Pentax K-5 II review

The popular APS-C camera gets an upgrade

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Here the Pentax K-5 II pretty much picks up the baton where its predecessor left off, which is definitely no bad thing considering the original Pentax K-5 was a good performer.

Sure, these days a 16.3MP sensor is never going to steal the thunder from the likes of Nikon's latest megapixel monsters, but look beyond sheer resolution and the sensor in the Pentax K-5 II produces terrific quality images.

Pentax K 5 II review

Colour depth and dynamic range are still superb, especially when the Dynamic Range Enlargement feature is enabled.

Image noise - or lack thereof - is another area where the Pentax K-5 II excels. There's rarely ever a need to ramp a camera's sensitivity up to ISO 12,800, but even here little if any chroma noise (colour speckling) is evident. And although there is a fair amount of luminance noise (grain) visible, it's by no means distracting.

Pentax K 5 II review

Of course if you push on up to the Pentax K-5 II's maximum sensitivity of ISO 51,200 things don't look so pretty, but image quality is still good enough for prints up to around 9 x 6 inches.

Pentax is particularly proud of its new SAFOX X autofocus system in the Pentax K-5 II, and with good reason. The system manages to focus almost instantly, even in the darkest of environments, and in many instances it does so without the aid of the AF assist lamp.

Pentax K 5 II review

Switch to Live View and, unlike many DSLRs, the Pentax K-5 II still delivers pleasantly speedy autofocusing and gives you the option to choose from three autofocus methods depending on your subject.

But whether the autofocus performance is that much of an improvement over the original Pentax K-5 is less obvious, since this camera was still no slouch in this department provided you use the right lens.

Pentax K 5 II review

The camera's 77-segment exposure metering system is largely unchanged from its predecessor, and in the majority of situations this reliably hits upon correct exposure settings. But - and this is really the only significant issue with the Pentax K-5 II - the system is still prone to overexposure.

It's only really a problem in low light, high contrast situations, where the camera plumps for a more balanced exposure at the expense of highlight detail. Sometimes this does give true-to-life results, but often highlights can be blown by as much as two stops, with mid-tones and shadows looking unrealistically bright.

Pentax K 5 II review

Switching to spot metering or dialling in some exposure compensation does solve the problem, providing you have time to do so.

Auto white balance is by and large consistently accurate on the Pentax K-5 II, with only a couple of instances in mixed artificial lighting where an unexpected colour cast tainted the final image.

Pentax K 5 II review

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera Body Only
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANNo
Effective Camera Resolution16.3 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
DurabilityWeather Resistant, Dust Resistant
FeaturesLive View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Face Detection, External Flash Shoe, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)660.5 g
Image Sensor Size23.70 mm x 15.70 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height96.5 mm
Width132.1 mm
Depth73.7 mm
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelK-5 II
Product NameK-5 II Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number12015
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

This new model is designed to be the successor to the PENTAX K-5 (launched in October 2010), which has been very well received for its compact but solid, functional body and high-quality image reproduction. As the flagship model of the K series, the K-5 II boasts many advanced functions and user-friendly features, including a newly developed AF sensor assuring a broader AF working EV range, to accommodate many kinds of shooting conditions and photographic requirements.

Package Contents
  • K-5 II Digital SLR Camera
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Li-Ion Battery D-LI90
  • Battery Charger D-BC90
  • AC Cable
  • Strap
  • Eye Cup FR
  • Hot Shoe Cover
  • Finder Cap for ME
  • Body Mount Cover
  • Sync Socket 2P Cap
  • Bottom of Body's Cap
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty1 Year