Pentax K-5 II and IIs review: Does removing the antialiasing filter make for better photos?


posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 12:45 AM EDT

Last fall, Pentax announced two new digital SLRs that are near-identical to each other, save for one very important detail. Both the Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs are also very closely related to the preceding -- and very well-received -- Pentax K-5, but with a couple of important improvements.

The Pentax K-5 II is the mainstream model. It takes the K-5's design and improves its low-light autofocusing capabilities to the near-magical. It also sports a new gapless LCD monitor that's significantly easier on the eye than that in the standard K-5, and which boasts a more scratch-resistant cover plate. Save for adjustments to the price and kit lens selection, those are the only updates listed for the Pentax K-5 II, but are they enough to sustain a basic design that's now coming up on its third birthday? And would we find any other tweaks hidden under the surface? Read our Pentax K-5 II review, and find out!

The Pentax K-5 II is a mainstream enthusiast SLR; its sibling the K-5 IIs is a very closely-related, specialist model with no optical low-pass filter.

With the Pentax K-5 IIs, meanwhile, the company caters to photographers for whom per-pixel sharpness is priority number one. By removing the optical low-pass filter, just as Nikon did in its D800E, Pentax has maximized the K-5 IIs' resolution, but that improvement comes at the expense of potential issues with moiré, aliasing, and false color artifacts. How frequently did we see these problems, and how much of an improvement was there to be found in other respects? Take a look at our Pentax K-5 IIs review for our experiences; you'll want to read the K-5 II review as well to get some insight into the rest of the camera's operation.

Spoiler alert: Both of these cameras make the grade for our Dave's Pick list, which rounds up the best cameras by category, so if you're in the market for an enthusiast SLR, the Pentax K-5 II or K-5 IIs definitely deserve to be on your shortlist! (And if not, browse the Dave's Picks to find your next digital camera.)