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Ricoh Pentax KP review: It's all about the dials in this DSLR

The Pentax KP is ideal for those who like to have maximum control on their fingertips.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 17, 2017, 03.43 PM IST
Price: Rs. 88,584

Specifications: 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, Prime IV image processor, 27 AF points, 3-inch tilting display, optical viewfinder, 7fps continuous shooting speed, RAW support, customisable buttons, full HD video recording, microphone port, WiFi, 703 grams (body only)

Rating: ***1/2

Pros: Compact, individual (one-touch) controls for almost everything, excellent image quality, 3 customisable buttons, tilting screen, weather sealed body

Cons: Heavy to carry around, no GPS, no 4k video recording, no direct HDMI connector, battery life could be better

Pentax is not a brand that usually comes to mind when you think of DSLRs in India. However, Pentax has some excellent offerings and the latest in their catalogue is the Pentax KP — a mid-size DSLR aimed at enthusiasts.

The first thing that impressed us on the Pentax KP is its compact size — it appears smaller than an average DSLR from Canon or Nikon. Second thing that immediately comes to notice are the number of dials and controls that Pentax KP offers. There are three dedicated dials for adjusting various parameters as per the selected mode, three customizable buttons, a function dial and a drive mode dial with 5 custom user modes.

You’ll also get a dedicated switch to switch between live view, viewfinder and video mode, another switch for choosing between manual or autofocus, a button to change AF mode and a button for AF/AE lock. All this makes the Pentax KP a delight for users who want maximum control at their fingertips. The button and dial placement is not random either — everything is meticulously placed for quick access.

Ricoh Pentax KP review: It's all about the dials in this DSLR

Pentax KP features a magnesium alloy body with weather sealing which makes it great for use in any condition. The downside of weather sealing is that the camera is bulky to carry at 703 grams even though it does not appear bulky. One feature we loved on the Pentax KP is the option of interchangeable grips — we do hope that Pentax offers the different size grips in India. On the back is a 3-inch tilting display which is handy for shooting — however we did not like the thick bezels surround the screen. The camera offers an optical viewfinder (pentaprism) which is preferred by a lot of pro photographers. Image quality from the Pentax KP is top notch but you need to tweak some settings for better results. We found that increasing the sharpening levels resulted in better photos overall.

Ricoh Pentax KP review: It's all about the dials in this DSLR

What we loved most on this DSLR is that even at high ISO levels, noise was minimal thanks to the noise reduction algorithm used by Pentax. We were shooting at ISO 12800 and saw minimal noise — images were good enough to print in 4 x 6 size. It was at ISO 25600 that we noise was visible in the images — they were still good enough to be shared online though. Video recording quality was also great, but the fact that there is no 4k video recording was a letdown.

Some of the things we did not like on the Pentax KP include lack of built-in GPS, inconsistent autofocus lock (tends to lose focus lock at times depending on subject movement) and the fact that there is no direct HDMI-out for connection.

One issue is with its battery life. With capturing stills and video, the battery ran out of charge after around 300 images and 20 minutes of video. DSLR’s that cost this much should offer a minimum of 500 shots on a single charge. That being said, if you want to have maximum control on their DSLR, do check out the Pentax KP. In the same price range, you can also consider the Canon EOS 80D that offers similar features and performance but doesn’t have the plethora of controls that the Pentax has.

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