- Jan 26, 2008
Touted as world's smallest DSLR with a weather-resistant and dustproof construction and vari-angle LCD screen, K-S2 is Pentax's newest DSLR (other than the just announced K-3II which is not available yet). With the vari-angle LCD monitor, small WR body and wifi, i guess this is aimed at holidays goers. As such, i decide to test it while on holidays in HongKong recently.
Disclaimer: I have paid for both the body and lens and so this is not a sponsored post.
As this is meant to be user experience, please refer to the official website for the specs. Also, all photos are post processed as it is my preference to do so.
The body is small but solid. The grip feels good although i still prefer the K3 deeper grip. The kit lens (smc PENTAX-DA L18-50mmF4-5.6 DC WR RE) is really compact when retracted. However, in terms of build quality, the ability to retract means that it has a 2 part barrel. When extended, the extended barrel feels wobbly. Also, you need to push a small button at the side to extend and retract the lens. Somehow, the built quality do not give me the confidence and given that it can be quite hard to push the pins, i always feel that the lens will be broken sooner or later.
Given that i have used Pentax cameras for about 5 years, the layout is familiar to me and there is no need for me to refer to the manual. The wifi function work perfectly and you can use the app to change the settings and take picture. You can also send the photos to your phone directly which is great for sharing your photos with other friends or social media on the spot. The wifi button also act as a shutter button when you are taking a selfie with the screen facing you. Given that i do not take selfie, this is not a major feature for me but i guess some would like it. The vari-angle however is a different matter. Given my style of shooting, the fact that the screen can be tilted means that i can take those overhead or low angle shots easier. Previously i will just guessimate and hope the shots turn out fine
overhead shot (iso 800, F4)
low angle shot. (iso 800, F4). For this shot, i put the camera around my knee level and flip the screen up
In terms of autofocus, i will say its fast, not super blazing fast but fast enough for street shots. Although the autofocus points are lesser than those in K3, it is not a concern for me because i am used to using only the center point to focus and recompose.
The availability of 2 dials to change settings is also a plus for me. Although i shoot A mode most of the time, the availability of the second dial means that i can set it to change ISO, something which i do change often while shooting on the streets.
While the smc PENTAX-DA L18-50mmF4-5.6 DC WR RE is a so-called kit lens, the IQ is actually quite decent. Also, it is also WR, a plus feature if you plan to take the camera and the lens for some rugged journey (e.g. hiking, water sports or songkran in Thailand). Both the tele and wide ends are pretty decent although based on my experience, the tele end is better with the wide end showing some distortions.
wide end (FL 20mm, iso 1600, F4.5)
tele end (FL 50mm, iso 100, F5.6)
All in all, i would personally recommend K-S2 to those who wish to buy a WR DSLR. At $10xx, i would say it represent value for money even over the current K3 with it vari-angle screen and smaller body. Of course, it will not suit everyone needs but as a holiday camera, I would say go for it. However, if you can afford it, i would recommend to upgrade your lens given that Pentax has some of the nicest lens around. This is because although the supplied kit lens is decent, the small button to extend and retract the lens can be a pain sometimes. Sometimes, I had difficulties extending and retracting the lens which caused me a few missed shots on the streets. Extending the lens and keeping it on was not really a option for me due to my reservations on the built quality especially when keeping the lens in the bag.
More photos to follow soon