Nikon D610 vs Pentax K-5
The Nikon D610 and the Pentax K-5 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2013 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D610) and an APS-C (K-5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.2 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 D610 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D610 and the Pentax K-5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
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 notably smaller (20 percent) than the Nikon D610. Moreover, the K-5 is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the D610. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 K-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 45 percent) than the D610, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D610 features a full frame sensor and the Pentax K-5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-5 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.2MP, the D610 offers a higher resolution than the K-5 (16.1MP), but the D610 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 4.81μm for the K-5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D610 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the K-5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D610 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D610 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 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 Nikon D610 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D610 provides substantially higher image quality than the K-5, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|3.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|4.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2877||95|
|6.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|7.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|9.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|10.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|11.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|12.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D610 provides a higher frame rate than the K-5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D610 and the K-5 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D610 has a higher magnification than the one of the K-5 (0.70x vs 0.61x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D610 and Pentax K-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Nikon D780||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D800E||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-30||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that differentiates the K-5 and the D610 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The K-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D610 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The Nikon D610 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 D610 and the K-5 write their files to SDXC cards. The D610 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the K-5 only has one slot. The D610 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 D610 and Pentax K-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D780||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D800E||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax K-30||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D610 has a headphone jack, which is not present on the K-5 This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the D610 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 D610 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the D610 and K-5 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D610 Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax K-5 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D610 better than the Pentax K-5 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D610:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.2 vs 16.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/25p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.61x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (900 versus 740) on a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the K-5 launch.
Advantages of the Pentax K-5:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x97mm vs 141x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 90g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2010).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D610 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 D610 and the Pentax K-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D610 or the K-5. 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||5/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D800E||..||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D610 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 D610||Pentax K-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2013||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D610||Pentax K-5|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||23.7 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||372.09 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.2 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4016 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||4.32 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||94||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.4||14.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2925||1162|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D610||Pentax K-5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D610||Pentax K-5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D610||Pentax K-5|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D610||Pentax K-5|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||740 shots per charge|
141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
131 x 97 x 73 mm
(5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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