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Pentax K5 - Mid-Range Professional Quality DSLR

Updated on September 5, 2011

Who is Pentax?

Before acquisition, Pentax was a Japanese optics company, producing cameras, sport optics (e.g. binoculars), etc.

In 2008 Pentax merged into Hoya Corporation. The Pentax name is kept as a business division and brand name of Hoya.

The company was originally founded as Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha in 1919 by Kumao Kajiwara, at a shop in a suburb of Tokyo. At the time it made eyeglass lenses (it still does today). During 1938 it changed its name to Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. and was also manufacturing camera/movie camera lenses.

During World War II, Asahi Optical devoted much of its time to military contracts for optical instruments. At the conclusion of the war Asahi Optical was disbanded by the occupying forces, but allowed to re-form in 1948. After that the company resumed its pre-war activities of manufacturing binoculars and consumer camera lenses.

During the 1950s Asahi (now Pentax) sold many of its cameras to occupation forces due to their more ready disposable income. Americans stationed in Japan brought these cameras back to the states and Pentax exports exceeded in country sales.

In 1952 Asahi introduced its first single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm film camera, the Asahiflex. (see second image below)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pentax K-5 without lensAsahiflex
Pentax K-5 without lens
Pentax K-5 without lens | Source
Asahiflex | Source
Pentax K-5 top
Pentax K-5 top | Source
Pentax K-5 Back
Pentax K-5 Back | Source
Pentax K-5 left side
Pentax K-5 left side | Source

Pentax K-5

Pentax Imaging Systems introduced the K-5 September 20, 2010. It is an interchangable lens DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera.

Based on the Pentax K-7 the K-5 boasts user friendly operation, high reliability, and advanced features. The K-5 is almost the exact same dimensions as the K-7, but it has a higher resolution and more features.

The K-5 uses a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS charge coupled device (CCD) image sensor along with the imaging engine Prime-II imaging engine. With this combination the camera produces super high resolution images with an effective 16.28 Megapixel resolution. With this new combination the camera can shoot a burst rate of seven frames per second.

The ISO range of the camera is a low of eighty (80), the lowest so far reviewed, to a high of 51,200 (when expanded via a custom setting). The camera will also function as a full motion capture device, recording HD movie quality video at 1920 x 1080 pixels.

The K-5 also has faster auto-focus than the K-7 and improved dynamic range.

Burst Mode
The K-5’s is capable of capturing up to twenty-two images in a single sequence at a speed of seven images per second.

Auto Focus system
Auto focus is accomplished with eleven sensors, nine of which are at the image center. The optics for this system is a complete redesign from the K-7. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the Auto focus system in dimly lit locations.

Compact Body
The body is not plastic, but rather a magnesium alloy mounted on a chassis of highly rigid stainless steel. The body has seventy-seven (77) seals to keep out dust and moisture. It is cold rated at 14°F ( -10°C). The shutter speed goes from a low of one second to a high of 1/8,000 second with a bulb setting. The shutter release has a mean time between failure of 100,000 cycles.

Optical Viewfinder
Like the Canon 60D the Pentax K-5 uses a pentaprism finder with a nearly 100% with a 50mm F1.4 lens. The focusing screen is the Natural-Bright-Matte screen generally thought to be one of the best in the industry.

Live View
The K-5 has improved focus as you shoot capablities with the Live View system. This system works with both still and motion capture imaging.

Shake Reduction
To compensate for the shutter mechanism the K-5 features the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction mechanism.

HD Recording
The K-5 captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 full HD proportions (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of (25fp/s) twenty-five frames per second.

Additional Features

The Pentax K-5 also has:

  • Electronic level function, with a newly added tilt confirmation tool
  • Extended-exposure NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a choice of Auto, On and Off modes
  • High-sensitivity NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a camera-dependent Auto mode and a user-adjustable reduction level control for different sensitivity settings
  • RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format
  • Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch wide-view color LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
  • 77-segment multi-pattern metering system for extra-accurate light measurement
  • DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism
  • Long battery life, for recording of 1,100 images with full recharge
  • User-friendly Hyper control system, to flexibly and accurately respond to the photographer’s creative intentions
  • Dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both whitewashed (overexposed) and black-out (underexposed) areas
  • Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)
  • CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colours of sunset scenes
  • Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
  • D-BG4 Battery Grip (optional) for extra power supply with an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or six AA-size batteries
  • Color-specific control buttons/dials for easy recognition and quick access, based on the universal color design
  • PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package

The K-5 is listed by Pentax at around $1,500 with a lens and about two hundred dollars less without a lens.

For a full list of specifications see the list below.

Pentax K-5
Image sensor
16.3Mp CMOS
Imaging engine
Prime II
100-12800 (51200 with expansion)
Continuous shooting speed
7.0 fps (40 frames)
Auto focus System
11-points (selectable)
Auto Exposure
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.95
LCD screen
3.0 in, 921k pixels
1080p 25 fps
Mono internal or stereo external (optional)
HDMI output
IR simple
Cross process mode
Night Scene HDR
Movie custom images modes
Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery
Cold resistant to 14deg F (-10degC)
Weather resistant
Weight (body only)
23.5 ounces (670g)


This camera is on a rough par with the Nikon D7000 and the Canon 60D. Although it is also a hobbiest classified camera it is near professional quality in its image capture.

The camera sells for roughly $1,450.00 without a lens or $1,600 with an 18~55mm lens.


The author was not compensated in any way, monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.


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