Last September Pentax replaced the K-5 with not just one but two new digital SLRs, one without an optical low pass filter (OLPF). Looking little changed from the Pentax K-5 and K-7 before that, the Pentax K-5 II retains a very photographer-friendly design, with a good set of controls at the ready despite a surprisingly compact form factor. Internally, the K-5 II gets only a few updates, including a new air-gapless LCD and an improved autofocus system; the latter of which Pentax claims to offer a noticeable improvement in AF speed overall, and greater sensitivity in low light.

Though the resolution remains the same, Pentax has updated the camera’s 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with a faster data readout, according to company representatives.
K-5 II/S Key Specifications

  • 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (K-5 IIS lacks an AA filter)
  • 11-point SAFOS X autofocus system
  • ISO 100-12800; expandable to 80-51200
  • 1080p video at 25fps
  • 3-inch, 920K dot LCD
  • Maximum 7fps continuous shooting
  • 100% Glass prism viewfinder (0.92x magnification)
  • Weatherproof, cold-resistant, Magnesium-alloy body
  • Shake Reduction image stabilization built-in
  • Handheld HDR image capture 
  • Built-in Level
  • Horizon-fixing ‘Composition adjustment’ rotates sensor, allows careful composition 

Though Pentax has made few upgrades, on paper the K-5 II looks like an excellent digital SLR, particularly for outdoor photography, thanks to a weather-resistant body, and extreme cold tolerance down to -10C (14F). Other highlights include an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage, sensor-shift Shake Reduction that works with all lenses, an electronic level function, and a seven-frame-per-second frame rate. 

Alongside the K-5 II Pentax also announced the K-5 IIS, which is essentially the same camera with the low-pass filter removed from its sensor. Also called anti-aliasing filters, low-pass filters soften images slightly to minimize pattern interference with the sensor’s own grid pattern. When capturing subjects without repeating patterns, K-5 IIS users should gain a slight sharpness advantage; however, repeating patterns do occur in nature, so even landscape photographers are not immune from the possibility of moiré appearing in images.

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