Pentax K-S1

20MP APS-C Sensor | 5.4fps shooting | In-Body Shake Reduction

What we like:

  • A big viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Sensor shift technology gives users about 3.5 stops of handhold-ability
  • Its 20MP sensor offers more resolution then the K-50’s sensor

What we don't like:

  • Grip is slippery
  • No weather-sealing
  • Menu buttons are small and confusing 

Pentax (now part of Ricoh) is known for trying new things when it comes to camera design and the Pentax K-S1 is no exception. This futuristic-looking entry-level DSLR sports a 20MP CMOS APS-C sensor, in-body shake reduction and a big, bright viewfinder. 

The front grip features a set of five LED lights that serve no real purpose other than to look cool (Ok, you can use them on self-timer mode to help you countdown). The back of the camera is also quite strange-looking, with the mode dial located directly below the thumb grip. 

Despite its Fisher Price-like exterior, this camera does offer some compelling specifications: Pentax’s PRIME M II processor, bursts up to 5.4fps, a top shutter speed of 1/6000 sec, 1080p HD video capture at 30fps, ISOs all the way up to 102,800 and an ‘Anti Aliasing simulator’ that lets users toggle between high resolution and moiré reduction using the in-built shake-reduction system. Very smart.

“The K-S1 has the usual K-AF2 lens mount and supports nearly every Pentax lens ever made.”

Still, we found the strange design to be more of a novelty then anything else - the camera grip itself is meager, and makes holding it for an extended period of time a slippery affair. Furthermore, unlike its older (not to mention cheaper) cousin the K-50, the K-S1 offers no weather-sealing to speak of. Though the newer 20MP sensor on the K-S1 will give you more resolution than the 16.3MP sensor on the K-50.

If you’re looking for a camera that can function as both a conversation starter as well as an actual camera, with competitive features and decent image quality, the Pentax K-S1 is definitely not a bad choice. We’d still spring for the lime green and yellow K-50 though. 

Specifications Compared