Nikon 1 J5 vs Pentax K-5
The Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2015 and September 2010. The J5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the K-5 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J5) and an APS-C (K-5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the K-5 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-5 is considerably larger (116 percent) than the Nikon 1 J5. Moreover, the K-5 is substantially heavier (229 percent) than the J5. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the J5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The J5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the K-5, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 J5 features an one-inch sensor and the Pentax K-5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-5 is 221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon 1 J5 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Pentax K-5. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.37μm versus 4.81μm for the K-5). However, it should be noted that the J5 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the K-5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-5 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-51200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the K-5 offers substantially better image quality than the J5 (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the J5 provides a higher video resolution than the K-5. It can shoot video footage at 4K/15p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the K-5 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon 1 J5 and Pentax K-5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J5 has a touchscreen, while the K-5 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The J5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the K-5 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the J5 and the K-5 write their files to SDXC cards. The J5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the K-5 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon 1 J5 and Pentax K-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the J5 offers wifi support, while the K-5 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-5 (unlike the J5) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the J5 and the K-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The K-5 was replaced by the Pentax K-5 II, while the J5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 16.1MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/15p vs 1080/25p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x60mm vs 131x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 529g or 70 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the K-5 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (740 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2010).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J5 emerges as the winner of the contest (18 : 15 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax K-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the J5 or the K-5 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Nikon 1 J5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|Pentax K-5||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Canon 1200D||+||..||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Olympus E-M5 II||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Pentax KP||..||82/100||5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|Pentax K-3 II||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|Pentax K-3||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Sony A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A77||91/100||81/100||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|YI M1||..||69/100||..||2.5/5||..||Sep 2016||349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon 1 J5 vs Pentax K-5
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.7 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||372.09 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.37 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.79 MP/cm2||4.32 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/15p Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||14.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||479||1162|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax K-5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||740 shots per charge|
98 x 60 x 32 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
131 x 97 x 73 mm
(5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||231 g (8.1 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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