Pentax K-5 review

Review Date : Mon, 24 Jan 2011

Author :

Pentax K-5 product image front on
Pentax K-5 product image front on Pentax K-5 product image front angle

The Pentax K-5 review: Pentax’s most capable DSLR yet. With a new sensor, new autofocus system and plenty more features to boot. Can the K-5 do no wrong?

Pros: Best-yet AF system, great image quality, weather-sealed design, super-fast continuous shooting
Cons: Underwhelming 18-55mm kit lens, no AF in movie mode, Motion-JPEG only movie files

The Pentax K-5 comprises Pentax's most advanced features to date, all wrapped up into one small, neat package that's much akin to the K-7 release before it. With a brand new sensor, improved focusing system, super-fast seven frames per second continuous shooting and much more besides, is this strongest Pentax release enough to keep the competition at bay? The What Digital Camera Pentax K-5 review...


 

Pentax K-5 review - Features

There's no denying that the K-5 goes head to head against cameras such as Canon's EOS 60D. But just a quick skim through the spec sheet immediately shows that the Pentax actually has a far more rounded feature set that should prove a temptation for many prospective purchasers.

There's no denying that the Pentax K-5 goes head to head against cameras such as Canon's EOS 60D. But just a quick skim through the spec sheet immediately shows that the Pentax actually has a far more rounded feature set that should prove a temptation for many prospective purchasers.

Pentax K-5 product image front onAt the camera's heart is a brand new 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, most likely the very same Sony sensor as found in the A55 (and Nikon D7000). Based on the impressive image quality from both of those cameras this can only be a good thing: high resolution and top quality. Uniquely to the Pentax, however, is the Prime II image processing engine that can produce a top-end sensitivity of up to ISO 51,200 - something other cameras of this class don't offer. Add in-camera sensor shake reduction to ensure that any Pentax lens fitted benefits from sharper images and there's even a unique Auto Level Compensation feature that can physically adjust the sensor by up to one degree to counter for unstraight horizons. 

It's not just the sensor that's new either, the focusing system, despite still being an 11-point (nine cross type) array as previous releases, is now designated the Safox XI+. What this means is not only a wider array for a broader focus area, but improved speed and accuracy too.

On the rear you'll find a 3in, 921k-dot LCD with a 100% field of view optical viewfinder positioned above this. Although there are higher resolution screens and tilt-angle capable options out there on the market, this option is still a very decent standard.

In addition to stills shooting the K-5 offers Pentax's most up to date video mode too: now capable of shooting Full HD 1080p at 25fps in the Motion-JPEG format (as AVI files).

Plus there's yet more to be found in the details: as well as a fully weather-sealed body (and any ‘WR' kit lens), the K-5 can shoot at an impressive 7fps, has a PC socket for hard-wiring a studio flash trigger and an AF-assist lamp on the front side for improved focus in dim conditions.

 


Compact System Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£1,180.00

Scores

WDC-goldaward
Scores
Design 17/20
Image Quality 18/20
Performance 18/20
Value 18/20
Features 19/20
Overall Score 90%