In this article, we will be taking a look at the Pentax KS2 vs the Nikon d5500. With both of these cameras having a very similar price point while also offering similar functionality, it is no surprise that we often see people comparing the two together while wondering which one of the cameras they should purchase.
Although the Nikon d5500 is a much more established camera with a larger user base and an excellent reputation within the photography community, the Pentax K S2 is managing to slowly gain ground and carve out its own loyal userbase of photographers earning it a good reputation within the community.
We have decided to research both of the cameras and publish this article in the hope that it will be able to help any of our readers who find themselves in this same situation. We have tried to be as fair as possible throughout the article and remain impartial to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Table of Contents
The Pentax KS2 vs The Nikon d5500
Our comparison chart above shows a number of key features for both the Nikon d5500 and the Pentax K-S2. As you can see, on paper at least, both of the cameras are very similar to each other. Thankfully, we will be breaking down some of the unique quirks of each camera in the sections below to try and help make your decision easier.
Our Pentax K-S2 Review
Its 20-megapixel capability is slightly lower than that of the Nikon d5500 but the Pentax still offers some excellent entry level image capability producing some very clean and sharp photographs at a range of different ISO settings. On top of this, the Pentax also has excellent low light photography performance too that rivals that of some higher price point cameras. The viewfinder on the KS2 is also one hundred percent accurate too offering it a small edge over the Nikon d5500.
One of the best features of the KS2 is the weather sealing on the camera that comes as standard and does not require any third-party camera case. At this price point, we were unable to find any other camera that could withstand the amount of punishment of the KS2 and keep snapping without issue. It can be covered in mud, submerged in water, and battered by freezing winds and snow without even being phased.
One of the main complains that we were able to see with the KS2 is the issues with the focusing point selection buttons. The default button is poorly positioned to the bottom right of the screen on the back of the camera and many people accidentally change their focusing point by accident.
One common workaround that Pentax KS2 users have started to implement is to remap the focusing point selection functionality to the RAW/FX button on the side of the camera as shown in the image to the right. This is quick and easy to do in the easy to use navigation and settings menu on the KS2 and can help reduce the number of times people accidentally change their focusing point but unfortunately, it does not totally remove the problem.
Moving on, we would like to quickly touch on the performance of the kit lens that is included with the Pentax KS2. Although it is very compact, lightweight, just as weatherproof as the camera body it does have its drawbacks. It can be a pain to unlock quickly and get the lens to do what you want to capture some spontaneous or random photographs with no real work around being available for this. Additionally, the lens just feels cheap and a little clunky to use.
One thing that we do like about the Pentax K2 that other cameras at this price point do no currently offer is its instant remapping of the shutter button for selfies. Although some people may consider this a useless feature, we became quick fans of it.
When you take out the screen of the KS2 and flip it to face forwards, the wi-fi button on the camera lights up green as shown in the image to left. This makes it much easier for you to capture your selfie using the natural range of motion of your hand rather than having to be able to pull of some uncomfortable grip position with some other cameras. If for some reason you don’t like this feature then it can be turned off or re-mapped in the camera settings menu.
Although the vast majority of photographers probably won’t care, we would just like to point out that there i no headphone jack on the KS2 at all. Depending on what you are needing your camera for this may be a deal breaker for some niche photographers.
The mic jack input is easy to use and we feel that it is in a good position where the cable from your mic won’t get in the way. We would recommend that you use a high-quality microphone input (Click here to check for product prices and availability) for your Pentax KS2 to get the best out of it.
Although the KS2 is marketed as a sort of outdoor action SLR, it does struggle with some basic stuff that you would expect from a camera in this niche. For example, it does not have the best slow motion capabilities at all even when you take the time to tweak its settings. That said, for an entry-level camera, we feel that it does perform as expected and should be able to meet the needs of most entry-level photographers.
In our opinion, the biggest let down of the Pentax KS2 when compared to the Nikon d5500 and other cameras at this price point is its video recording performance. Pentax has an inferior video codec in our opinion and your video options and customisability are very limited.
Our Nikon d5500 Review
Considering the price of the Nikon d5500, it really is an excellent quality, entry-level DSLR camera. Although it is made from plastic, it still feels like it has a high build quality and is able to produce some amazing quality still photographs. One advantage the Pentax KS2 has over the Nikon d5500 is that the KS2s viewfinder shows one hundred percent of the image whereas the d5500 only shows ninety-five percent of the image but in reality, this will not be a problem for the majority of entry-level photographers.
The screen on the d5500 is much better than the one on the KS2 with it being very bright and working great. Its additional touchscreen functionality also helps give the d5500 the edge over the KS2 in our opinion. You can quickly and easily tap an area on the screen to have the camera use that as your autofocus point saving you time and effort on the potential photographs where you only have a small window of time to capture it.
The image to the right shows the menu layout for the Nikon d5500. Although you can tell it was designed for a traditional button-based interface, we feel that the touchscreen functionality helps to speed up the process of changing or tweaking your settings on the camera as and when need.
The touchscreen functionality itself is very responsive and easy to use even when your fingers are cold and a little wet. The customizable “my menu” section also helps you favorite your most commonly tweaked settings to be on the screen as you open the menu so you can quickly and easily tap and change as required.
Although the LCD screen is fully rotatable, there is no instance shutter button swap on the d5500 like there is on the KS2. This can make it a little awkward at times if you are wanting to use the d5500 to quickly take a selfie but you are able to quickly and easily program one of the other buttons on the camera to act as your shutter button to act as a sort of workaround for this issue.
One of the main things that the community seem to like about the Nikon d5500 is its excellent battery life. Although the camera up time from a single fully charged battery is going to change depending on what you are using your camera for as well as the various settings you are able to customize, it still outperforms the KS2 in our opinion. There are multiple reports of other d5500 users who reported being able to go out with their d5500 using only the included battery and still have plenty of charge leftover when they got back home after a full photography session.
Without a doubt, the most complained about feature on the Nikon d5500 is the fact that it only has one dial as shown in the image to the left. Whereas we can see why this may be a bit of a pain for some people, we feel the ease of use of the touchscreen options interface as well as there being plenty of programmable buttons kind of balances this out.
Just like the Pentax KS2, the Nikon d5500 leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to its video performance but we feel that the d5500 does a better job of recording video than the KS2 making it the better camera for any entry level videographer or anyone who plans to take a large amount of video with their camera.
Finally, the d5500 has a much larger range of lenses available for it too that cover a much wider range of requirements and price points. We feel that this also helps to give the d5500 an edge over the KS2.
So Should You Get The Pentax Or The Nikon?
The main advantage of the KS2 over the d5500 is its excellent weather sealing that the Nikon is unable to compete with unless you are willing to pick up an additional third-party weatherproof case but even then we feel the KS2 would still be more robust and resilient. So if you are in the very small number of entry-level niche photographers who need their camera to be waterproof and resistant to mud then the Pentax KS 2 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is the camera for you.
That said, if you are in the majority of entry-level photographers who do not need their camera of choice to be waterproof and as robust as the KS2 then we feel that the Nikon d5500 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) would be the better choice for you. It simply offers so much more for what in reality is only a small increase in price and the massive lens selection helps push the d5500 out ahead of the KS2.