As a kid, the first camera I saw and fell in love with was a Pentax SLR. I can’t even remember the model number of my uncle’s camera, but it was something I aspired for. By the time I switched to photography as my primary hobby, there were no Pentax cameras around, at least not in India. Now, however, Pentax seems to be in a bid to regain some of that lost ground in India with the new K-S2 DSLR.
The Pentax K-S2 is a compact DSLR and is the world’s smallest with weather proofing. This successor of the K-S1, it tries to fix bugs in the earlier model and bridge the gap with the flagship Pentax K-3. It also tries to be in sync with the times by adding NFC and Wi-Fi.
Specs: 20.12 megapixels CMOS sensor | PRIME M II image processing engine | ISO AUTO/100 to 51200 | 1/6000 to 30 sec shutter speed | 3-inch LCD |Full HD(1920×1080, 30p/25p/24p) video | NFC | Wi-FI
What is good?
Well, there is no point talking about the features of a camera if the imaging capabilities are not up to the mark. And on the imaging front the K-S2 is a real star, giving superb results for everything, from macro to low-light settings. The camera does a real good job pushing everything other than the subject into a defocus, and thus giving an artistic touch to photos.
The camera offering everything an average photographer will need for his work. There are easy to access controls, a tiltable LCD panel, quick access to video and keys that can be customised to suit your preference. And this ability to customise flows into other features of the camera too and there are tonnes of settings that can be tweaked. So, the menu dial comes with some additional settings unseen on other cameras like TAV that lets you set both shutter as well as aperture priority, but is still not everything as the full manual mode. There is a sensitivity priority that lets you tweak only the ISO and two user priorities as well as a bulb setting.
One of the unique feature of the camera is the ISO 51200 settings, double of what I have used on mirrorless cameras. And this intrigued me to try some real low light, or should I say no light, photos. Yes, the camera can shoot pictures in pitch darkness and there is a green guidelight that lets you focus. But the images were a bit too noisy for my liking. The good thing here is that camera does really well in ISO 8000 and you don’t really need to push it to ISO 51200.
The camera comes with Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. Once you have the Pentax app downloaded linking the camera and a phone is just a tap away on an NFC-enabled phone. I did have issues connecting the camera to an iPhone but things were much smoother on Android. Also, the app is as uncomplicated as it could be and lets you control almost everything on the camera. This is a real plus for this device.
The video capabilities are also very good and the focus really shines through when you are trying to keep something in frame. Also, not all cameras in this range offer you the option of an external microphone port and that makes it a good option for those looking for a camera that can do more than its bit of video.
What is not that good?
I got the feeling the UI on the camera could have been more contemporary and easy to navigate. Everything from the font to the icons have a 1980s Sinclair feel about them and this does not appeal to me.
Some of the settings are fun to use, but the results appear as if they are over processed and some programme has run riot on it. For instance, the A-HDR threw up some real shockers and I would not recommend this setting for anyone who takes their photography seriously.
While a very versatile camera, the K-S2 seems overpriced for the Indian market where you can get mid-range cameras from Canon, Nikon or Sony for the same price. Most of them offer similar features. Also, the kit lens here is a 18-55mm, and not the amazing 18-50mm that Petax offers in some other markets.
The Pentax K-S2 is certainly one of the best DSLRs available in India at the moment. It is a camera that tries to tick all the boxes as well as offer everything an average camera user will need. The struggle for Pentax will be to create awareness and trust about its products in a market where Canon and Nikon still command most of the mind space. If you have used Pentax before and have lenses that can go with this camera body, then don’t bat an eyelid before picking this one up.