Pentax K-5, the full 21 page review

Way back last spring when I was agonizing over which DSLR camera to buy, I almost ended up with the Pentax K-x. It’s small, light, affordable and from all reports, takes great photos. Plus, Pentax makes some really great glass. Also, Pentax offers in-camera image stabilization, which at the time seemed very important to me. That little Pentax also got very high ratings for its low light, high ISO performance. The one niggle, for me anyway, was the lack of focus points in the viewfinder, believe it or not. Like, what on earth were they thinking? Another issue for me is that it runs on four AA batteries. Me, I prefer a large single battery unit.

Just recently, Pentax announced a new camera, the Pentax K-5. This one has all the pluses of the K-x and then some. As well, they put AF points in the viewfinder and gave it a proprietary single rechargable battery.

Here’s a list of the key features, from

Key Features

Although it might appear to be a near-clone of the K-7, the K-5 offers some significant improvements in specification. Here is a rundown of the key features:

  • 16.3Mp CMOS sensor
  • ISO sensitivity span of 80-51,200 (equivalent)
  • 1080p HD movie mode
  • Limited in-camera movie editing functionality
  • Socket for external microphone input
  • Triple-axis sensor-based shake reduction (horizontal, vertical and rotational correction)
  • New SAFOX IX+ 11-point AF system (improved over the K-7)
  • Support for older Pentax lenses with manual aperture rings
  • Magnesium alloy body shell
  • Improved handheld HDR function (JPEG mode only)
  • Continuous shooting up to 7fps
  • 100% viewfinder coverage (0.92x magnification)
  • Choice of PEF or DNG RAW files
  • 3in, 921k pixel LCD screen

Overall, dpreview likes the new K-5 and has given it a great rating. It seems Pentax has another winner on its hands. If I was in the market for a new DSLR I’d seriously consider this little gem. The only issue here, for me, would be the price. It’s hundreds more than the Nikon D7000, which is another excellent offering by Nikon. Choosing between the two would be difficult, for sure. I’m guessing I’d end up with the Nikon.

If you’re in the market for a new camera, check out dpreview’s full 21 page review of the new K-5. Only a few days until Christmas so you better not waste time if you hope to have this under your tree. 😉

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4 Responses to Pentax K-5, the full 21 page review

  1. John Griggs says:

    This new Pentax K-5 camera got great ratings for it’s sensor resolution, beating out my D7000 on Good dynamic range and all also.

    I think it comes with a better lens than the D7000 though, and they only test a camera with the lens it came with in these cases and truthfully, the D7000 kit lens isn’t very particularly good. I sold mine as soon as I bought the camera to somebody for whom it would be an adequate lens. I think the two cameras would have scored together if Nikon had packaged it with a decent kit lens.

    I don’t think you could go very wrong with the K-5. I’d have considered it if I didn’t already have professional Nikon glass.

    • Yeah I saw that on DXOmark as well. To be honest, I don’t know what to make of DXOmark. Sometimes their numbers seem really off, giving better ratings to cameras that seem so obviously inferior to other higher end cameras. I tend to take it all the a grain of salt.

      You make a good point regarding the lens. Hadn’t considered that. What’s your favourite Nikon walkaround lens, John? I think if it were me I’d go with the 17-55mm F2.8 or the 16-85mm F3.5-5.6. With full frame I’d go with the 24-70mm F2.8 pro glass.

  2. Kowalski says:

    [[ for sure. I’m guessing I’d end up with the Nikon *by the lazy photographer* ]]
    WHY ?, Is that because Nikon D7000 is slower at FPS than K-5 or D7000 is ‘Not weather sealed’ or you need to send it back to the factory just to map-out the dead pixel (K-5 has mapping utility function built-in), or you need to buy much much more expensive glass with VR because it doesnt have VR (SR-pentax version) and the amount is sometimes more than double and makes the lens much-much heavier, or you need lesser DR than K-5, or because it’s bean beaten at DxO mark (including its older brother D700, dont ask for the grandfather D70 it wont do you any good), or maybe the additional video where it sucks on auto-focus, or could be you like the more plasticky looks that’s why you like it, or because it doesn’t have a VR-shorter fixed focal length at f1.2 f1.4, f1.etc.., i couldn’t agree you more for disliking pentax k-5 possibly it just not your taste, TOO EXPENSIVE !!! that’s a ridiculous remark.

    • Alllrighty then… 🙂 Don’t really recall saying I DISLIKED the K-5. I do recall stating that Pentax had another winner on its hands and then calling it a gem when recommending it to anyone considering buying a new DLSR, but I can see how that might confuse you. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and offering your unbiased take on the Pentax. Very refreshing. 🙂

      Despite yourself, you do make some good points. Not sure anyone but me will notice them, between all your smart-assed attitude and venom.

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