Pentax K-S2 Review – In the days when film photography ruled the roost, Pentax was up there with the likes of Nikon and Canon. When film developed into digital, Pentax had a bit of a slow start but it has certainly been upping its digital game recently, providing high-end cameras with enviable specifications for relatively affordable prices, such as the recently launched Pentax K-S2. Boasting a 20.1MP sensor, Full HD video recording, alongside an ISO range of 100 to 51200 and multiple-exposure options, there’s a lot to get excited about.
One of the biggest features that’s garnering attention is the dustproof, weatherproof chassis, which is something that many rival brands only feature in their higher-end releases. In hand, the K-S2 does indeed feel sturdy, and on closer inspection the body feels rugged and well built. The button menu is logical, but in use it can be impractical and fiddly, especially if you try to adjust settings with your eye to the viewfinder.
Aesthetically, the K-S2 won’t appeal to the most style-conscious of photographers. The build is blocky, and despite coming in a range of colours (including black, black with accent colours, forest green, beige or white), there are more attractive cameras out there.
The K-S2 also features accent lights on the main control dial as well as the shutter button. While they add a modern twist to the body, they’re actually somewhat distracting, particularly if you’re shooting in low-light situations and you’re using the viewfinder. Thankfully there is the option to dim them or turn them off altogether.
This displeasing aesthetic doesn’t extend to the innards of the K-S2, as images are beautifully rendered with plenty of clarity and vibrance. Pentax has often been praised for its appealing colour rendition, and the K-S2 provides glorious, warm tones in both bright and low-light scenes.
While shots have lovely hue and saturation, the K-S2 has a tendency to overexpose slightly, but this is easily corrected by adjusting the exposure compensation dial, which is accessed via a button on the top of the camera. You’ll need to do this, however, as blown highlights are hard to recover in editing.
Shooting in low light isn’t much of an issue, either. Even when the ISO is as high as 3200, noise isn’t detrimental to the shots. However, the autofocus option does take a bit of a hit in darker conditions, as it struggles to latch onto the subject.
Historically, many companies have limited multiple-exposure modes to high-end releases, but this is something that’s trickling down into lower-end DSLRs across the board. The Pentax K-S2 has its own multipleexposure mode too, which theoretically enables you to shoot between two and 2,000 images – the camera will then comp these shots together into one final image. It’s a fun addition that works well, albeit one that requires patience to perfect, and it saves you having to blend the images in Photoshop.
The Pentax K-S2 is a good camera – results are stunning in most conditions, and its rugged build can’t be faulted. However, autofocus isn’t the most reliable in low light, and the buttons can be frustrating to work with. If your only concern is image quality, the K-S2 is a great option; if you’re after a stylish shooter, you may have to keep looking.
Pentax K-S2 Specifications
- 20.1 Megapixel sensor
- Vari-angle 3″ LCD Screen
- Creative Filters