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Pentax K-5 II and K-5 II S

June 2013 | By Richard Butler

Note that because of the near-identical specification and identical design of the K-5 II and K-5 IIS, the commentary in this review refers to the 'K-5 II' throughout, and except where specifically noted, the term 'K-5 II' should be taken to refer to both models.

Last September Pentax replaced the K-5 with not just one but two new digital SLRs, one without an optical low pass filter (OLPF). Looking little changed from the Pentax K-5 and K-7 before that, the Pentax K-5 II retains a very photographer-friendly design, with a good set of controls at the ready despite a surprisingly compact form factor. Internally, the K-5 II gets only a few updates, including a new air-gapless LCD and an improved autofocus system; the latter of which Pentax claims to offer a noticeable improvement in AF speed overall, and greater sensitivity in low light.

Though the resolution remains the same, Pentax has updated the camera’s 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with a faster data readout, according to company representatives.

K-5 II/S Key Specifications

  • 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (K-5 IIS lacks an AA filter)
  • 11-point SAFOS X autofocus system
  • ISO 100-12800; expandable to 80-51200
  • 1080p video at 25fps
  • 3-inch, 920K dot LCD
  • Maximum 7fps continuous shooting
  • 100% Glass prism viewfinder (0.92x magnification)
  • Weatherproof, cold-resistant, Magnesium-alloy body
  • Shake Reduction image stabilization built-in
  • Handheld HDR image capture 
  • Built-in Level
  • Horizon-fixing 'Composition adjustment' rotates sensor, allows careful composition 

Though Pentax has made few upgrades, on paper the K-5 II looks like an excellent digital SLR, particularly for outdoor photography, thanks to a weather-resistant body, and extreme cold tolerance down to -10C (14F). Other highlights include an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage, sensor-shift Shake Reduction that works with all lenses, an electronic level function, and a seven-frame-per-second frame rate. 

Alongside the K-5 II Pentax also announced the K-5 IIS, which is essentially the same camera with the low-pass filter removed from its sensor. Also called anti-aliasing filters, low-pass filters soften images slightly to minimize pattern interference with the sensor’s own grid pattern. When capturing subjects without repeating patterns, K-5 IIS users should gain a slight sharpness advantage; however, repeating patterns do occur in nature, so even landscape photographers are not immune from the possibility of moiré appearing in images.

Pentax K-5 II compared to K-5 and K-7

The table below shows the major specification differences among the three generations of Pentax's flagship APS-C digital SLRs. Significant changes are few, as the table makes apparent.




K-5 II/S
Image sensor 14.6Mp CMOS 16.3Mp CMOS 16.3Mp CMOS
Imaging engine Prime II Prime II Prime II
Sensitivity 100-3200 (6400 with expansion) 100-12800 (51200 with expansion) 100-12800 (51200 with expansion)
Continuous shooting speed 5.2 fps (40 frames) 7.0 fps (40 frames) 7.0 fps (40 frames)
11-points (selectable)
11-points (selectable)
11-points (selectable)
AE 77-segment 77-segment 77-segment
Viewfinder Pentaprism
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.92x
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.92x
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.92x
LCD screen 3.0 in, 920k dots 3.0 in, 921k dots 3.0 in, 921k dots,
Movies 1536 x 1024 30fps 1080p 25 fps 1080p 25 fps
Microphone Mono internal and stereo external Mono internal and stereo external Mono internal and stereo external
HDMI output Yes Yes Yes
IR simple No No No
Cross process mode No Yes Yes
Night Scene HDR No Yes Yes
Movie custom images modes No Yes Yes
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion battery Rechargeable lithium-ion battery Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Cold resistant to -10deg Yes Yes Yes
Weather resistant Yes Yes Yes
Weight (body only)


664g 676g

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

This article is Copyright 1998 - 2015 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Total comments: 22
ranferi rodriguez

I love my K5IIs.

zos xavius

Even now this camera is amazing. I have a K-3 too and the K-5 IIs still gets regular use. It has been the most faithful and reliable Pentax I've had over the years. It's IQ has never let me down and is better than even the K-3 in certain ways. 16mp and decent lenses have given me beautiful poster sized prints. It's no D800, but its a lot smaller and lighter than one too. Paired with some small limiteds it is really hard to go wrong unless you need absolute speed or shoot sports. The files from the IIs have a crispness that the K-5/K-30/K-50 all lack. Removing the AA filter really makes a difference in a big way and has forced me to upgrade my kit to take advantage of it. Not that moving on to better lenses is ever a bad thing..... :)

There are tons of amazing and fun vintage lenses you can get for pentax for peanuts too. Yeah you can adapt them to other systems, but being able to just slap a lens on a mount and not worry about aperture or AF if the lens has it is nice.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting

Why is "Pentax K-5" listed under "Semi-professional" whereas "Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-5 IIs" listed "Mid Level"?

I'm planning to buy Pentax K-5.


Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting

No mention that I saw on the review that the LCD screen has a GLASS outer layer preventing scratches and the use of those annoying LCD screen covers. The glass screen is an upgrade along with it being gapless (better anti-reflection and no more dust etc. between the screen and protective layer like the K5 exhibited).

The K5II/s are at killer prices now and are 10 times the camera a Rebel or comparatively priced mirrorless camera are. What's not to love about this one?

Tactical Falcon

I couldn't agree more. I looked at the Nikon, and Canon etc. The K-5II is such a terrific camera bargain.

1 upvote

Does the K-3 have a LCD with a glass outer layer too? Thx.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting

I Have Both The K3 & The K5IIs i did not Like The K3 so i gave it to my Wife and took the K5IIs back ...they are both great cameras but i am use to the K5IIs setup
the K3 is all new inside.....


I see a lot of people asking if the K5 II is a good camera. After becoming too frustrated with point and shoot cameras I took the plunge and bought the K5 II. My wife and I LOVED it. It is true that the camera does not change focus during video capture, but that wasn't important to us. Heck, our little Cannon point and shoot took better video - but that may have just been our ambivalence. It was great at everything we wanted - immediate response, color and sharpness, low light capabilities, burst shooting, etc.. I say "was" because it is no longer with us. It may be water resistant, but it certainly is NOT waterproof - oops! When I can afford to, I will probably buy another.


There is no DSLR wATER resistant, as you painfully learned. For K-5II users , this is wEATHER resistant, to dust, light rain and snow. Hope you can get a new one soon.


a little late, I know, but just out of curiosity, what did you do ? Fall into water or just heavy rain or...?


Could anyone tell me why this is not a good camera for video? I love everything about it, but I would like to make videos too. I am hesitating between this one and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Leandros S

If your requirement is "would like to make videos too", it may be good enough. You should ask yourself whether you're going to need to re-focus after starting your video. If the answer is yes, you should look at Panasonic and Canon. If you're shooting wildlife, inside churches, or other kinds of stage performances, this may not be a factor. In terms of quality, audio and video are excellent in the K-5 II and IIs.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Ok - K-5II have better AF and... and... but why only 80%/ s-81%? If old version K-5 have 83%?
and Nikon D7100 have 85% - but everybody knows - who used this dslr's that Pentax is better...??

Derma pro

I heard and read alot about this pentax. and I believe it is a very good camera. what I know is that pentax k-5II is better regarding the details of the photo. and D7100 is better regarding the colors and the auto white balance. do you think the pentax is better is other situations?


DigitalRevtv on Youtube showed the K-5iis trouncing the D7100. I think the colors are better than the D7100 (Imaging resources comparometer). Stabilization in K-5 auto levels, perspective control + tilt shift capable, astrotracking + wides and primes are stabilized. D7100 only has a digital zoom & extra auto focus points (which are superfluous except for sport). Ask yourself how often do you switch from the center AF point? K-3 has got even more AF points- big deal ! I thought the image quality of the D7100 was a backward step from the D7000, high ISO was better too.


The S has everything I need [Time Lapse too], EXCEPT a LCD that moves/articulates. . . ughhh!!!!


The auto focus in low light is better and the redesign of the rear LCD has been change for better viewing in bright light. Not much else as far as I know. I purchased the K-5II because I often take photos in low light situations and can use all the help I can get!


Seriously, what is the difference between K-5 and K-5II? Every single specification are the same.


The removal of an anti-aliasing filter. this allows for sharper images in the II but sacrifices the tendency to produce moire.

Old Baldy

errrr. from the review "Pentax took a great camera and upgraded it with a faster autofocus system, an improved LCD, and largely left the rest alone - save for the effective removal of the low-pass filter in the K-5 IIS"

1 upvote

It has faster autofocusing, dousan. It has added AF sensitivity, as well, enabling it to autofocus down as low as -3 EV (making it one of only 2 cameras, APS-C OR FF, amateur, enthusiast OR PRO, with such sensitive low-light AF prior to Pentax's release of the K-3, which has the same low-light AF capability). Many Pentax shooters who've had all three cameras say it's the sharpest of the bunch, as far as pics go -- especially at higher ISOs. And, of course, the K-5 IIs also has NO anti-aliasing filter, which DEFINITELY makes for sharper pictures, but could ALSO mean you end up with MOIRE in some pictures (which Photoshop MAY be able to remove, so it's probably not the end of the world in most cases, anyway).

So IF you have a K-5 IIs, it has NO AA filter, which means ALL your shots will be a bit sharper and for most that won't present a moire issue.

Those are the major improvements of which I'm aware. I'm still deciding if I want one as a new second camera now that I have the K-3.

1 upvote

Can you see the moire in the view finder? I looking for the K-5 IIs as I already have a K-5 II. I need a second bosy so I don't have to change lenses

Total comments: 22