Pentax K-S2 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good overall performance for its class.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.0 second

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 K-S2's startup time was a little 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)

0.124 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with Pentax 18-50mm f/4-5.6 kit lens.)

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF
Flash enabled

0.153 second

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

Manual focus

0.098 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

0.077 second

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

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View mode

Full Autofocus
Live View
Center AF

0.754 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Pre-focused
Live View

0.214 second

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

The Pentax K-S2's full autofocus shutter lag when shooting the same target multiple times was much faster than average for a consumer DSLR. The K-S2 required only 0.124 second for full AF using the center focus point with the kit lens at medium focal length. (We also tested this with our Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro reference lens, and got identical results.) Enabling the flash raised shutter lag only slightly to 0.153 second, reflecting the added delay caused by the metering preflash. Manual focus shutter lag was even faster than autofocus as expected, at 0.098 second. When prefocused, shutter lag dropped further to 0.077 second which is about average for a consumer DSLR.

As expected, full autofocus lag was slower in Live View mode. The Pentax K-S2 took about 0.75 second to focus in Live View in our tests. That's noticeably slower than using the optical viewfinder, but actually not bad for a DSLR. (How fast the lens can adjust focus makes a big difference here.) When prefocused, shutter lag fell to a more snappy 0.214 second in Live View mode.

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

0.35 second

Average time per shot.

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

0.35 second

Average time per shot.

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

0.19 second (5.24 frames per second);
28 frames total;
8 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 28 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 0.31 second or 3.2 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
12-bit RAW

0.19 second (5.23 frames per second);
9 frames total;
8 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 9 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 0.84 second or 1.20 fps when buffer is full.

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

0.19 second (5.21 frames per second);
6 frames total;
8 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 6 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 1.22 seconds or 0.82 fps when buffer is full.

Flash recycling

2.3 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.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were quite good for a consumer DSLR, at 0.35 second for Large Best Quality JPEGs or RAW + L/B JPEG frames. (Note that fast single-shot times like these depend a lot on the tester's rhythm, so your results may vary.) We no longer test just RAW files in single-shot mode, as it's usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG cycle time.

Continuous H mode speed was decent at about 5.2 frames per second regardless of file type, very close to Pentax's 5.5 fps spec. Note that the K-S2 captures 12-bit RAW files in Pentax PEF or Adobe DNG format, and no compression options are given for RAW files. There is also a Continuous L mode rated at 3 frames per second, but we did not test that mode.

Buffer depth in continuous mode was good when shooting just JPEGs at 28 Large Best Quality JPEG frames before the camera slowed, though with RAW files buffer depths were somewhat shallow at 9 RAW frames or 6 RAW+L/B JPEG frames. This is typical of DSLRs in its price range, though. Also note that our test target was designed to be difficult to compress, so shooting typical subjects may yield deeper buffers.

Buffer clearing was reasonable with our fast UHS-I SDHC card, taking 8 seconds to clear after a max-length burst of frames in all three format modes.

The K-S2's built-in flash took an average of 2.3 seconds to recharge after full-power shots, which is quite fast.

Bottom line, the Pentax K-S2's performance was generally good for its class in our tests. Startup was a little slow for a DSLR, but AF speeds were very fast, and shutter lag, single shot cycle-times, burst speeds and flash recycle times were all good. Buffer depths with RAW files were somewhat shallow, but that's not unusual for its class.

Battery

Battery Life
Poor battery life for a DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
410

The Pentax K-S2 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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