Pentax K-5 full review

As an alternative to the Canon and Nikon cameras there’s the Pentax K-5, which has the advantage of in-body image stabilisation, which Pentax refers to as Shake Reduction (SR). Though announced last year, the 16.2-megapixel K-5 is Pentax’s most recent model and slots in between the entry-level K-r and the enthusiast-targeted K-7, both highly rated. It’s not a cheap option, however, with a £1,200 suggested price for the body plus the 18-55mm standard zoom lens. We found a slightly more manageable street price of £950 at the time of testing, however.

Powering up in under a second, the K-5 has a rather stark, blocky appearance. However, it has the advantage of being weather-sealed against the elements, and, in terms of proportions, it’s only marginally broader in width and height than the D5100, while feeling a good deal heavier in the palm.

It certainly feels like a semi-pro tool and that’s confirmed by the fact that, unlike the others here, Pentax has found room to squeeze in a second top-plate LCD, a feature traditionally found in professional DSLRs. This offers a very useful at-a-glance view of whatever settings are in play without having to look at the non-adjustable 3in, 921k-dot rear screen. Also showing its mettle is a continuous shooting speed of nearly 7fps, and a light sensitivity range topping out at a high, though not best-in-class, ISO 51200.

We found it slightly off-putting, however, that when using the auto-focus setting in Live View mode the camera quickly zooms in to focus on a point and then jumps back to show the full frame, leaving us slightly dizzy. The Pentax’s layout appears busy, but once you get used to the 11-option shooting mode dial being at the left-hand side of the top plate (because of the top plate LCD), everything falls readily under finger and thumb.

The full-featured, heavyweight, and capable K-5 is a good backup option for pros, or first choice for enthusiasts

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