Pentax K-5 II review

The popular APS-C camera gets an upgrade

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Considering the significant technological advances made by the original Pentax K-5 over the old Pentax K-7, we can't help but feel a little disappointed that the new Pentax K-5 II is a much more subtle, evolutionary step forward.

But that said, it's refreshing to see that Pentax hasn't attempted to set the Pentax K-5 II apart by giving it a needlessly high megapixel count, or festooning it with gimmicky features.

We liked

Although it's no great improvement over its predecessor, the Pentax K-5 II's performance is still good, and a worthy match for the competition in most areas. The robust build quality should ensure it survives sustained abuse, and the in-camera Shake Reduction system works with any compatible lens.

We disliked

As capable as the Pentax K-5 II is, much of what makes it special has just been carried over from the original Pentax K-5. Then there's the elements we wish hadn't been transferred, including the tendency to overexpose and frustrating slowness at processing HDR shots, removing chromatic aberration and correcting lens distortion.

Final verdict

Like its predecessor, the Pentax K-5 II succeeds where it matters most. It produces high image quality (although its resolution scores are a little low), boasts strong autofocus performance, high build quality and is easy to use. It is a pity we can't add the camera's exposure metering to the list of superlatives, because capable though it is, the few occasions where overexposure does occur can frustrate.

However, the biggest problem the Pentax K-5 II faces is the old Pentax K-5. While the specification and performance of the newer model is marginally better, the price difference is far more pronounced.

Hence if you're in the market for a high performing APS-C format DSLR with a great all-round ability, the original Pentax K-5 could well be a more tempting proposition at the right price than the slightly more capable Pentax K-5-II. Likewise, if you already own a Pentax K-5, then the Pentax K-5 II is unlikely to provide much of an upgrade.

Make the leap from the older K-7, however, and you'll be far more likely to appreciate the much improved image quality and autofocus performance. And graduate from entry-level cameras such as the Pentax K-r or Pentax K-x, and you'll be in for a treat.

Easy to use, built to last and based around a decent sensor, the Pentax K-5 II is a great value DSLR. It's just a pity it's so close in spec to its predecessor.

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