Nikon D3100 vs Pentax K-S2

  • APS-C
  • 14 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 41
    Overall
  • 13
    Imaging
  • 29
    Features
  • 73
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • APS-C
  • 20 megapixels
  • Pentax KAF2
  • 40
    Overall
  • 11
    Imaging
  • 67
    Features
  • 74
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D3100 vs Pentax K-S2: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to provide a detailed evaluation and comparison of two different camera models that fall into the same category - Entry-Level DSLR. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Nikon and Pentax. Although Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 are both equipped with the same CMOS sensor, they boast of different resolution. Thus, Nikon D3100 has a sensor with a resolution of 14.0 MP, while Pentax K-S2 has a different resolution of 20.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D3100 Key Features:

  • 14.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 3200 (Expands to 12800)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 3.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 124 x 96 x 75 mm
  • Weight: 505 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D3000. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D3200. Compare

Pentax K-S2 Key Features:

  • 20.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 51200
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.4 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 91 x 123 x 73 mm
  • Weight: 678 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Pentax K-S1. Compare

Nikon D3100 was substituted by Nikon D3200. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D3100 vs. D3200
Nikon D3200 vs. Pentax K-S2

Nikon D3100 substituted Nikon D3000. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D3100 vs. D3000
Nikon D3000 vs. Pentax K-S2

Why is Nikon D3100 a better choice than Pentax K-S2

Battery Life 550 shots vs 410 shots 140 more frames with a single charge
Weight 505 g vs 678 g 173 g lighter

What are the key reasons to pick Pentax K-S2 over Nikon D3100

NFC Yes vs No Easy wireless connectivity with compatible devices
Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Sensor Resolution 20.0 MP vs 14.0 MP 30% more pixels
Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 vs 355.74 mm2 3% larger pixel area
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 5.4 fps vs 3 fps 2.4 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/6000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Screen Type Fully Articulated vs Fixed Type Flexible shooting positions
Screen Resolution 921k dots vs 230k dots 75% higher resolution screen
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Microphone Port Yes vs No High quality audio recording option
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) vs Optical (pentamirror) Better framing and control
Viewfinder Magnification 0.64 vs 0.53 0.11 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2

Screen Size 3″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentamirror) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Built-In Flash Yes | Yes External flash available
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Resolution 230k dots | 921k dots Small screen resolution
Sensor Resolution 14.0 MP | 20.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Headphone Port No | No No headphone port
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps | 5.4 fps Low continuous shooting

Nikon D3100 vs Pentax K-S2: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 from the front view.

Nikon D3100
Pentax K-S2
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D3100
Pentax K-S2
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D3100 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 173g less than the Pentax K-S2. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Entry-Level DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3100 — 550 shots
Pentax K-S2 — 410 shots
Min: 230 shots
Average: 588 shots
Max: 1900 shots
Thickness values for Entry-Level DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3100 — 75 mm
Pentax K-S2 — 73 mm
Min: 53 mm
Average: 73 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Entry-Level DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3100 — 505 g
Pentax K-S2 — 678 g
Min: 365 g
Average: 539 g
Max: 690 g

Comparing Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D3100 features a 14.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Pentax K-S2, in its turn, comes with a 20.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor and PRIME MII processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D3100
Pentax K-S2
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Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D3100 Pentax K-S2
Portrait Photography
63%
86%
Street Photography
62%
96%
Sports Photography
66%
86%
Daily Photography
47%
44%
Landscape Photography
78%
90%

Nikon D3100 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.1 x 15.4 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Pentax K-S2 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D3100 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.1 x 15.4 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (124 x 96 x 75 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Pentax K-S2 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large APS-C(23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (91 x 123 x 73 mm)
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Nikon D3100 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (124 x 96 x 75 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (3.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (1)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (919)
  • Small battery life (550 shots)

Pentax K-S2 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.4 fps)
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/6000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Small battery life (410 shots)

Nikon D3100 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.1 x 15.4 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (505 g)
  • Big size (124 x 96 x 75 mm)

Pentax K-S2 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (678 g)
  • Big size (91 x 123 x 73 mm)

Nikon D3100 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.1 x 15.4 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (11.3)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (14 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (919)

Pentax K-S2 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (20 MP)

Comparison of Nikon D3100 vs Pentax K-S2: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D3100 or Pentax K-S2, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D3100 and Pentax K-S2 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D3100 deserves a higher Total Score than the Pentax K-S2. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D3100 vs Pentax K-S2 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D3100 Pentax K-S2
General
Brand Nikon Pentax
Model D3100 K-S2
Announced Dec 21, 2010 Feb 10, 2015
Body Type Compact SLR Compact SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C APS-C
Sensor Dimensions 23.1 x 15.4 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
Sensor Area 355.74 mm2 366.60 mm2
Sensor Resolution 14.0 MP 20.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4608 x 3072 5472 x 3648
Max Native ISO 3,200 51,200
Max Boosted ISO 12,800 n/a
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Pentax KAF2
Number of Lenses 287 144
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1.5x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 11 11
Number of Cross Focus Points 1 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fully Articulated
Screen Size 3″ 3″
Screen Resolution 230k dots 921k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 95% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.53 0.64
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/6000 s
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps 5.4 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No Yes
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Flash Range 12 12
Flash Modes Auto, Red-Eye, Slow, Red-Eye Slow, Rear curtain Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash on + redeye reduction, slow sync, trailing curtain sync, manual flash
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing No Yes
WB Bracketing Yes No
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes No
Spot No Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps) 1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Video Formats MPEG-4 MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No Yes
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 505 g 678 g
Physical Dimensions 124 x 96 x 75 mm 91 x 123 x 73 mm
Battery Life 550 shots 410 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL14 D-LI109
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No Yes
GPS Optional Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 1 1

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