The Pentax K-5 II retains the same high quality magnesium alloy casing and rugged stainless steel chassis as the original Pentax K-5.
Also carried over is the advanced 77-seal weather proofing to prevent dust and moisture intrusion. Cold weather shouldn't pose a problem either, as the Pentax K-5 II is rated to operate in temperatures as low as -10C (14F).
Because the Pentax K-5 II uses the same chassis as the Pentax K-5, naturally both cameras have the exact same control layout. This is no cause for concern, however, because there's little to find fault with in the button placement and control design.
You get the usual front and rear control wheels, with a sizable thumb grip area thanks to the location of the rear control wheel. This wheel also doubles as the playback zoom controls, doing away with the need for additional zoom buttons.
Atop the body sit two well-sited buttons for adjusting ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation, and on the left hand side is the main mode dial.
Apart from the usual automatic, program and manual modes, Pentax also gives you a combined shutter and aperture priority mode, where the camera only adjusts the sensitivity to maintain correct exposure.
In addition to this there's a dedicated bulb exposure mode, and a user programmable setting in which you can store five custom preset modes selectable by the rear control wheel.
One control element that could really have benefited from a redesign is the metering adjustment collar beneath the mode dial. Its stiffness and tiny thumb grip mean it's unlikely to be accidentally moved, but it's also quite a pain to adjust when you need to.
Another annoyance from the original Pentax K-5 design that's present on the new camera is the minuscule screw-in cap for PC flash sync port. It's virtually impossible to remove, and once out is unlikely to be seen again.
The only external change Pentax has made to the Pentax K-5 II is its new LCD monitor.
The 3-inch, 921,000 dot panel is now equipped with an internal resin layer between the outer glass and the LCD screen itself, which Pentax claims improves brightness and reduces unwanted reflections.
Results are generally comparable to most current DSLR monitors, but the Pentax K-5 II screen is indeed vibrant, with excellent viewing angles making it easily viewable in all but the harshest direct sunlight.