Olympus E-5 vs Pentax K-5
The Olympus E-5 and the Pentax K-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-5) and an APS-C (K-5) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 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.
|Olympus E-5||Pentax K-5|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/30p Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO 100-6400||ISO 100-12800 (80-51200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|750 shots per battery charge||740 shots per battery charge|
|142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g||131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-5 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 Olympus E-5 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 (24 percent) than the Olympus E-5. Moreover, the K-5 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the E-5. 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Olympus E-5»||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||Olympus E-5|
|Pentax K-5«||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 60D« »||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||Canon 60D|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-P3« »||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3« »||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1« »||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-450« »||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-600« »||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620« »||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-3« »||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||Olympus E-3|
|Pentax KP« »||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-3 II« »||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3« »||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A77« »||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399||Sony A77|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The K-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the E-5, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax K-5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-5 is 65 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-5 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the K-5 offers a higher resolution than the E-5 (12.2MP), but the K-5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 4.29μm for the E-5) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-5 are 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 E-5 (overall score 26 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 3.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56||Olympus E-5|
|Pentax K-5||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.7||14.1||1162||82||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 60D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56||Olympus E-3|
|Pentax KP||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.7||13.4||1216||80||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A77||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78||Sony A77|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-5 provides a better video resolution than the E-5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/25p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-5 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 K-5 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-5 (0.61x vs 0.575x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-5 and Pentax K-5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0||920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-5|
|Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-3|
|Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77|
The Pentax K-5 has 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.
The E-5 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the K-5 uses SDXC cards. The E-5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the K-5 only has one slot.
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 Olympus E-5 and Pentax K-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-5||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-5|
|Pentax K-5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 60D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-450||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-600||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-3||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-3|
|Pentax KP||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-3||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A77||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A77|
It is notable that the K-5 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The E-5 does not feature such a mic input.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the E-5 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 E-5 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 Olympus and Pentax websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-5 and the Pentax K-5? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Olympus E-5:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 17%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (26 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/25p vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.61x vs 0.575x).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x97mm vs 142x117mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 113g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the K-5 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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 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 Olympus E-5 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-5 and the K-5 in practical situations. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 450D vs Pentax K-5
- Canon 650D vs Pentax K-5
- Canon G7 X vs Pentax K-5
- Canon Rebel vs Pentax K-5
- Canon T1i vs Olympus E-5
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-5
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Olympus E-5
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Pentax K-5
- Nikon D3200 vs Pentax K-5
- Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-5
- Panasonic S1H vs Pentax K-5
- Panasonic TZ200 vs Pentax K-5
Specifications: Olympus E-5 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||Olympus E-5||Pentax K-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 1099|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-5||Pentax K-5|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.7 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||372.09 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||4.32 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V+||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.6||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.5||14.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||519||1162|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-5||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||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-5||Pentax K-5|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-5||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||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-5||Pentax K-5|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||740 shots per charge|
142 x 117 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
131 x 97 x 73 mm
(5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||873 g (30.8 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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