Everyone's heard about the K-5's improved AF performance, overhauled noise handling, and larger resolution, but what about those smaller features that don't make it onto the specsheets? It seems that in addition to improving the fundamentals, Pentax has gone a step further with the K-5, and actually introduced lots of small and very handy features, most of which have been raised by forum users in the past as suggestions. Over the course of the next few weeks, as we await the PentaxForums professional review of the K-5, we will be bringing you a series of articles on things in the K-5 that just can't go unignored.
Today, we will look at the first three on our list:
The K-7 pioneered Pentax's electronic level system, and utilized the viewfinder to indicate the camera's alignment when outside of live view. With the K-5, Pentax has taken things to the next level. Not only did they add a dedicated "artificial horizon" screen (pictured above, accessible via the "info" button while taking photos), but they also enhanced the electronic level sensor to include both axes. Thus, you can now tell not only if the camera is properly positioned horizontally, but also vertically. The above screen is particularly useful when shooting on a tripod, as one can use the viewfinder to compose the image, and then refer to the screen and fine-adjust the tripod to make sure the photo won't be crooked. This new feature is nothing short of brilliant- way to go, Pentax!
The K-5's record menu has been expanded with two settings that adjust how the camera handles noise reduction in high-ISO and low shutter-speed situations. The first setting pictured above lets the user choose from six different settings: Auto NR, NR Off, Low NR, Medium NR, High NR, and Custom. While the first five are fairly self-explanatory, it is the last through which Pentax has made a breakthrough. If you choose Custom, you will be able to access another sub-menu and configure how the camera handles noise for each individual ISO! The other setting allows the user to control how the camera handles noise for long exposures. It features three options: Auto NR, NR Off, and NR On. Not quite as interesting as the high-ISO setting, but it's great that Pentax has put noise reduction almost entirely in the hands of the user now!
During instant review as well as in play mode, it is now possible to instantly convert any JPEG image into RAW as long as it still resides in the camera's buffer. This adds a lot of flexibility to shooting in RAW, as now, you can easily only convert those photos that turned out to be exceptionally good, thus saving a lot of card space and post-processing time! Yet another fantastic feature.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our K-5 overview. Disclaimer: Screenshot taken with a Research In Motion device. Quality not representative of Pentax optics.