The Pentax KP is loaded with features, but does it do enough to stand out from the big guns in the enthusiast DSLR market? Michael Topham put it through its paces
Pentax KP review – Verdict
The KP is an interesting proposition. It inherits many of the things we admired about the flagship Pentax K-1 and shrinks a number of its advanced features in a more compact body that’s built to the same robust, weather-sealed standards we associate with the brand. It shoots slightly faster and offers a greater number of AF points than the K-70, but doesn’t adopt everything from the K-3 II. The KP lacks a top-plate LCD, dual card slots, has a lower battery life and can’t shoot at 8.3fps. When you take this into account you realise the KP isn’t the most advanced APS-C DSLR going and sits off to one side of the K-3 II, presumably until its successor arrives.
There is quite a lot to like about the KP. The dynamic range is excellent for this size of sensor, it’s not difficult to use despite having a plethora of buttons and dials, and the interchangeable grip design gives the user choice over the way the camera handles and feels with different lenses – something we rarely see. The KP’s standout feature though is its in-body stabilisation system. With a steady hand you can shoot sharp shots as slow as 1/5sec and stabilise the camera with any lens that’s attached. We have it to thank for the AA simulator, Pixel Shift Resolution, and automatic horizon correction modes too.
Sadly, it’s not all good news, and the KP’s autofocus performance leaves quite a lot to be desired. While it’s fine for shooting static or slow-moving subjects, it has its work cut out keeping up with fast-paced action and struggles to offer the same responsiveness as its close rivals in Live View. If you regularly shoot sport, action or wildlife there are better options out there for less money.
For those who’ve bought into the Pentax K-mount and want to advance from entry-level Pentax DSLRs, the KP serves up an attractive set of features, impressive image quality and excellent customisation in a convenient, if not slightly unusually styled body. It will satisfy some Pentax users, but at over £1,000 it struggles to offer the same value as some of its closest competitors at its current launch price.