CNET First Look
The Pentax K-S2 dSLR delivers for family photosFor people looking for something better than a point-and-shoot, the Pentax K-S2 is a good camera, but it falls short for videos.
[MUSIC] Ricoh's been plugging away in the consumer DSLR space. Even using flashing lights and tons of colors to lure first time and family buyers away from more [UNKNOWN] Nikons and Canons. But the KS2, the company goes for a slightly more conventional design. Combined with the weather sealed body, large view finder, and solid photo quality that has long been the hallmarks of Pentax's entry level cameras. The result, it's a really nice alternative, with unfortunately middling video quality. I'm Lori Grunin for CNet and this is the Pentax KS2. The camera feels sturdily built and comfortable to hold and use, without the usual plasticky feel of low-priced DSLRs. And the color accents are relatively subtle. it also uses lights a little more judiciously than its sibling the KS1, with indicators for movie versus still mode When automatic self portrait mode is turned on, and briefly at power on. My only issue with the design is the flat navigation buttons, which are easy to miss hit. The new kit lens is disappointing though, it uses the same collapsible design that companies like Olympus have already used and discarded. With a button you press to expand the lens, and a tough turn to fully collapse it. The size advantage you gain isn't really worth what you lose over a standard 18 to 55 millimeter lens. The photo quality and performance are quite good for the price. It renders relatively neutral white balance and colors, though you have plenty of options of making them less neutral if you want. For instance, Pentax offers something called color temperature enhancement mode that pushes the white balance to emphasize dominant colors in the lighting. Jpegs are reasonably good to ISO 1600 and usable to ISO 6400. It's also fast enough for most kids, pets, and travel photography. With solid autofocus performance and a sustained burst rate of about 4.5 frames per second The video's pretty disappointing, though. With shake reduction on, the movies have a bad case of the wobbles. If you turn off the shake reduction, the wobbles go away, but then it gets the shakes. Those issues aside, the video also suffers from serious moray. Plus, it lacks continuous auto focus in movie mode. Otherwise it has tons of useful features including two of Pentax's own semi-automatic exposure modes, sensitivity priority, and the mouthful shutter and aperture priority auto-exposure mode. It also has built in wi-fi with a nice remote shooting app, Astrotracer, which works in conjunction with an optional GPS To shoot long exposures without star trails. There's also a typical interval movie record which produces in camera time lapses, and horizon correction, which straightens out slightly tilted photos automatically. As a camera for the family photographer, or a step up from a point and shoot, the Pentax KS2's a solid option. Provided that the video issues really aren't a deal killer for you. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Pentax K-S2. [MUSIC]