Pentax K-5 II review

Price as reviewed

£800.00

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Scores

AWB Colour
8/10
Metering
8/10
Dynamic Range
9/10
Autofocus
8/10
Build/Handling
9/10
Noise/resolution
27/30
Features
9/10
LCD viewfinder
8/10
Rated
Good
Tested as
Enthusiast DSLR
Overall Score
86%

The Pentax K-5 is one of the best DSLRs with an APS-C-sized sensor that we have tested, so expectations are high for its K-5 II successor. Read the Pentax K-5 II review...

Pentax K-5 II front
Pentax K-5 II front Pentax K-5 II back Pentax K-5 II top

Pentax K-5 II at a glance:

  • 16.3-million-pixel APS-C stabilised CMOS sensor
  • ISO 80-51,200
  • Weatherproof body
  • SAFOX X AF sensor
  • 7fps high-speed continuous  shooting
  • Optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
  • Street price around £800

Pentax K-5 II review - Introduction

As its name suggests, the Pentax K-5 II is a direct replacement for the Pentax K-5, which was tested in AP 15 January 2011. The camera received a high score in the review, and praise has been heaped on it ever since. Many photographers have claimed that it has the best overall image quality of any DSLR with an APS-C-sized sensor, so the K-5 II has a lot to live up to.

In the two years between the K-5 and K-5 II, there has been very little movement in enthusiast DSLR section of the market. The two-year-old Nikon D7000 is still current, as is the three-year-old Canon EOS 7D. We have seen many new cameras and steps forward in imaging technology in other areas, though, particularly professional-level DSLRs and compact system cameras. Some companies are all about the big numbers, such as more pixels, faster frame rates, smaller bodies and the latest in connectivity. It is perhaps the photography enthusiasts - at which the K-5 II is aimed - who are the most demanding audience of all, and the ones who drive many of the changes. From this point of view, the K-5 II comes across as a little disappointing.  

A comparison of Pentax's flagship K-5 II with its predecessor shows there are few changes, but noteworthy developments include the revised sensor, new SAFOX X AF system and brighter LCD display. However, with the cameras side by side they appear virtually identical. On the surface, this seems to be a compliment to the K-5 - that two years on, it is still up there with the best of them - but it will be interesting to see how the new competition shapes up, as and when it arrives.  

Perhaps unsurprising is the fact that Pentax has created a second version of the camera, the K-5 IIs. This is almost identical to the K-5 II, except that it has no anti-aliasing filter. We have seen this before in the Nikon D800 and D800E. In short, the K-5 IIs is at a greater risk of moiré patterning in fine image detail, but in return it produces sharper images. At the time of writing we have not had our hands on the K-5 IIs, but when we do we will run a comparison test against the K-5 II to see how the image quality is affected.