Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
The Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-5 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2015 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The K-3 II has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the K-5 provides 16.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO 100-51200||ISO 100-12800 (80-51200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 1037k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8.3 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|720 shots per battery charge||740 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 100 x 77 mm, 800 g||131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g|
Body comparison: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The K-3 II can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Pentax K-3 II. Moreover, the K-5 is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the K-3 II. 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Pentax K-3 II»||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-5«||5.2 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||26.8 oz||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||-||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 80D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||5.4 in||4.1 in||2.9 in||25.4 oz||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic GX8« »||5.2 in||3.1 in||2.5 in||17.2 oz||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199||-||Panasonic GX8|
|Pentax KP« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-70« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.9 in||24.3 oz||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||-||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX10 II« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299||-||Sony RX10 II|
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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.
Sensor comparison: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the K-5 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the K-3 II uses a more advanced image processing engine (PRIME III) than the K-5 (PRIME II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Pentax K-3 II offers a higher resolution of 24.1 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 3.90μm versus 4.81μm for the K-5). However, it should be noted that the K-3 II is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 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 K-3 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Unlike the K-5, the K-3 II has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Pentax K-3 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200 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 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Pentax K-3 II»||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-5«||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.7||14.1||1162||82||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.3||14.0||1483||86||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87||Nikon D7200|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75||Panasonic GX8|
|Pentax KP« »||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||-||-||-||-||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-70« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||-||-||-||-||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3« »||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.7||13.4||1216||80||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX10 II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70||Sony RX10 II|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-3 II provides a higher frame rate than the K-5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the K-5 is limited to 1080/25p.
Feature comparison: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The K-3 II 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-3 II has a higher magnification than the one of the K-5 (0.63x 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 Pentax K-3 II and Pentax K-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Pentax K-3 II»||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-5«||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||optical||Y||3.2||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7200|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic GX8« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Panasonic GX8|
|Pentax KP« »||optical||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-70« »||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3« »||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A6300« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX10 II« »||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 II|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The K-5 has one, while the K-3 II does not. While the built-in flash of the K-5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax K-3 II 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 K-3 II and the K-5 write their files to SDXC cards. The K-3 II 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 K-3 II 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.
Connectivity comparison: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
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 Pentax K-3 II and Pentax K-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Pentax K-3 II»||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-5«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 80D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon D7200|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GX8|
|Pentax KP« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-70« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A6300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX10 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 II|
It is notable that the K-3 II 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.
The K-3 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the K-5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-5 was succeeded by the Pentax K-5 II. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax website.
Review summary: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
So what is the bottom line? Is the Pentax K-3 II better than the Pentax K-5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Pentax K-3 II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (PRIME III vs PRIME II).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i 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 (0.63x vs 0.61x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.3 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the K-5 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- 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 K-3 II is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.
Do the specifications of the Pentax K-3 II and the Pentax K-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing.In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the K-3 II and the K-5 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Pentax K-3 II vs K-5
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Pentax K-3 II»||-||-||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||Pentax K-3 II|
|Pentax K-5«||-||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099||-||Pentax K-5|
|Canon 80D« »||++||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||++||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||++||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||++||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic GX8« »||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199||-||Panasonic GX8|
|Pentax KP« »||-||82/100||5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099||Pentax KP|
|Pentax K-70« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||Pentax K-70|
|Pentax K-3« »||-||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||-||Pentax K-3|
|Sony A6300« »||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||++||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX10 II« »||++||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299||-||Sony RX10 II|
|Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1000D vs Fujifilm X-T20
- Canon G1 X vs Panasonic GH5
- Canon SX730 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Fujifilm X-T30 vs Panasonic FZ200
- Panasonic GX9 vs Olympus E-M1
- Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GX850
- Panasonic TZ200 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Sony A6000 vs Leica CL
- Sony A7 II vs Fujifilm X-A3
- Sony A7 II vs Panasonic LX15
- Sony RX100 V vs Canon M50
Specifications: Pentax K-3 II vs Pentax K-5
|Camera Model||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1099||USD 1099|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||372.09 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4000 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.56 MP/cm2||4.32 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME III||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||14.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1106||1162|
|Screen Specs||Pentax K-3 II||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||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||8.3 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Pentax K-3 II||Pentax K-5|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI90 power pack||D-LI90 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||720 shots per charge||740 shots per charge|
131 x 100 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
131 x 97 x 73 mm
(5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||800 g (28.2 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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