The flagship of the Pentax K-series DSLRs, the K-5 offers much higher standards of image quality, data processing speed and operability than previous models. Developed using the K-7 as its base, the K-5 inherits the reliability, user- friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor, yet is more resourceful and flexible. Coupling a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels resolution, even when shooting in the continuous mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second. It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and Full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels. With a much faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function that is now usable in handheld shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components, the K-5 is designed to be more functional and maneuverable in every detail, and more capable of responding to the discriminating demands of advanced photographers.
The K-5 is scheduled for availability in October.
Let’s look at some of its features in detail. The K-5 incorporates a newly designed CMOS image sensor. It assures high-speed image data readout, much faster than that of previous sensors, says Pentax. By coupling this image sensor, equivalent in performance and data processing speed to the image sensor incorporated in the Pentax 645D medium-format digital camera, with the PRIME (Pentax Real Image Engine) II imaging engine, the cameras is said to suppress digital noise to a minimum. The K-5 also offers a sensitivity range between ISO 100 and 12800, expandable as noted above.
The K-5’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 22 images (in JPEG format), 8 images (in 14 bit RAW PEF or DNG format) in a single sequence at a maximum speed of approximately 7 fps.
The camera features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This system has completely redesigned optics and uses the light source in its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter- release options — between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the AF system in poorly lit locations.
The camera body is made of lightweight magnesium alloy, with a chassis of highly rigid cold rolled stainless steel. Thanks to the inclusion of 77 special seals in the body, it also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring reliable operation, even in harsh environments and at temperatures as low as -10°C. It also features a reliable shutter unit that provides a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second and durability to withstand more than 100,000 shutter releases.
The K-5 features a pentaprism finder with nearly 100 percent field of view and at approximately 0.92X magnification. It also comes with the Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen to assist with manual-focus operation.
Thanks to the new image sensor and a more sophisticated algorithm, the K-5’s Contrast AF mode assures better performance and greater focusing speed than before during Live View shooting. With the addition of a Golden Section display, the K-5 offers a choice of three different grid patterns to facilitate image composition.
The K-5 features the Pentax-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by approximately 2.5 to 4 shutter steps. This mechanism works with almost all Pentax interchangeable lenses. Thanks to the SR mechanism’s flexible design, which tilts the image sensor unit in all directions, the K-5 offers several useful features to assist the photographer during shooting. These include an auto level compensation function to assure high-precision framing and effortless adjustment of horizontal alignment, and an image-composition fine-adjustment function to compensate for the camera’s position during tripod shooting — vertically, horizontally, and rotation of the image.
Movies? Of course. The K-5 captures movie clips in 16:9 Full HD proportions (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second.
The K-5 offers a choice of nine custom image modes, including Bleach Bypass, which is designed to create a dramatic visual effect used in motion pictures. In addition to the conventional Sharpness and Fine Sharpness modes, the K-5 also offers a new Extra Sharpness mode, which is designed to place extra emphasis on the outline of even the most minute details of the images to enhance its resolution.
The user not only has a choice of 18 different filters, including the newly added Sketch and Posterization, but can also apply different filters one after another to a single image to create more inventive visual effects.
The K-5 features the unique cross process mode, in which the camera automatically shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique, dramatic colours — just like pictures treated with the cross process in film photography. In addition to Random, where the results are unpredictable until the image has been processed, the user also has two other options: Preset, with three different sets of preset parameters; and Favourite, with user-selected parameters.
The K-5 features the HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images (normal exposure, +3 EV and -3 EV), without requiring a computer. It offers a choice of auto, standard and expanded (at three levels) modes to accommodate different creative effects. Thanks to the addition of an automatic composition correction function, the user can now take advantage of this creative tool even with handheld shooting.
The DSLR features in-camera RAW processing to JPEG or TIFF-format images with full adjustment of image parameters such as custom picture style, white balance, sensitivity, high ISO noise reduction, lens distortion and colour space.
Other features include: Electronic level function, with a newly added dual axis capability; long-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 user-adjustable reduction strength preset for each ISO setting; RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format, as well as for assignment and instant recall of a specific function; 3.0-inch colour LCD monitor; 77-segment multi-pattern metering system; DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism; user-friendly Hyper control system, to accurately respond to the photographer’s creative intentions in both Program and Manual modes; dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both washed out (overexposed) and blocked up (underexposed) areas; automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-, D FA- and FA Limited-series lenses); CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colours of sunset scenes and other outdoor scenes; attachment of copyright credits on recorded images for both the copyright holder and photographer.