Pentax K-5 vs Sony A7 II
The Pentax K-5 and the Sony Alpha A7 II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and November 2014. The K-5 is a DSLR, while the A7 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (K-5) and a full frame (A7 II) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Pentax K mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/25p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 51,200)||ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 1230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|740 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g||127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-5 and the Sony Alpha A7 II? 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 and the Sony A7 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 Sony A7 II is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Pentax K-5. Moreover, the A7 II is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the K-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.
Concerning battery life, the K-5 gets 740 shots out of its D-LI90 battery, while the A7 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A7 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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-5||5.2 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||26.8 oz||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099|
|Sony A7 II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Nikon D7500||5.4 in||4.1 in||2.9 in||25.4 oz||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7000||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|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||4.8 in||3.5 in||1.7 in||15.0 oz||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|Pentax KP||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|Pentax K-70||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.9 in||24.3 oz||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|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||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Sony A9 II||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||23.9 oz||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|Sony A7 III||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A7R||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony A77||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony A850||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 45 percent) than the A7 II, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax K-5 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 II is 130 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the A7 II offers a higher resolution than the K-5 (16.1MP), but the A7 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 4.81μm for the K-5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7 II is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 2 months) than the K-5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 II 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 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 A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Pentax K-5 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 Sony Alpha A7 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 A7 II has a markedly higher DXO score than the K-5 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.1 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.
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A7 II provides a faster frame rate than the K-5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7 II has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), while the K-5 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A7 II has a higher magnification than the one of the K-5 (0.71x vs 0.61x), 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 Pentax K-5 and Sony A7 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The K-5 has one, while the A7 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-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 K-5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 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.
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 Sony Alpha A7 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the K-5 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-5 (unlike the A7 II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the K-5 and the A7 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The K-5 was replaced by the Pentax K-5 II, while the A7 II was followed by the Sony A7 III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Pentax K-5 better than the Sony A7 II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-5:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (740 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/25p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.61x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 161g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the K-5 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 II is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 9 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 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 and the Sony A7 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-5 or the A7 II perform in practice. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Pentax K-5||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7000||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Olympus E-M5 II||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-M5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|Pentax KP||..||82/100||5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|Pentax K-70||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|Pentax K-3 II||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|Pentax K-3||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Sony A9 II||..||..||5/5||..||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|Sony A7 III||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R II||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A7R||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony A77||91/100||81/100||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|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, 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 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 30D vs Pentax K-5
- Canon G1 X vs Sony A7 II
- Canon M vs Pentax K-5
- Canon SX420 vs Pentax K-5
- Canon SX710 vs Pentax K-5
- Fujifilm GFX 100 vs Sony A7 II
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Pentax K-5
- Olympus E-M1 II vs Sony A7 II
- Olympus E-P5 vs Sony A7 II
- Panasonic GF3 vs Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-5 vs Ricoh GR II
- Pentax K-5 vs Sony NEX-5T
Specifications: Pentax K-5 vs Sony A7 II
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||Sony A7 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||November 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1,099||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.7 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||372.09 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.81 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.32 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 51,200 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME II||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1162||2449|
|Screen Specs||Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|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||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax K-5||Sony A7 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||740 shots per charge||350 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)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||760 g (26.8 oz)||599 g (21.1 oz)|
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