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Pentax K-5 Dynamic Range (JPEG)

Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).

To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.

Note: this page features our new interactive dynamic range comparison widget. The wedges below the graph are created by our measurement system from the values read from the step wedge, the red lines indicate approximate shadow and highlight range (the dotted line indicating middle gray).

Cameras Compared

Offering about 9 EV, about 3.5EV of which is in highlights, the Pentax K-5 II has a curve that closely follows that of the Nikon D5200, while the Canon 650D - with its more compressed range, curves a little more subtly as it aproaches the highlights, but clips earlier. The Olympus E-M5, for its part, has a half-stop wider range and an even shallower curve in the highlights.

Color Modes

At default settings (Bright) the K-5 II's tone curve is more or less identical to its predecessor, the K-5. It measures a total dynamic range of 8.5 EV, just 3 EV of which are in the highlights with a rather abrupt clip to white. The Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, and BW settings use essentially the same curve and therefore incorporate the same amount of dynamic range. The Muted setting uses a more linear, less contrasty curve. Bleach Bypass and Reversal Film on the other hand create images with more contrast. However, all the settings clip highlights at the same point.

Dynamic Range Modes

The K-5 II features a Highlight expansion function which applies to both JPEG and Raw; Shadow Expansion can also be applied to the camera's JPEG output. With Highlight correction activated, ISO 160 becomes the minimum sensitivity setting, and the tone curve is flatter in the highlights giving an extra stop of highlight range at the expense of approximately 2/3 stop of shadow detail.

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Comments

Total comments: 15
cgarrard
By cgarrard (2 months ago)

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?

2 upvotes
SgtUSMC
By SgtUSMC (5 months ago)

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.....

0 upvotes
mgunt
By mgunt (6 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
waxwaine
By waxwaine (5 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
XT
By XT (8 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (7 months ago)

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
Lucas1981r
By Lucas1981r (10 months ago)

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...??

3 upvotes
Derma pro
By Derma pro (10 months ago)

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?

0 upvotes
Hansel300
By Hansel300 (8 months ago)

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.

2 upvotes
KZMike
By KZMike (10 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Kfrog
By Kfrog (11 months ago)

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!

0 upvotes
dousanmiaography
By dousanmiaography (11 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Rutterbutter
By Rutterbutter (10 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Old Baldy
By Old Baldy (9 months ago)

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
JeffAHayes
By JeffAHayes (7 months ago)

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.
Jeff

1 upvote
Total comments: 15