Pentax K-5 II vs Ricoh GR III
The Pentax K-5 II and the Ricoh GR III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2019. The K-5 II is a DSLR, while the GR III is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 24 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 Pentax K-5 II and the Ricoh GR III? 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 Pentax K-5 II and the Ricoh GR III 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR III is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Pentax K-5 II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the K-5 II is splash and dust resistant, while the GR III does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR III has a lens built in, whereas the K-5 II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the GR III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||109 mm||62 mm||33 mm||257 g||200||n||Feb 2019||899|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|5.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|8.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|9.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|12.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549|
|13.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|14.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849|
|15.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 GR III was launched at a lower price than the K-5 II, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the GR III is 1 percent smaller. 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 underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the GR III offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the K-5 II. 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 3.91μm versus 4.81μm for the K-5 II). However, it should be noted that the GR III is much more recent (by 6 years and 5 months) than the K-5 II, 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 GR III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-5 II 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 GR III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Pentax K-5 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR III are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the GR III provides a faster frame rate than the K-5 II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, 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 II has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR III relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR III can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-5 II and Ricoh GR III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||optional||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The K-5 II has one, while the GR III does not. While the built-in flash of the K-5 II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax K-5 II and the Ricoh GR III 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-5 II and the GR III write their files to SDXC cards. The GR III supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the K-5 II 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 Pentax K-5 II and Ricoh GR III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the K-5 II has a microphone port, which is missing on the GR III. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-5 II (unlike the GR III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The GR III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the K-5 II has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-5 II was succeeded by the Pentax K-3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Ricoh websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Pentax K-5 II or the Ricoh GR III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Pentax K-5 II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (740 versus 200) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Ricoh GR III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 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).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the K-5 II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x62mm vs 131x97mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the K-5 II).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the K-5 II launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR III is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 12 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. 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 Pentax K-5 II and the Ricoh GR III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-5 II or the GR III. 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 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], 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.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|2.||Ricoh GR III||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||..||Feb 2019||899|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|5.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|7.||Panasonic ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|8.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|9.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|10.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|12.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549|
|13.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|14.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849|
|15.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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: Pentax K-5 II vs Ricoh GR III
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||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2012||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.7 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||372.09 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.81 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.32 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||PRIME II||GR Engine VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1235||..|
|Screen Specs||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax K-5 II||Ricoh GR III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||740 shots per charge||200 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
131 x 97 x 73 mm
(5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
109 x 62 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||760 g (26.8 oz)||257 g (9.1 oz)|
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