Pentax KP Performance


Timing and Performance

Mixed performance for its class.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.4 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.2 second

Time until first shot is captured.

The Pentax KP's power on to first shot time was slow for a DSLR, but switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was quite fast.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF
(Center AF point)

0.089 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with a Pentax 35mm f/2.8 lens).

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF
Flash enabled

0.396 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, Auto Flash enabled.

Manual focus

0.083 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.083 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View mode

Pre-focused
Live View

0.284 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Pentax KP's full autofocus shutter lag when shooting the same target multiple times was much faster than average for a prosumer DSLR when using the optical viewfinder. The KP required only 0.089 second for full AF using the center focus point with a Pentax 35mm f/2.8 lens. Enabling the built-in flash raised shutter lag to 0.396 second, reflecting the added delay caused by the metering preflash. Manual focus shutter lag was even faster than autofocus as expected, at 0.083 second. When prefocused, shutter lag remained at 0.083 second which is about average for a DSLR.

When prefocused in Live View mode, shutter lag was 0.284 second, which is not bad. We no longer test full AF lag in Live View mode, because contrast-detect AF speed tends to be very lens dependent for DSLRs.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)

Single Shot mode
Large Best JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
14-bit RAW + L/B JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H mode
Large Best JPEG

0.14 second
(7.10 fps);
35 frames total;
15 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 35 frame buffer, then slows to an average of 0.19 second or 5.37 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation.

Continuous H mode
14-bit RAW

0.14 second
(7.03 fps);
10 frames total;
15 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 10 frame buffer, then slows to an average of 0.68 second or 1.47 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation.

Continuous H mode
14-bit RAW + L/B
JPEG

0.14 second
(7.07 fps);
8 frames total;
16 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 8 frame buffer, then slows to an average of 1.08 seconds or 0.93 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation.

Flash recycling

1.4 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as highlight/shadow corrections or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were so fast that they were difficult to accurately measure as they depend on the tester's dexterity and ability to maintain an optimum rhythm, so your results may vary. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous H burst mode speeds were quite good at just over seven frames per second regardless of file type, easily meeting Pentax's spec. There is also a Continuous M mode rated at 3.0 fps and an L mode rated at 0.8 fps, but we did not test those speeds.

Buffer depth in Continuous H mode was fair when shooting just JPEGs at 35 Large Best Quality JPEG frames before the camera slowed, though with RAW (.DNG) files buffer depths were much shallower at 10 RAW frames or 8 RAW+L/B JPEG frames. While these buffer depth results exceed Pentax's specs for the KP, such shallow buffers when shooting RAW files is rather disappointing for an APS-C DSLR with a list price of about US$1,100 these days.

Buffer clearing was a bit sluggish even with our fast UHS-I SDHC card, taking 15 seconds to clear after a max-length burst of JPEGs or RAW files and 16 seconds after a max-length RAW+JPEG burst. The Pentax KP does however let you change settings, take additional shots or view just-shot photos while the buffer is clearing.

The KP's built-in flash took an average of 1.4 seconds to recharge after full-power shots, which is very fast.

Bottom line, the Pentax KP's performance was mixed for its class, ranging from very fast for autofocus speeds, cycle times, burst speeds and flash recycling to slow startup time, shallow RAW buffer depths and sluggish buffer clearing times.

Battery

Battery Life
Poor battery life for a DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
390

The Pentax KP uses a custom rechargeable D-LI109 lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated charger. Battery life when using the optical viewfinder is well below average for a DSLR, and Pentax does not specify battery life for Live View mode, which will certainly be a lot lower. We strongly recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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