Pentax K-S1 Brief Review



  • 20.12 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Anti-aliasing filter removed
  • 11 point autofocus system
  • Focus peaking
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder
  • 3” LCD
  • In-body, sensor-shift shake reduction
  • Shutter speed up to 1/6000
  • ISO up to 51200
  • Manual modes
  • RAW and JPEG
  • 5.6 fps burst mode (up to 20 JPEGS, 5 RAW)
  • Takes SD Cards
  • Li-ion battery rated at 480 shots
  • weighs 19.7 oz
  • Release Date: 2014-08-27
  • Final Grade: 89 4.45 Star Rating: Recommended

Rioch introduces the quirky yet powerful DSLR, the Pentax K-S1
Pentax has always been a quirky brand--their 2014 K-S1 certainly fits that bill. While the Pentax K-S1 is certainly an unusual camera, it does have quite a few perks.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 2/10/2015

Hey! You should know that Pentax/Ricoh has released a newer version of this product: the Pentax K-S2.

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.

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Pentax/Ricoh Reviews

Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.

The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.

Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.

Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.

Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.