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:


Value & Verdict

Pentax K-5 review – Value

For £1180 the K-5 offers a whole lot for the money. Weather-sealing and super-fast continuous burst options aren’t going to be easily found elsewhere at this price point. However, both the Canon 60D (£920 with 18-55mm kit lens) and Nikon D7000 (£1160 with 18-105mm) are, at the time of writing, more affordable purchase options, and both options have either faster or more complex focusing systems, so it’s still a bit of a shame that Pentax hasn’t broken considerable new ground in this area.

Weighing up everything that’s featured for the cash and this camera is still a very attractive purchase option with a variety of unique features that will certainly appeal. Whether K-7 users will see an immediate need to upgrade is questionable however, given that the bulk of underlying construction and features is relatively similar.

Pentax K-5 review – Verdict

Pentax K-5 product image front on

At first glance the K-5 may seem a lot like the K-7. While, in some respects, this is true, it’s actually a camera that delivers quite a lot more. Image quality is stunning through a large portion of the ISO range and some of the unique features such as Auto Level Compensation really do add extra value. The fully weather sealed body and WR lenses make for robust use and the 7fps bust mode is great to have. The K-5’s autofocus is the best yet, though we’re still waiting for that truly next generation system to grace a Pentax camera. And while the K-5 may offer 1080p HD video, it’s still some distance behind the competition – something that stills traditionalists are unlikely to be too fussed about. Apart from this and the limitations of an 18-55mm kit lens (we suggest you pick the more expensive 18-135mm kit), the K-5 has bags to offer, is generally good value and arguably the very best digital Pentax camera we’ve ever seen.


Memory Card:SD (HC, XC compatible via firmware v1.02 (Jan 2011))
Built-in Flash:Yes, GN13
Compression:1, 2, 3 or 4 stars (stills), 1, 2 or 3 stars (movies)
Lens Mount:Pentax K-mount (KAF2)
White Balance:Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent light (D, N, W, L), Tungsten light, Flash, CTE, Manual (configuration on monitor, colour temperature from 2 500 to 10 000K, 100K steps)
Exposure Comp:Yes, ±3EV (in 1/3 stops)
Cable Release:Yes
PC Socket:Yes
Output Size:3264 × 4928 pixels
Viewfinder Type:Optical penta-prism design, 0.92x magnification
LCD:3in, 921k-dot LCD
Field of View:100%
Colour Temp Control:100-10,000K
AF Points:11-point
Max Flash Sync:1/180th sec
White Balance Bracket:Yes
Sensor:16.3 megapixels APS-C CMOS sensor
DoF Prview:Yes
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
Dust Reduction:Yes, Image sensor moving mechanism, SP Coating and Dust alert function
Metering System:77-segment
Built-in Image Stabilisation:Yes, sensor-based shake reduction
Exposure Modes:P, A (Av), S (Tv), M, Sensitivity Priority (Sv), Scene Modes, Movie
Movie Mode:Yes
Live Mode:Yes
Weight:660g body only
Connectivity:HDMI, USB 2.0 mini-B, DC in, cable release, X-sync socket, 3.5in stereo mic jack
Power:Rechargeable li-ion battery
File Format:Raw (14 bit PEF or DNG), JPEG, Raw + JPEG, AVI (Motion-JPEG movie files)
Focusing Modes:AF.A(auto), AF.S(single, with focus lock), AF-C(continuous); single focus only in movie mode
Shutter Speeds:30 – 1/8000th second (plus Bulb)
Drive Mode:Single, Continuous (Hi to 7fps/Lo), Self-timer, Remote, Bracketing, Mirror Up
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
  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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