Pentax is a company with a proven strategic approach to camera design. While highly successful in the analog days, it was at risk of falling behind with the slew of new, feature-laden digital models released over the last decade. However, instead of trying to directly compete with the Big Two behemoths, Canon and Nikon, the ﬁrm has successfully focused on keeping a tight grip on its pre-existing fan base, exploiting the extensive system back-compatibility the K-mount offers. The company’s digital SLR cameras have become renowned for their build quality and the Pentax KP is no exception. For a camera of its size, the Pentax KP feels unexpectedly solid when picked up for the ﬁrst time.
About Pentax KP
Its tough body and highly textured, rubberized control dials give it an air of professionalism and reliability. It also maintains the high-quality weather-sealing of previous models and we felt perfectly comfortable testing the camera under wet conditions. Although there is widespread use of plastics in the camera’s construction, this doesn’t seem to negatively impact on the overall toughness – all ports and doors are reassuringly thick and ﬂush with the body proﬁle. The handling of the Pentax KP is generally good; the grip is pleasingly contoured and the body is safely controllable when working single-handed. The dials are all well placed and ﬂuid in use – the front dial has an unusual vertical orientation, but this in no way hinders the operation of the camera. With the 70mm prime and 20-40mm zoom lenses we paired with the Pentax KP for our test images, the camera felt fairly balanced, but when using a larger telephoto or fast wide-angle optics, we can foresee the setup becoming signiﬁcantly front-heavy. Another slight quibble with the body design is the removal of a top-plate LCD screen – this is not essential, but users of the Pentax K-3 II may miss reading camera settings from the top of the camera. Pentax makes up for this to some extent with a large, bright viewﬁnder, offering 100% coverage.
Pentax KP Key Features
- APS-C CMOS system and maximum ISO of 819,200.
- 24.32MP chip shares the majority of features with the K-3 II.
- 27 point Auto Focus sensor and 25 central cross-type points.
- 86,000-pixels RGB metering system supports subject tracking and exposure.
- Prime 4 Processor.
- In-body SR-II 5-axis image stabilization.
- Interchangeable grips.
- 8.3 fps continuous shooting.
- Electronic shutter up to 1/24,000 sec & Mechanical shutter up to 1/6,000 sec through the viewfinder.
- Better Function Dial from the K-1.
- Wi-Fi communication.
A main selling point of the Pentax KP is the sensor. The 24.32MP chip shares the majority of features with the K-3 II – such as resolution and lack of an anti-aliasing ﬁlter – but is of an updated design. The omission of the AA ﬁlter allows the capture of more detail, making the most of the total resolution, while in-camera processing assumes the role of minimizing moiré. Images from the KP are crisp, displaying plenty of ﬁne detail – certainly matching those from rival cameras like the Nikon D7500. Colors are punchy but natural straight out of the camera and thanks to the new Prime IV image processing engine, noise is kept at bay well into the ISO range. Detail remains good and images more than usable for print up to ISO 12,800, with noise only becoming intrusive at ISO 25,600 and above. Overall, an impressive performance for a 24.32MP APS-C model.
The new processor also permits a very useful 7fps burst rate. Pentax makes great use of the sensor-shift technology, utilized by the effective Shake Reduction feature, but also employed by the KP’s Pixel Shift Resolution mode, which combines a sequence of shots taken with the sensor in multiple positions to produce a composite with better color and sharpness. The new SAFOX 11 AF system is swift and ‘decisive’, complementing the burst rate. Unfortunately, the disappointing battery life of only 390 shots approximately prevents the Pentax KP from being a true action workhorse an almost double shot capacity and 8.3fps shooting makes the K-3 II a better choice.
Pentax KP Specification
Model Pentax KP Resolution 24.32 Megapixels Max resolution 6,016 x 4,000 Sensor Information 23.5 x 15.6mm CMOS Shutter Speed 30 - 1/6,000sec (Mechanical), 1/24,000sec (Electrical ), Bulb ISO Sensitivity 100- 819,200 (Extended) Exposure Modes Auto, P, A, S, M, SA Metering Options CW, S, MS, A Flash Modes TTL (Auto, Red-eye, FCS, RCS, SS, SS+Red eye) Manual, Commander, Off Connectivity USB 2.0 (micro B), Wi-Fi Weight 703g (Including battery and SD card) Dimensions 131.5mm x 101mm x 76mm Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC LCD 3in, 921K Dots Viewﬁnder Pentaprism, 0.95x magniﬁcation, 100% coverage Availability 01/2017 Manufacturer Pentax