Pentax K-5 Review
Pentax K-5 Design
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Front View. Photographers who've shot with the previous K-7 model will feel right at home with the Pentax K-5, as its external body design is very close to identical, with only a couple of slight tweaks to improve control usability. The most visible change from the front is a slight (~1-2mm) increase in the height of the Mode dial, making it just a little more comfortable to turn.
Left View. The only other noticeable changes to the exterior of the K-5 are both visible on its lefthand side. The Raw button can now be programmed to control a number of other functions, and so there's an additional 'Fx' label screen-printed beneath it. Below this, the Focus Mode lever has a new design that makes it significantly easier to turn with the tip of a finger. One slight criticism leveled at the K-7 remains in its successor. The fiddly, screw-in X-Sync Socket cap -- which forms part of the camera's protection against dust and water -- doesn't attach to the camera body, and could easily be lost when removed, or if not screwed in tightly enough.
Right View. Seen from this side, there's absolutely nothing to distinguish the K-5 from its predecessor. The lack of change is largely a good thing, as we felt the K-7's body was very comfortable and well laid-out, especially for an SLR of relatively compact size. The grip is surprisingly comfortable for photographers with larger hands, and is even more so when the optional D-BG4 portrait grip is added to the equation. It's worth noting that by keeping the overall body design, the K-5 also retains compatibility with the same accessories as the K-7 -- a definite bonus for anyone considering the upgrade. Also note that while the memory card compartment door is imprinted with 'SDHC', recently-released firmware adds compatibility with SDXC cards as well -- but only in terms of capacity. The K-5 can't take advantage of the higher speeds provided by UHS-type cards, which will fall back to the same speeds as equivalent non-UHS cards in the K-5.
Top View. Other than the aforementioned changes, and the screen-printed model number of course, there's again nothing to differentiate between the K-5 and K-7 when seen from above. As with the earlier camera, the K-5 still has metal D-rings to which its supplied neck strap attaches. Although not shown here, the D-rings are surrounded by small leatherette pads that prevent them scraping the camera body, but unfortunately for movie shooters do nothing to prevent the metal-on-metal noise made when the strap moves. It's not a problem if you shoot stills exclusively, but for movie-capable DSLRs which are invariably prone to picking up the slightest handling noise, we greatly prefer a strap loop built into the body, rather than an external D-ring.
Back View. With the camera switched off, there's no way to tell the Pentax K-5 apart from its predecessor by looking at the rear panel. When powered on with the status screen enabled, as above, there are a number of tipoffs, though. For one thing, the resolution is a little higher -- 16 megapixel, versus 14 megapixels on the K-7. The difference in maximum sensitivity is much greater. As shown above, the K-5's expanded range tops out at ISO 51,200 equivalent, where the K-7 was limited to a maximum of ISO 6,400 equivalent.
Bottom View. Once again, the bottom of the K-5 is essentially identical to that of the K-7. Other than the product information label, and the Focus Mode lever peeking out from the side of the lens mount, there's nothing to differentiate between the two cameras here.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.