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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Pentax KP

AWB Colour:8/10
Dynamic Range:9/10
Image quality:9/10
LCD viewfinder:8/10


  • - Effective in-body stabilisation that works with all lenses
  • - Extremely robust body with weather sealing
  • - Interchangeable grips let you tailor it to your needs
  • - Impressive dynamic range


  • - Slow and clunky live view performance
  • - In-camera JPEG processing heavily suppresses detail
  • - No top-plate LCD or dual card slots
  • - Spongy shutter button


Pentax KP review – An advanced enthusiast DSLR with a few quirks


Price as reviewed:

£1,099.00 (body only)

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.


Sensor:24.3-million-pixel APS-C CMOS
Output size:6016x4000 pixels
Focal length mag:1.5x
Lens mount:Pentax K mount
Shutter speeds:30-1/6,000sec (mechanical), 30-1/24,000sec (electronic)
Exposure modes:PASM, auto, scene
Metering system:86,000-pixel RGB light-metering sensor
Metering modes:Multi, centre-weighted, spot
Exposure comp:+/-5EV in 1/2EV or 1/3EV steps
Drive mode:7fps
Video:Full HD (1920x1080) 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p
External mic:Yes
Viewfinder:Pentaprism viewfinder, 0.95x magnification, 100% coverage
Display:3in, 921k-dot tiltable LCD
Focusing:SAFOX 11 27-point AF system
Memory card:SD, SDHC or SDXC
Power:Rechargeable D-LI109 Li-Ion
Battery life:420 images
Weight:703g (including battery and card)
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Page 4
  5. 5. Page 5
  6. 6. Page 6
  7. 7. Dynamic range
  8. 8. Page 8
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