Pentax K-5II Review

by Reads (207)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Image/Video Quality
      • 8
      • Features
      • 8
      • Design / Ease of Use
      • 9
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Expandability
      • 9
      • Total Score:
      • 8.60
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Very good image quality
    • Weather resistant
    • "Flagship" featured camera at a prosumer camera cost
    • In body stabilization compatible with any Pentax lens
    • Relatively small and light given overall feature set
  • Cons

    • No continuous autofocus in video mode
    • Live view/video a bit slow to initiate following selection of video mode
    • Video clip length in full HD video less than six minutes
    • Shooting mode dial lock button/turning a bit awkward
    • Might be too small for large hands

Quick Take

The Pentax K-5II is the company's flagship camera, and it is lightweight and has very good image quality, but lacks AF in video mode.


As the top Pentax DSLR, you would expect the K-5II would have some fairly impressive credentials and you\’d be right — the camera is weather sealed to be water resistant and dust proof as well as capable of operation in temperatures down to 14 degrees F. Shutter speed can range from 30 seconds to 1/8000 of a second and in-body stabilization offers up to four stops of shake reduction. The camera is compatible with any Pentax lens ever made. The 11 point autofocus system features nine cross-type sensors and the viewfinder offers 100% coverage. The camera can capture movies in full HD resolution and there\’s a 3-inch LCD monitor.

\"PentaxIf you think these specifications sound suspiciously like the K-5, you\’re right — the K-5II features incremental improvements and upgrades over its predecessor rather than a dramatic departure from established design parameters.

The K5II is available as a body only or in kit form with 18-55 or 18-135mm lenses. The camera can be had for $1100 on the Pentax Americas website at the time of review; reputable NY area internet vendors have it for only a few dollars less ($1097).

The K-5II is the current Pentax DSLR flagship, sharing the product line up with the K-30. While it may share an identical sensor resolution with the K-30, as befits the premier offering within the brand the K-5II offers a faster ultimate shutter speed and access to a few more shooting settings via external controls, rather than having to resort to internal menus. In the middle of the ISO range the camera looks to be perhaps as much as 1 EV better in noise performance. The 11 point AF system offers the same number of points as the K-30 but is a newer technology and holds focus on moving subjects a little better than that its stable mate, but maybe not quite as well as AF systems from other manufacturers that feature higher focus point counts. A 7 fps continuous shooting rate and decent buffer capacity for JPEG or RAW images give the camera the potential to be a good sports or action still image shooter.

Persons for whom video is a major selling point in a DSLR may want to look at a brand other than Pentax. While the K-5II produces a fairly decent quality full HD video image, the full HD is available only at 25 fps, which may impact faithful rendition during capture of fast moving subjects. More significantly, the AF system does not feature a continuous autofocus and, unlike the K-30 doesn\’t even allow the user to reestablish a second autofocus point, albeit slowly, during any single video capture. Like the K-30, the K-5II is a little slow to transition to live view after switching the mode dial into video. Arguably, the entry-level/prosumer model K-30 offers a superior video component to the company\’s flagship.

If, however, you\’re primarily interested in still image capture the K-5II offers a lot of top end features at a price well below the top offerings from Canon, Nikon,¬†or Sony, according to the experts at DigitalCameraReview. The AF system may scare away folks whose work tends to include a healthy dose of demanding autofocus type subjects, and current K-5 owners may not see enough value added to the new model to make them want to change bodies. For all the rest the K-5II is a nice camera and the logical next step for an entry-level Pentax DSLR owner seeking to move up in performance.


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