Pentax K-S1: A Comprehensive Review of the Affordable DSLR CameraKeywords: Pentax K-S1, DSLR camera, review, affordable, features

In this article, we will take a closer look at the Pentax K-S1, a budget-friendly DSLR camera that offers an impressive array of features. From its 20-megapixel sensor to its responsive autofocus system, the K-S1 is a versatile camera that is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Pentax K-S1 article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 27 2014


20 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

Other similar cameras

Pentax Q-S1 thumbnail

Pentax Q-S1

Released Aug 04 2014 | 12MP resolution

Pentax K-1 thumbnail

Pentax K-1

Released Feb 17 2016 | 36MP resolution

Pentax K-3 thumbnail

Pentax K-3

Released Apr 10 2014 | 24MP resolution

Overview of the K-S1

DSLR cameras have become increasingly popular over the years, and with so many options available in the market, it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. If you're on a budget, the Pentax K-S1 is definitely worth considering. This affordable camera packs a punch with its impressive features that make capturing stunning photos a breeze. In this article, we'll dive deep into the Pentax K-S1 to help you decide whether this camera is the right fit for you. Let's get started!

Pentax K-S1 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Pentax K-S1 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


20 megapixel CMOS sensor (good for high resolution images)
Built-in Shake Reduction (helps avoid blurry photos)
100% viewfinder coverage (shows entire image frame)
ISO range up to 51200 (good for low light situations)
Compact and lightweight body
Ability to shoot in RAW format (greater image control in post-processing)


Limited lens selection compared to Canon and Nikon
No built-in Wi-Fi or NFC connectivity
No touchscreen interface
Lacks weather-sealing (not ideal for extreme conditions)
Limited video capabilities (no 4K, only 1080p)
Low battery life compared to competitors

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Pentax K-S1

Weather sealed
Dimensions121 x 93 x 70mm

Weather Sealing

The Pentax K-S1 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution921k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 921k dots. This makes the Pentax K-S1 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


K-S1 includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.64x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Pentax K-S1 has a 20MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 20 pixels. Pentax K-S1 has a native ISO range of 100 - 51200 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Aug 27 2014


100 - 51200

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution5472 x 3648 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


78 / 102

Color Depth

23.5 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

13 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

1061 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Pentax K-S1 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the K-S1 is average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life410 shots
Battery ModelD-LI109
Wireless Connectivity


The Pentax K-S1 supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Pentax K-S1 uses the D-LI109 model of battery pack. This is rated for 410 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Pentax K-S1 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Pentax K-S1 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/6000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Pentax K-S1 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 11 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Pentax K-S1?

The Pentax K-S1 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Pentax K-S1 weather sealed?

No the K-S1 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Pentax K-S1 announced?

The Pentax K-S1 was announced on Aug 27 2014

Does the Pentax K-S1 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the K-S1 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Pentax K-S1?

The K-S1 has a native ISO range of 100-51200, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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