87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice!
I got this body as an upgrade from my Pentax *ist because the autofocus was just too slow - using lenses with low f-numbers where the depth of focus was very shallow it couldn't keep up with any subject movement even in good light and in low light it could really be problematic for any lens. Having suffered 3 years of kit-creep (the odd lens here, external flash there),...
Published on 9 Nov 2010 by Rich
19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slight issue with my K5
I purchased my k5 a couple of weeks ago and also the DA* lens really is a great imo set up ,however I noticed a set of 3 marks on the images at a certain settings so took a few test shots and noticed not what I thought had been dust but a row of bubbles across the centre of the shots
I did check the reviews etc before buying this but found no issues but then...
Published on 16 Feb 2011 by D. Morgan
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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice!,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)I got this body as an upgrade from my Pentax *ist because the autofocus was just too slow - using lenses with low f-numbers where the depth of focus was very shallow it couldn't keep up with any subject movement even in good light and in low light it could really be problematic for any lens. Having suffered 3 years of kit-creep (the odd lens here, external flash there), another Pentax was the only sensible choice.
I can't really provide any tangible metric to quantify its autofocus speed and I don't know how it compares with Nikon/Canon etc, but I found it to be jaw droppingly quick and accurate.
The in-house shake reduction and good detctor sensitivity mean it's possible to achieve excellent hand-held shots indoors without a flash.
The ability to do hand-held HDR capture is a real bonus too - on the minimum setting you really get good results without that obvious HDR look.
Another really nice feature which I didn't see mentioned anywhere during my time trawling internet forums was that (assuming you're recording in jpeg) the camera seems to hold on to the raw data and only commit to jpeg after you've taken a subsequent shot. So, when you review the last image on the screen you have the option to manually adjust exposure compensation, white balance setting etc before it's too late. You can even decide to save the raw data if you wish.
All other features seem to be described elsewhere and I still have some learning to do, so I'll shut up now.....
74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why buy Pentax?,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)The K-5, my third DSLR, comes after time spent with both Nikon and Canon. My first "proper" camera was the brilliant Nikon D40 which I used for a long time with just one prime lens attached (35mm f1.8 ) and this made a great lightweight setup that I could take everywhere and get some great results from, especially considering the specs that would be baulked at by my most users today (6mp), but the basics worked well and it produced great images. I picked the camera up on sale while Nikon were offering a rebate for £250, I used it for over three years and sold it for £240 on ebay just over a year ago, to say the camera owed me nothing was an understatement and would whole heartedly recommend a similar setup to anyone starting out today (I guess the Pentax equivalent would be the `soon to be replaced'? K-r and the 35mm 2.4 lens).
Inevitably after some time I was seduced by advertised specs and a want for more features, in particular the video that I had seen coming from the Canon cameras and so like many before me, bought myself a Canon 550D about a year ago. Although my desire for features was met; basic things such as support for more lenses, a direct ISO button and bracketing that Nikon feel the need to omit from their lower end models, as well as video which has been a lot of fun to use, I was underwhelmed by the increase in stills image quality and I could just never get used to the cheap feel of the camera or find any desirable lenses in my price range. The year with the Canon showed that the ergonomics and feel of a camera are much more important than the spec list (to me at least).
An extensive hunt for my new ideal camera started; Nikon D7000, Sony NEX/Alpha 65, Canon 60D, Fuji X100, meanwhile Pentax further dropped the price of the K-5 and announced the cash-back offer that put it in my price bracket and in the frame, so to speak.
So with all the great options currently out there, why choose the Pentax, a company that is seen by many as second best, without proper support, dubious quality control and a `limited' range of lenses?
The biggest reason for me was that `Limited' lens range which offers enthusiasts lenses that are I think are simply designed to be used. Other manufacturers seem to design lenses to be the fastest, best rendering or the cheapest and end up being prohibitively large, heavy, expensive or just feel cheap and nasty in-use, the Limiteds give an affordable range that is small in size, light weight, with great rendering and build, while on paper they look unimpressive, to my eyes are unmatched by anything else on the market for the money (I wish they would release a faster mid-wide though, a small 24mm f2 would be perfect please Pentax). Canon still refuse to properly invest in serious prime lenses designed for APSC and Nikon while having some great cheap lenses such as the 35mm f1.8, the rendering or build can't compete with the Pentax Limited range and even though I admire the images produced with lenses such as Canon/Nikon's 24/35mm f1.4s, I could never justify the expense or want to carry such large heavy lenses around with me all day.
After discounting the Canon and Nikon on the grounds of lens offering (probably the only time you will ever read that) and while rightly or wrongly dreaming of the Leica M9, realistically my choice finally came down to the Fuji X100, the Sony Alpha/NEX and the K5, using them back to back in the store, the K5 was simply the one I found most natural to use, this was really brought home to me when using my Canon the next day, even though I had been using it regularly for a year found myself hunting for the controls of the K5, that had only used for an hour in the store, it is this level of design that can't be put on a marketing spec sheet but is probably the reason for all the great user reviews of the Pentax and the affection it gets from [most of] its users.
It is small functionality that when taking pictures repeatedly, that may seem like small things but become real irritations over time, one such annoyance is the image zoom on the Canons that has to be held down to zoom in to review focus, this is done instantly by a click of the rear dial with the Pentax (I recently found that you can also zoom in and out using the +/- and the green button if you get tired of using the wheel). I thought that I had found one such area that had been missed by Pentax, as initially I couldn't find a way to quickly bring up the histogram when reviewing images after pressing the play button, having to cycle through all the display options with the info button, however I have since found the histogram can be summoned with the info and removed again by hitting ok, as well as giving easy access to an RGB histogram with an arrow key, perfect!. I also questioned the auto exposure options that the camera was choosing, as at default it will try to keep the lens to at least an aperture of f2.8 and a relatively fast shutter speed in low light, while boosting the ISO quite aggressively, not what I would have chosen. However setting the auto ISO setting to `slow' gives much better results and seems to affect both the shutter speed; which is allowed to drop to the focal length of the lens, as well as unexpectedly affecting the behaviour of the aperture; allowing the lens to open fully before boosting the ISO to the extent that it did before. In my opinion this should be the default setting for the camera, but easily changed when you know it's there.
Although actively ignoring the specs of the camera, I have been more impressed with the Sony sensor than I thought I would be and has provided, to my eye, a bigger jump in IQ going from the Canon 550D (18mp) sensor to the k-5 (16mp), than I had going from the D40 (6mp) to the Canon, which says two things; in real world use mega pixels don't matter that much (unless you need to print at large sizes), something that everyone seems to agree with, yet is still a number that obviously creates sales, as demonstrated by the recent buzz surrounding the Nikon D800, and second; the Sony sensors are currently surpassing that of the Canon by quite a margin, although maybe that will change at some point this year?
I am still getting to grips with my current lightweight combination of k-5 and fa 43mm Limited, but have been consistently impressed with how the camera allows you to take pictures without getting in the way, controls are where you feel they should instinctively be and navigating menus is something that becomes a rarity rather than the norm, features such as the green button which before use may almost seem like gimmicks, leave you wondering why other manufacturers haven't implemented their own version on competing models, such is its usefulness. Another area that has been a real improvement is the 100% viewfinder, which is a night and day difference from the consumer level cameras that I had become accustomed to, something that I wouldn't have thought twice about when first starting out, but find increasingly important in my attempts at that elusive perfect composition. In short I think the K-5 is a true photographers camera, in a world where so many camera companies `bored' rooms must contain talk of how to increase market share, it feels that Pentax's goal for their latest DSLR was a single minded "how can we help users take better pictures", maybe to their detriment in terms of sales, but to the distinct benefit of its savvy owners (right place, right time in my case).
Not all roses?
Every product on the market is a series of compromises and the k5 is no different, although it has a great size/features ratio, it is relatively weighty and works out heavier than either the 550D or D40 and plastic prime lens combination, mainly due to the magnesium build, larger battery and in-body shake reduction system, it maybe not the ideal lightweight travel companion, but I still have absolutely no problem carrying it in a Lowepro Passport Sling (great small bag btw) all day and the level of features and versatility makes the extra few hundred grams well worth it, if I was living out of backpack for six months those few grams may start to take their toll, although you have to wonder how long the plastic camera and lens combo would last in those circumstances.
Low light focusing was an issue that I was aware of before purchase and has been put to the test over Christmas when most of the images I have taken were indoor low light, while I haven't taken any test charts, this really hasn't been an issue in real world use, yes I have had some out of focus shots, as I did with the Nikon and Canon, but haven't had consistent front or back focus like others have reported in certain lighting, although there is definitely a level of light where the camera will hunt for focus and seemingly not able to find anything to lock on to, then takes a guess, normally being out by some margin. This is exaggerated by low contrast subjects, but the level of light needed to induce this, is less than I initially feared after some users reports and a level that is not going to be an issue in most real world situations (I am using a relatively fast lens though f1.9).
The overall level of customisation is excellent, although one aspect of the camera that I have missed from the Canon is the ability to create a custom menu. I like the quick settings screen with the Pentax, although I think that this should itself be customisable and could act as the ultimate user menu, greatly enhancing ergonomics, giving access to individual settings used frequently; the program mode is one that I find myself wishing was on this screen, while I doubt I will ever use many of the in camera filters that are displayed here.
Rendering of reds is another issue that I have come across since using the camera, that I hadn't heard of before purchase. This seems to stem from a number of issues (metering, white balance, JPEG rendering) and doesn't show its-self often but from time to time the camera has a tendency to over saturate and over-expose the red channel when shooting JPEGs, to a greater degree than either the Canon or Nikon. This is something that I am still experimenting with and to this point am not quite sure how to overcome entirely. Canon has a picture styles setting in camera that allows the user to set tone curves to control the rendering of JPEGs and to my knowledge Pentax doesn't allow this degree of control over its in camera processing, I have switched the camera to the natural colour setting and reduced saturation slightly which seems to have helped.
The video is something that I am missing from the Canon, which when combined with Magic Lantern (custom firmware hack for the Canons) is quite special. One of the biggest problems of shooting video with DSLRs though is camera shake, which is something that Pentax's version of in camera stabilisation deals with remarkably well and is much more useful than the in-lens system adopted by Canon for video. If Pentax would start to take video a bit more seriously they could have a really unique product - maybe something they have realised with the recent announcement of the K-01 with its video specs, which is set to be the only APSC video camera with manual control and in body stabilisation (that I know of); here's hoping they have put sufficient effort into the down-sampling of the sensor to make it really competitive.
The other concern that I had before purchase was quality control and if I had taken heed of all the warnings on the net, I could have expected a whole host of issues that have been well documented, which by and large I chose to ignore and may well regret saying this, but to this point (6 weeks use and 2k images) the camera has worked flawlessly, the real test I guess, will be if I can say the same thing in a few years time.
Ultimately which camera to get comes down to a compromise between image quality, features, price, size and weight, range of lenses, and brand reputation among other smaller aspects unique to the individual. Even with the recent announcement of the new NEX-7 and the Fuji X-Pro1 which have been designed for the enthusiast market (unless real world samples are vastly superior to what I have seen thus far), Pentax in my humble opinion still makes the best enthusiast "compact" camera system on the market today, and one that I am enjoying shooting with more than ever, which at the end of the day is the reason we buy cameras, right?
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)I have a collection of Pentax DSLRs, the K10,20 and K7. I love them all in different ways and all of them are capable of making great pictures. Noise was always an issue with the K10 above ISO 800 and the K20 beyond ISO 1600. The K7 was interesting because it had a noticeable 'film like' grain beyond ISO 800 but it actually looked quite nice in certain images. Out of the three cameras the K7 was the camera of choice but most of the time I could use each camera interchangeably without concern. This is not the case with the K5 and I always pick this camera up first. The camera seems to be in a different league to the others, including the K7. It seems to focus better, the noise is exceptionally well controlled so that it hardly matters what ISO rating I am using and ISO 3200 is perfectly acceptable in a lot, if not most cases.
But having said all of that the thing that has surprised me most of all is that the images from the K5 appear sharper! Now I know that people will tell me that this is a silly statement because the K5 has over 16 megapixels whereas the K7 and K20D have over 14 megapixels. Well this is true but I never noticed too much of a difference in the sharpness of the images from the K10, K20 and K7, even though the K10 had 'only' 10 megapixels. Now with the K5 the images just seem, well, better. Sharper, clearer etc. It could be that the new sensor delivers a better resolution, or that the camera now focuses better or that the shake reduction works better or even a combination of all three. Whatever, the reason I just feel that the K5 will handle most situations better and deliver better quality images.
Of course the camera is very discrete, quiet and feels extremely well made, just like the K7 and it's predecessors. I take my Pentax anywhere and will happily use the camera in any circumstance that I can think of. This is not true of my Canon 5d MKII which, despite being full frame and capable of stunning image quality, is more often than not just too big and I am frightened that it might rain when I am out and about.
If anyone is interested I did not experience any quality problems with the sensor or autofocus. Well recommended.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A precision camera for the enthusiast,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)I looked at Pentax's K5 partly because it was launched only a little while before I started looking for a new camera, partly because as a teenager I had dreamt of owning a Pentax (or Nikon), as a successor to the Praktica I then used. Some years later I did change, but to a Canon EOS 650, a camera I tried but failed to like. I hadn't entirely appreciated how far Pentax had slipped from the position it once held in the SLR world - others stole a march on it in the digital era. But buying a camera is about more than buying the camera body. Certainly, I preferred the Pentax body against its competitors in the Nikon and Canon stable - but that's largely a matter of taste: all are very capable cameras. What also contributed to my decision for Pentax was the quality and type of lenses available for it. They are far fewer in number than for the Canon or Nikon, but they include some truly outstanding compact prime lenses. If you are interested in the kind of photography that requires as unobtrusive as presence as is possible with a DSLR, the Pentax range is worth close consideration. The K7, the forerunner of the K5, is now very keenly priced if the K5 seems just a shade too expensive. As with any new model, early acquirers have to pay a premium for what are incremental rather than revolutionary enhancements.
Are there drawbacks? Of course, as with any make. The autofocus is fine, but not as good as it could be. The metering likewise. But these are matters of small degree, not glaring deficiences.
To set against these 'drawbacks' are: excellent image quality and colour rendition; well-thought-out design; a strong, predominantly metal construction, with plentiful weather-sealing; a good lens range. In short, a neat camera.... in all senses.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new Pentax K-5 camera,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)This Pentax K-5 Camera replaces my Pentax istDL, up grading the performance tremendously. I have nothing but praise for this SLR camera as it exceeds my expectations in every respect. It out performs my original Pentax camera ,giving beautiful results and sparkling performance with all the lenses that I have, including a 500mm lens which I use mostly for photographing birds and wildlife. Whilst I am still learning all the facets of this beautifully crafted camera, I have no doubts that it will stand up to the performance that I require and give even more then anticipated. All the controls are well placed for easy and speedy use, many of which have selectable multi functions. I use the camera invariably in Manual mode and find that the controls are exactly where I would expect for easy and rapid adjustments and the scale within the view finder easy to read even in bright daylight, which is something that was not good on my previous camera. So, all in all, this camera is a delight to use, giving excellent performance both in still mode and Video mode, although the video system takes a while to get used to.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little camera for Pentax users,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)This not my first Pentax DSLR but it is definitely the best. Very compact camera given all its functions including the pentaprism viewfinder with 100% view, liveview and video function (which I have to admit not using myself). The image quality is great as is the resolution of the 16Mpx sensor - which means you can still get good quality pictures even after quite a lot of cropping. This camera really performs to its full potential with good quality Pentax lenses which makes it idea for Pentax users who already have a collection of Pentax lenses. Not sure, though, that if I wasn't already committed to the Pentax system I would necessarily go for this camera as there are quite similar offerings from the two biggies i.e. Nikon and Canon. Recently, however, the lens release button fell off and this seems to be a not infrequently problem (from a scan of the Internet). A bit of a dampener for my enthusiasm for this camera even though I've taken some really excellent images with it and I'm looking forward to getting it back from the repairers.
Update. Sent to Johnson Photopia for repair of lens release button. Got it back within two weeks and the cost was very reasonable. Camera now back fully functional and still capturing great images (when the photographer is having a good day!)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great upgrade,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)I've always had Pentax cameras ( and I include my Samsung GX10) but it was tempting to change to one of Nikon or Canon. I started getting some errors on the Samsung and as I rely on it for work it was easier to go for a Pentax. The main choice was either the k-5 or the updated version. Given that the reviews of the updated version say it is good but the differences quite small from this version and the price difference I opted for the older version.
The controls are familiar albeit with some additions over my older hardware. However, taking similar photos and comparing them shows that sometimes you can blame your tools! This camera does have a big jump in image quality over older cameras especially when using higher ISO settings. I've not used it for that long but so far I'm very pleased with the results.
Battery life seems pretty good, I've been getting about 500 images (20% with flash).
Update the firmware so you can use SDXC cards.
So far I'm really pleased with it as a camera. Not really tried it for video yet so can't comment on that yet. I would recommend this if you are upgrading from an older camera as you should be pleased with the results.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PENTAX K-5 solid and durable performance, outperforms more expensive DSLRs,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)The K-5 is my second DSLR. After time spent with NIKON, an interesting and somewhat disappointing experience (unless I was willing to invest in additional overly expensive lenses and accessories).
I previously owned PENTAX 35mm cameras and lenses (in the 80's) and was impressed with the company back then. Unfortunately I did not retain ANY of the wonderful lenses that I bought back then. TODAY they sought after collectables, used on the latest generation of PENTAX DSLRs. So I could have used them on my K-5.
What I love about the K-5 (and the same goes for K-7 and the new K-5 II) is the robustness of the kit (and even the kit lenses). Despite its compact dimensions, the K-5 IS built to be exceptionally solid and durable (made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and a chassis of highly-rigid stainless steel, the same as professional Canon and Nikon DSLRs) and thanks to the special seals in the body, it IS dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant. It has proven to operate reliably even under harsh UK Winter weather, South American humidity, dust and damp environments and at temperatures as low as -10°C. What more can you ask of a camera, especially at this price!
I've been able to continue shooting while other photographers have tucked their, often more expensive kit, into their camera bags. On a recent trip to South America, a NIKON D700 user (body is weather-resistant) continued shooting away but his £900 NIKON zoom lens stopped working as it was not moisture and dust resistant.
The PENTAX K-5 is superb, but like ALL DSLRs from any firm it is not perfect (every photographer has their own opinion of perfection).
PENTAX have an ability to under promote (unlike NIKON and CANON who spend £10s of millions on advertising globally and obviously this cost is passed on to the photographer in higher kit prices). PENTAX has been at "the forefront of photography since 1919, innovating and pushing back technological boundaries for decades", the PENTAX K-5 is a good example of this. PENTAX lenses are regarded as "some of the best in the business, delivering the sharpest detail and the most accurate colours", just take a look at sought after 30 year old lenses that current PENTAX DSLR users are continuing to buy and use today. I'm kicking myself for selling my old lenses!
Finally, if you need proof how good the PENTAX K-5 is check out what US soldier, Alex Jansen, does to prove how much abuse his Pentax K-7 & K-5 DSLR cameras take in the harsh conditions of Afghanistan [...]
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax's best effort so far,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)This is undoubtedly Pentax's best effort so far - a superb camera body offering just about every function you can think of, and quite a few you probably hadn't thought of. Live view with a bright screen makes it much simpler to tweak the exposure.
I have had only one problem. It came with a French language instruction manual. I contacted Amazon about this, and they suggested contacting Pentax. I did so on 31st December, but so far (25th january) have had no reply.
So full marks for the camers, black mark for after-sales support.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax K5,
This review is from: Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Electronics)I upgraded to the Pentax K5 from the K10D and the improvement in functionality and especially image quality is truly amazing. I think you will be delighted if you purchase this camera. I have a few other observations, for me there is a danger that Pentax have gone too far in reducing the size of this model. The K10D sits easier in my hand (I do not have large hands). In particular removing the SD card is fiddily. Try holding one and if you are comfortable with the size go for it. A matter of a few weeks after my purchase I now find that it is available on line for £82 less than I paid. Ouch!!
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