Pentax K-S2 Review

John Riley reviews the Pentax K-S2 - Weather sealing, Wi-Fi, an articlated screen, and an all new lens, makes this an interesting new DSLR from Pentax.

09/04/2015 - 08:46

Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Pentax K S2 (2)

The new Pentax K-S2 sports an impressive specification. It also re-introduces a conventional mode dial, has a new standard zoom and, a first for a Pentax DSLR, a fold out articulated screen. The handling ergonomics of Pentax cameras are well understood, so let's have a look at how this new Pentax matches up. Does it keep true to the “Pentax feel”?

Pentax K-S2 Features

Pentax K S2 (3)

The K-S2 feels very compact, despite adding a fold out articulating screen and Wi-Fi capability. It feels solid in the hands. It uses the familiar KAF2  mount, opening up the possibility of using thousands of legacy lenses as well as the current range.

The lens is a new SMC Pentax-DAL 18-50mm f/4.5.6 DC WR RE, the DC being the quiet and fast DC motor for focusing and the RE referring to the retractable barrel. The lens collapses to a more compact size for storing in a bag and has to be extended to use. WR stands for Weather Resistance and is well understood and accepted. The DAL description means a plastic mount and no supplied lens hood, but interestingly the lens does have QuickShift focusing. When AF focusing has been achieved the manual focus ring can be used to make fine adjustments, especially useful for macro shooting.

The viewfinder uses a proper glass pentaprism and has 100% field of view, an impressive feature in this price bracket. Live View is also available via a dedicated button on the back of the camera.

The dial on the K-S1 has gone and instead we have a conventional mode selector dial on the right side of the pentaprism housing. There are two control dials, front and back, and these can be programmed to some extent. An extra button is the new Wi-Fi facility, and this enables the camera to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet with the appropriate App. Android is already catered for, and iOS will follow soon. Flucards and Wi-Fi cards can also be used.

The AF system is more sophisticated than the K-S1, now using SAFOX X, with 11 points, nine of which are of the cross type. Sensitivity extends down to EV -3, matching the performance of the flagship K-3.

There is a wide selection of digital filters and scene modes, many of which also have adjustable parameters. These are found in the digital filters menu, and the scene modes position on the mode dial.

The sensor used is the Sony CMOS sensor of 20.12 MP. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 51,200. It is stabilised with the well established sensor shift mechanism. The AA filter simulation is included for situations where the photographer feels moire could potentially be a problem.

Pentax K S2 (5)

Key Features

  • 20.12 MP APS-C sensor with AA Filter Simulator
  • Pentax KAF2 bayonet mount
  • In-body shake reduction, up to 3.5stops
  • Glass pentaprism with 100% field of view
  • 0.95x magnification viewfinder
  • 3.0 inch LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
  • 77 segment metering
  • SAFOX X AF module sensitive to -3EV
  • 11 AF points, 9 cross type
  • ISO range 100 to 51,200
  • 20 Digital filters
  • DNG/PEF RAW format
  • Flucard Compatible
  • Inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Smartphone and tablet control available with Apps
  • Full HD Movie Mode
  • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Movie Format
  • Weather resistant construction

Pentax K-S2 Handling

Pentax K S2 (11)

The K-S2 is pure Pentax in terms of handling. It fits the hands perfectly, the controls are as smooth as silk. The ergonomics are second to none, basically a joy to handle and use. This is helped enormously, compared to the previous model, by reverting to a conventional mode dial. It is much better than the rear dial of the K-S1.

The AF/MF switch was a slight irritation on the K-S1, but on the K-S2 it just did not cause the same problem. It never shifted unless wanted to, so whether its profile has been slightly altered or whether it is firmer to operate, the change works. It is no longer even a minor problem.

The design of the K-S2 is back to pure classic Pentax and as a Pentax User myself I have no complaints about the handling. After a few minutes this was second nature and there's a real value in being able to be so thoroughly familiar with a new product so quickly. There are minor changes, but overall the “Pentax Feel” is alive and well in the K-S2.

Pentax K S2 (8)

The battery compartment is located on the base plate in the usual way, and using a lithium ion battery pack is far more convenient in the field than AA batteries are. The card slot is now back with a hinged door on the side of the camera. It is good to see that someone has been listening and the new door opens wide, there is plenty of space for fingers and removing a card is no longer the fiddly exercise it could be on the K-5 and its variants.

The Weather resistance sees a welcome return and coupled with the new WR standard zoom extends the usefulness of the camera considerably.

Many users may also be delighted that the K-S2 has built in Wi-Fi. Android users already have an App available to control camera functions from their smartphone or tablet. iOS users will have their App soon. Existing Wi-Fi and Flucards can also be used.

Pentax K S2 (12)

Live View is accessed via a dedicated switch, and works well. Combined with the new fold out screen, this is now a viable way to work for many subjects. It is particularly useful for obtaining a very high or low viewpoint comfortably, or for macro shots.

The battery is a Pentax DLI109 lithium battery pack, with a CIPA quoted life of 480 images without flash, before needing to be charged again. This falls to 410 with 50% flash usage. Initially I did not manage this number, but to be fair batteries need a few charges to reach their optimum and I was also doing a large amount of reviewing of menus and replaying of images.

The camera is very fast in operation, it is responsive and never becomes an obstacle to the user. It works efficiently. The pentaprism finder is a huge benefit in that we look through it at the live scene, rather than looking at the world through the artificial interface of an EVF. That view is uninterrupted, whether the camera is switched on or not.

When we do use the back screen, either for reviewing images or for Live View, then we find a fold out articulated screen. This fits flush when required or can be used folded out, affording a view from the front or back of the camera. I am not a fan of folding screens on compact cameras as it adds to the bulk, in my view, unnecessarily. However, here there is no real impact on the size of the camera so it can only be a benefit, and it proved to be so in a variety of situations.

The AF module is upgraded from the K-S1 and now we have sensitivity down to EV -3, the same as the K-3. The speed of AF is very impressive and it locked onto the subject with absolute precision. There was no hunting or hesitation.

In terms of specifications, the K-S2 has everything we could wish for. Shutter speed has a very creditable range from 1/6000s to 30 seconds plus B (Bulb). 

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs (0.5s in live view)
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs (0.7s in live view)
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.5secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.5secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.9secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
5.7fps (18 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 2.0fps
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5.7fps (9 shots)

 

The drive modes do offer high speed options and these were close to quoted specifications. The number of frames that can be shot before the camera slows down are an improvement on the K-S1, being 18 JPEG or 9 RAW captures. The RAW figure is bang on specification, but the JPEG figure does fall somewhat short of the published figure of 30 frames. Nonetheless, 18 is very acceptable.

Pentax K-S2 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Pentax K-S2 Sample Photos

Architecture | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_architecture_1427964135.jpg">High-Res</a>
Architecture | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Indoor Flash Portrait | 1/100 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_indoor_flash_portrait_1427964146.jpg">High-Res</a>
Indoor Flash Portrait | 1/100 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Industrial Landscape | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_industrial_landscape_1427964157.jpg">High-Res</a>
Industrial Landscape | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 28.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_landscape_1427964169.jpg">High-Res</a>
Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 28.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Outdoor Portrait | 1/20 sec | f/5.6 | 45.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_outdoor_portrait_1427964180.jpg">High-Res</a>
Outdoor Portrait | 1/20 sec | f/5.6 | 45.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res
Wildlife | 1/1000 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_wildlife_1427964193.jpg">High-Res</a>
Wildlife | 1/1000 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Pentax K-S2 Lens test images

FOV Wide | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_FOV_wide_1427964330.jpg">High-Res</a>
FOV Wide | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
FOV Telephoto | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_FOV_telephoto_1427964319.jpg">High-Res</a>
FOV Telephoto | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Flare Resistance | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_flare_resistance_1427964307.jpg">High-Res</a>
Flare Resistance | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Macro | 1/8 sec | f/11.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_macro_1427964341.jpg">High-Res</a>
Macro | 1/8 sec | f/11.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Lens Performance - The lens provided is the new SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm f/4-5.6 DC WR RE, with 55mm filter thread. As befits the DA L designations, the lens has a plastic mount and the lens hood is not included. However, the lens does allow for the QuickShift function, where manual adjustments to the AF may be made at any time. This is an excellent feature for macro shooting in particular.

Pentax K S2 (9)

The Weather Resistant construction is always welcome, giving us the freedom to shoot in all weathers. There is a lot to be said for bad weather photography, which can be colourful and spectacular.

The RE stands for retractable and this is the first Pentax DSLR lens with this feature. The lens is retracted for storage and extended for use. This is similar to the mechanism first used on the 15-45mm telephoto lens for the Q system. It works well and a fail-safe mechanism warns us with an on-screen message that the shutter release is disabled should we try to use the lens without extending it first.

Pentax K-S2 Other sample images

18mm F4 | 1/2000 sec | f/4.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_18mm_f4_1427964463.jpg">High-Res</a>
18mm F4 | 1/2000 sec | f/4.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
18mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_18mm_f8_1427964477.jpg">High-Res</a>
18mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
18mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_18mm_f22_1427964491.jpg">High-Res</a>
18mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
35mm F4 5 | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_35mm_f4-5_1427964503.jpg">High-Res</a>
35mm F4 5 | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
35mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_35mm_f8_1427964517.jpg">High-Res</a>
35mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
35mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_35mm_f22_1427964528.jpg">High-Res</a>
35mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 37.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
50mm F 5 6 | 1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_50mm_f-5-6_1427964540.jpg">High-Res</a>
50mm F 5 6 | 1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
50mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_50mm_f8_1427964554.jpg">High-Res</a>
50mm F8 | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
50mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_50mm_f22_1427964567.jpg">High-Res</a>
50mm F22 | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Lens quality is rather better than the previous 18-55mm reviewed and produces very pleasing images. Kit lenses can have a poor reputation generally, but Pentax do offer better than average examples. The test images provided are unsharpened, but with the appropriate processing and sharpening will produce excellent images. The lens is also highly resistant to flare. A very good lens that I would be happy to use routinely.

Pentax K-S2 ISO test images

0.5 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO100-IMGP0342_1428415453.jpg">High-Res</a>
0.5 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO200-IMGP0343_1428415461.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
1/8 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO400-IMGP0344_1428415468.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/8 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res
1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO800-IMGP0345_1428415479.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 800
High-Res
1/30 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 1600<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO1600-IMGP0346_1428415489.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/30 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res
1/60 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 3200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO3200-IMGP0347_1428415499.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/60 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 3200
High-Res
1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 6400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO6400-IMGP0348_1428415511.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 6400
High-Res
1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 12800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO12800-IMGP0349_1428415522.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 12800
High-Res
1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 25600<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO25600-IMGP0350_1428415534.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 25600
High-Res
1/1000 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 51200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-ISO51200-IMGP0351_1428415545.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/1000 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 51200
High-Res

ISO Noise Performance - The noise levels of the K-S2 are very well controlled, with complete usability up to ISO 1600. It all holds together well until ISO 6400, but beyond that sharpness is suffering and the noise is really creeping in. However, better a noisy shot than one that is spoilt by camera shake. I would happily use whatever ISO was necessary to get the shot.

Pentax K-S2 White-balance test images

AWB Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-AWB-Tungsten-IMGP0352_1428416137.jpg">High-Res</a>
AWB Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
AWB Multi Area Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-AWB-Multi-Area-Tungsten-IMGP0353_1428416113.jpg">High-Res</a>
AWB Multi Area Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
WB Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-WB-Tungsten-IMGP0354_1428416166.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Tungsten | 1/4 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
AWB Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-AWB-Fluorescent-IMGP0355_1428416101.jpg">High-Res</a>
AWB Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
AWB Multi Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-AWB-Multi-Fluorescent-IMGP0356_1428416124.jpg">High-Res</a>
AWB Multi Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
WB Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/Pentax-K-S2-WB-Fluorescent-IMGP0357_1428416151.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Fluorescent | 1.3 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving an accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a slight magenta colour cast.

Pentax K-S2 Outdoor images

WB AWB | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_WB_AWB_1427963911.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB AWB | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
WB Cloudy | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_WB_cloudy_1427963923.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Cloudy | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
WB Daylight | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_WB_daylight_1427963936.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Daylight | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
WB Multi AWB | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_WB_multi_AWB_1427963948.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Multi AWB | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
WB Shade | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_WB_shade_1427963961.jpg">High-Res</a>
WB Shade | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

The white balance options have been extended to include MultiAWB, a feature absorbed from Ricoh, but I think standard AWB or a preset offer better colour. The Multi option seems a little cold and Pentax cameras generally have a fairly warm rendition. For everyday outside use Daylight will give good results and reflect the natural colour well, or maybe Cloudy if an even warmer result is desired. In shade, in common with other models, there is a tendency for a purple hue to become apparent. This is where the Shade preset comes into its own, and it does correct the colour.

Pentax K-S2 Digital filters

Digital Filter Bold Monochrome | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_bold_monochrome_1427964837.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Bold Monochrome | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Extract Colour Red | 1/13 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_extract_colour_red_1427964848.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Extract Colour Red | 1/13 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter High Contrast | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_high_contrast_1427964860.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter High Contrast | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Invert Colour | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_invert_colour_1427964871.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Invert Colour | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter None | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_none_1427964882.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter None | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Replace Colour Red For Green | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_replace_colour_red_for_green_1427964893.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Replace Colour Red For Green | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Retro | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_retro_1427964904.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Retro | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Shading | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_shading_1427964916.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Shading | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Toy Camera | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_toy_camera_1427964929.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Toy Camera | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Digital Filter Unicolour Bold | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_digital_filter_unicolour_bold_1427964943.jpg">High-Res</a>
Digital Filter Unicolour Bold | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Bleach Bypass | 1/50 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_bleach_bypass_1427964955.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Bleach Bypass | 1/50 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Bright | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_bright_1427964967.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Bright | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Cross Processing | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_cross_processing_1427964980.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Cross Processing | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Landscape | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_landscape_1427964996.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Landscape | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Monochrome | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_monochrome_1427965008.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Monochrome | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Muted | 1/40 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_muted_1427965020.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Muted | 1/40 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Natural | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_natural_1427965033.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Natural | 1/80 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_portrait_1427965047.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Radiant | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_radiant_1427965067.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Radiant | 1/60 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Image Style Vibrant | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_image_style_vibrant_1427965080.jpg">High-Res</a>
Image Style Vibrant | 1/100 sec | f/22.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Scene Mode Forest | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_scene_mode_forest_1427965093.jpg">High-Res</a>
Scene Mode Forest | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Scene Mode Landscape | 1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/KS2-5737/highres/pentax_ks2_scene_mode_landscape_1427965108.jpg">High-Res</a>
Scene Mode Landscape | 1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Digital Filters - There are a wide variety of digital filters and scene modes available for JPEG shooters, and the quality of the JPEG output is excellent. RAW capture can be saved using PEF or DNG formats, the latter being for me the obvious one of choice, ensuring good compatibility in the future.

Video - Movie format is MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 giving Full HD quality. There is a built in stereo microphone with adjustable level. Up to 25 minutes (4 GB) can be recorded in one go, subject to the camera's internal temperature not reaching critical levels. Digital filters and SR can be used in Movie mode. Very conveniently, the movie mode is operated by the on/off switch, so it can easily be used at any time.

The quality is pleasingly smooth and although video has never seemed to be at the forefront of the minds of Pentax's engineers, it has vastly improved from earlier models.

Value For Money

Pentax have been offering some very attractive cameras at very attractive prices over recent years. The K-S2 continues this tradition. We have a very well made camera, superb image quality, a 100% view glass pentaprism, weather resistance, fold out screen and Wi-Fi all built into a compact, well designed body. This is a package for the enthusiast and represents extremely good value for money, priced at £535 body only, or £625 with 18-50mm lens.

Alternatives include the Nikon D5500, with 24mp sensor, 3.2inch vari-angle touchscreen, and Wi-Fi, priced at £660 with kit lens, or the Canon EOS 750D, with 24mp sensor, vari-angle touchscreen, Wi-Fi, priced at £689 with kit lens. However, these both lack weather-sealing, and only the Nikon D5500 features a collapsing kit lens. 

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Pentax K-S2 Verdict

It must be said that the K-S1 was a very attractive proposition, being a lovely camera to use and it came out of my review highly recommended. But the K-S2 tops that, without a doubt, proving that anything can be improved, no matter how well thought out. The K-S2 is highly impressive and performs flawlessly.

I immediately liked its predecessor, but the K-S2 manages to top that, fitting the hands like a glove and performing superbly in every respect. In many ways I prefer this design to the more expensive K-3, although we have to recognise that there are still some advantages to the more expensive model. In its class, the enthusiast-orientated K-S2 is absolutely superb, and I would very happily use one for the photography I do.

Pentax K-S2 Pros

Superb ergonomic design
Fold out screen
Glass pentaprism finder
Weather resistance
Value for money
High image quality
Built in Wi-Fi and NFC
New compact retractable lens

Pentax K-S2 Cons

No top screen
Plastic outer shell rather than magnesium alloy
Lower frame rates than K-3

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Pentax K-S2 is one of the best Pentax DSLRs so far, with superb design, features and handling.

 

Pentax K-S2 Specifications

ManufacturerPentax
Lens
Effective Magnification 1.5x
Image Sensor
Pixels 20.12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 5472
Pixels (H) 3648
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C
Sensor Size (width) 23.5mm
Sensor Size (height) 15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 921K dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/6000sec
Shutter speeds longest 30sec
Bulb mode Yes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 100 - 51200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp +/-5
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 5.4fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS 30/25/24
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi Yes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Pentax D-LI109 lithium ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating) 480shots
Box Contents
Box Contents Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI109, Battery Charger D-BC109, AC cable D-COE, Strap O-ST132, Software (CD-ROM) S-SW151, Eyecup FR, Hot shoe cover, FK Body mount cover, Lens front ring O-FR52 black or white
Dimensions
Weight 678g
Width 122.5mm
Height 91mm
Depth 72.5mm


Related Photos
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boudou701

Link Posted 09/04/2015 - 18:28
thanks for the review, i've ordered mine and should be able to play with it next week. The ISO is the most crucial part for me and it looks promising (up to 1600 ISO)
KX film, ME Super, K-S2
Pentax 10-17mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Tamron 17-50mm, Pentax 55-300mm
Sigma 20mm f1.8, Sigma 24mm f2.8, Sigma 30mm f1.4, Pentax A 50mm f1.7, Pentax K 55mm f1.8
Metz 36 AF-4
--> borrow or rent Photography equipment from people around you on Needy Monkey - link

johnriley

Link Posted 10/04/2015 - 08:03
Hope you enjoy your new camera, please post some images in the Gallery or forums so we can see the results!
Best regards, John

tyronet2000

Link Posted 10/04/2015 - 09:53
This sounds very much like the Pentax I was looking for. I'd already purchased a different (mirrorless) brand for the light weight and the articulating viewing screen as the KS-2 wasn't available, hadn't heard of it. Would like to have a hands-on try of this camera and probably I'd be part-exchanging. Weightwise John how does it compare to say a K-5.
Regards
Stan

PPG

johnriley

Link Posted 10/04/2015 - 13:34
It seemed lighter than the K-5. I was shooting a wedding while I had the K-S2 and I used both cameras for that. Thr K-S2 seemed definitely smaller and lighter. That's just my perception in use, I haven't checked the figures. The K-S2 is under 500g, the K-5 760g body only, I've just weighed one. Quite a difference!
Best regards, John

mi_kef

Link Posted 11/04/2015 - 12:50
What a pity there isn't room for a small top screen.

johnriley

Link Posted 11/04/2015 - 13:22
I missed it at first, but soon got used to it. It's all there on the back screen. I agree though it would have been nice, but if it couldn't be done it's only a small negative point IMHO.
Best regards, John

dcweather

Link Posted 12/04/2015 - 00:45
Thanks for the excellent review. Sounds better than a K3 ! Just a small point in the interests of accuracy. Are there "thousands" of legacy lenses in K mount? I've just sold a K-S1 and I did say there were "hundreds" of legacy lenses available. Thousands implies more than one thousand - are there that many? You could well be right but it seems a lot.
Dave

johnriley

Link Posted 12/04/2015 - 09:21
Dave, I admit I have no idea how many, but I'm suggesting "thousands" to mean an inderminate large number of lenses, but not lens types. In my concept of thousands, there may be quite a few 50mm lenses!

Your point is well taken though and I hope I've clarified the intent of the statement.
Best regards, John

dcweather

Link Posted 12/04/2015 - 20:52
Maybe "zillions" would work. In fact I looked it up and it said:-
"Words with the suffix "-illion", most commonly zillion, gazillion, bajillion, and jillion and are often used as fictitious names for an unspecified, large number by analogy to names of large numbers such as million, billion and trillion."
Dave

sportyman531

Link Posted 14/04/2015 - 11:11
The KS-2 goes straight to the top of my "wants list"! Question is can I wait a couple of years until the KS-3 comes out and the price of the KS-2 comes down? But then I would probably want a KS-3.....
flickr ID: SteveW46243 or sw46246
DA AL 35mm f2.4, K3,18-135 WR, DA 55-300, Pentax KX, K5 x 2, 18-50 50-200 kit lenses, Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Fuji X10, 2x Mamiya 1000s 2x 80mm f2.8, 150mm f3.5, 210mm f4, Yashica 124G TLR, 2x Yashica FX3 Super 2000, Tamron 28mm f2.8, 90mm SP f2.5, 135mm f2.5, Olympus 35RC, 2x Yashica FX2, Kodak Pocket Instamatic, Kodak Box Brownie

drofmit

Link Posted 18/04/2015 - 11:42
John, a question about those....
"opening up the possibility of using thousands of.... legacy lenses.... as well as the current range."

I still use my istD because it operates the iris properly on all my old analogue K-Mount glassware...
however, my K7 doesn't on over 80% of them! Yet it is meant to...
it won't operate the iris on my big Tamron Adaptall 2 zoom...
nor the Chinon 100mm close-focus...
and only occasionally my ultra-flat Pentax 40mm...
it does work... most of the time ...with the three low f-stop Pentax "standard" lenses...
that have accumulated in my collection somehow...

A very good article, long overdue , for the immediate future would be an indication of the legacy lens handling of all the top range models...
starting especially with this new camera and the "old" K3...
as I am about to receive my "lump sum" from my work pension and wish to invest it wisely...
therefore some, naturally, on a new camera....
and the review above has now totally upset my wheelbarrow full of apples!

You must have a cupboard full of "old" high quality glass to undertake this arduous task...
and I, and probably most, of the 'older' Pentaxians out here would be eternally grateful!
As will peepilz trying to sell old Pentax mount glass on eBay... and, here in France, Le Bon Coin...
Thanks in advance!

Now to try and find something to "Make a Statement" with for this week...
anything to avoid MORE gardening!!
Never be afraid to talk about your techniques...
"Give a thousand photographers...
the same camera, lens and scene...
and you'll always get a thousand different takes!!"
Anon.
Last Edited by drofmit on 18/04/2015 - 11:44

johnriley

Link Posted 18/04/2015 - 17:07
These days, I only use lenses with an "A" on the aperture ring, thus avoiding having to use stop down metering. So, if we use A Series lenses and later there should be no problems.

K and M lenses do need a bit of messing to use, although many people don't mind that.

Screw thread lenses are a breeze because we can just stop them down manually and use them at working aperture. On many, using the Auto/Manual switch on the lens means they can be opened for focusing and then stopped down for taking with little fuss. That should be good for macro in particular.
Best regards, John

drofmit

Link Posted 18/04/2015 - 22:44
Problem is John...
I have NO A-series lenses...
or M-series...
just nice old, "simples" K-mounts...
and the K7 just doesn't seem to operate lenses like my big Tamron, or Chinon...
and I'd hate to part with them...
the quality is way better than most lenses that I could afford now.
And I got rid of my M42s when I changed from a well known East German make...
think Nova B... to Pentax...
and, while waiting for Pentax to bring out that very elusive phantom....
a digital back for the MX and LX...
I changed to F*ji... and got good results...
then along came the istD...
and I returned to the fold.

What I would really like to know is...
does the K-S2 or the K3 actually operate the iris lever on really old lenses...
or are they still as weak as the K7?
I am sure that I can't be the only person who would like an answer to that!

Never be afraid to talk about your techniques...
"Give a thousand photographers...
the same camera, lens and scene...
and you'll always get a thousand different takes!!"
Anon.

johnriley

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 09:20
The answer is that nothing has changed, and backwards compatibility of mounts is the same as the K-7.

Unfortunately, this is well established now and personally I don't think it's likely that we would ever see a return to full functionality for those non-electronic lenses. My guess is that to do so would actually add a fair bit of cost to every camera and is only needed by a rapidly reducing number of people. There is a work around, as we know, but it's a bit of a faff and the metering doesn't work in the same way as later lenses, so results can be variable.

To be fair, we can use A series lenses onwards without any problems, and that means lenses up to around 40 years old. I think that's pretty good.
Best regards, John

drofmit

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 10:46
Thanks John....
both my favourite lenses are second-hand buys from the early Eighties...
so pre-date the A-series lenses....
I think I might have to invest a bit more of my lump sum wisely!!

"There is a work around, as we know, but it's a bit of a faff"...
I don't... is there an article somewhere, or a forum post on it that you can point me at, please?
And how would you suggest I should term my search, if not?
I have tried on various Pentax user sites but always seem to draw a blank...
possibly my old terminology is wrong for nowadays...
I still think ASA... not ISO!! I'm pre-metrication......
as for the faff... film is free nowadays, and I enjoy experimenting!!
Tim
Never be afraid to talk about your techniques...
"Give a thousand photographers...
the same camera, lens and scene...
and you'll always get a thousand different takes!!"
Anon.

johnriley

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 11:04
I found this by searching for "M series stop down" (K series is the same for this purpose)

Quote:
Pentax digital cameras have a "crippled" mount that isn't as compatible with old lenses as film cameras were. But you can use stop-down metering...

In the Custom menu, set Allow aperture ring to Permitted.

Switch the camera to Manual mode.

Select your desired aperture via the ring on the lens

Press the Green button to set the shutter speed, or Depth-of-field Preview lever (set to optical mode) to get meter reading. This is unreliable, so manual adjustment may be required after taking a test shot.

Or you can use Av mode with the largest aperture only.

Or put some selotape where the electrical contacts would be if it had any, and use Av mode with all apertures (but EV compensation is needed; only 2 to 3 stops of compensation available).

Or you can not fully twist the lens when mounting so that the mechanical linkage doesn't line up. This allows you to manually keep the lens stopped down and use Av mode with all apertures. But you get a dark viewfinder with small apertures, and there's a risk of your lens dropping off (unless you modify it with a drilled hole)!

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John

drofmit

Link Posted 21/04/2015 - 07:10
Thanks John...
I'll give the latter options a try...
I've tried the first options... but it is the actual mechanics that don't seem to operate....
the Sellotape option seems a good one... shallow EV comp, yes...
but I've got the Cokin ND filters in my arsenal, too.
The more I think about it, tho'...
the more I am inclined towards the K-S2 and spend the difference on a proper w/aperture macro...
I do a lot of insect and plant photography and the angled screen & Liveview would allow me to get a different angle on a rare'ish plant....
without destroying the habitat by lying down on the rest of the plants!!
And I like the two user options on the dial, too...
Never be afraid to talk about your techniques...
"Give a thousand photographers...
the same camera, lens and scene...
and you'll always get a thousand different takes!!"
Anon.

tyronet2000

Link Posted 18/05/2015 - 08:29
One thing I meat to ask about was battery life. The battery looks smaller than that used in the K-7 and upwards. I use a battery grip on the K-5IIs (set to grip first) and still carry a spare, was pleased the camera's used the same size battery so using Pentax originals. Would it be advisable to buy a 2nd battery straight away for the K-2S. I'm seriouly considering this camera, body only as the lenses I have are adequate to my needs
Regards
Stan

PPG

GrumpyGrandPa

Link Posted 02/01/2017 - 16:34
interesting thoughts and info.
Thanks.

did you get a KS-2 then Stan?
What do you think of it?

BernardSmith

Link Posted 20/02/2019 - 20:07
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