focus Peaking
Back LCD
3 inch, 921,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio, tilts up/down, red light night mode
Weather resistant
Control wheels
Battery grip
D-BG7 (takes a 6xAA or one D-LI90 battery)
Card slots
Dust removal
Yes, Ultrasonic DR II
Dust alert
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
Size (W x H x D)
131.5 x 101 x 76 mm
643 g (body only), 703 g (with battery)
File format
Battery life
420 photos (CIPA)
D-LI109 lithium-ion rechargeable
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 6 (ISO 100/m)
Sync speed
P-TTL flash
Flash functions
Auto discharge, On (leading curtain sync), Redeye reduction, Slow-speed sync, Trailing curtain sync, High-speed sync*, Manual (full - 1/128), Wireless*, Contrast control*
* Available when combined with external flash
TTL flash
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p,
1280x720 (16:9 HD) at 60p, 50p
4K interval movie (4K,Full HD, HD)
Star stream (4K,Full HD, HD)
Exposure Modes
P, Av, TAv, Tv, M
Movie mode restrictions
AF During Recording
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic), Stereo (built-in mic). Adjustable sound level
Via Accessory
Via built-in Wi-Fi
USB 2.0, HDMI out (via USB port and an adapter), stereo mic, cable release (uses mic input jack), DC in, GPS, Wi-Fi.
Latest Firmware
Astrotracer functionality with the optional O-GPS1 unit, Depth of field bracketing, Electronic level, Embed copyright information in EXIF, High ISO NR, can be customized for each major ISO value, Image plane indicator, In-camera RAW development, Moiré suppression via SR mechanism, Moiré suppression bracketing, Motion bracketing, Save last JPG as RAW, Save JPG from movie, The three Fx buttons are customizable and can perform a variety of functions, hereunder exposure bracketing.
Special Editions

Black and Silver

Megapixels: 24.32
ISO Range: 100-819,200
Weight: 703g (loaded and ready)
FPS: 7
LCD: 3.0" tilting
In Production: Buy the Pentax KP
Type: Advanced DSLR
Weather Sealed: Yes
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax KP in-depth review!

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-7 of 7

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 2,082
Review Date: December 27, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $999.99 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 5-axis stabilization, battery grip support, K-3 AF + K-70 IQ
Cons: Flyover menus in playback and status screens; playback button placement
Years Owned: .3    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

The most exciting feature, for me, of the K-1, was Pentax's development of 5-axis stabilization. I've been using 5-axis stabilized Olympus cameras for the last five years for the bulk of my hand-held work at wide to normal focal lengths and have marveled at how well it works. With the 3-axis stabilization of my K-5 series of cameras, I've struggled to get tripod sharp images at speeds lower than 1/60 of a second. With Pentax's new 5 axis stabilization, I can get tripod sharp images fairly reliably at 1/15 of a second, and occasionally at speeds at low as 1/6 of a second. That feature alone makes the KP worth the extra price over the K-70—at least for me. But there’s also the improved AF and the ability to add a battery grip, features which I very much appreciate.

I’m a bit surprised about complaints concerning KP build quality. Admittedly, I’ve never handled any of the K-3 or K-1 cameras. My only point of reference is the K200D and the K-5 series of cameras. I would say the KP is about on par, in terms of build quality, with the K-5. Handling is about on par as well. The KP features a wonderfully customizable control panel and a partly customizable E-Dial and button layout. My principle gripe is the flyover menus in the standby and playback screens. They add nothing to my experience with the camera beyond extra button presses.

With the inclusion of the E-dial and the exclusion of an integrated grip, there’s no longer any room for a top LCD. Pentax solves this problem by having the status screen on by default. However, because of the smaller battery (another tradeoff necessitated by lack of integrated grip), I’ve chosen to keep that status screen off. For the most part, this has not been a problem, since most of the info I need is displayed in the viewfinder—except for one thing: battery usage. With the status screen off, there’s no quick an easy way to monitor battery status, and as a result I’ve had the camera run out of juice on me three times in two months—something that never happened in seven years with my K-5 cameras.

Minor handling issues aside, where the KP really shines is image quality. Compared with the sterling K-5, the KP is about on par in terms of DR and a half to two-thirds stops better in high ISO performance. The extra pixels do provide additional resolution in the center of the image, although not so much toward the edges.

The KP constitutes one of Pentax’s more controversial cameras, and as such has engendered animus as well as some rather silly myths. One such myth is that, since the KP was designed largely for use with the DA limiteds, that it doesn’t work well with larger lenses. That’s complete nonsense. With the largest grip, the KP is about the same size and almost the same weight as the K-5. Has anyone ever complained that the K-5 does not work well with large lenses? Moreover, you can buy a battery grip for the KP, something you can’t do with any other Pentax non-flagship camera except the antediluvian (in digital camera terms) K200D. Despite a few minor flaws, the KP is a terrific camera, especially for landscape, travel, and deliberative portrait photography. It’s a beautifully designed and constructed camera and easily the best choice for low-light hand-held work among Pentax’s APS-C offerings.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Arlington, VA USA
Posts: 769

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 20, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $999.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact, Image Quality, Responsiveness
Cons: No IR Port

I've been using the KP for about two months and have to say I'm very happy. I feel it is the right balance of compactness and rich features. I got it as a back for my K-1, but find myself using it more and more. especially for my street photos and travel camera. I recently took it to a local music venue in DC, the lighting was difficult at best. But, I got some great images at 3200 and 6400 and very usable. Super quiet shutter and fast accurate focus. I don't find the lack of a top display an issue. Love using the DA 20-40 Limited on the KP. Only downside for me is no IR.
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2008
Location: TN
Posts: 313

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 12, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: noise handling, light weight, I like everything
Cons: it doesn't have any for me
Years Owned: almost one    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I had been waffling about whether to upgrade from my K-5 to a K-1, even after renting the latter. Somehow I had missed that anything was even in the pipeline until I got some newsletter or other by email. Just reading about this camera made me want it--and I am almost never an early adopter of anything. I pre-ordered, which is the only time I can recall pre-ordering anything.

I also got a DA 20-40 to go with it, and they make a perfect hiking combo. Lightweight, weather resistant, and lovely IQ. (I had resisted DA lenses for years, intending to go full frame, but my shooting changed over time, as did my ability to carry heavy bags.)

I've been delighted with this camera since I got my hands on it. I prefer the medium grip, and keep it on all the time. I mention this only because I have really small hands (ring size 4 on my left ring finger), so I thought I would prefer the small grip, but I did not.

I thought I might miss the top LCD; I never think about it. The back can be set to large print and is much easier to read without my glasses than the top LCD. I have yet to need 1/8000s shutter speed, though I suppose that could be an issue for some types of shooting, so 1/6000 has been fine for me.

This camera feels like they just made a camera specifically for my needs. It's perfect. Now I just need to find the perfect camera bag...
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Italy
Posts: 64

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 3, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: dials, IQ, customization, 3 grips, M&E-shutter
New or Used: New   

Every camera of the current generation of ILC is an amazing tool to take photographs, the real issue is to find a tool that suits your personal needs in terms of ergonomics et cetera: I have found it in the KP. Having experienced the ergonomics of ML systems I appreciate the compactness of the KP: it's a DSLR but it is easy to handle just like the Fujifilm X-T1, I use my KP mainly with the 100mm WR, the 20-40 Limited and the 15mm Limited and this kit fits perfectly in my Crumpler Light Delight Hipster 600. Always regarding ergonomics the biggest lens I have used my KP until now is the HD 55-300mm WR: no issue at all, even on the occasions when I had the small grip on the camera.
Dials and custom buttons are marvelous and the versatility of the top dial is a great working tool. This is my first camera without a top LCD and I feared I would miss all that useful info with the KP, but I have found out that setting the rear screen to "always on except when you shoot" it's even better than that: more info and - being bigger - easier to read. The possibility to choose between MS and ES - so reaching the amazing 1/24000 of a second - gives a lot of creative freedom. Live View works beautifully and the lever to activate it is just a brilliant idea and MF is a pleasure with the KP. Of course the KP gets all the latest generation Pentax goods in terms of SR, Pixel Shift and Prime processor and from what I remember of my K3 the improvement is sensible. The new Prime processor then works wonders with the new 24mp sensor, the KP simply annihilates every other APS-C competitor and even challenges the results of FF cameras in terms of detail and high ISO performance - if you don't believe me then just visit the DPReview image test comparison tool, select the KP and compare it with any other camera you want and you will have to believe your eyes.
In terms of build quality some details of the KP are not up to the Pentax standard, in terms of real world build quality the truth is that Pentax has spoiled its users, the KP is not the K3 - a camera that in terms of build quality stands the test with 4000 euros offers from Canon & Nikon - but my only real issue with the KP is the SD card door, it feels quite fragile, I treat my equipment with care, so it shouldn't be a problem, apart from this detail the KP is the usual sturdy Pentax camera.
Having used ML systems I don' t get the small battery argument: spare batteries are cheap and as long as the access to the battery door doesn't collide with the use of a tripod I have no issue with it. I use a lot of rear screen and a lot of Live View and I never get less than 350 shots (I can recommend the Patona spare batteries, just one suggestion: don't trust the low battery level indicator, it lies.
One word about Motion Correction Pixel Shift: does it work? a few days ago I tested it unintentionally: after taking a few Pixel Shift shots with the camera on my tripod and self-timer shooting, I took the camera off the tripod, disabled the self-timer and started shooting only to relaize I had forgot to disable Pixel Shift, so I said to myself: why not trying to shoot Pixel Shift handheld activating the Motion Correction? I understand this is not the way this feature was intended, but I decided to give it a try: it worked! I got a beautiful and sharp file, so I guess Motion Correction works both ways, I will always prefer using the tripod but in some cases when I am out without it...
I am not reviewing the video features because I don't use them
One last word about the AF: exceptional in low light situations, not so rich in terms of AF points and advanced features of course, but it will be good enough if you are good enough (being someone who started in 1982 shooting soccer, tennis and basketball with manual focus I don't understand all the fuss about AF).
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 79
Review Date: July 6, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ergonomics, ISO, styling, features, customisation
Cons: Battery life
Years Owned: <1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

This is the camera for which I have waited. I cannot identify any relevant faults. I would have opted for the 190 battery, pushing the grip out to the S limit with the M grip included as standard, but I have big hands. I appreciate that there are many users preferring the S grip or no grip that decision would have affected. This is arguably the best Pentax for decades. It unarguably outperforms the competition in all aspects except focusing speed/accuracy for sports etc. where similarly priced Canikon products are faster and Sony A series are several cuts above for several thousand dollars more.
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 7
Review Date: July 1, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $1,450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, AF, Build quality
Cons: Expensive
Years Owned: 0.5    Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 8    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Very good camera, the camera that I have liked most of compared to K100D, K-7, K-30 which are the Pentax cameras I've owned previously.

+Image quality
+AF, especially with 55-300 PLM
+Build quality
+Dust removal which works flawlessly, especially compared to K-30

-Batteries needs to be charged quite often
-The grip (I'm using the large one) could be better
-Lack of built in GPS
New Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 21, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax KP: Yes | Price: $1,299.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Clean images and image quality
Cons: Plastic parts
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 7    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 7    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

A great camera, with a new design. The build quality could have been better for the price. The K3II has a better build quality. The plastic for the flash sounds plastic when you tap it. A little bit thicker plastic would helped. You feel like you have to hold on to your camera and not drop it.

I did buy the camera for the results and there it shines. Great picture quality, on a Sunny day the RAW pictures are a little under exposed, but that is easely fixed in Lightroom. The noise is well controlled and has a fine structure.

If you like your image quality and take the build quality with a grean of salt than this camera is for you.
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