Pentax K-5 II review

January 12, 2013

Overall Rating:


Pentax K-5 II

  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:



Price as Reviewed:


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 review – Our verdict

More pixels, more AF points, more shooting modes and improved handling are the sort of changes we normally see when a next-generation camera is released. On the face of it, then, the K-5 II is a little disappointing. Its key improvements over the K-5 are its low-light focusing and brighter LCD screen, but otherwise there is little reason to upgrade. In its own right, the K-5 II is an excellent camera, with superb dynamic range and image quality in all lighting conditions. From a photographer’s point of view, I can find virtually no gripes about its handling, either, as the camera simply does the job and caters for each shooting scenario. As things stand, the K-5 II sits pretty in the enthusiast DSLR market, but I do wonder if this will still be the case as and when the competition announce their latest models.

Pentax K-5 II – Key features

Noise reduction

The K-5 II offers high ISO NR like most other DSLR cameras, but also slow shutter NR. The latter deals with noise that can occur during long-exposure images, and has a manual on, off or auto mode. In its manual mode, NR is applied to exposures that are longer than 1sec.

As well as external flash units, Pentax has an additional GPS (O-GPS1) unit that attaches to the hotshoe. With it attached, functions include electronic compass, simple navigation, auto time sync. and astrotracer

Copyright information
The K-5 II can embed copyright data onto each image. Both the name of the photographer and the copyright holder can be individually set by the user.

Connectivity on offer includes a 3.5mm mic, HDMI, PC/AV, DC in and remote.

Flash sync
In its standard flash mode, flash sync is up to a modest 1/180sec. Handily, on the shooting-mode dial is the flash sync mode, which locks the shutter speed to 1/180sec. However, the K-5 II offers a high-speed flash sync mode with its AF540GZ or AF360GZ flash units, which allows for shutter speeds faster than 1/180sec to be used with the flash units.

Sensor maintenance
To maintain the cleanliness of its sensor, the K-5 II offers pixel mapping, dust alert, dust removal and sensor cleaning. Pixel mapping checks for defective pixels, dust alert can display on the LCD where any dust and dirt resides on the sensor, dust removal deals with dry dirt on the sensor through vibration, and the sensor cleaning raises the mirror to allow the user to manually deal with wet dirt.

Live view
With live view employed, the grid, info overlay, histogram and bright/dark area can be displayed, as can the autofocus method. In flexible spot AF mode, the AF point can be selected. In still capture the display can be a little sluggish.

Info button
Every press of the info button scrolls through the four LCD display modes, which includes shooting display, quick menu (where key exposure controls can be changed), electronic level and to turn off the LCD display, which is necessary for clear use of the viewfinder.

  • Video: 1920 x 1080 pixels (at 25fps), 1280 x 720 pixels, 16:9 (at 30fps or 25fps), 640 x 480 pixels, 4:3 (at 30fps or 25fps), Motion JPEG (AVI)
  • External mic: Yes
  • White Balance: Auto, 10 presets, custom setting, Kelvin and WB fine adjustment
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -2.5 to +1.5 dioptre
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 13m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD or SDHC
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism
  • Output Size: 4928 x 3264 pixels
  • LCD: 3in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: Approx 100%
  • AF Points: 11 individually selectable AF points, 9 of which are cross-type points
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes, over 3 images
  • Sensor: 16.3-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec
  • Weight: 740g including battery and card, 660g without
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, sensitivity priority, shutter and aperture priority, bulb
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Power: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion D-LI90 battery
  • File Format: 14-bit PEF or DNG raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/8000sec in 1⁄3EV or 1/2 EV steps plus bulb
  • Drive Mode: 7fps for approx 50 large/fine JPEG files or 7 raw images
  • Dimensions: 130.5 x 96.5 x 72.5mm
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Metering System: 77-segment metering, centreweighted and spot
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG, 3-stage raw
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps
  • Lens Mount: Pentax KAF2
  • RRP: £799.99 body only, £869.99 with 18-55mm WR lens
  • ISO: ISO 100-12,800 (expanded to ISO 80-51,200)
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, AF.S (single), AF.C (continuous)
  • Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR

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