Hot on the heels of the K-r digital SLR, Pentax has revealed the next in line for the flagship position currently occupied by the K-7. Like its predecessor, the new K-5 is aimed at the pro-thusiast and features a 16.3 megapixel sensor, an immense sensitivity range, fast autofocus and full 1080p high definition video recording. It also sports 77 weather seals to keep dust and moisture out and its magnesium alloy construction should help it survive the odd knock.
Externally, the K-5 is almost a twin of the previous model. Pentax has brought numerous enhancements to the new addition though, chief amongst them is the new 16.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with integrated analog/digital conversion technology. Along with the new sensor comes a standard sensitivity range of ISO80 to ISO12800, which is expandable to a whopping ISO51200 for class-leading low light, flash-free photography.
The new camera uses the same PRIME II image processing engine as the K-7 but now benefits from extended-exposure and high-sensitivity noise reduction functions and sensor shift Shake Reduction stabilization system that is said to compensate for camera shake up to 2.5 to 4 shutter steps and works with all Pentax lenses. There's a new, faster 11 point (9 cross) SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with dedicated AF assist lamp and light wavelength sensor which, Pentax says, "factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation."
The K-5 records as many as 22 images in one go at up to seven frames per second continuous shooting, includes an electronic horizon indicator and support for both its own PEF and Adobe's DNG 14-bit RAW file formats. There's a new High Dynamic Range functionality, which snaps three frames at different exposures and merges them into one enhanced image, and SDXC media card support.
The camera inherits the same 77 segment, multi-pattern metering system, pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100 per cent field of view and 0.92x magnification and 3-inch LCD display from its predecessor but the latter gets a slight resolution increase to 921,000 dots. Video is shot in full 1080p at 25 frames per second and audio is supplied by the built-in microphone or via external stereo jack.
The K-5 is not afraid to show up in various conditions either, having 77 weather seals spread throughout the body to keep dust and moisture out and being able to operate in at temperatures as low as -10°C. The stainless steel chassis surrounded by tough magnesium alloy should offer some protection from the occasional bump too. Also worthy of mention is the claimed Li-ion battery life – Pentax says that it will record 1,100 shots between charges.
The Pentax K-5 will be available from October for US$1,599.95 for the body only and US$1,749.95 for a body and 18-55mm WR lens kit.
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