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Review in progress: Pentax K-5 II and K-5 II S

By dpreview staff on Apr 16, 2013 at 20:30 GMT

Continuing the move toward cameras without optical low-pass filters, Pentax last year released two versions of its flagship digital SLR, the K-5 II and K-5 II S, the latter with no OLPF. Both cameras retain the same body and 16MP resolution, but get an upgraded autofocus sensor and a new air-gapless LCD. We've started our review, but wanted to put up a quick look exploring whether there's a difference between the two in terms of image quality. Click on the link below to see whether removing the low pass filter makes sufficient difference to warrant the risk of moiré.

The Pentax K-5 II and K-5 II S are identical save for the lack of a low-pass filter in the latter. Our main question was what difference we could find between the two in terms of detail and moiré. Click the image above to see what we found.
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I own it
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Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 42
Herp Photos
By Herp Photos (11 months ago)

I appreciate the comparison tool greatly and as it happens you had it set to compare almost the exact cameras I have been trying to choose between namely: Nikon D7100 and Fuji XE1. However I am confused over why you state that, "For the two Pentax cameras we used our standard studio lens - an SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4", when in reality the tool-tip for the two Pentax comparison images shows, "Pentax 50mm f2.8 Macro"?

I hope you will compare the image stabilization effectiveness of Pentax's in-camera stabilization vs. an in lens solution for Nikon. I realize that such in hand tests are quite subjective and highly variable but certainly you could rig something up in studio to emulate hand shake on a fairly consistent basis.
I would greatly appreciate some Pentax K-5 iis macro sample shots.

It would be nice to have a separate real-world image in the comparison showing the real colors of items photoed. The Pentax colors seem more vibrant than the Nikon and Fuji. But which rep is real

0 upvotes
Mike Hiran
By Mike Hiran (Apr 24, 2013)

I hope the review is finished soon... I couldn't wait for your article before I bought mine as I needed a boost in low light focusing for some projects I was doing.

I'm finding the k5iis is quite a step up from the k5 classic in many ways. Focus accuracy is much better as is sharpness. Completely worth it to me.

It will be interesting to see how your review interprets this new model - just a slight upgrade or worthy of being considered on it's own. I suppose it depends on your emphasis - if the k5iis were to be the focus, I'd think the review would look at it as a more significant step up. We'll see....

0 upvotes
schorscho
By schorscho (Apr 22, 2013)

Sexy cameras!

1 upvote
Münchhausen
By Münchhausen (Apr 21, 2013)

@ dpreview:
Thanks a lot for this samples; I would like to see a report on the behaviour of the FA-Limiteds (like the 43 you used on the K-5II) on both K-5II and K-5IIs. My expierence, and you can read a detailed description at Klaus´photozone.de, is that the 43Lim isn´t very sharp from edge to edge on the original K-5 (very mushy corners at 2.8, no corners at all at 1.9, but excellent center sharpness), contrary to the K-7 and older models. One idea was that this was the fault of the more than fairly strong AA-filter on the K-5; but the samples with the 43Lim on the K-5II you posted seem better to me, even very acceptable or good at 2.8. If the K-5II has a weaker AA-filter than the K-5, than the FA-Limiteds should really shine on the K-5IIs...
Would be nice to read your opinion!
Best regards
M.

0 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (Apr 22, 2013)

Thanks, I'll give it a look. Can you show me a sample from your own shots where you saw the problem so I can approximate the scene? I'll look at photozone.de to see what they thought. If you look at SLRgear's test, you can see corners were softer at F1.9 and 2 as well, getting sharper at F2.8, though still soft. http://slrgear.com/reviews/zproducts/pentax43f19/tloader.htm

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (Apr 23, 2013)

I don't own the lens myself, but I noticed a big discrepancy in sharpness between the two reviews on Photozone.de of the FA43 on the K10 vs. the K5. It could be that the pixels of the Samsung CCD (I think) used in the K10 are more forgiving of non-telecentric lens designs than the Sony sensor used in the K5. Or, more likely, Klaus just got a bad copy of the lens for his second review. Still, it is strange.

Of course the FA Limiteds were optimized for real-world scenes, not test charts, a certain amount of field curvature was intentionally left uncorrected. There is a very interesting paper written by the lens's designer, Hirakawa Jun, discussing the design philosophy behind the FA Limiteds. Particular importance was given to the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus regions. In my opinion that's what makes these lenses so special, and of course their size.

1 upvote
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (Apr 24, 2013)

When you look at any lens with a higher resolution sensor, its flaws become more apparent. For example, the original Digital Rebel's kit lens looked great at 6 megapixels, but when we attached the same lens to the 10-megapixel XTi, it no longer looked very good, which is the main reason Canon kept updating that lens as the Rebel line progressed.

0 upvotes
waxwaine
By waxwaine (Apr 21, 2013)

Some interesting comments I'd read here. How Canon and Nikon are both trying to achiev shittiest FF DSLR, mean while Pentax the best APSC one. Smarts consumers will have to choose wich one is the usefull.

0 upvotes
Chusito1
By Chusito1 (Apr 17, 2013)

Pentax have been making extremely good cameras almost from the start and they, IMHO do not have nothing to envy to Nikon, Canon or else. If you know how to take pictures and know the abilities and limitations of your equipment you can take first order/quality pictures and do not have to complaint about non-issues. This forum like all others appears populated by non-photographers. I know a guy from Indonesia named Rarindra Prakarsa that has been using 3 MP and 6 MP Canon DSLR cameras since their inception and he does a magnificent use of their capabilities and he is not thinking in OLPF, lens selection (He has used old lenses with lens adapters from Pentax and others), noise, AF selection, high ISO performance, FF nor anything else. HE just take PICTURES. I wonder how many people here are real photographers, there is so much bull written here.

Pentax k100D with 135mm f/2.8 Super MC Takumar
Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 with Pentax mount adapter
Yashinon 75-230mm F/4.5 with K mount adapter

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
JJ1983
By JJ1983 (Apr 19, 2013)

The k7 was a dog, though.

0 upvotes
Gerardjan
By Gerardjan (Apr 21, 2013)

couldn't agree more! Well said mate!
Greetings.

0 upvotes
Madaboutpix
By Madaboutpix (Apr 21, 2013)

Well, there's actually people out there who have shot pretty decent photographs with that "dog", as you call the K-7. If you doubt it, start searching places like the Pentax Photo Gallery, 500px etc. Even some of the shots taken with other Pentax oldies such as the K-10D still hold up pretty well. As long as you're not regularly shooting fast sports (AF speed) and demanding available light (high ISO capabilities) the K-7 leaves litttle to be desired. It's a well-built photographer's tool that makes many similarly priced plastic bombers almost look like toys. For my photography at least - and you reveal little about yours - it has made a huge difference ...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mmitch
By mmitch (Apr 17, 2013)

Pentax needs to catch up to the rest of the Camera Companies and release a Full Frame body! I really got tired of waiting and switched to Nikon. I owned a K5 it's a great camera, but it's limited lens selection and lack of interest by Pentax to further the company along I can no longer support.

2 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Apr 17, 2013)

There's a pretty amazing lens selection, including, ironically given the wording of your complaint, the Limited series.

It's fine for you to switch to Nikon for full frame if that's what you want, but it's silly to expect Pentax to beat the big two companies in that niche market, especially because what everyone seems to want is for them to make a cheaper full-frame camera, which isn't an economically-solid plan. Following forum whining blindly into making a full-frame camera doesn't seem like a wise way to "further the company along".

I'm happy to see them making the best possible APS-C SLRs.

10 upvotes
mmitch
By mmitch (Apr 17, 2013)

Compared to Canon and Nikon, Pentax doesn't even come close to the lens selection or quality...Excuse me for expressing my opinion. I'm a professional photographer for 30 years. I've been shooting digital since 1996 with Hasselblad and Capture One backs as well as just about every DSLR that has come out. I use these digital cameras every single day in the studio and on location. APS-C cameras are great for most hobbyist and enthusiasts but don't cut in the professional world.

1 upvote
Silvarum
By Silvarum (Apr 17, 2013)

"APS-C don't cut in the professional world"
Why not? I've seen many photographers who prove otherwise. Bigger format DSLR may be better at wide angles than APS-C DSLR for some situations, but at tele distances point goes to smaller format.
Let me show you an example. Put 200mm f2.8 on APS-C and shoot at full aperture. To get same DOF and FOV with FF you'll need 300mm f4. Of course you can take 300mm f2.8 but compare the weight and price. So to take basically same image with FF you need to step down the aperture, but for the shutter speed to remain the same you'll have to crank up ISO (at which FF will do better no doubt, but I can't see much point)
Personally, I can see only one thing FF does better - resolution.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
gazonk
By gazonk (Apr 17, 2013)

Strange comment coming from an MF user, mmitch - unlike Canon and Nikon, Pentax actually offers a great MF system...

8 upvotes
luke0622
By luke0622 (Apr 17, 2013)

yall stop fighting already lol.
I loved my Pentax lenses and DSLRs up until I switched to Nikon after K-5, here are a couple of reasons that I left Pentax for Nikon. Lack of fast super telephoto lens (300/2.8, 400/2.8, 600/4) for football and basketball; second, I wish the AF is better in sports setting, the AF tracking is not up-to-par with Nikon system. BUT, I would still pick up a Pentax DSLR in a heart beat for everyday use and for Portrait work. I loved Pentax FA*, FA limited and DA* limited lenses, they are all great glasses in my opinion.

0 upvotes
mmitch
By mmitch (Apr 17, 2013)

Do you mean manual focus? If that's the case, you can use manual focus Nikkor lenses with Nikon bodies. I'm not knocking the K5 it's a great camera. But I know for a fact there are allot of Pentax owners that very much want a full frame camera. Pentax is been dragging there feet way too long and it's kind of a joke now. And another solid reason is most of my professional colleagues use Canon or Nikon so I can share lenses. I don't know anyone that uses Pentax.

0 upvotes
JacobSR
By JacobSR (Apr 19, 2013)

MMitch:
On your 2nd comment many would disagree with you. Here is a professional photographer who claim there is no difference in image quality between K5IIs and 5D Mark III when printed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH3WevFWbzw&list=UUnGQjVXHOC7lGSr3R9wxuaw&index=3

0 upvotes
gazonk
By gazonk (11 months ago)

mmitch: (sorry didn't see your reply before now)
No, I meant MF as in medium format.

0 upvotes
garyknrd
By garyknrd (Apr 17, 2013)

With the replacement rumored to be in a month or so? I take this as there is no replacement coming. Interesting

0 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (Apr 17, 2013)

Review of the K-5 II/s; already? Wow....

14 upvotes
wildkat2
By wildkat2 (Apr 17, 2013)

I will admit to being pleasantly surprised. I had assumed that DPR was skipping the K-5II given the time since release. More encouraging to hear that the 43 Limited was used in the real world shots.

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Apr 17, 2013)

Question.

Is it possible to use a softening filter on the lens as an AA filter for still images?

1 upvote
aekn
By aekn (Apr 17, 2013)

DPReview...you may want to correct the interview link to be from John Carlson, definitely not to be confused with John(ny) Carson....

0 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (Apr 22, 2013)

That's not really related to this article, but I did manage to find what you were talking about and fix it. Thanks for letting us know.

0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Apr 16, 2013)

I don't care what anyone says. I have a k-5, and the k-5 IIs is pretty enticing to say the least. Better AF, no AA filter. They took an amazing camera and made only improvements on it. Good job. I realize this is just a holdover camera until the k-3 comes on-line. I just hope and pray they keep the same good, almost retro looks of the k-5, and bring a lot more improvements. For aps-c the nikon d7100 is going to be pretty hard to beat. Especially for the low price they are selling it for.

1 upvote
Xiaomao
By Xiaomao (Apr 17, 2013)

I've been happy and surprised to find how K-5 IIs is better in terms of sharpness, noise control, focus speed, ..., as compared with K-5. I just can't wait for the much-rumored K-3.

5 upvotes
CortoPA
By CortoPA (Apr 17, 2013)

Agreed, I have a K-5 IIs and love it.

As I'm not printing billboards this little gem will stay with me for a long time.....no need for FF for me at all.

Great IQ, Super build quality and ergonomics and all that vintage Pentax glass :)

3 upvotes
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Apr 16, 2013)

Where's the reviews for other cameras like D4 & Canon 1D-X ?

2 upvotes
joe talks photography
By joe talks photography (Apr 16, 2013)

OMG...maybe this should become a site where you pay for reviews. I wouldn't mind, would you?

1 upvote
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Apr 17, 2013)

Why should DPreview review these cameras; they did with the predecessors and DPreview.com is owned by world's largest E-retailer Amazon.

2 upvotes
joe talks photography
By joe talks photography (Apr 16, 2013)

this might keep some folks from jumping off the bed, in desperation of a review.

4 upvotes
SETI
By SETI (Apr 16, 2013)

I really hope they will do some shots withs good Limited lens while testing K-5 IIs

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Apr 16, 2013)

How about the Coastal Optics UV-VIS-IR 60mm Apo Macro? ;)

0 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (Apr 16, 2013)

@Shawn

Wow using awesome primes of the bat! Please do include the DA70 and FA77!

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Jimmy jang Boo
By Jimmy jang Boo (Apr 16, 2013)

I also think it wouldn't be a bad idea for DPR to ask what cameras most people are interested in having reviewed.

1 upvote
senn_b
By senn_b (Apr 18, 2013)

I'm K5 IIs owner and very interested by the issue of this review; .. sorry if that bothers you .. :)

0 upvotes
SETI
By SETI (Apr 16, 2013)

Take your time, guys! Enjoy the spring! (just kidding)

2 upvotes
Jimmy jang Boo
By Jimmy jang Boo (Apr 16, 2013)

Heads up! I'm sure if DPR kept its audience abreast with what they were doing, and what's coming down the pipe, most folks would appreciate it.

8 upvotes
JJ1983
By JJ1983 (Apr 16, 2013)

Wow! Already?

8 upvotes
Total comments: 42