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.
|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)|
|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|
|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|
|Weight (body only)||