It may seem to be all flashing lights and quirky looks, but underneath its modern skin the Pentax K-S1 is a serious camera. Richard Sibley finds out just what it can do

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Pentax K-S1

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


  • - Anti-aliasing filter simulator for when you have to decide between detail and moiré patterning
  • - Very fast AF from the nine centre points
  • - Excellent 100% pentaprism viewfinder


  • - Body design won’t appeal to everyone
  • - Centre control a bit fiddly to use
  • - Flucard needed for Wi-Fi transfer rather than having it built into camera


Pentax K-S1 Review



Pentax K-S1 Review – Verdict

Pentax-K-S1-product-shot-1Let’s put the looks of the K-S1 to one side, as they are purely subjective. Purely from a handling point of view, a couple of areas could be improved on the rear control dial of the camera. However, the camera handles a lot better than a quick glance at its design would suggest. All the buttons are nicely positioned and the core features are easy to change and operate. This will certainly be a blessing for those photographers for whom the K-S1 is their first DSLR.

AF speed and the viewfinder are both excellent for a camera at this low-to-mid-range level, and again the K-S1 can more than match its competitors from Canon and Nikon. Additionally, there is no end of features by which you can customise the camera to taste.

With no AA filter, the 20.12-million-pixel images resolve around the same amount as those created by a normal 24-million-pixel sensor and with plenty of fine detail, again matching the competition at this price range.

In terms of noise control, the images from the K-S1 look good up to around ISO 6400, with colour noise starting to creep in above this point. As we see in most other cameras, the highest two sensitivity settings should probably be avoided.

Another positive is the use of the Pentax K mount. There are hundreds of lenses, both older manual and more current AF lenses that are compatible with the camera. Many older lenses are available at extremely cheap prices second-hand, again helping to cement the K-S1 as an excellent camera for those buying their first DSLR.

Overall, the Pentax K-S1 is a very good DSLR. Its looks may not be to everyone’s taste, and the handgrip may put some off, but I would urge potential buyers to actually get one in their hands and try it out for themselves.

  1. 1. Pentax K-S1 Review – Introduction
  2. 2. Pentax K-S1 Review – Build and handling
  3. 3. Pentax K-S1 Review – Performance
  4. 4. Pentax K-S1 Review – Image Quality
  5. 5. Pentax K-S1 Review – Verdict
  6. 6. Pentax K-S1 Review – Full Specification
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