Pentax K-5 II review

Pentax K-5 II review

Pentax K-5 II Review Video Transcript

Pentax K-5 II review

This is the Pentax K-5 II, the replacement for the K-5, and in an interesting move by Pentax will be available in two models.

This, the standard K-5 II, and the II S, which like Nikon’s D800E has no anti-aliasing filter to improve image sharpness, making it a camera that could be of real interest to landscape and portrait photographers.

Externally there’s little difference between the K-5 and K-5 II, with design and button layout being identical, in fact, aside from the addition of the II in the name the only other exterior update is the improved LCD.

It also has the same 77-seal weather proofing and magnesium alloy body and stainless steel chassis, so the new camera retains the usual high quality that we expect from Pentax.

Internally the differences also seem subdued, with an improved sensor and new SAFOX X autofocus system, which Pentax claims improves AF accuracy and speed. However despite an improved sensor it retains the same pixel count and sensitivity range.

The LCD has been upgrade to a 921,000 dot panel, equipped with an internal resin layer between the outer glass and the LCD screen to reduce reflections.

Sure enough the quality of the screen is excellent and the resin layer really does seems to work,
On the back here is a dedicated button to access the effects modes giving plenty of choice and control over the look of your images. I like the fact that these effects can be applied to both JPEG and RAW files.

With the design and layout matching the K-5, handling is unchanged, and whilst the buttons are responsive prior to taking a shot, on occasion you find that you need to let the camera finish saving the image file before attempting to adjust settings.

The K5-II specification might look the same as the K-5, with a 16.3MP CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800, but in our lab tests the new camera proved to have a slight improvement in low light noise performance.

It also has a good two stops better dynamic range at the lower end of the sensitivity scale and good 1 stop at the higher end.

The big change is the auto focus system, which despite retaining the 11 AF points, 9 of which are cross type. Pentax claims this improves accuracy and focus speed.

In practice the new system does live up to this claim, and is able to focus almost instantly even in quite dark environments, and in many instances does so without the aid of the AF assist lamp.

Switch to Live View mode and, unlike many DSLRs, the K-5 II still delivers fast auto focus and gives you the option to choose from three AF methods depending on your subject.

In camera image processing has also been improved with greater choice over automatic chromatic aberration and distortion correction, however having these switched on slows the camera down so that it takes a second or two to process each shot.

More interesting and usable, however, is the Dynamic-range expansion feature, which does a great job of significantly brightening shadow areas whilst maintaining highlight detail for more balanced exposures.

If you want to take this a step further and shoot straight HDR images then there is also an extensive multi-shot HDR feature with four preset strengths plus an automatic mode. Unfortunately this is only available for JPEG shooting and again processing times are lengthy.

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

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