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 - Semi-Pro DSLR. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Pentax and Nikon. Although Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 are both equipped with the same CMOS sensor, they boast of different resolution. Thus, Pentax K-1 has a sensor with a resolution of 36.0 MP, while Nikon D90 has a different resolution of 12.0 MP.
To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.
Pentax K-1 Key Features:
Nikon D90 Key Features:
Pentax K-1 was substituted by Pentax K-1 II.
|Gps||Built-in vs Optional||Has GPS|
|Timelapse Recording||Yes vs No||Creative shooting|
|Storage Slots||2 vs 1||Extra storage slot|
|Sensor Resolution||36.0 MP vs 12.0 MP||66.7% more pixels|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2 vs 372.88 mm2||56.7% larger pixel area|
|Image Stabilization||Yes vs No||All lenses are stabilized|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 vs 1/4000||Faster shutter speed|
|Number Of Focus Points||33 vs 11||22 more focus points|
|Screen Size||3.2″ vs 3″||0.2" larger screen|
|Screen Type||Fully Articulated vs Fixed Type||Flexible shooting positions|
|Screen Resolution||1,037k dots vs 920k dots||11.3% higher resolution screen|
|Environmental Sealing||Yes vs No||Shoot at tough conditions|
|Max Video Resolution||1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720||Higher Resolution Video|
|Microphone Port||Yes vs No||High quality audio recording option|
|Headphone Port||Yes vs No||Has headphone port|
|Dxo Color Depth||25.4 vs 22.7||Better color depth|
|Dxo Dynamic Range||14.6 vs 12.5||Better dynamic range|
|Dxo Low Light Iso||3280 vs 977||Better High ISO performance|
|Viewfinder Magnification||0.7 vs 0.64||0.06 better magnification|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 fps vs 4.4 fps||0.1 fps faster|
|Built-In Flash||Yes vs No||All the lenses are stabilized|
|Flash Range||17 vs No||17 better flash range|
|Battery Life||850 shots vs 760 shots||90 more frames with a single charge|
|Weight||703 g vs 1010 g||307 g lighter|
|Screen Size||3.2″ | 3″||Large display|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism)||Better framing and control|
|Raw Support||Yes | Yes||Better image quality|
|AutoFocus Face Detection||Yes | Yes||Very handy for portraits|
|Bracketing||Yes | Yes||Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR|
|Flash Sync Port||Yes | Yes||Port for Flash Sync|
|Battery Life||760 shots | 850 shots||Big number of frames with a single charge|
|Touch Screen||No | No||No touch screen|
|Continuous Shooting||4.4 fps | 4.5 fps||Low continuous shooting|
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 Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 from the front view.
Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.
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 D90 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 307g less than the Pentax K-1. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.
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 Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 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. Pentax K-1 features a 36.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor . Nikon D90, in its turn, comes with a 12.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.
Take a look below to find the comparison of Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 by the size of their sensors.
One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Pentax K-1 has a sensor area 0.4x bigger compared to Nikon D90. What does it mean? This basically means that if you these cameras them with the same aperture and focal length, the first model will give you more control in terms of the blurry background and depth of field.
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 Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 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||Pentax K-1||Nikon D90|
Disadvantages:No Significant Disadvantages
Disadvantages:No Significant Disadvantages
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, Pentax K-1 or Nikon D90, 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 Pentax K-1 and Nikon D90 here is what we can say in conclusion:
According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Pentax K-1 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D90. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.
For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:
|Pentax K-1||Nikon D90|
|Announced||Feb 17, 2016||Oct 13, 2008|
|Body Type||Mid-size SLR||Mid-size SLR|
|Sensor Size||Full frame||APS-C|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.9 x 24 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.60 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Resolution||36.0 MP||12.0 MP|
|Max Image Resolution||7360 x 4912||4288 x 2848|
|Max Native ISO||204,800||3,200|
|Max Boosted ISO||n/a||6,400|
|Min Native ISO||100||200|
|Lens Mount||Pentax KAF2||Nikon F|
|Number of Lenses||144||287|
|Focal Length Multiplier||1x||1.5x|
|Macro Focus Range|
|AF Multi Area|
|AF Live View|
|AF Face Detection|
|AF Contrast Detection|
|AF Phase Detection|
|Number of Focus Points||33||11|
|Number of Cross Focus Points||25||n/a|
|Screen Type||Fully Articulated||Fixed Type|
|Screen Resolution||1,037k dots||920k dots|
|ViewFinder||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)|
|ViewFinder Resolution||0k dots||0k dots|
|Min Shutter Speed||30 s||30 s|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 s||1/4000 s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.4 fps||4.5 fps|
|Manual Exposure Mode|
|Custom White Balance|
|Flash Modes||Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Trailing Curtain Sync, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync||Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync|
|DxO Sensor Scores|
|DxO Sensor Score||96||73|
|DxO Color Depth||25.4||22.7|
|DxO Dynamic Range||14.6||12.5|
|DxO Low Light ISO||3280||977|
|Video Resolutions||1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)||1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)|
|Max Video Resolution||1920 x 1080||1280 x 720|
|Video Formats||MPEG-4, H.264||Motion JPEG|
|USB||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|Weight||1010 g||703 g|
|Physical Dimensions||137 x 110 x 86 mm||132 x 103 x 77 mm|
|Battery Life||760 shots||850 shots|
|Battery Type||Battery Pack||Battery Pack|
|Storage Type||Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I)||SD/SDHC|