Pentax K-5 digital SLR review

Pentax K-5 digital SLR review

T3 4
  • Pentax's chunky, semi-pro 16.2 megapixel digital SLR features rugged, weather resistant body

    The 16.2 megapixel Pentax K-5 is a slightly more affordable sibling to the semi professional K-7, and sits above the entry-level 12.4MP K-r model in the manufacturer’s digital SLR range. Unsurprisingly then the Pentax K-5 features some heavyweight functionality not to mention blocky construction, its body properly weatherproofed. Whilst the exterior may appear daunting to first time users, it nevertheless maintains ease of use through the likes of fun, built-in digital filter effects and large chunky controls. A ‘best of both worlds’ approach by its maker, if you like.

    Because, or in spite of, this, the Pentax K-5 doesn’t come cheap, with a suggested price of £1,200 if opting for the kit that contains both camera body and standard-issue 18-55mm zoom lens. While that’s high and we did find a street price just under £900, pick the Pentax up and you’ll literally feel the quality you’re getting in return. It weighs 740g with battery and SD card loaded and dimensions are 131x97x73mm. It hits the right balance of being reassuringly weighty without causing neck ache if you’re going to be carting it around all day using the provided shoulder strap.

    Pentax K-5 Controls (ease of use)

    The Pentax K-5 is in fact only slightly broader in build than rival Nikon’s entry-level D5100 DSLR, so everything is within reach of finger or thumb, even if it is a fair deal heavier when gripped in the palm. Pentax has supplied a top plate LCD screen – a typical feature of pro DSLRs – via which key info such as ISO speed (up to a respectable maximum ISO512,000) and battery life can be checked with a quick downward glance. This is in addition to the second, larger, backplate LCD.

    This has meant that the shooting mode dial is now over at the left hand side of the hotshoe, rather than being located immediately behind the shutter release button and grip. This dial is chunky and is ‘locked off’ at each setting so it can’t accidentally slip from, say, program mode to shutter priority. We also get front and back command dials for quickly scrolling through functions faster than the familiar cross keys at the back will allow.

    Pentax K-5 Screen

    The Pentax K-5 is rather conventional in the wake of angle adjustable screens from Canon and Nikon by offering a fixed 3-inch variety. It does however boast a high visibility 921,000-dot resolution, and, again as expected for the price, there is a dedicated ‘LV’ (Live View) button via which the screen can be used to compose stills and Full HD video, not just review them. Press this and the camera’s internal mirror mechanism audibly flips out of the way to provide the back screen view as an alternative to using the optical viewfinder above.

    This comes into its own in video mode, 3-inch LCD display cropped top and bottom to present a 16:9 aspect ratio, if you’ve first twisted the mode dial to the relevant movie camera icon. Filming commences with a press of the shutter release; there’s no dedicated backplate video record button.

    Pentax K-5 Speed and performance

    The Pentax K-5 powers up instantaneously for action; by the time your forefinger has flicked the power switch to on and moved a few millimetres to the shutter release button you’ll be taking the first shot, with unprocessed Raw images offered alongside, and in tandem with, regular JPEG files.

    For action photography, the K-5 shows its semi professional mettle by including a continuous capture speed of 7 frames per second (fps). Entry-level models manage 3fps, top-end pro units around 11fps. We found it a tad off-putting however that if you use the auto focus setting when in Live View mode the Pentax quickly zooms in to focus on a small point and then jumps back to reveal the entire frame, such rapid zooming back and forward leaving our senses slightly jolted. Luckily using the optical viewfinder instead for stills shooting (which illuminates the 11 AF points in red), or indeed manually focusing, avoids this phenomenon.

    Pentax K-5 Battery

    The Pentax K-5 is powered by the regulation-issue rechargeable lithium ion pack, which like the camera itself is chunky – adding weight and stability to the handgrip by virtue of being stored in the grip’s base. Unlike other models in its maker’s range there isn’t the ability to substitute a handful of AAs, should the battery splutter out when you’re far from a mains plug.

    We shouldn’t have cause to panic though. Power is sufficient for a class-leading 980 shots from a full charge, claims Pentax, or 740 if using the flash. Either way that’s more than sufficient for a week’s holiday for most of us.

    Pentax K-5 Pictures and video


    The Pentax K-5 is a sturdy camera capable of putting in a solid performance when it comes to image quality too. Indeed it’s in the arena of still images that we find Pentax generally excels, the K-5 in particularly delivering punchy, reds, greens and blues even on its standard default settings. This, in tandem with the supplied lens, ensured we got some razor sharp results with plenty of contrast with the minimum of fuss.

    When it comes to video the Pentax K-5 is not quite as fluid and intuitive as say shooting with a Compact System Camera or Sony’s DSLR-styled A55 – you have to turn the mode dial to the right setting and have Live View function implemented before you hit the shutter release button and begin filming – but this quickly becomes second nature nonetheless.

    Pentax K-5 Verdict


    Almost every feature you’d expect from a higher priced digital SLR is located readily beneath forefinger or thumb on the Pentax K-5, meaning that regular DSLR users should have no problem picking it up and starting to shoot straight away. First time users may be a little daunted by its workhorse build and appearance, and so may find the K-r a better bet. Either way the K-5 offers a solid alternative to Nikon and Canon, if not quite a value for money price tag that would make it a hands down better option. Having said that, for those counting the pixels it offers two million more than the flagship (but older) K-7.

    Pentax K5 launch date: out now: Pentax


    Pentax price: £1200

    Olympus Pen E-P3 Specs:

    • Sensor: 16.2 megapixel 23.7x15.7mm CMOS
    • Lens: 18-55mm lens supplied in reviewed kit bundle
    • Screen: 3-inch LCD 921,000 pixel screen
    • Video: Full HD 1920x1080 at 25fps
    • Storage: SD, SDHC (no internal memory)
    • Battery: Rechargeable lithium (up to 980 photos per charge)
    • Connections: USB 2.0, standard AV out,HDMI output
    • Dimensions/Weight: 131x97x73mm, 740g (with battery and card)

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now