Pentax K-5 II offers better autofocus and LCD; K-5 IIs boosts per-pixel sharpness


posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM EST


For the third straight generation, Pentax Ricoh Imaging has retained almost exactly the same body for its new Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs digital SLRs. That's not surprising: we weren't alone in heaping praise on the body they share with the earlier K-7 and K-5 models. What is rather surprising, though, is just how much else they share with their immediate predecessor. Both new and old cameras are as near-indistinguishable under the skin as they are on the outside, with only a few key differences. One of these, though, aims to answer a common criticism of the company's recent SLRs. In the process, it vaults the company to the top of the tables in terms of low-light autofocusing capabilities--on paper at least.

Along with the refreshed autofocus system, Pentax has also gifted the K-5 II and K-5 IIs with an updated LCD display whose tougher surface better-matches the rest of the cameras' rugged, weather-sealed bodies. Better still, the new display should provide a clearer image when shooting outdoors, with glare presenting less of an issue. The Pentax K-5 II and IIs also bests their predecessor by a significant margin in terms of launch pricing, although they still list for a fair bit above the current street pricing of the earlier camera. And they retain everything else that made their predecessor so popular, albeit accompanied by a few things we find ourselves wishing the company had changed.

Pentax's K-5 II digital SLR is the mainstream model, while the K-5 IIs is a specialist camera aimed at landscape and studio use, where moiré either isn't an issue or can be controlled.

So how do the Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs differ from each other? Pentax has borrowed a page from Nikon's playbook, offering two variants of the same camera, and removing the optical low-pass filter from one. That should allow greater per-pixel sharpness, but at the expense of increased incidence of moiré patterns, false colors, and other aliasing artifacts. In other respects, the specialist Pentax K-5 IIs is identical to its mainstream sibling--all bar the price, anyway.

Available from October 2012, the Pentax K-5 II will carry list pricing of around US$1,200 body-only, a full US$400 less than the price at which its predecessor originally launched. Pentax will charge around a 10% premium for the K-5 IIs, with list pricing for that model set at around US$1,300. For the standard K-5 II only, Pentax will also offer two kit versions bundling weather-sealed lenses. The 18-55mm kit will list at around US$1,350, while the 18-135mm kit will sell for about US$1,550. No kit version will be offered for the K-5 IIs.

Want to know more about Pentax's brand-new APS-C flagship camera? Read our Pentax K-5 II preview! And for more info on the OLPF-free variant, take a look at the Pentax K-5 IIs preview.

Pentax K-5 II / K-5 IIs
Camera Type Pro SLR
Manufacturer North America: K-5 II
Dimensions 5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in.
(131 x 97 x 73 mm)
Weight 26.1 oz (740 g)
Planned Price $1,350
Planned Availability October 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type Sony CMOS
APS-C (approx. 1.12 in. diagonal)
16.93 megapixels (total)
16.30 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.50
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Image Dimensions 4928 x 3264 (16.1 megapixels)
3936 x 2624 (10.3 megapixels)
3072 x 2048 (6.3 megapixels)
1728 x 1152 (2.0 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 7.0 frames per second for 30 frames
Image Quality 4 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, SLR type; eye-level pentaprism, ~100% coverage, 0.92x mag., 21.7mm eyepoint, -2.5 to +1.5 diopter
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal921,000 dots
Playback Zoom 32.0
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 18.0 - 55.0mm (actual)
27 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 - f/22 (wide) / f/5.6 - f/38 (tele)
Focusing System TTL phase-difference: new SAFOX X AF sensor, 11 point (9 cross type focus point in the center) with light wavelength sensor; Auto 11 Point, Auto 5 Point, User-Selectable, Center
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 10" - 4,081" (25 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-12800, expandable 80 to 51200
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 second
Exposure Modes Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes TTL open-aperture: 77-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 5.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, fluorescent (D, N, W, L), tungsten, flash, CTE, manual (up to 3 settings), Kelvin temperature (up to 3 settings)
Internal Flash Guide Number: 13
Modes: P-TTL, Red-eye reduction, Slow-speed sync, Rear Curtain Sync. High-Speed Sync and Wireless Sync also available with PENTAX dedicated external flash.
Range: Depends on lens
Flash Exposure Compensation -2 to +1 EV in 1/2EV increments
Scene Modes Sensitivity Priority, Shutter and Aperture Priority; Digital filters (capture): Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Extract Color, Soft, Starburst, Fisheye, Custom
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 12 seconds
Time Lapse Yes
Movie Format AVI (Motion JPEG) with audio
Movie Resolution / Frame Rate 1920x1080 @ 25p, 1280x720 @ 30p/25p, 640x480 @ 30p/25p
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format 14-bit RAW (.PEF, .DNG), JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
Other Mini HMDI, DC input, wired remote, 3.5mm external stereo mic jack
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary D-LI90; optional D-BG4 Battery Grip
Product Bundle
Software CD-ROM
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary D-LI90 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant No
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional Wired or IR
Waterproof No
Notes Essentially a K-5 with improved SAFOX X AF sensor for better low-light autofocus performance, and a better LCD panel with gapless design and tempered glass cover plate.

K-5 IIs differs only in the removal of the optical low-pass filter.
More Photos