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Pentax K-5 II Comparison Review

The Pentax K-5 II is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in September 2012 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.

camera

Is the Pentax K-5 II a good camera? The K-5 II has a Camera Elo of 1886. This rating puts the K-5 II among the top 40 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-5 II ranks among the top 50 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-5 II
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/25p Video
ISO 100 - 12 800 (80 - 51 200)
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
740 shots per battery charge
131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Pentax K-5 II vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax K-5 II vs credit card front
K-5 II versus credit card top view
K-5 II and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-5 II alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
2.
 
Nikon D7100 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199i
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299i
4.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
5.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
7.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
8.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
9.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-5 II was launched in the US market at a price of $1,099. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Pentax K-5 II:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Pentax K-5 II features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-5 II among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Pentax K-5 II sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
2.
 
Nikon D7100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
4.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
5.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
7.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
8.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
9.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
10.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
11.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The K-5 II indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-5 II can use is 1080/25p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-5 II has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.61x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Pentax K-5 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D7100optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-M51440 n3.0 / 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y
4.
 
Pentax KPoptical n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
5.
 
Pentax K-70optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
7.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One convenient feature of the K-5 II is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

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-5 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D7100Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Pentax KPYstereo / monoY--2.0Y--
5.
 
Pentax K-70Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-500Ymono / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-30Ymono / mono---2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the K-5 II has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the K-5 II 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings 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]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5....80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
2.
 
Nikon D71005/5+ +..85/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199i
3.
 
Olympus E-M54/5+ +..80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299i
4.
 
Pentax KP4/5..3/582/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
5.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5......5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
7.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
8.
 
Pentax K-500........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
9.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-304/5....78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
11.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Pentax K-5 II FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-5 II.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the K-5 II?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Pentax equipped the K-5 II with the PRIME II image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-5 II?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-51200.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-5 II?

Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the K-5 II. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the K-5 II over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my K-5 II?

Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-5 II has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Pentax K-5 II has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Does the Pentax K-5 II feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The K-5 II's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Which battery does the K-5 II use?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI90 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the K-5 II?

Yes, Pentax offers the D-BG4 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax K-5 II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012
    Launch Price USD 1 099
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 372 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 928 x 3 264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.81 μm
    Pixel Density 4.32 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/25p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12 800 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 51 200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1235
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)740 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 131 x 97 x 73 mm
    (5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 760 g (26.8 oz)

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