• APS-C 372.9mm2
  • 12.3 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 3200
  • APS-C 372.1mm2
  • 16.3 megapixels
  • ISO 100 - 12,800

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Differences

Nikon D300S advantages over Pentax K-5

  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 0.6 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Longer stills battery life
    More info 950 vs 740 shots
    Capture more photos
  • More cross-type AF points
    15 vs 9
    Cross-type AF points improve autofocus performance
  • Shoots 24p video
    Yes vs No
    Gives your movies a big-screen feel
  • Dual card slots
    Yes vs No
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • More AF points
    51 vs 11
    More AF points improve autofocus
  • Faster RAW shooting
    7.1 fps vs 6.5 fps
    Faster RAW shooting in burst mode

Pentax K-5 advantages over Nikon D300S

  • Less expensive
    $989 vs $1899
    Save money for lenses or accessories
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Yes vs No
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • Higher effective ISO
    1,162 vs 787 iso
    Take photos in low light with less noise
  • More dynamic range
    14.1 vs 12.2 evs
    Retain detail in highlight and shadows
  • Shoots 1080p video
    Yes vs No
    You'll want this if you shoot video
  • Less shutter lag
    0.10 vs 0.23 sec
    Focus and take a photo quickly (wide angle)
  • More pixels
    16.3 vs 12.3 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Higher extended ISO
    51200 vs 6400 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • Internal flash
    Both provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Top deck display
    Both provide
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • External Mic Jack
    Both provide
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
    Both provide
    Much better viewfinder picture fidelity
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • Focus peaking
    Neither provide
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Tilt-swivel screen
    Neither provide
    Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
  • Touchscreen
    Neither provide
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • In-camera panoramas
    Neither provide
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • Tiltable Screen
    Neither provide
    Tilt the screen for shooting flexbility
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Neither provide
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • NFC
    Neither provide
    Simplifies pairing your camera with supported phones
  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Neither provide
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • Headphone jack
    Neither provide
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

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Your purchases support this site

Buy the Pentax K-5

Review Excerpt

  • Rugged construction; 51-point AF system capable of sophisticated AF tracking; Large, bright optical viewfinder; 7 fps JPEG or 12-bit RAW burst mode; HD Video capture.

  • 14-bit RAW mode slows continuous shooting from 7 fps to 2.7 fps; Somewhat slow AF for a camera at this level, especially in 51-point auto-area mode; Video capture tops out at 720p24.

  • Excellent high ISO performance, one of the best APS-C sensors yet; 6.5 fps burst mode has very good buffer depths; Weather, dust, and cold resistant; In-body Shake Reduction corrects not only horizontal / vertical, but also rotational motion.

  • Default saturation and contrast a bit high; Auto white balance too warm in tungsten light; Fewer AF points than main competitors; Only a single card slot, and no UHS-I card support (slow buffer clearing).

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D90

Nikon D300S
Nikon D90
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • External Mic Jack
  • More cross-type AF points
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
Pentax K-5
Nikon D90
  • $774
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • More telephoto lens reach

Compared to Canon 50D

Nikon D300S
Canon 50D
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Less shutter lag
  • More pixels
Pentax K-5
Canon 50D
  • $774
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • More telephoto lens reach

Compared to Sony DSLR-A550

Nikon D300S
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Tiltable Screen
Pentax K-5
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $774
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Tiltable Screen
  • Longer stills battery life

Compared to Nikon D7000

Nikon D300S
Nikon D7000
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • More cross-type AF points
  • $699
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • More dynamic range
Pentax K-5
Nikon D7000
  • $774
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Less shutter lag
  • $699
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • Longer stills battery life

Compared to Canon T3i

Nikon D300S
Canon T3i
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $549
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Shoots 1080p video
Pentax K-5
Canon T3i
  • $774
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $549
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • More telephoto lens reach
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