logo
RSS Twitter YouTube

Pentax K-5 IIs Review

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

Usability - How easy is it to use?

The Pentax K-5 IIs is externally virtually identical to the K-5, so the content of this digital camera review page is nearly identical to the corresponding page of the K-5 review. Where differences exist, they are written in green just like this text.

Pentax K-5 IIs

The ergonomics of the Pentax K-5 IIs are rather good for a relatively compact DSLR. Its narrow body and 3" LCD has resulted in a less comfortable body than the K20D, yet it remains very efficient to use. It has a deep grip with a clear indentation below the front control-wheel which is angled upwards to make it easy to reach. The index finger comfortably rests on the shutter-release and can easily move back to the EC and ISO buttons behind it. A protrusion to the right of the thumb on the camera's rear ensures a secure hold. When gripping the camera with the index finger on the shutter-release, the thumb rests between the rear control-dial and AE-L button. A green button is within easy reach just below. The camera feels very solid with a confidence-inspiring weight.

Most remaining buttons are crowded below the rear control dial. There are a large number of buttons to target pros who need quick access to functions under time-pressure. The green button intelligently varies its function depending on the camera mode. In P, M and TAv mode it resets the exposure to the program line by default. In other modes it automatically sets the ISO sensitivity. When used in conjunction with the EC button, it resets the applied EC value, perfect for preparing for the next shot. It resets White-Balance fine tuning from the WB setting screen as well. It resets AF-Fine-Tuning adjustments too when calibrating lenses.

Pentax K-5 IIs

The AF button below it either engages or cancels autofocus, depending on a custom setting. This button is surrounded by the 3-way focus-point selector. The 3 options it provides are center-focus, manual-selection and automatic-selection. Setting the focus point manually requires pressing the OK button. This shows an indicator in the viewfinder which means that the 4 direction buttons now move the focus point. Pressing OK again returns the focus-point to the center. Holding the focus-point for 1 sec restores normal operation to the 4-way controller.

Below the AF button is the Live-View toggle button. Entering Live-View raises the mirror and shows a feed from the sensor. The camera has an incomplete Live-View which does not show exposure accurately. There is also a histogram but since it does not always reflect exposure, it serves little purpose. Since the K-5 IIs is equipped with a 100% coverage optical viewfinder, the only thing live-view does more is preview white-balance. Framing and focus can be seen by the OVF perfectly.

A 5-way controller, made of 5 separate buttons adjacent to the Live-View button. Each direction activates one setting like Drive-Mode, Custom-Image-Parameters, Flash-Mode and White-Balance. The last two buttons in the column are the Info and Menu buttons. Info shows an editable status display and Menu does the obvious.

The K-5 IIs has a large pentaprism viewfinder which provides a bright and clear image with 100% coverage and 0.92X magnification. The optical viewfinder is surrounded by a soft and comfortable rubber frame. To the left of the OVF are the Playback and Delete buttons. This Pentax is shooting priority, like all current DSLR cameras. Half-press the shutter and the camera is instantly ready to shoot.

A large and high resolution LCD screen finds itself below the viewfinder and Play/Delete buttons. The 3" LCD has an excellent angle-of-view and outdoor visibility due to a very good anti-reflective coating. The display is very close to the left side of the camera which makes it prone to smudges. The Pentax K-5 IIs and K-5 II have a new gapless LCD which offers improved contrast and visibility compared. The display is also very slightly recessed now in hopes to attract fewer smudges.

The LCD can show the dual-axis digital-level, displaying tilt and pitch separately in 1/3° increments. There are markers showing the 1° Automatic Horizon Correction limits when stabilization is enabled. Otherwise, the limit is 2° since one degree is reserved for Shake-Reduction correction.

The small size of the K-5 IIs and its numerous buttons really contribute to this cramped design. Another minor problem is that the left strap eyelet is forwards of the camera. That makes the neck-strap occasionally interfere with the mode-dial.

Pentax K-5 IIs

The two control-dials are extremely well used, providing direct access to exposure parameters. A great usability feature of this DSLR is that whenever aperture or shutter-speed can be changed using a control-dial it appears underlined in the viewfinder. This provides an indication as to the current exposure mode. It would have been even more helpful if the parameter controlled by the front wheel had a line above it instead of below. In program mode (P), called Hyper-Program, the control-dials are used to enter Aperture-Priority (Av) mode and Shutter-Priority (Tv) mode. An excellent capability of the K-5 IIs is the choice of six program linesAuto, Normal, Speed-priority, Maximize Depth-of-Field, Minimize Depth-of-Field and MTF. In Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode, one control-wheel selects the ISO sensitivity, the other shifts exposureChanges between equivalent aperture and shutter-speed combinations.

In Av and Tv modes, one control-dial sets the main exposure parameter and the other can perform Exposure-Compensation or select the ISO sensitivity. When the second control-dial selects the ISO, pressing the green button can automatically set the sensitivity. A great touch is that the Pentax K-5 IIs reports the selected sensitivity in the viewfinder and on the top-mounted LCD panel.

In TAv and M modes, a control-wheel selects the aperture, the other selects the shutter-speed. The difference is that M mode uses a fixed ISO while TAv mode tries to achieve a correct exposure by selecting the ISO. In these modes, the AE-L button, in combination with a control-wheel, shifts the exposure. The green button provides a starting point for manually setting exposure.

The control-wheels are also put to good use during image playback and menu navigation. The rear one zooms in and out, while the front one moves between images without changing the zoom level. This gives an effective way to inspect a detailed area of multiple images. To speed up menu navigation, the two control-wheels can also be used: one to iterate over tabs, the other over pages of a single menu.

ISO is selectable up to 51200 with extended range is enabled. The lowest ISO is 80 but if Highlight Correction is enabled, that increases to 160. Shadow adjustment has no effect on the Pentax K-5 IIs's ISO range. There is an automatic ISO setting which can be customized by selecting the minimum and maximum allowed sensitivity. An additional setting controls how fast the camera increases sensitivity, meaning if the camera prefers lowering the shutter-speed over raising the ISO. ISO sensitivity can be set using a dedicated button in together with the rear control wheel which is needed in Manual (M) mode.

There is unfortunately a flash-recommendation warning which cannot be turned off. This warning appears as a flashing lightning icon in the viewfinder when the shutter-speed falls below a certain fixed threshold. Having this flashing icon does get annoying after a while, so we are still hoping Pentax will add an option to disable it via a firmware update. This warning is of little help as using a flash is frequently ineffective.

By now, it is clear that the K-5 IIs is well thought-out with priority given to direct access of common functions. At the same time, the Pentax K-5 IIs has an unprecedented level of customization available. The Custom-Image menu, activated by the right button of the 4-way controller, shows 9 modes: Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film and B&W. Six of these modes can be tweaked using five image parameters: Saturation, Hue, High/Low Key, Contrast, and Sharpness. Additionally, there are two advanced settings: Highlight contrast and Shadow contrast which can be shown or hidden using the front-control-wheel. There are 9 steps of each parameter except that there are 3 sharpness scales to choose from for sharpness. To see the difference between sharpness settings, see the K-5 IIs Sharpness page. Bleach Bypass mode uses the same parameters as most color modes, except that it replaces Hue with Toning. B&W is has the same choices as Bleach Bypass except it replaces Saturation with Filter Effect. Finally, only Sharpness can be set for Reversal Film.

The good news is that this flexibility provides complete control over the image appearance, taking over functions which used to done by RAW-conversion software. What is left is the daunting task of optimally setting these options. The effect of single-step changes is very subtle and hard to discern on the camera's display. One is therefore most likely to prepare a set of parameters and keep using it for most situations.

A switch on the front of the camera body selects between 3 focus modes: single-shot, continuous and manual. In single-shot mode, the camera will not take a picture unless focus-lock has been established. This can be done by pressing the shutter-release halfway or by pressing the AF button on the camera's rear. In continuous-focus mode, half-pressing the shutter keeps focusing constantly. In manual-focus mode, the camera very conveniently reports when one of the sensors has achieved focus. Focus confirmation is indicated in the viewfinder and, optionally, by a beep.

In the spirit of keeping things clear, the K-5 IIs displays on its rear LCD a summary of its settings each time it is powered on or the mode is changed. The Info button can be used to display current settings on the rear LCD on-demand. On the K-5 IIs settings can be changed directly from the Info screen. These settings are: Auto ISO range, AF-points, Highlight Correction, Shadow Correction, Distortion Correction, Lateral Chromatic Aberrations Correction, Cross-Processing, Extended Bracketing, Digital Filter, HDR, image format, image resolution, image quality and stabilization. Direction buttons select which setting to change and a control-dial changes it.

Pentax K-5 IIs

Since it's quite common to leave a setting such as white-balance or exposure-compensation incorrectly set and thus ruin a large number of images, several Pentax digital cameras, including the K-5 IIs, allow to specify which settings are reset on power-offFlash mode, drive mode, white-balance, custom image, sensitivity, exposure-compensation, flash-compensation, cross-processing, extended-bracketing, digital filter, HDR, playback info and file number.. This shows that Pentax thinks about common mistakes. It would have been even better if users could specify the reset value for each setting as well. This simple change is implementable via firmware.

The Pentax K-5 IIs supports two file numbering systems. One numbers images sequentially and groups about 500 images per folder. This arbitrary limit is quite annoying as it often requires copying multiple directories from a single memory card. The other numbering system places files into folders named relative to the current date. The K-5 IIs also allows users to choose the first 4 letters of filenames. This DSLR allows to specify copyright information to be embedded directly in image files.

Like all DSLR cameras to date, this one has a metal tripod mount, in-line with the center of the lens. This is the ideal location for panorama shots. Given that total weight can easily be dominated by the lens, also excellent for balance. The bottom of the camera has a door for the battery compartment. This door has a folding latch to keep a tight seal against splashing. Using gloves, it is hard to open but that is a small price to pay for a class-leading weatherproof body. There is an additional rubber flap to protect the battery-grip connector as well. The optional battery-grip can use a second Lithium-Ion battery or 6 AAs for increased versatility.

The Pentax K-5 IIs accepts SDXC, SDHC and SD cards which are presently the cheapest per capacity. These cards come in different speeds and a high-speed card is strongly recommended for HD video. Memory cards are inserted behind a sturdy plastic door with rubber-seals for weatherproofing. Just below the card-door is a rubber flap for an optional wired remote. The K-5 IIs also supports wireless remotes with receptors in the front and back for added flexibility. The former is normally used for self-portraits, the latter to minimize shake during long exposures. The other side of the camera has a large rubber-flap which covers the HDMI, USB, A/V and DC connectors. Just above that is yet-another rubber-flap, this time to cover the mini-jack for stereo input. This can be used in conjunction with a hot-shoe mounted microphone or a wireless one.

Pentax K-5 IIs
Buy from these sellers:Buy From Amazon.com
By on 2012/11/12
4

Pentax K-5 IIs Facts

SLR digital camera
16 Megapixels DSLRISO 80-51200
Pentax K Mount
1.5X FLM

Sensor-Size: 24 x 16mm

APS-C Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

Shutter 1/8000-30s
Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls, including Manual Focus
100% Coverage
Large Viewfinder
Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning
Auto Horizon Correction
2 Axis Digital Level
Spot-Metering
Weatherproof down to -10CHot-Shoe & Sync-Port
Built-in Dust ReductionStereo audio input
7 FPS Drive, 40 ImagesLithium-Ion
1920x1080 @ 25 FPS Video RecordingSecure Digital Extended Capacity
3" LCD 920K Pixels
Buy from these sellers:Buy From Amazon.com

Camera Bag

Clear

Your camera bag is empty. To add a camera or lens click on the star next to its name.

Updates

    2014.06.27

  • 2014.06.27

    Canon Rebel SL1 Review

    Canon Rebel SL1 Review

    The smallest DSLR yet packs a 18 megapixels APS-C CMOS sensor with hybrid Phase-Detect and Contrast-Detect AF. Captures images at 4 FPS and 1080p HD video.

  • 2014.06.16

  • 2014.06.16

    Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 2014 Review

    Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 2014 Review

    The lightest 14" ultra-book features a high-resolution 2560x1440 QHD non-glare display in a carbon-fiber body with illuminated and spill-proof keyboard. WiFi, WiDi, 4G and Gigabit Ethernet all in one sleek design.

  • 2014.06.10

  • 2014.06.10

    Nikon D4s Review

    Nikon D4s Review

    All-new Nikon flagship professional DSLR with a 16 MP sensor capable for ISO 50-409,600, 11 FPS continuous drive for 200 JPEG or 78 RAW, full 1080p HD @ 60 FPS with clean HDMI out, Time-Lapse Video, Interval Timer. Built-in HTTP and FTP servers, plus Gigabit Ethernet and more.

  • 2014.05.24

  • 2014.05.24

    Nikon D3300 Review

    Nikon D3300 Review

    The newest entry-level Nikon DSLR features a 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor without Anti-Alias filter. 5 FPS Drive, full 1080p HD and 11-point Phase-Detect AF in a simple and compact body.

  • 2014.05.19

  • 2014.05.19

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

    16 MP Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless without anti-alias filter. Built-in 5-Axis stabilization and 37-point Phase-Detect AF. 10 FPS drive plus full 1080p HD. Freezeproof body with dual control-dials, a 2.4 MP EVF and 3" tilting touchscreen LCD.

  • 2014.04.30

  • 2014.04.30

    Exclusive Fuji Finepix S1 Review

    Exclusive Fuji Finepix S1 Review

    Weather-proof ultra-zoom with 50X optical zoom stabilized along 5 axis. 16 megapixels sensor delivers 10 FPS drive and full 1080p @ 60 FPS video. 3" rotating 920K pixels LCD and 0.2" 920K EVF plus plenty of controls.

  • 2014.04.04

  • 2014.04.04

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Review

    World-smallest camera with built-in EVF. Full and direct photographic controls including dual control-dial in a compact body. Packs a 12 MP high-speed CMOS sensor capable of 10 FPS drive and a bright F/2 wide-angle 7X stabilized optical zoom lens.

  • 2014.03.23

  • 2014.03.23

    Fuji X-T1 Review

    Fuji X-T1 Review

    Weather-sealed and freezeproof mirrorless with 16 MP APS-C Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR II processor. 2.4 MP EVF with 100% coverage and huge 0.77X magnification. Dual control-dials plus a high number of direct controls. 8 FPS drive and full 1080p HD video.

  • 2014.03.01

  • 2014.03.01

    Nikon Df Review

    Nikon Df Review

    The first retro-style DSLR, featuring a 16 MP full-frame (FX) sensor with incredible ISO 50 to 204,800 range, 5.6 FPS continuous drive with 39-point AF system, a 100% coverage OVF, a high number of mechanical dials plus dual control-dials in a weather-sealed body.

  • 2014.02.22

  • 2014.02.22

    Fuji X-M1 Review

    Fuji X-M1 Review

    Entry-level mirrorless with a 16 megapixels APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor in a compact body with dual control-dials. 5.6 FPS drive and full 1080p HD video capture at 30 FPS.