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Just Posted: Pentax K-5 II / K-5 IIS Review

By dpreview staff on Jun 4, 2013 at 01:11 GMT

Offering a high-dynamic-range CMOS sensor, a unique shake reduction system, and a rugged weatherproof body, the Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIS are designed for the photographer who likes to get away from the crowd. We spent a little time comparing both cameras, and though we found them quite similar to their predecessors, that didn't keep us from exploring the various features, as well as the differences between the two models. The K-5 IIS, in particular, is designed to capture more detail thanks to its lack of an anti-aliasing filter, but there are pitfalls associated with that extra detail, which we explore in greater depth.

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125
I own it
47
I want it
7
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 268
12
leventhan
By leventhan (10 months ago)

Cons: No dedicated movie shooting button

Seriously?

35 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (10 months ago)

This movie button comment sucks.

1 upvote
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

Wow, everyone's so sensitive about the movie button comment, which we also made about the K-5. If we didn't mention it those wanting one would be upset we didnt mention it. Glad you don't think it's a con. Just because we say it's a con doesn't mean you can't think for yourself and disagree. Or would you rather we qualify every statement with, 'but some might disagree'?

8 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (10 months ago)

yep you p1ssed us of twice, so that makes it even worse ;)

5 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (10 months ago)

Shawn, thanks for following along with the comments. Value-added.

5 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Professional Shooting = Movie Button irrelevant

When shooting professionally you know you are going to shoot many clips. You set your mode dial to movie once and then you shoot away. Great workflow and a dedicated movie button could be even less useful, as it is in a less convenient position

Street / Family Shooting = Lack of movie button could miss shot

In street shooting / family shooting where your default mode is shooting stills, the lack of the movie button could make you miss the shot. If you suddenly see a scene unfolding, you might only have a second to start capturing it. It will take you two to set mode dial to movie mode and then commence shooting. Pentax cameras are squarely aimed at street and family photography. The lack of movie button for this application is indeed surprising. Or at least the capability to assign another button to this function is even more surprising.

Firmware fix: They should offer to assign Movie Button to Green button!

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (10 months ago)

DSLRs, especially those with fixed screens, are terrible for hand-held video anyway. Why even bother?

0 upvotes
Grantsmind
By Grantsmind (10 months ago)

I have been shooting with the K5 II for 5 months now in an extreme desert and dust environment and I could not be more delighted with its image quality, durability, and general operation.
Perhaps we could learn to cheer Pentax without hurting the delicate feelings of our fellow photogs?

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (10 months ago)

Studio shots illustrate Nikon D7100 image issues. It has higher resolution than the Pentax, but in some of the segments of the scene, the Nikon shows what looks like chromatic aberration on bright-dark edges and artifacts that add fake detail. In the RAW studio scene, at 100 ISO, look at the brush on the left, the back end of the Volkswagen, and in the Arabian sea on the globe. Of the four default cameras, the Nikon displays some weird things; jagged lines, cross-thatched lines. The Pentax images are un-artifacted. Same with the Olympus and Canon. I thought at first the artifacts were screen-related, but they show up in prints.

1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (10 months ago)

Remember that DPR are using Adobe Camera RAW which is not exactly renowned for producing good quality results with some cameras. What you're seeing are issues with ACR - not the D7100. NX2 should be used to get the best from Nikons.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

The fake details you mention are due to the D7100's lack of an AA filter. They should look similar to what you see from the K-5 IIS, only they'll occur at different pattern frequencies due to the higher resolution.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (10 months ago)

That's probably the case. I can see them in the D800E shots, but not nearly as noticeably. Something about the detail in those three areas matches up (I guess) with the pixel-pitch of the D7100.

0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (10 months ago)

"The fake details you mention are due to the D7100's lack of an AA filter. They should look similar to what you see from the K-5 IIS, only they'll occur at different pattern frequencies due to the higher resolution."

Yep which is why I think this fad of removing the AA filter will go away once everyone realizes moire is not the only artifact or potential consequence you get from not having the filter.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (10 months ago)

I realize this is an updated camera, but the review felt too cut-and-pasted. Several places (one of the most obvious being the 'menus' page) talk about changes from the K-7 to the K-5, which do still largely apply to the K-5II, but cold use a little rewriting to make it clear what was unchanged from the K-5. Comparisons with the K-r also seem weird, as updated comparisons with the K-30 would be more useful and take no more than a few minutes to do. I realize you chose to leave some of the review alone as much of the camera is unchanged, but it's a little too obvious. I do love the bits on cool features built into the sensor shift system. The Astrotracer feature is very nice for those of us who might like to do a bit of astrophotography without having to buy expensive gear.

5 upvotes
Daratute
By Daratute (10 months ago)

"PentaRichoh" like Nikon D800E
lol :)

0 upvotes
Gazeomon
By Gazeomon (10 months ago)

??

1 upvote
lkent18
By lkent18 (10 months ago)

Too late. Bought one 6 months ago.

15 upvotes
maxola67
By maxola67 (10 months ago)

Bought 4 months ago and have no regretes.

8 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (10 months ago)

Maybe there will be a Pentax press release pretty soon so they brought it out before there was a K-3 ;)

1 upvote
D1N0
By D1N0 (10 months ago)

Hmm not very far from the mark http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51590064

0 upvotes
garyknrd
By garyknrd (10 months ago)

By today's standards these cameras are extremely cheap. I see new ones going for 780-900 dollars. Which makes it a good deal if AF was fixed. I had the old K-5 and it was awful. And that is being kind. I would plop down that much money in a heart beat if I thought it was a big improvement to the original. But everyone I have talked to said save my money? For the kind of photography I like anyway. As a consequence I am selling all my Pentax gear. Just a shame to wast such good Sigma glass on a poor performing camera.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

If you paired Pentax Lenses with Sigma glass and have a bad AF experience, the fault can be with Pentax or Sigma or both. My experience with Sigma glass is a very, very mixed bag.

Have you also tried AF fine adjustment ?

And what exactly is your problem ? AF-Speed to lock on, AF Precision ? Is you AF randomly off or is it always Front Focus or always back Focus?

What kind of shooting do you do? ( Street | Sport | Landscape | Family | Art ) ?

How is your focus with the Pentax System Lens ? Same problem or no problem ?

Did you made controlled AF tests with controlled light, AF focus test target ? What was the result ?

If you are serious to fix this problem, please answer my questions precisely and I will do my best to help you to fix the root cause saving you the trouble of switching camera gear. There is the chance that if you do not identify the root cause of your problem you will still have it after changing the system.

5 upvotes
In hydraulis
By In hydraulis (10 months ago)

garyknrd:

Sorry to hear about your troubles with the K-5.

Fortunately---and let's keep this quiet because it's still unofficial---I have it from reliable sources that Pentax is working on what is basically a revised K-5 with an updated autofocus module. Rumour is that they're thinking of naming it the K-5 II, although this isn't set in stone just yet.

Hopefully, when it arrives on the market, it'll address whatever AF issues you are experiencing.

5 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ garyknrd:
I have not seen your reply yet. I will come back a day or two later once more to see your reply and then I can try to help you. I am very experiences in using the Pentax systems and in one of my lives I give professional technical support. I am pretty confident I can help you to get happy with your system again. But you need to do the necessary home work ( which you also need to do if you get familiar with a new system ). I wish you good luck for your photographic journey.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ garyknrd:
I came back a 2nd day for you and no reply. In case you do came back later on, I am sorry I will not visit here again. There is no trigger mechanism provided by dpreview in case you reply. Instead it is painstaking work to find your posts. I wish you all the best.

0 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (10 months ago)

In the review it seems as though the AF was disappointing.

How would it be vs a Canon 7D or.....The EM-5?

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (10 months ago)

They specifically said it was much better that the D7100.

The only AF 'issue' I remember was something about video.

1 upvote
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

Better than the D7100 in low light, which is true to what both manufacturers say about each camera. The D7100 can focus in light down to -2EV, while the K-5 II/S can do -3EV. We were able to confirm this.

15 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (10 months ago)

Tilt, shift and rotate sensor?

Novel idea.

5 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (10 months ago)

K5 is a late 2010 camera, and it always have this 3 axis stabilization (horizontal, vertical, rotate). It's an old idea :) And there is something unique, the auto-level wich make the horizon straight even if the camera is not perfectly align.

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (10 months ago)

"the auto-level"

Thanks for the hint! (Now, I'm forced to go and read the E-M5 review to see whether it has that function too.)

All cameras got to have the auto-level. It's probably me, but in PP I routinely have to rotate all my shots by few degrees.

0 upvotes
Stan_k
By Stan_k (10 months ago)

Interval shooting Pentax 5 II can do up to 999 shots.In review it say 99. :)

5 upvotes
iliask
By iliask (10 months ago)

Why are there no DR values for higher ISOs? This can be a bit misleading to many wildlife shooters who may never even use ISO100 and assume DR remains the same as sensitivity increases.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Kfrog
By Kfrog (10 months ago)

Pentax continues the trend of tough small quality camera. I've acquired several manual Takumar lenses I use with my K10D and I would love to give them a go on a K-5II. Also I have got to pick up one of those Limited lenses.

1 upvote
Xiaomao
By Xiaomao (10 months ago)

K-5 scored 83% in 2010, K-5 II (s) scored 81% in 2013. Does it mean a step backward? Anyway, I prefer what K-5 IIs delivers.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

Scores are relative to a camera's performance among current competing cameras. We think the K-5 IIs do very well despite the limited upgrades, but times have also changed. That's reflected in the score, reconsidered point-by-point.

10 upvotes
Xiaomao
By Xiaomao (10 months ago)

Thank you very much for the reply!
K-5 IIs has been with me for 2 months, I find the upgrade from K-5 worthwhile, though your review doesn't highly recommend it.

1 upvote
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

Both cameras got a Gold award; what you detect is not a recommendation against as much as a caution to choose carefully. Low-pass filters exist for a reason, and the review's test images demonstrate that reason. It might not be relevant to you and how you use your camera, but we think the moiré we saw was enough to warn most consumer shooters.

7 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (10 months ago)

An excellent 24 Mp sensor is obviously a better choice than an excellent 16 Mp sensor, for most occasions anyway. Also movies matter more these days than 3 years ago. That's where the K5II falls a bit short nowadays. It's not of my interest as I'm happy with my K-5, and I don't care about movies, but I feel Pentax must release a new flagship DSLR if it wants to match the Sonykons (The Canons are easily beaten). At the current price though, I think the magnesium WR K5II is almost a steal.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ KonstantinosK

Who need 24 MP ? No Display is better than 5 MP. I print A4 and 6 MP is enough. Now I have the K30 and are considering an A3 printer. Who could pay for an A2 printer to utilize 24 MP ?

And what about the lenses. I am using already the best glass Pentax has to offer and feel the limit of the lens with 16 MP. What is the point to pair higher resolution sensor with lower resolution lenses ?

I hope Pentax is not going 24 MP in case this is higher cost than 16 MP. In case 24 MP will become lower cost than 16 MP in the future, 24 MP for me is no minus point, as long as they have great scaling to save 16 MP RAW files in camera. If not in camera scaling down to 15 MP, I would pay 100 USD more for 16 MP than for 24 MP.

On a new flagship of Pentax I am hoping for an amazing electronic Viewfinder so I can loose this monstrosity of LCD viewfinder. That would change my live. 24 MP would just slower my workflow and fill my Disk at no benefits.

5 upvotes
57even
By 57even (10 months ago)

Weeell OK, I have an A3+ printer too, have had for a while, and sure results from 16MP are fine. Fine up to A2 if you insist. But it's easy enough to order prints online these days, which I do if I want A2 and A1 prints.

But if you are printing A2 on a regular basis, 24MP definitely has a slight edge, assuming you are using an adequate lens.

Of course if you are not, it's all wasted storage and processing IMO.

1 upvote
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (10 months ago)

@ HubertChen: I said "for most occasions" :) Personally, I don't need more than 16MP, but I wouldn't mind if I could have a bunch of great 24 megapixels either, presuming that wouldn't slow down the fps or the writing speeds. Cropping comes into mind, but that's less than secondary for me. Anyhow, the market trend is towards movies and sensors with bigger resolutions and I'm afraid Pentax can't ignore that for much time if they want to stay relevant.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (10 months ago)

More competitors nowday. And more camera with 24mpx. But has result spoken, 24mpx is not always better. The next Pentax camera will have 24mpx, not because it's better, but because Sony will cease producing 16mpx Sensor.
I wonder why Pentax don't use the HDR mode of the K-01, it's far better than the fake HDR look of the K5 ? Not enough cpu power maybe. But on my K-01, HDR mode woth the processing wait time :)

0 upvotes
sebastian huvenaars
By sebastian huvenaars (10 months ago)

Within less then a decade we're all watching our photo's on 8K devices, wondering why we ever settled with 16mp ;) It won't even fill half the screen...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Thank to all your replies!

@ 57even
Interesting idea to print A2 as service online. Have not considered this. How much do they go for ? How is the color accuracy ?

@ KonstantinosK
I just got my new Pentax K-30. So far only done preliminary testing. But as of right now I am extremely happy with the movie results. If they hold up in professional production, I see Pentax is up to speed in terms of movie. I used the K-30 side by side with the Sony NEX-5 and am more happy with the K-30 due to better handling and better lenses for movie

@ spidermoon
I choose K-30 over K5II because all the Liveview improvements of K01 went into K-30 and not into K5II. After weeks of shooting I am pretty sure I made the right decision. If K5 would have been available with these features, I would have chosen K5, because of external Mic Input. But the movie mode in K5 has serious limitations over K-30

@ Sebastian
Huh! Interesting. You might be right. Have not considered that. Still many if ... ?

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

24 MP can be significantly worse than 16 MP:

Resolution: Take the NEX-7 with a 24 MP sensor and NEX-5 with a 16 MP sensor. On certain lenses the resulting resolution shot with the 16 MP sensor was HIGHER than when shot with 24 MP.

Working speed: Using the same Processor 24 MP will always be 1/3 slower than 16 MP

Pentax has to go 24 MP as Sony will cease production of 16 MP
I agree this is going to happen. But with current 24 MP sensor resolving less than 16 MP sensors of Sony, I am grateful Pentax choose the effective higher resolving sensor ( 16 MP). I am sure eventually Sony will fix this problem and eventually only 24 MP sensors will be available. I am hoping that Pentax does have a scale to 16 MP mode to not use unnecessary file size and slower speed.

0 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (10 months ago)

Very nice review DPR, good job!

Athough i have to say- I'm a little surprised the build quality & egronomics/handling score wasn't higher. Imo- it's the best dslr body I've ever handled in terms of ergonomics + it's built like a little tank.

21 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

I have to second this. I shot extensively with Canon 5D MKII and Sony NEX-5 and both do not come even close in handling on how smoothly and intuitively operate the camera, plus the depth of customization options. ( 5D and NEX 5 are of course brilliant cameras in their own right, but we are talking handling here only ).

4 upvotes
57even
By 57even (10 months ago)

I use Nikon but I had one of the early K7s and before that a K20 and K10. I still miss the green button - possibly the single most useful feature not found on any other camera - which makes P and M mode a lot more versatile.

4 upvotes
sbc
By sbc (10 months ago)

Agreed! I can't live without it. :) So much so that when I handle another brand's camera, I keep looking for it.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Thanks 57even

I have a new K-30 and have still wondered about the usefulness of the green button. I will make more effort in using it. Thank you!

0 upvotes
vodanh1982
By vodanh1982 (10 months ago)

I don't see any low light AF/accuracy tests. The different between K-5 and K-5II(s) is concentrated on new AF sensor.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

May I commend page 7 to you?

10 upvotes
vodanh1982
By vodanh1982 (10 months ago)

Sorry. My Bad.

1 upvote
JKP
By JKP (10 months ago)

I agree. The sample gallery does not have high-ISO images.

0 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (10 months ago)

The K-5 II has this one: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2580397/imgp2076?inalbum=pentax-k5-ii
When I went out specifically for night images I took only the K-5 IIS, so you'll see a couple more there.

0 upvotes
SayCheesePlease
By SayCheesePlease (10 months ago)

Great to see Pentax still producing fine cameras after all these years. Super review. My first Pentax was a ME Super, way back when...

6 upvotes
Total comments: 268
12