Pentax cameras are known for being a bit quirky--and the Pentax K-S1 may be the strangest yet. But while this camera literally includes flashing lights and an unusual body design, it also has a few features that are more than enough to entice some buyers. Rioch is hoping this 2014 release will attract new consumers to become lifelong Pentax shooters, and they've certainly created a camera unlike any other on the market.
The first thing you've probably already noticed is the unusual body on the K-S1. The camera is actually quite compact for a DSLR, comparable in size to the Canon EOS Rebel SL1. The mode dial, typically located on the top of the camera, is on the back of the K-S1, wrapped around the menu navigation buttons--which light up, by the way. Oh, and there's lights on the handgrip too, for, well, we're not really sure other then atheistic. The shape of the camera itself is a little more boxy and modern than the typical DSLR as well. The K-S1 does include a nice full optical viewfinder.
While the outsides are flashy (literally), there's quite a few performance features packed in the inside. The image stabilization is built into the body. For those of you who haven't bought many DSLRs, image stabilization is either built into the lens, or the body. Lenses with image stabilization are quite pricey, and since you'll buy more lenses than camera bodies, in-body stabilization is a good thing.
On paper, the camera looks to have solid image quality. The Pentax K-S1 uses a high resolution 20 megapixel APS-C sensor. The camera doesn't use an anti-aliasing filter, which is a good thing 90 percent of the time. For the other 10 percent, there's a mode that can be turned on and off that will imitate the affect of an anti-aliasing filter on patterns. The sensor is also super sensitive, reaching ISOs of 51200.
The K-S1 uses an 11-point autofocus system, with focus peaking included.
Speed-wise, the Pentax K-S1 will hit shutter speeds of up to 1/6000. Burst speed is around average for mid-range DSLRs at 5.6 fps.
Battery life is rated at just 480 shots per charge, which is better than a compact or mirrorless camera, but quite a bit lower than most DSLRs. The shorter battery life is likely a trade-off for the smaller body size and of course the lights on the camera's exterior.
The Pentax K-S1 is priced to compete with other mid-range models, with a list price of $799 including an 18-55mm kit lens.