Boy I came close to buying a Pentax K-x last spring. It was small, fit really nicely in my hand, had image stabilization built right into the body (great for non-stabilized prime lenses), and Pentax is renowned for some high quality glass. But, and for me this was a big butt, the K-x’s viewfinder did not show auto focus points. That alone was a deal killer, but the camera also ran on four AA batteries. I definitely wanted to know what I was focusing on and I also wanted a single battery. I could have gotten a K-7, but from everything I read it was very noisy for low light shooting. But it looks like Pentax has been listening — obviously not to me, but to someone. The new Pentax K-5 sounds amazing. Yes, there are now focus points in the viewfinder. Yes, it now runs on a single rechargeable lithium ion battery. And yes — so says Pentax — the noise has been looked after. But wait, there’s more. This little gem is amazingly customizable and comes with a handful of neat features not found on most DSLRs. It’s also weather sealed, which is a nice touch. I think Pentax has comes up with a winner here that will compete nicely with the new Nikon D7000. Check it out for yourself.
September 21, 2010: PENTAX Imaging Systems is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX K-5 interchangeable lens digital SLR camera.
Encased in a compact but solid, functional body, this new model comes equipped with a host of advanced photographic tools for the easy creation of great pictures, while delivering high standards of image quality, data processing speed and operability.
Developed using the highly acclaimed PENTAX K-7 (introduced to the market in June 2009) as its base, the K-5 inherits the exceptional reliability, user-friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor.
However, it is more resourceful and flexible in photographic expression. Combining a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels, even when shooting in the continuous shooting mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second.
It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels to expand the boundaries of high-quality visual presentation.
Adding other improvements and refinements — such as a faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function now usable in handheld shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components — the K-5 is designed to be more functional and manoeuverable in every detail, and in its response to the demands of the photographer.
What are its key features?
High-resolution, low-noise, true-to-life image reproduction
The K-5 incorporates a newly designed CMOS image sensor with a wide image-sensitive area measuring 23.7mm by 15.7mm. It assures high-speed image data readout much faster than that of previous sensors. By coupling this image sensor — equivalent in performance and data processing speed to the image sensor incorporated in the PENTAX 645D medium-format digital camera — with the reliable PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II imaging engine, the K-5 produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with 16.28 effective megapixels, while suppressing annoying digital noise to a minimum.
High-speed continuous shooting at approximately seven images per second
The K-5’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 22 images in a single sequence at a maximum speed of seven images per second.
Responsive, high-precision AF system
The K-5 features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This sophisticated AF system has completely redesigned optics, and factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter-release options — between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the AF system in poorly lit locations.
Compact, solid, functional camera body
Despite its compact dimensions, the K-5 is built to be exceptionally solid and durable, with a body of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and a chassis of high-rigid stainless steel. Thanks to the inclusion of 77 special seals in the body, it also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring reliable operation even under harsh environment and at temperatures as low as -10°C. It also features a reliable shutter unit that provides a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second and tested to 100,000 shutter releases.
Bright, clear optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
The K-5 features a pentaprism finder with a nearly 100% field of view and at 0.92-times magnification (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity) to provide a better view of the image field and improve the accuracy and speed of focusing and image composition. It also comes with the renowned Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen to assist the photographer with manual-focus operation.
Effortless Live View shooting
Thanks to a new image sensor and a more sophisticated algorithm, the K-5’s Contrast AF mode assures better performance and greater focusing speed than before during Live View shooting. With the addition of a Golden Section display, the K-5 offers a choice of three different grid patterns to facilitate image composition.
PENTAX-original SR mechanism with user-assisting options
The K-5 features the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by 2.5 to 4 shutter steps, to produce sharp, blur-free images.
Recording of Full HD-proportion movies (1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 frames per second)
The K-5 captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 full HD proportions (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second. The K-5 also provides greater possibilities in visual presentation in movies, especially through the application of custom images and digital filters.
Innovative image-processing functions to produce distinctive photographic expressions
- Custom image function for distinctive finishing touches: letting users easily select the desired finishing touch for a particular image.
- Versatile digital filter function: The K-5’s digital filter function allows the user to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways and produce highly individualized visual expressions without requiring a computer.
- Cross process mode with three options: The K-5 features the unique cross process mode, in which the camera automatically shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique, dramatic colours.
- HDR (High Dynamic Range) function: The K-5 features the HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures, without requiring a computer.
In addition it has…
- Electronic level function, with a newly added tilt confirmation tool
- Extended-exposure NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a choice of Auto, On and Off modes
- High-sensitivity NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a camera-dependent Auto mode and a user-adjustable reduction level control for different sensitivity settings
- RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format
- Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch wide-view colour LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
- 77-segment multi-pattern metering system for extra-accurate light measurement
- DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism
- Long battery life, for recording of 1,100 images with full recharge
- User-friendly Hyper control system, to flexibly and accurately respond to the photographer’s creative intentions
- Dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both whitewashed (overexposed) and black-out (underexposed) areas
- Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)
- CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colours of sunset scenes
- Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
- D-BG4 Battery Grip (optional) for extra power supply with an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or six AA-size batteries
- Colour-specific control buttons/dials for easy recognition and quick access, based on the universal colour design
- PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package
The K-5 will be available from mid-late October 2010.
You can check out a hands on preview of this baby, along with more photos, at dpreview.com