Pentax K-5 Comparison Review
The Pentax K-5 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in September 2010 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.
Is the Pentax K-5 a good camera? The K-5 has a Camera Elo of 1864. This rating puts the K-5 among the top 50 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-5 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax K mount lenses|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 12 800 (80 - 51 200)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7 shutter flaps per second|
|740 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g|
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 physical dimensions of the Pentax K-5 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-5 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.
|1.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|3.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|4.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|7.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549|
|8.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|9.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|11.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|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 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.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
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 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Pentax K-5 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 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|3.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The K-5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-5 can use is 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-5 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 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0 / 610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y|
|4.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|6.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Pentax K-500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-30||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0 / 921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One convenient feature of the K-5 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.
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 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-30||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Sony A77||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-5 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.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-5 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|3.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|4.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|5.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|6.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|7.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549|
|8.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|9.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849|
|10.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|11.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||..||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 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 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-5.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the K-5?
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 with the PRIME II image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-5?
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?
Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the K-5. 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 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?
Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your K-5 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 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 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's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.
Which battery does the K-5 use?
Is there a vertical grip available for the K-5?
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 40D vs Pentax K-5
- Canon SL1 vs Pentax K-5
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Pentax K-5
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Pentax K-5
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Pentax K-5
- Nikon D80 vs Pentax K-5
- Olympus E-M1X vs Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-1 II vs Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-1 vs Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-5 vs Pentax K-5 II
- Pentax K-5 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Pentax K-5 vs Sony RX1R II
|Camera Model||Pentax K-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1 099|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||372 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm|
|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)||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1162|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|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|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI90 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||740 shots per charge|
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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