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?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Pentax K-5

Overall score:90%
Image Quality:90%


  • Best-yet AF system, great image quality, weather-sealed design, super-fast continuous shooting


  • Underwhelming 18-55mm kit lens, no AF in movie mode, Motion-JPEG only movie files


Pentax K-5 Review


Price as reviewed:


Video/Movie Mode

Pentax K-5 review – Video/Movie Mode

Pentax K-5: Video/Movie Quality

The Pentax opts to use the Motion-JPEG capture format that, while inferior to some other processing codecs such as H.264, is delivered with high quality here. The Full HD 1080p clips sustain around 40Mbit/s, while the 720p clips were higher still at around 51Mbit/s and even in dim lighting conditions held decent quality. However this does mean around 20 seconds of shooting is 100MB of hard drive space, so the files aren’t especially small and can take a fairly long time to process once cutting a single take (with most competitor cameras this is relatively immediate). There is a menu option to compress video quality to allow for longer recording times – based on a three star system with low, medium and high quality results.

Pentax K-5: Video/Movie Record Time

Pentax officially tops out recording time at 25mins maximum (in the UK/EU), but this is dependant on the recorded file being no larger than 4GB. At high quality when shooting 1080p this means video files will max out at approximately 8mins (though M-JPEG has a variable bitrate, so this could be shorter or longer depending on what you’re shooting).

Pentax K-5: Video/Movie Focusing Modes

The major comeuppance of the K-5’s video mode: it’s single focus only. Attain focus in live view prior to recording, hit the record button and the focus remains fixed. This is irrelevant of whether AF-S or AF-C is selected and there are no buttons to readjust focus during recording, with the exception of manually focusing using the lens ring.

Pentax K-5: Video/Movie Manual Control

There’s relatively little manual options available in video mode. Focus up, select aperture and start to record, but none of these settings can be adjusted in real time during recording.

Pentax K-5 test sample imagePentax K-5 review test sample image – click for full size gallery

However the various Digital Filters and Cross Processing (not HDR however) can be selected and utilised during recording for quirky effects, and it’s possible to pre-set the white balance manually also.

Pentax K-5: Video/Movie Sound

When recording using the camera body the sound is 16-bit, 32,000kHz mono audio, compared to stereo when inputting an external microphone via the 3.5mm mic port. The quality isn’t as good as it could be (44,000kHz or above would be recommended as minimum). As autofocus isn’t possible the camera body won’t pick up focusing noise, though be cautious of any sounds your lens may make in manual mode.

  1. 1. Pentax K-5 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Video/Movie Mode
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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