What's new

Like most other recently introduced DSLRs the Pentax K-5 doesn't offer any radically new 'killer' features but concentrates on improving what is already there. The most important new component on the K-5 is arguably the 16.3 megapixel CMOS sensor - possible the same unit (at least likely to be closely related) that has impressed us in the Nikon D7000 and the Sony SLT-A55, and which can reach - in the K-5 - a maximum ISO sensitivity setting of ISO 51,200 (equivalent).

That's not all though - the K-5 also boasts an upgraded AF system, improved electronic spirit level, and an assortment of new digital filters and menu options, some of which we have already seen on the upper entry-level K-r. You can find more detail on some of the K-5's new technology below.

The K-5 captures its images on a 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. This is probably closely related to the hardware used in the Nikon D7000 and Sony SLT-A55. Uniquely amongst current APS-C DSLRs, the K-5's ISO sensitivity can be extended up to ISO 51200 (equivalent) at full resolution. The new SAFOX IX+ AF system has 11 AF points (9 cross-type) and the sensors now cover a wider area than in the K-7, and are sensitive to the type of light which falls on them, not just its intensity. In theory, this should aid the reliability of AF under low, artificial light.
The K-5 is equipped with an electronic level which shows horizontal and vertical tilt. This can be activated in the rec menu, and it can also be assigned to the RAW/Fx button. The K-5 offers full HD 1080p video recording at 25 frames per second. Custom image modes and digital filters can be applied to video footage. There is also a socket for an stereo microphone (sold separately).
As with the K-7, the K-5's high-ISO noise reduction is customizable. You can either apply the same level of noise reduction across the entire sensitivity range or select a specific level for each individual ISO setting.
With the extended bracketing function you can bracket a whole range of imaging parameters - not just exposure. Like the K-r the K-5 allows you to apply a cross-process effect to captured images. This is designed to mimic the results you might get when processing one film type in a chemical solution intended for a different type.
The K-5 offers nine custom image modes including a new one - Bleach Bypass. The number of digital filters has also been increased. There are now 18 filters in total including new Sketch and Posterization modes. In live view there are now three different grid overlays to choose from.