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09-26-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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Thoughts on K-5 II

After seeing the Pentax K-5 II announcement and only the new Q from Photokina, I was greatly disappointed. There have been several threads coming out of these announcements, but I haven't seen any in-depth considerations of Pentax, its cameras, lenses and apparent strategic plans. I've been thinking a lot about my disappointment, its reasons and my own needs and expectations. Now that I've gotten through the initial negative emotional response and have talked to a number of other camera enthusiasts, including another Pentax user whom I respect, I thought to share my thought process in hopes that it may help clarify my own think and possibly aid others clarify with their own thinking and plans. This is the first of three new threads I'm going to offer.

First, why was I, along with many others, disappointed? Obviously, there is the inevitable desire for something new and exciting, which is natural and keeps consumer electronics companies in business. I saw the K-5 II and wanted more. Now, my old model K-5 is an excellent camera, as good as any APS-c sensor DSLR currently made. I'm not knocking either the camera or Pentax. There's a lot of truth to the old saw, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And yet...

The camera world is moving quickly. New cameras and features come out almost monthly. What would I have wanted to see in the next iteration of the K-5 beyond improved autofocus? A number of things.

* Better autofocus. Even with the improved low light focusing announce on the K-5, the camera isn't on the same level as Canon or Nikon. Both offer more autofocus points, as well as smaller ones. Both offer better continuous focus and tracking of moving objects, so even if the K-5 II will focus on something in near total darkness, in everyday situations it's still lacking.

* Faster processing. The buffer clearing in the K-5 is not as fast as that on the Nikon D-700 or the Canon 60D. The K-5's processor is at least two, probably three years old. Moore's law leads me to expect a doubling of storage and processing capability every 18 months. The processor is showing its age and was behind the competition when it came out.

* Pivoting or articulated screen. The K-5 screen is good quality and since I've gotten a Sony NEX 5n, I've gotten to love the pivoting view screen. It allows me to use my tripod without either bending over to peer through the viewfinder or crank up the extension tube to raise eye level and lower the tripod stability. For my landscape work that's huge, especially with a cranky 60 year old knee and back. Sony offers an articulated screen in their weather sealed a77 and a99. Olympus offers a pivoting screen with their weather sealed OMD. There's no reason Pentax can't do so with the K-5.

* Touch screen. Another feature that my NEX offers is a touch screen that I can use to select focus points. That's extremely handy. Olympus and Panasonic have the same functionality on many of their micro 4/3 cameras. Touch screens can also speed moving through menus and moving replayed images when zoomed in. Touch screens also help with Wi-fi functions.

* Focus peaking. Another NEX feature that Pentax already knows how to do. The lower end K-30 has one. Focus peaking makes manual focusing so much easier. Why isn't it on the new and improved flagship Pentax model?

* Wi-fi. With the advent of iPads and Android tablets, the ability to bypass the computer and sent photos directly to storage or photo sharing sites becomes more and more desirable. I have the ability to send files directly to an external storage drive from my laptop or my wife's iPad. I'd love to be able to take a backup up drive or two and an iPad on holiday and leave the laptop home. The other feature that wi-fi enables is remote control of a camera from a cell phone. I have a cord that lets me control timed exposures or intervalometer setting from my phone. Wi-fi would let me go cordless or even control the shutter from beyond the range of infrared or cord remotes.

* Autofocus during video shooting. Not much description necessary. It ain't there in the K-5.

* Miscellaneous. There are other features that other camera maker offer that are less important to me but would still be nice to have. Dual card slots, faster flash sync, 150K shutter activations, connecting directly to Adobe Lightroom during shooting, focus correction on both long and short ends for zooms. I have mixed feelings about a camera with the Sony 24 MP sensor. It has higher resolution but lower high ISO capability. It may be that the new K-5 II without the Bayer filter will give the best of both worlds by offering better sharpness without losing the low light capabilities. We'll have to see. That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are others.

Is the lack of these features enough to make me jump the Pentax ship and take up with another brand? The K-5 is still an excellent APSc DSLR, and switching to Canon, Nikon or Sony at the APS-C level would only be trading across, gaining here but losing there.

This wraps up this segment of my musings. The next will be a personal analysis of Pentax' recent product announcement and what that says about Pentax as a company and what I expect to see in the near term.

09-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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Awesome list. I'd get one and probably pack away my D7000.
09-27-2012, 01:36 AM   #3
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I,m about to buy a k5 now, not the k5 II. I think its a more commercial upgrade than a real one with significant improvements. Just like the new Iphone 5 (compared to the 4s).
A strategic move to keep market share.
Means they want to keep the pentax users satisfied till they are ready to come with something new. (a fullframe imo).

About the things you want to see improved: I think pentax will always be among the last to make these things work better. Their first aim is to make a very decent camera with good IQ for a reasonable price.
09-27-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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Pentax (and others) have made very good cameras by tweaking existing models many times before. For example, ME was made into ME Super and became one of Pentax best selling K mount film cameras. MZ-5 was perfected as MZ5-N. K2 was given some extra features and became K2 DMD. If the AF is clearly overhauled that is worth a new camera itself and promises well for all coming models. It is about time Pentax close the AF gap to Canikon. They could have named it K-3 instead of K-5ii, but they didn't, which tells me the K-3 is already in the pipeline. Somehow I suspect some of the negative comments would have been gone just if it had had its own new number. Stupid. As for the final verdict, I'm awaiting sample images of both the ii and the iis, and some serious AF tests.

09-27-2012, 05:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
I've gotten a Sony NEX 5n, I've gotten to love the pivoting view screen. It allows me to use my tripod without either bending over to peer through the viewfinder or crank up the extension tube to raise eye level and lower the tripod stability. For my landscape work that's huge,
From your list, this is the only thing that I personally would have needed and would definitely upgrade the K5 for, if they include it.
09-27-2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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"First, why was I, along with many others, disappointed?"

I think the above is a fallacious statement. A lot of k-r and k-x users currently (and some k-20D, etc) consider the k-5 II to be a great answer from Pentax. Especially since one of the big questions asked in the last two years was "Pentax, are you guys ever going to fix the k-5's low-light focusing issue?"

My thought on the k-5 II? Yes please. Especially the IIs.
09-27-2012, 06:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
"First, why was I, along with many others, disappointed?"

I think the above is a fallacious statement. A lot of k-r and k-x users currently (and some k-20D, etc) consider the k-5 II to be a great answer from Pentax. Especially since one of the big questions asked in the last two years was "Pentax, are you guys ever going to fix the k-5's low-light focusing issue?"

My thought on the k-5 II? Yes please. Especially the IIs.
I've said before and I'll say again, that the biggest issue that Pentax faces is the way that expectations ramp up prior to announcements. Whether it is full frame speculation, auto focus improvements, video improvements, articulating screen, people thought Pentax would deliver more than what they did.

Still, I do think that the K5 IIs is probably the best APS-C SLR camera out there, particularly considering that neither Nikon or Canon upgraded their upper end APS-C cameras (and the 7D in particular is getting pretty long in the tooth).

Honestly, I think probably there is as much benefit taking the AA filter off of the 16 megapixel sensor as there would be going with the 24 megapixel sensor.
09-27-2012, 10:50 AM   #8
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Very well written, and informative thread. I enjoyed reading it. I gotta admit, I've been flirting with the Nikon side of the world for a couple months now. I'm just afraid to make the leap, bc of hopes that the new AF system in the IIs is improved enough to close the gap between the D7000 & the K5. If its not, then I've already got my eye on a D7000. I know a pro photographer that travels with the rodeo circuit and he produces simply amazing photos with a D7000 & a 70-200 f/2.8 .

09-27-2012, 09:48 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Everything listed is of personal opinion and is a reflection of the times we live.
Douglas of Sweden made some very good points about some of Pentax's upgrades in the past.
Nowadays, technology has everyone by the balls and we feel we really do need it as media hypes it up and friends buy it and show it off.
Keeping up with the Jones' is what it boils down to.

Let's see, from mysticcowboys list:

Better AF- Well, my K-5 was a solid improvement over my K10, but I don't have the fastest lenses, and the better high ISO performance of the K-5 has helped out.
I do a lot of birding and patience and improvement of technique will always go before just relying on a product to make the photo.

Faster processing - I'm satisfied. Honestly, for me.

Pivoting/articulating screen - couldn't care less, although I could see where it might have its place in macro photography, but I love my viewfinder.

Touch screen - not interested in the slightest.

Focus-peaking - I use a lot of manual lenses for landscapes/nature, so admittedly, this could be of interest. Macro again.

Wi-fi - not interested.

AF in video - not really interested.

Misc.- 150k actuations would be nice, dual memory cards not so.
I'd like to add a few small niggles, nothing more, nothing less.
1. The memory card door makes it hard to remove the card.
2. Miss the SR switch on the body.
3. Would prefer a bigger body. As good as the K-5 feels, there is no replacing the ergonomics of the K10.

All subjective, but such is life.

Last edited by mickey; 09-29-2012 at 03:55 AM.
09-28-2012, 01:13 PM   #10
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Pentax recently released the K-30, a clear improvement over its predecessor, and likely a standard-setter for that market segment. I think this is the problem.

The K-5II, as the new Pentax DSLR flagship, would be expected to be an unambiguously better camera than their prosumer model. But it's not. There are a number of features in which the K-30 is actually superior to its big brother: Prime M processor, focus peaking, video codec. I think it's simply a matter of "your flagship should showcase everything that is the best Pentax can offer". If they can make a better feature, why not put it into the top-of-the-line?

Of course, you may put different values onto the features, so K-5II might be better for *you*. Personally, I don't care a whit for anything with the word "video" in it, but accurate focus is something that's been a difficulty for me (whether that's because of me or the equipment is an open question, but additional assistance can't be bad), so I sorely miss the focus peaking feature. The point is, it's not clear that any given photographer, given his personal priorities, would choose the K-5II over the K-30; and that makes it a questionable standard bearer.
09-30-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWuestefeld Quote
There are a number of features in which the K-30 is actually superior to its big brother: Prime M processor, focus peaking, video codec. I think it's simply a matter of "your flagship should showcase everything that is the best Pentax can offer". If they can make a better feature, why not put it into the top-of-the-line?
Like a lot of other people said before, the K-5 II/IIs seems to be a stop-gap measure: the video features of the K-30 do surpass the K-5 II/IIs albeit the "flagship" title of the latter, but the K-30 still lacks a lot of what the K-5 has: 14-bit DR, magnesium-alloy body, grip option, bigger buffer, mic-in, more dedicated buttons, etc. While "12 vs 14-bit" is trivial to most Facebook/Flickr uploaders, it will make sense to those who like printing their photos, or want them to be printed somewhere. That said, the K-5 still focuses on being a stills camera than becoming a semi-hybrid, or a complete hybrid like what Canon has been doing with the EOS line...
09-30-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Include k30's video capabilities, focus peaking and decrippled mount, and you'll have a real winner.
09-30-2012, 07:08 PM   #13
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Planning on upgrading to the K-5IIs but problem is I got a few dust under my LCD panel on my K-5 so it'll be hard to sell, fml.
10-04-2012, 07:46 AM   #14
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K-5 autofocus after CRIS

My K-5 (#2) purchased in June required a +10 (or more) autofocus offset just to be close to right. I had to use PC_tether to get the extra headroom. I also own a Nikon D300S - and most of you are aware of the Nikon's AF abilities. I sent the K-5 to CRIS to have the AF checked and included a note specifically telling them the lenses that I used and how far off the AF was. 28 days later I have received my K-5 back. Results are:

1. It now focuses on a par with the D300S (using F/3.5 on both cameras)
2. The superimposed red focus point (center) appears slightly smaller and much better defined.
3. It will focus easily on a one inch square backlit object from 12 feet (i.e a small lamp fennial in front of a window in daylight).

My experience only - but if you're still under warranty you should take advantage of this service. My only cost was $19 (insured) for shipping it to Arizona. CRIS did a fantastic job of getting this issue straightened out.

So, will I get a K-5 IIS? Absolutely!! But I'm keeping my K-5. The "pre" and "post" fix differences are night and day - and that includes a vastly improved autofocus capability with my 17-70 (improvements were all camera related, no work done to lens).

But there's no doubt in my mind that the resolution capabilities of the 5IIS will be a significant boost to us landscape folks based on the sample photo I've seen. I wonder how long the queue is at B&H?

Last edited by rlloyd3; 10-19-2012 at 02:54 PM. Reason: So what am I sayin"?
10-05-2012, 04:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
Is the lack of these features enough to make me jump the Pentax ship and take up with another brand? The K-5 is still an excellent APSc DSLR, and switching to Canon, Nikon or Sony at the APS-C level would only be trading across, gaining here but losing there.
Well Pentax is a little bit lucky this time. The 16 megapixel aps/c sensor is still the best out there, so there is no need for a new camera. The same goes for the 645D, where there are no new sensors, due to the banctruptcy of Kodak. But Pentax does need a good plan to get by for the next round of new cameraīs.

Your list is fantastic and I would love to see it in a new camera, except for the swivelscreen. Some of this is part of the PRIME II engine that isnīt capable off supporting some off the new offers like focus peeking and UHS-I. That sensor already was in K/7 and dates from early 2009 or late 2008, so it is widely outdatet.

The K-5 (II) is still a very very good camera, and that is one off the strongparts for Pentax.
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