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09-12-2010, 06:26 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Pentax K-5

Read our Full-Length Pentax K-5 Review!

Note: user reviews & specs moved to Camera Database

K-5 Specs & User Reviews:

The PENTAX K-5 DSLR is developed using the highly acclaimed PENTAX K-7 as its base, the K-5 inherits the exceptional reliability, user-friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor, yet it is more resourceful and flexible in photographic expression. Coupling a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels, even when shooting in the continuous shooting mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second.It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and Full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels to expand the boundaries of high-quality visual presentation. Adding other improvements and refinements - such as a much-faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function now usable in hand-held shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components - the K-5 is designed to be more functional and maneuverable in every detail, and more capable of responding to the discriminating demands of advanced amateurs than previous models. On February 7th, 2011, Pentax announced a limited silver edition of the K-5.

The K-5 features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This sophisticated AF system has completely redesigned optics, and factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter-release options - between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode - to make the photographer better equipped for varying photographic requirements.

The K-5 sensor is estimated to be 3 stops more sensitive than that of its predecessor, the K-7, meaning that a K-5 photo taken at ISO 6400 will look about as grainy than one taken at ISO 800 with the K-7.

Street Price: $1327.95 body-only ($1599.95 MSRP, add an additional $150 for DA 18-55mm WR kit lens)
Silver edition: $1699.95.
Discuss the Pentax K-5 here

Read the operating manual for the Pentax K-5 here

Compare the K-5 with the K-r and others here

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Last edited by Ole; 01-06-2011 at 06:51 PM.
10-24-2010, 03:01 AM - 5 Likes   #2
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Excellent Feel and Handling, Awesome low light images.
Cons Poor shutter release button, pesky locking button on control knob.
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1599.00
Years Owned 1 month

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Overall great performance with nice features.

Camera Review
Before I begin I would like it to be known that I have never written a review for anything before today, so my views on the K5 are anything but professional. So, with my credentials taken care of, Iíll start by saying that I have been shooting with a Pentax camera since 1976, and I am, overall, quite pleased with their performance for the type of shooting that I do. Having said that, there always seems to be one or two things we would like to see improved and the new K5 is no exception. This review will cover four things that I would like to talk about with respect to the current design, as well as a one item that I would like to see in future models. (The wish list.) The first three items are minor pet peeves while the forth topic involves the stunningly spectacular clarity of photos shot at higher ISO settings using available room lighting. So letís move on to item one.

My first DSLR was the Pentax K10 and the first thing I noticed was that they removed the tiny locking button that had to be pressed down in order to turn the control knob on the top left side of the camera. This was something that I hated with my old film cameras and I wasnít sorry to see it go. Unfortunately however, I see that it has found its way back into the design on my K7 and K5. I canít for the life of me figure out how anybody can mistakenly turn that knob without noticing it. If anybody can figure out a way to remove that pesky button without doing harm to the camera please let me know. Letís move on to item two shall we.

The shutter release button is another item worth mentioning that I think can use a little improving with respect to its overly sensitive nature, both on the body, and the optional battery grip. I found my baby finger would sometimes brush against the shutter release button on the battery grip while I was holding the camera and viewing the photos I had taken, thus kicking me out of view mode assuming that I was preparing to take another picture. It seems that just the slightest touch would activate it. This was also the case with the K7. The shutter release button seems almost cheap and flimsy when compared to my K10 which seemed to have the perfect balance and feel. Hopefully Pentax will do a rethink on this one and bring it up to the same standard as the K10. On to item three.

While this item may not seem important to most people, I think for those of us that shoot a lot of night photography would agree with the need to have a way of turning off the viewing screen on the back of the camera without using the shutter release button. Perhaps they could include some coding in a firmware update that would allow a person to press and hold the picture preview button for one second to turn it off, and a second press of the button to turn it back on again. A quick press after that would put the user back into regular preview mode. Just a thought. Now on to item four.

The improvements that Pentax has made with respect to the sensor and its ability to shoot at higher ISO settings is nothing short of remarkable and in my view makes this camera a winner. Without getting into any technical jargon, of which I would have absolutely no idea of what I was talking about, I can only show you what I mean. Upon arriving home from the camera store with my new K5, I unpacked it and placed a fresh battery from my K7 into the K5 and began to shoot my cat which just happened to be sitting on a chair in my office. These photos were shot hand held with available room light only. To say I was really impressed would be a huge understatement at best. Anyone who does a lot of low light or night photography will want to own the new K5. I have uploaded some images to my own site for anyone that wants to view them. Just follow the link at the end of this review. Images are 94% of their original size with a jpg compression ratio of 75%. Letís move on to the wish list.

One aspect of photography that I like to explore is ďlooking upĒ. Iím not just talking about looking up at the sky; I want to know what things look like if I were an ant. I purchased used Nikon coolpix 8800 with a flip out rotating screen for that very reason. The ability to look up from the ground is something I would like to see in future Pentax models. Click here to see what Iím talking about.

I canít give the K5 a ten rating for items mentioned above but I will give it a strong nine. If you donít have one, buy one.

Click here to view the ISO test comparison


Preston Parker
10-26-2010, 07:52 PM   #3
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Ergonomics, fast shutter, improved autofocus, image quality
Cons Limited Video mode compared to competitors
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1600
Years Owned 1 week

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Nearly identical to the K-7. Very responsive and high performing in a small compact, well built package.

Camera Review
Alright, the K-5 has finally arrived on my doorstep, and after a week of shooting it in different scenarios, I thought I would share some of my real world impressions of the camera. I won't do things like imaging or autofocus tests because frankly I don't really know how, I'll just try to give an idea of how the camera handles.

I also thought I'd share some photos from different scenarios to give you an idea of what they look like. If there are flaws in the images, it's probably more my fault than the camera


First blush test

Definitely a bit quicker and more certain than the K-7, although I wouldn't want to say just how much so without a formal test. It was interesting that it would go in streaks for me as I focused on random things throughout the room, focusing instantly say 7 out of 8 times, and on the eighth time hesitating a little bit before locking on.

This held true when I went downstairs in the basement to shoot in the most terrible light I could think of (in other words, ISO 12800 got some use). In this light, with the AF assist light off (to handicap it further) the autofocus hesitated a little more, still focusing nearly instantly on some targets where the contrast was clear, other times hesitating but eventually locking on with good accuracy. In these situations, center point focus helped quite a bit. So I'd say improved low light focus, but not necessarily perfect yet. To be fair, I was trying to push the autofocus to its limit, and I'd really prefer not to ever have to take photos with lighting that bad.

The only time in the past week where I really struggled was during a wedding dance when they turned the lights completely off and my flash infrared focus wasn't working. Then again, I don't expect AF to be that great in total darkness.

Continuous autofocus

I never really used this before owning the K-5, so I can't say how much of an improvement this was over previous cameras. I can however say that it is useful enough that I have used it a ton in my two sports shoots I've done in the past week. This, along with the improve high ISO performance, has made shooting sports more fun. To put it in practical terms, I feel like I can use my skill trying to get a good shot, rather than devoting my efforts to fighting the camera while trying to get a good shot.

Liveview autofocus

Not perfect yet, but definitely much improved over the K-7.

The Shutter

The shutter is butter. That's the phrase that popped into my head after taking my first shot with the camera. Actually, the first phrase that popped into my head was "Whoa, that's quiet!" Even quieter than the K-7, a claim which I was doubtful about before I tried the K-5. This, the machine gun fast 7 FPS, and the snappy autofocus really give the impression of an awesome picture taking package.

The Buffer

Note: This limited buffer problem was fixed by a firmware update. Hoorah!

The limited buffer can be annoying when trying to shoot high ISO RAW rapidly. This certainly is not a camera for Spray and Pray hold down the button lovers who also demand the abililty to shoot in RAW.

However, for my purposes, if the reduced buffer in a trade for increased image quality, I'll take trade. For my purposes I don't need to do that style of shooting that often at all. Also, when I tried shooting sports with JPEG, the buffer never was an issue for me even when I did hold the button down.

High ISO performance

This has all been thoroughly documented, so I won't go into it much here. All I can add it how much more I feel I am able to do with this new high ISO capability. It's not a panacea -- I still had to use my flash some (with mixed results) at the wedding. But in the last week alone I've used it so many times in bad lighting situations -- a wedding in a barn, an indoor gym, a night football game -- where the K-7 would have been a struggle to use.

Low ISO performance

Requoted from another thread:

This is going to be anecdotal and only comparing the K-5 to the K-7, but...

At low ISOs I have noticed that the K-5 renders fine detail, like hair for example, a bit better than the K-7. The K-5 also really seems to reward nice lenses when they are stopped down with some extra resolution boost.

All this said, when I shot a wedding with the K-7 and K-5 this weekend I had trouble telling the two cameras apart when I was looking through my shots that I took in good light. In fact, the difference was more apparent based on what lens each camera was using, a K-7 with the DA* 200 looked like a K-5 with a DA*200, while the two cameras using different lenses looked very different. When I did the same thing with high ISO photos, it was very clear even from small resolution previews that the K-5 was and is the better performer, especially at ISO1600+.


Haven't played with it much yet. The 1080p quality video looks good. The High ISO should be nice for keeping Gain down.

Some photos from the week.

The wedding

ISO 1000, 16 mm, f/2.8, with flash

ISO 6400, 200 mm, f/2.8 no noise reduction

ISO 1600, 16 mm, f/2.8

ISO 1250, 50 mm, f/4

Mitt Romney at rally

ISO 4000, 200 mm, f/2.8

Some sport shots, both at 200 mm f/2.8 ISO 6400

Last edited by Urkeldaedalus; 11-24-2010 at 09:00 AM.
11-03-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros What's not to love!
Cons Still no studio support for HSS Flash. Slight delay in the display of image after taking a shot while NR is applied.
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) $1500
Years Owned 2 Days

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size

Value: A little pricey but matches up with closest competitors (7D, D300s/D7000)

Features: Offers more customization features than the aforementioned closest competitors, including the customizable RAW button that we've all been asking for.

Performance: Great sensor with killer noise reduction customization, 7fps, Quieter than a fart in a mitt.

Size: They stuck to the ergonomics that re-defined comfort with the K7 (the most comfortable DSLR on the market, IMHO). And the grip fits like a glove.

Camera Review

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of the features, because the forum staff are already doing a phenomenal job with their up close looks and are going into much more detail than I can sum up here.

Granted, I've only owned it for 2 days, but this is everything I was hoping the K7 would be. Same killer cozy comfort, but the low-light capability that the K7 lacked.

The first shot I took at ISO 51200 astounded not only me, but my fellow co-workers at the camera store I work at (can anyone say "Pentax Envy"?). And a low light shot at 6400 with my 100mm Macro very nearly brought tears to my eyes. The noise is also much cleaner than the K7, even at the ridiculously high "expanded" end. Another nice plus is the ability to shoot at ISO 80, which helps a little with my gripe about not giving us anything faster than 1/180 in High-Speed Sync without having to use P-TTL.

The menus have been shuffled around a bit... for the better! It seems much more intuitive to me to have some of the menu items pulled from the "Custom Settings" menu and re-distributed to the appropriate "Shooting" menu.

The other major improvement here is the Auto Focus... Continuous Focus is now usable, and straight-up single focus feels like night and day to me, although some have said they they only found a slight improvement.

I have to admit, I have been tempted to switch over to Nikon a few times in the past year (big jump to the D700), but now that I've been able to take some shots with this little beauty, I'm glad I didn't have the bank account to support such a hasty switch (ok, that's a lie, I do wish I had the bank account)

I've always been a proud Pentax shooter (I like the underdog aspect of it too), but with the quality of the K5 and Kr, I'll be happy if I never hear "Pentax? Really? Why?" ever again.

Last edited by Maynerd; 11-03-2010 at 04:56 PM.
11-03-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros High ISO,Image quality
Cons noisy and slow autofocus. made in Phillippines
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1599
Years Owned 2 weeks

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Expensive.. Good DNG and Bad JPG. Size is too small.
All bodies Made in Vietnam and Philippines.

Camera Review
Expensive.. Wait to next month for 1399.
Features good, but performance bad. Very slow, if you shooting RAW or DNG format. Auto focus very very noisy and slow. Continuous shooting not in spot. Only DNG files helps here but transfer time to card takes 6-8 sec for 1 file, s o you can not use dng for continuous. Body felling is same as K7 and I think K20D body was better, K7 and K5 little bit smaller and making dis balance in your hand. Only ONE good news that ISO performance really good for crop camera.
1st image ISO 2500
2nd ISO 8000
3rd ISO 6400
Love this DNG's but return it back to BHP. Can't use Vietnamese cameras, sorry.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
11-03-2010, 10:47 PM   #6
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Fastest AF in a Pentax body to date, accurate AF, great ergonomics, stellar IQ
Cons AF could still be faster, nagging feeling that SR/blur issue is not completely solved
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) $1599
Years Owned 3 weeks

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
At the moment, at MSRP, the K-5 is in a dicey spot price-wise. When it eventually settles to its street price I think it'll present a really good value vis-a-vis the competition. Features and performance-wise it's got all I could ask for, aside from class-leading AF. The only area it falls down in comparison to the similar offerings from Canon and Nikon is in its video modes, which I couldn't care less about.

Camera Review
Having owned the K100D, K20D, K-x, and K-7 before picking this one up, I feel pretty well-versed in the history of Pentax dSLRs--I'm quite comfortable in saying that the K-5 is easily the best dSLR Pentax has ever produced.

It takes the perfectly designed body of the K-7 and stuffs it with next gen tech that, in my opinion, can't be beat by any other APS-C camera on the market today. I'll give you a quick rundown of the pros and cons:

+ Stellar ergonomics (particularly w/ battery grip)
+ Compact/lightweight but very solid build
+ Fastest AF in a Pentax dSLR to date
+ Very accurate AF
+ Seems to require less FF/BF adjustment than my K20D and K-7 (could just be sample variation)
+ High-ISO IQ to rival my full-frame Nikon D700
+ Low-ISO IQ better than K-7 and K20D
+ Excellent auto-ISO mode
+ Ability to set in-camera noise reduction level per ISO setting
+ 5 user modes
+ Incredible dynamic range/RAW headroom
+ Colors seem very accurate out of the box
+ Shutter even quieter than in K-7

- Lacks 24 and 30fps shooting @ 1080p
- Lacks AF during video, manual controls over aperture, ISO, etc during video shooting
- AF could still be faster
- I have a feeling the SR/blur issue described by Falk Lumo in the K-7 has not been fully rectified in the K-5, but this is speculation until it's properly tested
- Doesn't serve me beer
11-29-2010, 10:53 AM   #7
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros High ISO, improved AF
Cons Live view workability
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1600 CAN$
Years Owned 3 weeks

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Value for $$: 4/5 (but it's new, so that number should go up with time!)

Features: 5/5. I doubt I'll ever use all the features this camera's has to offer.

Performance & Size: Coming from a K20d I'm most impressed with the extra features and the smalle size.

Camera Review
Hi All,

After seeing some posts and Urkeldaedalus' review, I was convinced to get this camera mostly because of the High ISO IQ.

I've listed only 2 "pros" as those were the most important to me coming from the K20d.

For the High ISO this camera is worth every penny. I often take shots in poorly light places (i.e. inside) and sometimes would like to forgo the flash. With the K20d, ISO1600 shots were possible, but I was never satisfied with them as the noise would have "colors", i.e. red and green tints. Quite annoying and I never got around to being happy with my PP. Not to say some were capable of producing very nice ISO 1600 pics, but I wasn't.

With the K-5, the pics taken at ISO 1600 don't need any PP (for my tastes and see Urkeldaedalus' shots posted above) and the ISO 3200 shots barely any noise reduction. I would say that the noise is similar to the noise I've seen on my friend's N*kon D700, so smooth. I'm not going to compare the cameras as I've not used the D700, only seen shots taken at those and higher ISOs...

I'm not sure if the AF speed has improved all that much except in poor lighting. WOW, I was impressed. With the K20d it happened every now and then that the AF struggled in low light, but it would catch at some point. Now, no more waiting, AF almost never hunts which is very nice.

Finally for the cons section, I only put the live view as I struggled with it a bit. But of course it might be a code 18 (where the problem is 18'' away from the camera), but I didn't find it as easy to use as I thought it would be. At one point the AF was stuck on the side of the screen and couldn't move it to the center... Also, in low light it struggled to focus! Which surprised me cause as soon as I went back to normal AF, no issues, no hunting, just straight on lock?!?

But I barely use the live view but just a heads up to someone that likes that. My recommendation would be to thoroughly look at the manual, which I should have done...

Well anyways, not a very technical review, but for others like me, amateur photographers looking for a solid, small and very responsive camera, this is it! No more hesitation going for ISO 1600 and 3200 which I would always avoid with my K20d.

Kind regards,
12-07-2010, 03:27 PM   #8
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Size Build WR Operation ISO Performance DR
Cons No Tethering
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1490
Years Owned Since Nov 4 2010

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Excellent value considering the feature set and performance. I would just like to have paid less for it (because I'm cheap that way ). See the review for specific comments. As I would say and did, about the K7, if you are coming to the K5 from the K10 or K20, you will likely want to add the grip. Either aftermarket or original Pentax. For us large handed folks, the grip makes this camera body a near perfect fit.

Camera Review
I usually like to keep a wait and see attitude with the latest and greatest but this camera was just calling my name. I answered and she arrived Nov 4, 2010.

Newest Creature Features that I like

Having used the K7 for a year prior, at first I didn't notice much difference with the in hand feel of the camera. I figured the improvements would be all internal. One of my Biggest gripes about the K7 has always been the locking Mode Dial (select Av, Tv, M, etc). Pentax increased the Height of the mode dial making it Much easier for us large handed fumble fingered people to negotiate. Huge Kudos to them for that.

Another of my not so vocal complaints was the AF/MF switch near the lens mount on the K7. For some reason I always had trouble using it. I think the Lever portion was just too small. The one on the K20d was MUCH better In my opinion. They have made a significant improvement in that switch as well. HOORAY!!! The rest of the camera on the outside, is just like the K7 which I was always happy with.

On the Internal creature features, they have given us the option of storing the last menu used for instant recall upon pushing the menu button. Big thumbs up to Pentax on that one. Saves a lot of time, button pushing, and wheel turning trying to get back to where you just were seconds ago. I use this feature Most often to turn the electronic level on and off.

No More DFS (Dark Frame Subtraction)!!! Pentax users have been bemoaning the loss of the ability to turn off DFS since the K20d was introduced. I am one of them and had even bought another K10d to get the feature back. Not that I have anything in particular against it but when I do a Very long exposure, I don't care to wait for the DFS to work, basically doubling the exposure time for processing. I've done 70+ minute exposures and they are available immediately for review and use.

The two axis electronic level. I never found the level on the K7 very useful so I didn't use it much. On the K5 however both side to side and front to back corrections can be set using the electronic level. This is important, especially for those of use who don't want to spend a lot of time continuously leveling a tripod. Just get it close and adjust the ball head (if so equipped) until both levels are set. It takes just a few seconds to set rather than spending minutes fiddling with the tripod legs and head (Manfrotto Neotech with RC4). One feature I would like to see added to this is the ability to make small corrections to the level calibration. I sometimes question just how exact it really is but mostly, it's close enough for canal work.

Edit: For years I've stated that the RAW button was completely useless. If Pentax had not done something with it, I would still be saying that. However, they've given us the ability to assign a different function to it. Mine is set to turn the electronic level on and off. Since I only use the level when on a tripod, this is a Huge improvement in functionality. No menu diving to turn the level on and off.

As I explore the creature features more, I will have more to say about them but those are enough for me to be initially thrilled with the camera so far.

High and Low ISO Capability

Within days of the time I purchased the K7, Pentax introduced and released the K-x. The new High ISO queen of the day. Like most who had just paid $1100 for a new camera, I said "Who Cares about ISO 6400?" (or whatever the K-x is capable of). Well, Turns out, I do.

This is one of the first photos I took with my new K5. It was taken at ISO 5000 using a DA*16-50 f2.8 lens. There is NO WAY, the K7 could have pulled this off. With minimal if any (I don't remember now) noise reduction in ACR, a very clean image is possible and almost No loss of detail. That isn't to say that all photos taken at ISO 5000 are clean, they are not, but I still think the K5 is the new low light king of the hill.

Dynamic Range

Wow! Just, WOW! I cannot wait until my back yard roses bloom again so I can strap on my favorite lenses for a 3 week photo shoot. This photo:

was a mistake on my part. I had been shooting almost into the sun seconds earlier and decided to snap a photo of my hound as he ran across the back yard. Without paying attention to the camera settings, I focused and made the shot. Ruined photo, Right? Not so fast....

3+ stops push and about 80% fill light in ACR revealed this image hidden in all that dark. A caveat here is that there must be enough light to begin with for this to be possible. In other words, if I had taken this same shot at midnight with the same settings, I would simply have a lot of noisy shadows. Still though, no flagship Pentax dSLR I've owned (all of them) has been capable of this. Indoor light shooting, a combo of the ISO capability and the dynamic range.

I'm finding that the sweet spot for things like this in my situation is between ISO 1250 (as used above) and ISO 2000. I am trying to break myself of using a flash gun to blind everybody in the room at family gatherings. I still have a lot of practicing to do but it looks very promising.

Rocky here, was shot at ISO 1600.

As was Bitty (on a different day).. No more animal Demon eye

Of course, it would not be a review of mine if I didn't show my favorite test subject (much to his dismay).. Taken at ISO 2000 and pushed. Again, lighting is still very important here. When he is 2 feet behind where he is in the photo, his face is out of direct light and to push this (should have been shot closer to ISO 4000), there is a significant amount of color noise. A usable photo is still possible but it will require more PP work.

AF Speed and Tracking

Again, Much improved. The K10d was so so, the K20d was ok, the K7 was better and I would even say good. However, the K5 has raised the bar very significantly over the previous models. I can really only explain it by showing another photo (last one, I promise).

Chasing The Wabash

was done on my train layout for the Single in November game. The train is moving at a pretty good clip and was taken with an FA*85mm f1:1.4. The smoke and the sky are added in post but the rest of the photo is as shot. I tried to do this previously with both the K10d and the K20d but failed miserably. The panning and pacing effect is what I was after and was able to get it with little effort. I find that it works equally well if the subject is moving toward me in general. However, when the same subject, in the same lighting is moving Away from me, the camera still struggles a little bit. I haven't decided how much I care about that though.

Well, there you have it. My personal observations of the major improvements in the K5 over the K7 with photo proof.

Last edited by JeffJS; 01-04-2011 at 07:51 AM. Reason: Addition
12-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #9
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Lovely colour rendering, high ISO, silent shutter.
Cons None, yet!
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1750
Years Owned three months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Rain-proof, silent, with excellent high ISO performance, the K-5 is, but it is more the colour rendering I love, more than any other feature.

Same size and weight as a K-7, same rugged camera house (magnesium), same quality feeling!

Camera Review
Owning both a K-x, with its excellent high ISO, and a K-7, with its silent shutter and rugged design, possibly made me more prepared for the K-5 than most, but it still blew me away.

I fact, as soon as I had shot some shots with it my wife wanted one for herself (she loved neither the K-x, nor the K-7, but had gone for Olympus PEN instead). So now she's got her own, of course!

When taking JPEGs her PEN E-PL1 is amazing, as long as the light is OK (it ain't worth much above ISO 1600), and it has had no peers colourwise in the Pentax stable: The K-x's greens are just one colour, no matter if it is grass, or leaves on a tree, and so it is with the K-7, but not with the K-5! It is just superb, and has an auto-focus better than any previous Pentax!

And sunsets are just so perfect, like no other digital camera I've owned.

In comparison to the K-7 it has a few extra settings, like the interval timer (something I will be using soon), but it is really the sensor that has changed the game (the sensor, made by Sony, is the same one as in Sony's own A55).

In all, it is well worth the extra hundred bucks over a K-7 (used K-7s are now a not wanted item on the used camera market, so trade-ins are impossible!).

PS The first photo of the blackbird attached was shot though a dirty window, close to sunset - amazing (click to enlarge)!

The second was taken on New Year's Eve, a few days ago (click to enlarge)!

Last edited by Tord; 01-02-2011 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Forgot one item!
12-20-2010, 11:28 AM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 7
Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Superb low light quality, many dedicated buttons, weather resistant
Cons big RAW file size,
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1570
Years Owned 1 month

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Compared to my old K100D I don't know where to start.
Great Handling, a lot of features I was missing (ISO button, ...), overall a n excellent piece of hardware.

Camera Review
As mentioned above I owned a K100D for 3 years (and still own) and the improvement is astonishing. The built quality is great, the magnesium alloy body feels perfect in kind of stability, handling and weight. Its weather resistant sealing is very useful to me these (rainy/snowy) days, where I had left my old cam at home. For the reason my only other cam I own is a K100D I can only compare to this one.


I like buttons. If you know the K100D, there are hardly any (dedicated) buttons. Most options are only accessible trough the main menu of the fn menu. Here you have almost everything at your fingertips along with a second wheel. The lockable mode dial is ... OK I guess, although I never ever turned the wheel accidentally at my K100D, so I think it can also be annoying at times. Speaking of the mode dial: USER mode FTW!!


Fast. Very fast and accurate. I only have screw driven lenses at the moment, but the autofocus is faster and more precise than on my K100D and hunting is no problem anymore. AF-C is usable , not perfect, but far better than before. I now get really sharp pictures while playing with my dog. With the K100D this was not possible. I usually don't use liveview very often and can't compare its speed to other cams, but as far as I can tell, it is fairly fast. Accuracy is no problem with contrast AF. I also love the tracking feature in live view.

ISO Speed

That's one of the features I bought the camera for. I'm loving it. High ISO ind auto ISO is simple great. Now even cheaper lenses become fast. Also te ability to use ISO below 200 is a great feature I was missing with the K100D. And the dynamic range at low ISOs is fascinating. So much potential in post processing.

Sadly no dedicated video button. Only available through the mode dial. This is a real drawback. The missing AF-C mode while recording is also not what I wished for a camera of that price category. But to be honest I haven't bought this cam to record movies. But HD 30 looks very smooth... Perhaps I should start doing so :-)

Thanks to the new firmware, the buffer allows to take some more pictures in a row. 7 FPS is perfect for action. What to say more. The menu is structured way better than in the K100D. I almost forgot: I love the possibility to use a battery grip.

OK, I'm impressed. I' never give it back again.
04-03-2011, 05:32 PM   #11
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
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Pentax K-5 Camera Review

Pros Build quality, AF performance, high ISO performance, excellent customisation
Cons AF still not as fast as it could be, some difficulties with AF and flash exposure consistency
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1250
Years Owned 1 month

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Value for money - 9/10 - increasing with consistent price decreases. Even at release the camera is worth the financial investment for professional and enthusiast photographers.

Features - 10/10 - Pentax keeps excelling in providing increasing customisation and practical settings for all photographic applications.

Performance - 9/10 - though AF may still be slower than the bigger competitors' rival models, the AF algorithms are a definite improvement on the K-7; the shutter mechanism is quieter and smoother, and the results are absolutely brilliant at every ISO level.

Size - 9/10 - again, being based on the K-7, the body size is smaller than the K20D/K10D and more in keeping with Pentax's legacy of a smaller yet efficient package; the ergonomics are excellent though perhaps slightly less natural for gripping than with the K10D/K20D - certainly nothing of practical relevance as I can still handhold this camera comfortably for extended periods of time with no trouble.

Camera Review
There is no doubt this camera is a winner.
Pentax has created a market leader in the dSLR department with the K-5.
Its design, internally and externally, as well as its performance are excellent in every way.
The camera is a joy to photograph with in all conditions.

1. Long exposures - clean and brilliant as it was with the K10D, but now in 16.2Mp and the ability to get good results at ISO 1600 in Bulb mode.

2. High ISO images - as mentioned everywhere, this is the camera's greatest accolade. ISO 12,800 images are even useable at 100% if appropriate noise reducing measures are implemented.

3. AF-C accuracy and speed - again, another welcome advance Pentax have been able to bring to the flagship model. Tracking of fast moving objects is more capable with the K-5 and permits a greater number and percentage of keepers in the sports and fast-action situations.

4. low-light AF performance - as with the K-7, the AF assist beam is very handy for this and improves speed remarkably. There's the slight issue of slower speed using an external flash's AF assist spotbeam which would have been great not to use in place of the camera's own assist beam, but it's not a deal breaker. The ability of the K-5 to lock focus more surely and swiftly than the K20D and previous models, and even the K-7, makes it a significant improvement.

5. IR photography - for those interested in infrared photography using dedicated IR filters, the sensor allows for clean images at higher ISOs and thus for significantly less exposure time.

What else I admire about the camera is the excellent customisability
of noise reduction, multiple individual user modes and focusing preferences. The addition of an electronic spirit level and composition adjustment are welcome though have limited practicality in real world photography. The user interface is again well designed and both easy and quick to use.

The camera would be given a 10/10 if it were not for a couple of niggles that mar its brilliance that may hopefully be corrected with future firmware updates.

1. Variable external flash overexposure - My own copy overexposes globally by 2 stops of light, and thus is correctable by the simple measure of dialling down FEC to -2.0; I don't see why this should be necessary, and indeed other users have noted less consistent overexposures using flash, particularly in bounce flash photography.

2. Low-light front focusing - even after firmware version 1.03 some users continue to experience front focusing in low light (EV2 and less). I have been fortunate with my own copy that the front-focusing issue is barely noticeable at EV2-4. I don't shoot much in darker conditions than this so others who do would be able to shed more light on this issue.

My only other minor gripes are that the e-dials on the K-5, being rubber lined, don't feel as solid as those on the K10D/K20D, and doubling up the 4-way controller between the focus points and the other settings (WB, flash mode and the like) means an extra delayed key stroke to get to one when the other is defaulted.

Overall, a spectacular effort by Pentax and a worthy contender for APS-C dSLR of the year.

Last edited by Ash; 04-08-2011 at 12:51 PM.
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