Customer Review

198 of 200 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, December 9, 2010
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This review is from: Pentax K-5 16.3 MP Digital SLR with 3-Inch LCD (Black Body Only) (Camera)
When the Kx arrived, K7 owners who were more than content with their current bodies coveted the superior high-ISO (low light performance) capability of the Kx. At least I did. And while the K7 was a capable tool, I often found myself compensating for its weaknesses (which were limited to high ISO and autofocus continuous (AF.C) performance). Not so with the K5.

I won't go into the specifications since those can be found elsewhere but I'll give my overall impression - what I like and what could be better:
+ Great ergonomics. Love the compact, solid body which is identical to the K7 save for a heightened knob and elongated AF lever. I was even able to use the same split prism focus screen I had purchased for the K7.
+ Fantastic high-ISO performance - clean and offering far more flexibility than the K7. I'd try never to breach ISO 800 on the K7 whereas the K5 is routinely pushed past ISO 3200. While I wouldn't give it equal footing to a full frame camera, it's arguably the best APS-C out there in this application.
+ Outstanding dynamic range -- shoot in RAW and leave your graduated ND filters at home.
-+ Improved auto-focus, especially AF-C compared to the K7, but not quite on par with either the D300s or 7D in AF-C.
+ User-friendly, easy to navigate menu system - white balance adjustments are a breeze.
+ Good WB and JPEGs "out of the box"
-+ Yes, 1080p video but at 25FPS vs. 24 -- surely a firmware update in the future
- Audio records at 32KHz sample rate
- Only has a single SD/SDHC slot - would prefer dual with Compact Flash
- Limited to 1/180 X-Sync speed - but this is ample in most scenarios
- Images shot in portrait don't autorotate on playback - but did on the K7(?) - again, a likely firmware update
+ Blissful near-silent shutter
+ Compatibility with all those great manual K-mount lenses of yore.

Although I'm a long time Pentax user, I considered and evaluated both the Canon 7D and Nikon D300s without bias. While both are outstanding DSLRs, I preferred the Pentax K5.

An all-around excellent camera and a joy to use. A noteworthy upgrade.
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Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2010 7:10:33 AM PST
P. Seth says:
So why the 4 stars? Sounds like you're very happy with the k5

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 6:17:57 PM PST
Indeed I am very happy with my K5 and wouldn't trade it for any other APS-C DSLR at any price. Although I did mention a few items which dropped the camera one notch from perfection.

Strange thing - when I wrote this review, Amazon gave me the opportunity to create 1-5 star ratings on categories of my choice. However, these star ratings are completely absent from my review. Perhaps this review feature is not fully implemented.

These are the categories I rated for the K5:
High ISO Performance - 5 stars
Dynamic range - 5 stars
AF speed/accuracy - 4 stars

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2010 8:25:40 AM PST had me a 3200 iso. Sold. Great review. I was confused that some other sites were reporting a video frame rate of 30, but I think your quote of 24 fps is more accurate. Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2010 7:59:25 AM PST
Thanks for the kind words, Brent! Bear in mind that the Pentax K5 records video at 25fps instead of 24. Our eyes have grown accustomed to 24fps since that is the frame rate motion pictures are shot. Some folks consider the lack of 24fps on the K5 to be a negative. I really don't mind -- K5 videos look great.
However, the consensus among many in the Pentax community is that a firmware update will likely be released in the near future which will offer 24fps @ 1080p recording.

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 11:31:33 AM PDT
C M says:
Can you tell me all of the reasons why you chose the Pentax K5 over the Canon 7D? I cannot decide. I currently use Pentax K7 and I have one professional lens the DA* 16-50 lens that is too slow for a pro lens in my opinion. From what I hear Canon L lenses are fast and sharp and the Canon 7D has fast autofocus and accuracy. That is important as a professional.

I plan on shooting weddings professionally. I have one coming up in April. I love my Pentax K7, but the high iso performance and shutter lag/indecisive auto focus is embarrassing! I currently use the Metz 58 to help compensate for its high iso weakness. Have you shot any weddings or sports events using the Pentax K5? Why the K5 over the Canon 7D?

Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2011 10:50:04 PM PDT
It's tough deciding on a camera when there are so many good models on the market! I still stand by my choice of the Pentax K5. IMHO, in terms of sensor performance, the 7D and 300s are a step down from the K5 and are showing their age. The best APS-C performers at the moment are the Pentax K5, Nikon D7000, and Sony Alpha 580 which is not surprising since they're all based on Sony's magical Exmor sensor.

Before the K5 was released, the Canon 7D was a no-brainer improvement over the K7. The 7D had more resolution, lower noise, better video, and better AF.

However, when the K5 was released, I chose it over the Canon 7D because (in no particular order):
- I like the body, handling, and controls better (subjective)
- The K5 has better dynamic range (~2 stops better at ISO100) which equates to more latitude recovering highlights and retrieving shadow detail.
- Better high-ISO performance
- Current investment in Pentax glass

Canon and Nikon have a better selection of zooms. If your intention is to get into sports photography or serious wildlife then they have the best selection. Note that you will be spending a lot of money on quality Canon/Nikon glass. Pentax has a compelling selection of well-crafted primes but doesn't make *new* lenses longer or faster than 300mm @ f/4.0 (though Sigma does). That isn't important to me but may be a deal breaker for you. I'm the sort of person that would rather buy a m4/3 camera with a 300mm lens than purchase a single 600mm lens for a FF camera. Which is why I'm not a professional sports photographer.

Regarding autofocus, the K5 is certainly better than the K7 and on par with the 7D using both AF-S and AF-C. Nikon is the clear winner in this domain and the D300s and D700 both out-perform the Pentax and Canon. Nikon also has the better flash system. Canon has better video. This is all according to my gospel and others may say differently.

In the end, get whatever system you're more comfortable with. I'm not a Pentax evangelist and would have no compunctions about switching brands if I found a system more to my liking. Both the 7D and K5 will take great pics and both will be solid wedding performers. I can't see how you could go wrong with either. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2011 12:19:20 AM PDT
C M says:
Thank you for your unbiased opinion! I've decided to buy the Pentax K5! I held the Canon 7D and the Nikon D7000 and I wasn't impressed with the body quality and the button locations....They both felt plasticy and cheap (unlike the K7). They also had louder shutter sound than the K7. The D7000 felt like it focused faster than the 7D but the ergonomics didn't feel right in my hands. I love the ergonomics of the K7 body, as well as the weather sealing.

I'm invested in Pentax so it would make the most economical sense to upgrade to the K5, which looks like it will be just right for me, and a very nice step up! I can't wait until my K5 arrives! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2011 9:03:31 AM PDT
I hope you enjoy it - good luck! Make sure you download and install firmware update 1.03 (pentaximaging dot com website) if it's not already installed - this latest update improves autofocus performance in low-light. You can check your firmware version by powering-on the camera while pressing the MENU button.

Please let us know what your impressions are. And remember - you can always return the camera if it fails to meet your expectations. Amazon is great that way.

Posted on Apr 20, 2011 6:54:31 AM PDT
G. Herron says:
1st, thanks for the great review. I purchased my K5 about 3 weeks ago. I was here checking the latest price on it as to date. (I got one of the best deals as to date on it) Anyway, I purchase a K20D in Nov 2010 and fell in love with it. So, going with the K5 was an easy choice for me.
What drew me to your review was your outstanding shots, you have added to the picture row for the K5. Wow! The K5 takes some great pics. However, as most people know, it's the person who's behind it; the person who knows how to use it; is the person who can produce such great images. Thanks for sharing. I might suggest you put something like, "" if you have a web site, so other can both enjoy & purchase your art.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2011 12:37:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2011 10:47:43 PM PDT
Thanks G. Herron for the kind words! Your comments are appreciated and I'm glad you enjoy the camera.
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