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on January 1, 2013
I moved from Canon to Pentax About a year ago when I saw just about every piece of Cannon gear increase in cost by $1000. I was a 5d Mark II user,and could not fault the resolution and sharpness of the Camera, But It could not focus as was a the Rebel Series Cameras. I Had grown tired of Canon's Marketing strategies, So I sold all my lenses For more then I had purchased them for (Thank you Canon inflation). I also sold my 5d Mk II for a Very good used rate. I purchased the original Pentax K5, and very much liked a lot of things about the system.
Better focusing, better metering, Much better color rendering. Canon always pushed the primary colors, and even the neutral setting has a Greenish hue. Pentax has a much better color representation, there are more hues, and rolling tones, also the shadows look much better. But the K5 was not as sharp as the Canon 5d MKII. Not the end of the world but still...

Enter the K5 IIs This is a very different Camera entirely. It looks, and feels like a K5, But under the hood it is a detail Deva. Now I have the best of both systems. It's every bit as clear and detailed as the Canon Full Frames. Focus the eyes and you will see the depth and little details. Hairs are crisp. There is no need to sharpen the images in post like you might have done before. I shoot Raw plus Jpeg, but very rarely use the raw files.

My settings

(Highlight correction) on
(Shadow Correction) on
(Expanded Sensitivity) on
(Camera setting) Natural or BW

There are three different Sharpening algorithms on this camera. Sharpen, Fine, and Extra (AKA Extra Fine.
They are like selecting finer Radius amounts with higher amounts of output. I currently have mine set to Extra fine @ -2
This sharpens down to the sub details without causing edgy halos.

I adore this camera with the Sigma 85 1.4. At 3.5 Subjects are razor sharp with creamy butter filled backgrounds.
So I am ecstatic about the images this camera body Produces. Do I miss shooting Full frame? Not really. I know in theory it should be a better image on a 35mm sensor. Bigger photocells,Better DOF, Blah,Blah, Blah. Here is my scientific Opinion. The movie industry uses The Red Epic Camera. It's sensor is 27.7 by 14.6 mm 5120 x 2700 pixel, 13.8 megapixel Bayer pattern 14 bit CMOS sensor. This would not seem very impressive in the still camera world, but I believe it proves a point that there is a lot more to consider for image quality then bigger sensors with more pixels. Sensors that produce the least amount of heat with on board Converters Can offer some of the best results. Then there is file handling,compression formats, and lots of other things we like to pretend to understand. The point is there are lots of things happening when you pull the shutter release, and when you compare the final product you should like what you are looking at. The Pentax K5 IIs looks like real life with a bit more punch, and I love it.
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on April 6, 2013
As silly as the title of this review may be, it's absolutely true.

I've been through quite a few cameras: Nikon D5000, D300s, D600. Canon T2i, 5d II. Panasonic G5, GX1. Olympus EP-2, E-PL2, OM-D. I've also owned various lenses for the above-mentioned cameras, many of them very nice. But all of those cameras and lenses are now gone. Selling and buying a new system can be very taxing, both financially and emotionally, and it was the same when I decided to try Pentax. I remember the day I found this camera online; I just wasn't satisfied with my setup (at the time using both the D600 and OM-D) for whatever reason. It's hard to explain. I have gone through various states of enjoyment in the usage of many of the mentioned cameras, and the D600 and OM-D are both great in their own right (I really did enjoy my OM-D). Absolutely. But I just didn't LOVE them.
So as I'm scouring the internet, searching for who knows what, I finally realize I've never given Pentax a chance. So I click on over to the Pentax website and see the K-5 II. Looks simplistic enough, but it's very small and looks as though it's got a good feel. Then I see the K-5 IIs, sans AA filter, and immediately go: SOLD. I then look at the lens line, and availability of lenses on Amazon and elsewhere and I'm not super impressed compared to other manufacturers (at least for the newer stuff). But I decide, to heck with it. I'm getting one.
Best decision about photography gear I've made in my life.

The first, and best, thing about this camera, and the thing I'll keep repeating is this: it just makes SENSE. From the button layout to the way it feels in your hand to the size to the menus, the camera just makes SENSE. I've had so many moments (more with certain manufacturers than others) that just made me go "Why in the heck did they do it that way instead of this other way??". How many times have I asked that of this camera? Zero. It's so easy and quick to change the settings I use most it's almost obscene. The best I can say about it is that it doesn't even feel like a camera. It feels like a companion, or an extension of myself; one that is working with me, helping me to accomplish my goal, which is simply to make great images and absolutely enjoy doing it. And I was able to have this experience right from jump. I picked it up, put a lens on it, and started shooting, and the camera answered all my questions. I don't think I looked at the manual one time.

#2 is that this camera takes fantastic images. The dynamic range is truly astounding, and I've taken shots that actually look like HDR shots without doing anything to them in post. I've recovered detail from absolutely BLACK portions of a shot, where I was flabbergasted to find that there was actually something there. It's amazing what you can pull out of these raw files, truly.
Obviously the images are very detailed as well, which is an effect of the missing AA filter, and a welcome one. In all the shots I've taken so far with it (I've yet to use it for a wedding, however), which is probably around 4k, I've yet to experience a hint of moire anywhere. So if that's what's stopping you from getting this camera, don't let it.
Don't believe me? Go on over to dxomark and compare this camera's sensor to ALL other Canon sensors and see what you get. Trust me, revelations are waiting. Nikon has some of the best sensors in digital right now, and this camera is right there with them.

#3 is that the AF system really isn't as bad as everyone makes it. I'd say it's better than my 5d II was, but not by a lot. I shot a hockey game in low light with a Sigma 50-150 2.8, and this camera did just fine. Is it a speed demon? Nope. But never during that event did I find myself wishing for a faster AF. And it will focus in EXTREMELY low light, which is a bonus if you ask me.

#4 is the portability factor. The size of this camera is fantastic. Perfect. Just verging on too small, but not jumping the line. I've got fairly large hands (large glove size), and I have no trouble with holding or using the camera. You can change pertinent settings with one hand if need be, and the camera is light enough that you can shoot with it all day and not worry about it. Sure, my OM-D trumped it for portability, but certainly not for ergonomics! This camera has the perfect combination of good ergonomics and portability. For me it was nice to get a camera that was somewhere between the D600 and OM-D that I had.

Negatives? Well, the newer Pentax lenses have lots of SDM problems, and in general aren't the fastest focusing lenses on the planet. That said, my Sigma lenses are great (the 50-150 focuses quite quickly). And Pentax does have some pretty stellar prime lenses to choose from. Their lenses are generally more contrasty than other manufacturers, which can make shots 'pop'. So while there are some issues with the lens lineup, there are various ways to fill these problem areas. And every manufacturer has issues somewhere in their lens lineup.
Also, 1/180 flash sync could be much better. This seems an odd thing to not address.
I don't believe the camera supports UHS-1 speed cards either, which is another oddity that makes very little sense.

However none of these negatives can overcome the sheer usability of the camera, and the absolutely fantastic level of enjoyment I get out of using it. I can't imagine anyone who truly loves photography being disappointed with this camera.

I'm certainly glad I took that pit stop on Pentax Imaging that day.

(Update May 25, 2013)

Well I've now been using this camera almost 4 months. Not much has changed from my original assessment, if anything. It remains an absolutely fabulous camera, with incredible image quality, that is just incredibly user friendly. I can't recommend this camera highly enough. While the lens situation can sometimes be odd (and Pentax just raised the price of a bunch of them, which sucks), Pentax still makes some of the best primes on the planet, and you can always get sdm motors repaired should they happen to fail on lenses like the 17-70mm f4. Or just buy Sigma like I did. Whatever lenses you choose to use, rest assured that the K-5 IIs will absolutely make the best of them. Still highly, highly recommended.
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1717 comments|108 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2013
I have owned several professional cameras, more recently the Hasselblad H2 with P30 back and the Canon 5DMKII. Hasselblad makes some of the best medium format cameras available. I wish I could say Canon makes some of the best 35mm cameras but hey... the millions they spend each year on marketing and sales promotions doesn't equal the quality of image their camera's can produce. I only bought the 5DII with 50mm 1.4 and 24mm TS-E II (allegedly some of Canon's "BEST GLASS") because other friends in the business prompted me to buy Canon. "It's great, you'll love it", they told me. They were wrong... DEAD wrong! I hated Canon after owning a medium format camera with a Phase One back. The Canon was lighter sure and much cheaper but I also learned why... it's designed and built to a much cheaper standard!

Canon and Nikon (Pre-Nikon 800 / 800E owners that is) don't think there's anything wrong with their cameras because quite simply they don't know any different. Harsh... not really, just the truth! Until you've owned the best you don't know what GOOD/BETTER/BEST is. I've heard so many "experts" and "semi-pro's" go on and on about Canon and Nikon and the proof is simply in the image quality and with Canon (all current models) and Nikon (except for the new 800/800E) quality simply isn't there.

Then comes along a new Pentax camera, offering a model with no Anti-Aliasing filter. Funny thing about that, medium format cameras... have no anti-aliasing filter... never have! That's why MF is so much more crisp and vibrant. It isn't just the extra sensor size and more megapixels (though believe me that makes a BIG difference). The AA filter accounts for a HUGE part of the final image quality. Nikon realized this and removed it from the 800E model and amazingly now.... Peter Lik is starting to shoot with an 800E... funny how people take notice of no AA filter.

Pentax hit a home-run with the K-5 IIs. This camera is my ultimate walk-around. Does it replace my MF film equipment for landscapes... no, but then, few cameras truly can (Hasselblads H4D60 maybe, but not many). What the IIs does is make things much harder on Canon and Nikon now because Pentax has mastered the art of squeezing every last ounce of dynamic range, sharpness and overall image quality out of this 16.1MP sensor. Just check out DXO... the lab results don't lie. This camera blows my old Canon 5DII TO THE WEEDS!!!!

Just wait until Pentax unleashes the K-3 (said to be a FF 24MP follow-up to the K-5 II/IIs release of this year). The K-3 is supposed to come in 2013 and I believe these two cameras combined will shake up the DSLR world in a way few cameras ever have!

If you want an AWESOME DSLR, buy the K-5IIs and don't look back. You'll be glad you did.
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on October 2, 2013
I'm a working photographer who has switched camera systems so many times that now I just accept the fact that I use a variety of camera brands. I don't get hung up on the brand name of my gear ... I just want my gear to work and deliver the results I want to produce.

I have to say I've been completely blown away by the Pentax K-5 IIs.

On paper the K-5 IIs looks like a fairly average professional DSLR with an APS-C image sensor. Looks, however, are very deceiving in this case. For starters, the K-5 IIs has an extremely rugged body made of magnesium alloy and fully weather sealed. When combined with a weather-sealed lens you can cover this camera with mud or sand and then just rinse it off with some tap water in your kitchen sink! I've owned Canon and Nikon DSLRs with equally impressive build quality but they are MUCH larger, heavier and more expensive. The K-5 IIs gives you professional build quality without useless weight and bulk.

Additionally, the AF system is able to correctly focus even in almost complete darkness WITHOUT the aid of an annoying AF-assist flashlight!!! Any wedding or event photographer knows the frustration of trying to focus in the dark and we know the added frustration that comes when our subjects get the "deer in the headlights" look from an AF-assist light. Having a camera that can focus in the dark without the trance-inducing AF-assist light is a good thing. The K-5 IIs does have an AF-assist light, but it rarely needs it and you can disable it in the menu so it never turns on and you probably won't have problems focusing.

I almost dismissed the K-5 IIs out of hand because of the fact it "only" has a 16 megapixel image sensor, but I'm glad I took another look. Sure, cameras with 22, 24, 36, or more megapixels sound better, but upon closer examination those higher-megapixel cameras aren't really rendering much more detail (if any) and the limited increase in detail (if any) comes at the expense of higher ISO noise (at least with higher megapixel APS-C cameras) and much larger file sizes (meaning your memory card fills up faster or your computer slows down when editing the files later. After looking closely at images from the K-5 IIs and two DSLRs with full-frame sensors (which are MUCH more expensive) I can't see a significant advantage in terms of detail, color or ISO performance (except at extreme ISOs above 3200) to the images from the full-frame cameras.

These comments are from someone who OWNS and USES full-frame cameras and not a Pentax fan who is trying to justify spending less on a DSLR with an APS-C sensor.

Part of the secret to the success of the K-5 IIs is the fact that Pentax has perfected the use of this 16-megapixel APS-C sensor rather than jumping immediately to a new sensor. Another reason for the extreme image detail from this camera is the lack of an AA filter on the sensor. An AA filter is used on most cameras to avoid moire (a color banding effect that can occur in fine details with complex patterns). AA filters prevent moire but in so doing they introduce a blurring effect to fine details. If you remove the AA filter you get no blur but you "might" get moire which you'll either have to live with or remove later using Photoshop, Lightroom, or another image editing program.

This is why I love the K-5 IIs: in the "rare" event that I see annoying moire in an image I can remove it using software that doesn't blur details. Another camera with an AA filter is less likely to record moire in the first place, but there is no way to bring back the fine details that were blurred out at the time the image was recorded. I'd rather remove annoying moire from time to time and record ALL the details rather than blur out detail just so I don't have to worry as much about moire.

I was also completely taken by surprise when I noticed that the JPEGs coming straight out of the K-5 IIs (I shoot in RAW+JPEG) have roughly as much detail as the processed RAW image files coming from the Canon 5D mkIII and the Nikon D600 that I've used. That little surprise is HUGE. What that means is that I don't have to process RAW just to get the fine detail that I want. I only have to process RAW files from the K-5 IIs if I completely messed up white balance or need more exposure latitude in highlights or shadows. If you're a working photographer (or just someone shooting for fun) then you know that time is valuable ... and if you can get away with JPEGs rather than needing to tweak RAW files and then convert those RAW files to JPEG that's a HUGE advantage.

Bottom line, the K-5 IIs is an amazing camera that is worth more than the selling price and is MUCH better than the specs suggest at first glance.

Highly recommended.

UPDATE: I've been very happy with the results from my Pentax gear and so have my clients. I just sold the last of my Canon gear and purchased another K-5 IIs as an additional body. The Pentax K-3 is available now, but after testing it, the camera ergonomics and button layout are different and the ISO noise reduction settings are VERY different so I decided to buy a second K-5 IIs body as a backup for work while I can rather than have one K-5 IIs and one K-3.
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on November 27, 2014
I have owned all three of the Pentax K5 cameras. When I decided to purchase a K5II, I shied away from the S version for fear of encountering moiré. I shoot weddings, and there is plenty of opportunity with clothing to produce it. But when the K5 was being repaired, I needed a second camera, and threw caution to the winds to purchase the K5IIs. I did not want to be on the sidelines of what may be a classic APS-C dslr camera. The difference in image quality of the K5IIs vs the K5II or K5 was enough for me to sell the last two cameras and purchase another K5IIs. I hardly ever see moiré, and when I do, I have been successful in minimizing it in post processing. (See link below that tells how to deal with moiré in post processing.)

While the image quality difference is not seen in every shot, I have many more "Wow" moments with the K5IIs than I do with the other two K5 cameras. This is a camera for someone wanting to produce seriously good photographs. The best results will come from shooting in raw and post processing to your taste. The K5 produces robust image files, full of information and detail, that can easily be extracted with a skillful hand. The K5II(s) has a number of features that I have come to depend on, such as:

- The green button is great to have when shooting manually. When the lighting situation changes rapidly, one can push the green button. It will revert to exposure settings that the camera deems correct.

- Electronic level. Very helpful, and now other camera brands have started adding them to their cameras.

- TAV mode. This is a creative mode that gives the photographer the flexibility to set the aperture and shutter speed, and let the camera choose the ISO. Very helpful if shooting with a zoom lens. Also helpful as a good compromise between the photographer's input, and the camera's system input.

- Weather sealing. Shot a misty wet outdoors wedding recently with another photographer who had to shoot under an umbrella.

- Image stabilization. Although other camera brands have this feature, Canon & Nikon do not. They would prefer you to buy their very expensive, stabilized lenses. With the Pentax in-camera stabilization, one can purchase just about any lens and be able to use it more comfortably.

- Ergonomically, the camera is logical, and intuitive to use. There are plenty of controls on the body of the camera, obviating the need to go to the menus.

- I prefer the 16 mp sensors on APS-C cameras more than 24 mp, or higher. I like the look of the images. Great dynamic range. Better noise control. I have been astounded that I have been able to retrieve photos from underexposed, pitch black files. I also like the smaller file size, and so does my computer.

I could go on, but --- you get the idea.

one of the first
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on April 24, 2013
I recently upgraded from an advanced 'point and shoot' camera to the Pentax K5 in mid 2012. Initially, i worked the kit lenses and not long after purchased the Pentax 70mm prime. I was very impressed with the image quality. The thing is, later that year(2012), Pentax announced the K5ii and the K5iis. At that point in my life in mid 2012, i predominantly did work in the auto-sport arena and i was very enthusiastic(still is) about that type of photography. I had however moved onto Weddings by the end of 2012.

I ordered my K5iis early January 2013, the Tamron 70-200, Pentax 40mm prime and i was ready for business(Tamron 17-50 on the way). My first few shots with the K5iis looked quite nicely on the new gap-less screen but, i was blown away with the sharpness i saw after i viewed those very photos on my computer! I have been using this camera mainly with my Tamron 70-200 and the sharpness is remarkable. I believe any user coming from a K5 will also appreciate the fact that the ISO performance is noticeably better along with quicker low light focusing.

Basically, what Pentax claims you get with this camera, i can confirm is true. In the end, we want a camera that's dependable, sharp, quick enough, easy to manipulate and a joy to handle............the K5iis is all that and more. Now, its not perfect because i have had few occasions where moire was present but, subtle and corrected in my post processing 90% of the times. The K5iis promises incredible results that will impress ANY client you have or will have. Any competitors you have i believe will now have to try harder to be you OR, better you!!
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on July 3, 2014
I started shooting pictures with a Minolta camera(SRT-202), then switched to Nikon(FM2), then I switched back to Minolta when AF came around and settled on Canon. After years of shooting Canon cameras and purchasing tons of Canon gear as well as very expensive lenses, I began to look over my shoulder to see what other manufacturers were offering.

For one thing I wanted a camera that I could shoot in the rain and other weather extremes. I also wanted things like double-exposure and preview-filters that some of the other manufacturers were offering. I first looked at Olympus, but something about the 4/3 system sort of turned me off. Pentax was offering the K5 which came weather sealed and was packed with useful features according to the Specs and had a normal sized sensor.

I said to myself that one day I would own that camera maybe as a back up. Well the time was right as the K-5 IIs was selling at bargain basement prices, so I finally purchased one. I don't think I ever was as excited about a camera except for maybe the Canon 5D which to me was a bit of a letdown. The K-5 immediately became my go-to camera not just a back-up as I had originally planned.

After paying 2300+ dollars for the 5D, all I really got was a 20D(15 year old camera) with a Full Frame sensor. The camera was also big bulky and slow. Then came the Canon 7D which offered more features than any other cropped camera in Canon's line-up. This camera was even more of a let-down. It did not have the useful modern features that are found in common "point-and-shoot" cameras, plus it was a bit on the heavy side.

My Pentax K-5 IIs came in the mail the other day and I could not believe what I have been missing as far as features are concerned. Although some of these features can be considered as gimmicks, it is still better to have them than not. In my opinion this camera is pound for pound more advanced than my 30D, 5D and 7D. There is really no sense moving further up the Canon line.

Especially when the prices for their new Canon lenses has shot through the roof lately. The picture quality on the K-5 is beyond outstanding, so is the color rendition. The camera is no bigger than my Nikon FM2. With the right prime lenses this camera produces images that are scary sharp.

I don't think even a Leica can come any sharper than this. And speaking about Leica, Pentax has some legendary lenses that look and act "somewhat" like those Leica range-finder lenses, small beautiful, well made and precise. I think I'm going to enjoy this camera. Time will tell if it holds up as well as my Canon 30D which is still ticking after 8 years.
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on April 7, 2013
Detail capture, color rendition and lack of noise @ higher iso's is just fantastic!! Many have stated and I will agree,that this camera is the superior to Canon's 5DMKll. I also was impressed with the vendor, Electronics Basket, great service!!
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on June 3, 2013
I own 3 K-01's, a K5, a K30 and now, this K5-iis along with the Nikon Coolpix P7700, the Lumix sz5, sz7, & sz9. The vendor, a NJ outfit, called me almost immediately when I complained the packing was inadequate and not sealed, although the camera appeared undamaged. I must say after a day of shooting both stills and video, it is easily the best of them all with the K5 being the runner up, and the K-01 coming in 3rd. Still, each camera has its niche and does very well in it.

This is my 1st camera without an AA filter. Yes, I *DID* notice moire. The band's speakers had a honeycomb regular appearance that brought moire with it in the video. But the excellent color rendition and picture quality made the moire trivial. Perhaps it would have been more objectionable if it had been in the textile of runway models. So don't use the K5-iis for that. But for average scenes, it can't be beat if it has a good lens on the body. The AF *is* quicker than the K5. This body brings out details in the shadows even without any HDR bracketing. The internal mic is fine for most purposes. 99% of people will love this camera with all the quality classic and newer lenses available for it. The Street price has come down to just over $1,000 for it--a steal driven by all the hype about full frame sensors and the increased size of sensors showing up on P&S cameras.

I'd like a FF digital body & sensor myself, but that's mostly ego talking. This body does better than many pricier FF bodies. It does lack focus peaking and, more importantly, AF in video mode, but in bright daylight, I found the depth of focus adequate to compensate except for subjects 4' away or closer. I was using a Tamron 2.8 28-75mm zoom lens for a street fair which included a klezmer band and it did quite well. I'd recommend this camera body and its lens selections to those who want an unsurpassed solidly built photography tool with almost all the bells & whistles without the overpriced hype and advertising overhead.

There are better bodies for sports photo professionals, but this can produce respectable shots even there for patient amateurs with the right flash gear. I feel it's greatest strength is in most news gathering venues. The Nikon Coolpix P7700 has better low light capability, but this body and the appropriate lens blows the P7700 away when it comes to color rendition and IQ. Also, the P7700 has considerable shutter/refresh lag which this does not. Like motorcycles, each camera has its own personality and strengths. One size does not fit all. It *is* easy to go through batteries in all the excitement, so purchase 2-3 extras for quick reloading on a shoot. I prefer Sandisk (U1) (i.e. class 10+) 32GB SDHC memory least 2 or 3 for this body because video can eat up memory quickly. Review ratings for this model are consistently high. You won't ever regret owning one.

The vendor (Big Value, Inc.) who sold me this was extremely cordial, helpful, and expressed a firm desire to have satisfied customers. The vendor's price was very competitive. I'd buy this camera from that vendor (Big Value, Inc. in NJ) again. The gratuity (32GB class 10 Patriox LX SDHC memory card) arrived insanely well packaged, perhaps as a statement the vendor would henceforth package the K5-iis body more prudently when shipping.
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on October 23, 2014
One of the advantages of using Pentax DSLRs is that you can use lens that were originally made for 35mm film SLRs. You can use lens made from 1975 to the present on the Pentax K5IIs. There were 3 series of manual focus lens: 1. K series with manual aperture. 2. M series with manual aperture. 3. A series with automatic aperture. This lens has an "A" setting on the lens aperture ring. The following information is how to use these lens on the Pentax K5IIs:

Manual Mode:

When you use a Manual Focus(MF) A series lens do this:

1. Set the lens aperture ring to A.

2. Set the mode dial to M.

3. Compose subject in viewfinder and press Green button. The aperture and shutter speed are automatically adjusted to the correct exposure at that moment.

4. Trip shutter.

When you use a Manual Focus(MF) M or K series lens do this:

[in C Custom Setting 4 menu go to #27 Using Aperture Ring and set to Permitted.]

1. Set the mode dial to M.

2. Select aperture on lens.

3. Compose subject in viewfinder and press Green button. The lens is stopped down and shutter speed is automatically adjusted to the correct exposure at that moment.

4. Trip shutter.

Program Mode:

This works with a Manual Focus(MF) A series lens only.

1. Set Aperture ring to A

2. Set the mode dial to P

3. Compose subject in viewfinder and press the Shutter button lightly. The aperture and shutter speed are automatically adjusted to the correct exposure at that moment.

4. If you want to change shutter speed, turn front e-dial and If you want to change aperture turn rear e-dial.(the camera will automatically adjust exposure after you do this) Otherwise skip this step and go to step 5.

5. Trip Shutter.


I have had this camera for a while and have only noticed a small moire pattern on one of the photos I took. Not having a anti-aliasing filter results in much sharper photos than the K5II which has one. The K5IIs gets much better battery life than the Pentax K3. And the printed manual is better, it goes into more detail, it is 336 pages compared to the Pentax K3 114 page manual.
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