Pentax K-5 review

Is the Pentax K5 simply a modest upgrade to an already existing camera, or one that deserves recognition in its own right?

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One area in which Pentax has largely left things as they were is with design: the Pentax K-5 body externally remains very similar to the Pentax K-7 body. You have to look closely for any changes, although the K-5 exposure mode dial is noticeably taller which helps in its turning.

The body is constructed from a durable magnesium alloy, and has been sealed against dust and water incursion around all vulnerable points. It's perhaps lighter and smaller than its specifications may suggest, but the benefit of this is that it presents no problem when carried around for prolonged periods of time, even with the moderate heft of a wide-aperture zoom lens.

The handling areas around the grip and thumb-rest do away with some of the more intricate contouring seen on other models, and instead focus on simply providing enough room for users with any size of hand to get enough purchase.

Pentax k 5

Although there's plenty of space around the back for the thumb to sit comfortably, this hasn't come to the detriment of button and control spacing. In fact, it's hard to imagine how better the controls could be either arranged or labeled, although the menu button sitting towards the bottom isn't something that will please everyone.

The functions within the menu system itself are sensibly organised in order of importance, and Pentax has opted for a scrolling display of longer-named functions in place of any mysterious abbreviations.

All of this is assisted by three different displays which alternate upon presses of the Info button, namely a status screen which consists of all major settings in use; a control panel where changes may be made to these settings; and an airplane-style electronic level display which offers indicators for both roll and tilt.

Sadly, a handful of quirks do stand in the way of quick and easy access to certain settings. The collar underneath the mode dial, for example, which is used for switching between metering modes, is conveniently placed for quick manual adjustment, although its stiffness together with the shallow lever by which it is operated make such a simple task a touch trickier than it should be.

Similarly, it's puzzling as to why the microphone port is covered with an integrated rubber plug, while the screw-in cover on the flash-sync socket is not just separate from the camera, but so small and awkward to remove that it makes it very easy to lose.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.3 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x, 3.1x (Lens 1) - 4x (Lens 2)
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesLive View, Aperture Priority, Continuous Shooting Mode, External Flash Shoe, Manual White Balance
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)660 g
Image Sensor Size23.70 mm x 15.70 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height97 mm
Width131 mm
Depth73 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1) - 50 mm to 200 mm (Lens 2)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelK-5
Product NameK-5 Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program (P)
  • Shutter-Priority (Tv)
  • Aperture-Priority (Av)
  • Metered Manual (M)
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number1476101
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Pentax K-5 incorporates a new generation CMOS sensor, combined with the reliable PRIME II Imaging Engine, which produce high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images. The K-5 also offers a wide sensitivity range, from ISO 100 to 12800, which can be expanded to ISO 80~51200. As the Analog/Digital conversion is done within the sensor, K-5 features an impressive noise management.

Package Contents
  • K-5 Digital SLR Camera
  • smc DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR Lens
  • smc DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 ED WR Lens
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Li-ion Battery D-LI90
  • Battery Charger D-BC90
  • AC Cable
  • Strap
  • Eye Cup FR and Hot Shoe Cover (Already Mounted)
  • Finder Cap for ME
  • Body Mount Cover
  • Sync Socket 2P Cap
  • Bottom of Body's Cap
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year