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02-04-2018, 06:22 PM - 21 Likes   #1
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Thoughts on the KP by a K1 and K3 User

I was really enjoying the K1's Pixel Shift and was looking to get an APS-C K-mount that had this feature for when I wanted to travel light. To be honest, I was hoping to get the K70 and would have bought it if it went on sale during the holidays but instead, the KP fell below $ 900 which made it a bit more compelling considering it had a third control wheel which I really like on the K1, had the improved 5 axis 5 stop stabilization, and had a grip available for when I wanted to use my K1/K3 batteries or if I was shooting portraits. The more precise focus points was a minor decision contributor too.

Man this thing is small. Comfortable, though needed to change how I thought about gripping it. On the K5 series bodies and K1, you can essentially hold the camera with your middle finger - The KP with the large grip seems like it's being held up more with my ring finger and thumb. I didn't have a problem with it using what I've used it with so far. I do prefer the grip and layout of the K1 and K3, but I'm finding the KP perfectly fine with the large grip attached. I have not used the KP with the 60-250 yet though, but usually I'm holding large lenses by the lens not the body so I doubt my opinion will change much when I get around to it.

Compared to the K3, having a tilt screen is really nice. I'm always looking for different angles to photograph from and with my crappy knees and not being very tall, shooting from a low position or an overhead position is so much easier with a tilty screen. On the K3, for overhead shots I always had to have the camera slightly in front (which reduced how high I could hold the camera) to be able to see 'something' but still I was essentially shooting blind. With the KP, I can look at the leveling meters and frame the image with confidence that I'm framing how I want.

And since I'm frequently shooting with less than ideal technique, I was hoping the 5 axis stabilization would give me sharper photos than with the K3. Fortunately, I'm finding that to be the case as the KP is very much like the K1 where shots that shouldn't be taken because of less than ideal shutter speeds or grip turn out to be very good and usable. I was asked to take some pictures at work which required being on a ladder, arms fully extended shooting straight down and th lighting required 1/30th of a second - pics came out awesome. I'd venture to estimate that the KP is a stop and a half more forgiving than the K3. And since the K3 and K70 probably have similar SR systems, I'm very pleased with the improvement in sharpness with the KP.

Shutter sound is quite nice - much quieter than the k30 - Just tested it against the K3 and the k3 pitch is higher and its louder! I've never heard anyone mention this - the KP is quieter than the K3! Since I enjoy taking candids, this is important for me. I had always planned on keeping the k3 as a backup and using the K70 if I got it, as my landscape/ hiking camera and not using it so much for event photography or even travel photography which was a shame because the tilting screen is great for not being noticed as much when taking someone's picture. So now, I'm not sure if I'll keep the K3 as the KP can handle landscape, travel and event photography really well.

Some other random observations:
customizeable info screen is awesome - same as k1
Third control wheel for bracketing is the way it should be
Kept forgetting the front control wheel is vertical rather than horizontal like all my other cameras - I think I've adapted to this now, but it take me a few times to remember
Really nice feel (and look) with limiteds - used DA35 Macro and DA15 today and the DA20-40 is pretty awesome too.
Buttons on back significantly smaller than K1 -- too much bezel around tilt screen
Battery life was short! I'm really tempted to get the grip just for being able to use the larger K-1 battery!
Single SD card slot. But I just got the WD Wireless Passport Pro and I'm using this for instant in the field back ups. Not as secure, I know, but it's better than nothing.
Shutter feels mushy like K-1
shutter release port missing
no side to side on screen tilt
change in layout from k5iis k3 k1 - a lot that's different LV, iso button (I've since assigned the iso to the exp comp button - not a prob for me since in AV and TV mode, I have the opposite wheel adjust exp comp). After about a month, I've adjusted to the button layout and UI of the camera.

So I knew I would like the size, the third wheel, feature set, and the tilting screen and I've been very pleased with these aspects. My expectations were exceeded in how good the Shake Reduction, ergonomics, and shutter sound was. When the KP first came out, it looked great, but the value proposition tilted it out of consideration. Now that the price is where it is now, I'm feeling it presents enough value over the K70 where I'm happy I made decision to go with the Pentax KP.






Last edited by mike.hiran; 02-05-2018 at 12:19 AM.
02-05-2018, 02:10 AM   #2
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Thanks for the comparison. I’ve been considering the KP as a back up to my K-1, but I’ve been unsure because I have so many DLI 90 batteries. I did not know the grip would use the larger batteries.

Great shots!
02-05-2018, 02:17 AM - 1 Like   #3
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This really resonates with my personal experience. I have now sold my K-3.
02-05-2018, 02:34 AM   #4
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Very helpful, thanks

02-05-2018, 05:08 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mike.hiran Quote
Thoughts on the KP by a K1 and K3 User
I'd appreciate if you kept your thoughts to yourself - I don't need another camera

Seriously, though, thanks for a nice summary.
02-05-2018, 06:54 AM   #6
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Great post and an excellent summary. Thanks for sharing!

(Oh, and lovely photos too )
02-05-2018, 07:40 AM   #7
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Like the OP, I have a K-1 and was considering the K70 as a smaller, light weight , back up. Then the KP was introduced and I was hooked. I agree completely with Mike's assessment of the camera and I think it's great that the price is coming down a bit so that others may be encouraged to give it a try.

02-05-2018, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Excellent writeup for an excellent camera.

Agree 99% with the OP's assessment of the KP. I also have the K-1, K-3, and my new KP. I used the KP with the DA55-300 PLM for the recent January Single In Challenge, and the combo performed even better than expected. The KP IBIS is WAY above that of the K-3. Higher ISO capability is quite noticeable. Hand-holding 300mm and getting sharp images was never a problem in the Challenge, not even a worry (proper technique must be used of course). Tripods are becoming more and more optional with Pentax.

So what's the 1% non-agreement with the OP's assessment? The remote cable release port:
QuoteOriginally posted by mike.hiran Quote
shutter release port missing
The remote cable release port IS available, but it is combined with the microphone input port. So it has a standard microphone 3.5mm connector rather than the 2.5mm one for the previous wired releases (other than the new 3.5mm Pentax CS-310 Cable Switch, which I understand is in short supply). However, a 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter (Amazon has them) allows using all the non-micophone-size standard cable releases, such as the older Pentax CS-205 or any of the zillion available camera intervalometers/releases, such as the "Vello ShutterBoss with 2.5mm sub-mini connection" or equivalent copy. Set the "External Input Devices" of Set-up Menu #3 to the "remote control" rather than the "mike" (I found that the "auto" setting was a bit flaky).

My pet peeve about the KP is the battery life, so I got the D-BG7 grip to extend battery life when needed.
MJKoski on the D-BG7 grip reports greatly enhanced battery life with the grip.

The high capabilities of the KP bode well for the K-3/K-3ii replacement, which is almost certainly coming too late for my forthcoming Galapagos trip. And the KP/DA55-300 PLM combo are replacing, for this trip, my K-1/DA*60-250 due to high (not higher) quality and lower weight and size (there will be other lenses, of course).
02-05-2018, 05:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TedH42 Quote
However, a 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter (Amazon has them) allows using all the non-micophone-size standard cable releases
Bought one, also got a 2.5mm to 3.5mm coiled remote cord from amazon, took some digging to find one but happy with it so far.
The D-BG7 was a must have for me.

edit: the auto detect mode for the 3.5mm jack works fine as long as there is no "measurable" resistance in the shutter release device.
If resistance is detected, then the camera thinks that a microphone is connected to it and acts accordingly.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 02-05-2018 at 05:38 PM.
02-05-2018, 05:33 PM   #10
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I really liked handling this camera at PhotoPlus. Anyone who hankers for a mirror less for its portability would be crazy not to look at this body. It has the benefits of a DSLR in that small size. Good to see user feedback and images here on the Forum.
02-05-2018, 07:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mike.hiran Quote
I was really enjoying the K1's Pixel Shift and was looking to get an APS-C K-mount that had this feature for when I wanted to travel light. To be honest, I was hoping to get the K70 and would have bought it if it went on sale during the holidays but instead, the KP fell below $ 900 which made it a bit more compelling considering it had a third control wheel which I really like on the K1, had the improved 5 axis 5 stop stabilization, and had a grip available for when I wanted to use my K1/K3 batteries or if I was shooting portraits. The more precise focus points was a minor decision contributor too.

Man this thing is small. Comfortable, though needed to change how I thought about gripping it. On the K5 series bodies and K1, you can essentially hold the camera with your middle finger - The KP with the large grip seems like it's being held up more with my ring finger and thumb. I didn't have a problem with it using what I've used it with so far. I do prefer the grip and layout of the K1 and K3, but I'm finding the KP perfectly fine with the large grip attached. I have not used the KP with the 60-250 yet though, but usually I'm holding large lenses by the lens not the body so I doubt my opinion will change much when I get around to it.

Compared to the K3, having a tilt screen is really nice. I'm always looking for different angles to photograph from and with my crappy knees and not being very tall, shooting from a low position or an overhead position is so much easier with a tilty screen. On the K3, for overhead shots I always had to have the camera slightly in front (which reduced how high I could hold the camera) to be able to see 'something' but still I was essentially shooting blind. With the KP, I can look at the leveling meters and frame the image with confidence that I'm framing how I want.

And since I'm frequently shooting with less than ideal technique, I was hoping the 5 axis stabilization would give me sharper photos than with the K3. Fortunately, I'm finding that to be the case as the KP is very much like the K1 where shots that shouldn't be taken because of less than ideal shutter speeds or grip turn out to be very good and usable. I was asked to take some pictures at work which required being on a ladder, arms fully extended shooting straight down and th lighting required 1/30th of a second - pics came out awesome. I'd venture to estimate that the KP is a stop and a half more forgiving than the K3. And since the K3 and K70 probably have similar SR systems, I'm very pleased with the improvement in sharpness with the KP.

Shutter sound is quite nice - much quieter than the k30 - Just tested it against the K3 and the k3 pitch is higher and its louder! I've never heard anyone mention this - the KP is quieter than the K3! Since I enjoy taking candids, this is important for me. I had always planned on keeping the k3 as a backup and using the K70 if I got it, as my landscape/ hiking camera and not using it so much for event photography or even travel photography which was a shame because the tilting screen is great for not being noticed as much when taking someone's picture. So now, I'm not sure if I'll keep the K3 as the KP can handle landscape, travel and event photography really well.

Some other random observations:
customizeable info screen is awesome - same as k1
Third control wheel for bracketing is the way it should be
Kept forgetting the front control wheel is vertical rather than horizontal like all my other cameras - I think I've adapted to this now, but it take me a few times to remember
Really nice feel (and look) with limiteds - used DA35 Macro and DA15 today and the DA20-40 is pretty awesome too.
Buttons on back significantly smaller than K1 -- too much bezel around tilt screen
Battery life was short! I'm really tempted to get the grip just for being able to use the larger K-1 battery!
Single SD card slot. But I just got the WD Wireless Passport Pro and I'm using this for instant in the field back ups. Not as secure, I know, but it's better than nothing.
Shutter feels mushy like K-1
shutter release port missing
no side to side on screen tilt
change in layout from k5iis k3 k1 - a lot that's different LV, iso button (I've since assigned the iso to the exp comp button - not a prob for me since in AV and TV mode, I have the opposite wheel adjust exp comp). After about a month, I've adjusted to the button layout and UI of the camera.

So I knew I would like the size, the third wheel, feature set, and the tilting screen and I've been very pleased with these aspects. My expectations were exceeded in how good the Shake Reduction, ergonomics, and shutter sound was. When the KP first came out, it looked great, but the value proposition tilted it out of consideration. Now that the price is where it is now, I'm feeling it presents enough value over the K70 where I'm happy I made decision to go with the Pentax KP.


Thanx for this review. I'm seriously thinking of getting a KP, but I've had my K-30 for just 32 months now, and I've never "retired" a camera with fewer than 48 months of service and still called it a "success".
02-05-2018, 09:11 PM - 1 Like   #12
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A very thorough and valuable report! I think the KP would make a great alternate companion for K-1 owners, who would also like a smaller but high-quality APS-C model. It has been wonderful for me for the advantages you indicate, even though my other models are APS-C, and have certain aspects of their own for which I put them into service when needed. I've had my KP since may, 2017, also through a great offer. I got the battery grip for its added advantages when I need them. I like the KP so much, during the recent special price offer, I bought a 2nd backup body! It has become my most-used camera.

Like you, I have found the Limiteds to be ideally at home on the KP. They love being on it. Glad to see you've got the DA 15mm and DA 20-40mm Limiteds. A great combo! Sometimes I combine the FA 77mm as well. Unless also taking a much larger lens along, with these Limiteds even the smallest grip works fine for me. I then leave the battery grip behind- just a spare battery is fine in this case.

It seems your report would be very encouraging to anyone considering the KP for an upgrade from another APS-C model, or as a 2nd APS-C body for K-1 owners.
02-06-2018, 01:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TedH42 Quote
Excellent writeup for an excellent camera.

Agree 99% with the OP's assessment of the KP. I also have the K-1, K-3, and my new KP. I used the KP with the DA55-300 PLM for the recent January Single In Challenge, and the combo performed even better than expected. The KP IBIS is WAY above that of the K-3. Higher ISO capability is quite noticeable. Hand-holding 300mm and getting sharp images was never a problem in the Challenge, not even a worry (proper technique must be used of course). Tripods are becoming more and more optional with Pentax.

So what's the 1% non-agreement with the OP's assessment? The remote cable release port:


The remote cable release port IS available, but it is combined with the microphone input port. So it has a standard microphone 3.5mm connector rather than the 2.5mm one for the previous wired releases (other than the new 3.5mm Pentax CS-310 Cable Switch, which I understand is in short supply). However, a 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter (Amazon has them) allows using all the non-micophone-size standard cable releases, such as the older Pentax CS-205 or any of the zillion available camera intervalometers/releases, such as the "Vello ShutterBoss with 2.5mm sub-mini connection" or equivalent copy. Set the "External Input Devices" of Set-up Menu #3 to the "remote control" rather than the "mike" (I found that the "auto" setting was a bit flaky).

My pet peeve about the KP is the battery life, so I got the D-BG7 grip to extend battery life when needed.
MJKoski on the D-BG7 grip reports greatly enhanced battery life with the grip.

The high capabilities of the KP bode well for the K-3/K-3ii replacement, which is almost certainly coming too late for my forthcoming Galapagos trip. And the KP/DA55-300 PLM combo are replacing, for this trip, my K-1/DA*60-250 due to high (not higher) quality and lower weight and size (there will be other lenses, of course).
Oh, that's awesome! Thanks much! I did see what looked like a remote on the rubber bung cover thingy but since my release didn't fit in it, I hastily came to the wrong conclusion. Fortunately I had my remote control, so it didn't impact my photo shoot but there are many times I'd prefer to use the release. Off to Amazon to get that adapter

---------- Post added 02-06-18 at 12:52 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Thanks for the comparison. Iíve been considering the KP as a back up to my K-1, but Iíve been unsure because I have so many DLI 90 batteries. I did not know the grip would use the larger batteries.

Great shots!
My pleasure - glad I could add some useful insight to the KP.


QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
This really resonates with my personal experience. I have now sold my K-3.
After a few days with the KP, I ended up selling my beloved K5iis. After all the beautiful images the K5iis took, it really was going to take something special for me to part ways with it. Well along came the KP


QuoteOriginally posted by NZ_Ross Quote
Very helpful, thanks
Thanks for letting me know that this was helpful. I never know if when writing one of these reviews if its only for myself...

QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
I'd appreciate if you kept your thoughts to yourself - I don't need another camera

Seriously, though, thanks for a nice summary.
Ha, yeah I know. I've been taunting myself lately with watching reviews of the Mavic Air - I just purchased the Mavic Pro and there is NO WAY I'm going to be buying another so watching these reviews is just irritating myself!

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Great post and an excellent summary. Thanks for sharing!

(Oh, and lovely photos too )
Thanks BigMackCam, I appreciate the feedback! Taking the KP to Denver later this week - hope to see the Rocky Mountains looking majestic and intimidating as I've imagined (though a little sunlight would be appreciated )


QuoteOriginally posted by sibyrnes Quote
Like the OP, I have a K-1 and was considering the K70 as a smaller, light weight , back up. Then the KP was introduced and I was hooked. I agree completely with Mike's assessment of the camera and I think it's great that the price is coming down a bit so that others may be encouraged to give it a try.
I have no doubt (especially now) that the KP was worth the asking price when it was released. I was fortunate that the K-1 was still new to me so I had plenty on my plate already. I'm so glad that the KP is as quiet as it is - even travel photography will benefit as I photograph local people's daily lives. It seems like a great all rounder that travels well.
02-06-2018, 08:44 AM   #14
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I'll also chime in with a thank you for your fine review.
It's nice to know that others feel the same as I do about the KP.
02-06-2018, 08:44 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TedH42 Quote
The remote cable release port IS available, but it is combined with the microphone input port. So it has a standard microphone 3.5mm connector rather than the 2.5mm one for the previous wired releases (other than the new 3.5mm Pentax CS-310 Cable Switch, which I understand is in short supply)
I knew about the dual capabilities of the microphone input port but did not know that the CS-205 featured a 2.5mm connector and therefore wouldn't work with the KP. Did some looking around and found that Adorama has the CS-310, but they sell it for $40. Fortunately, JJC has come out with their own version, available for $10.
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