Pentax, now Pentax Ricoh actually, just announced two new versions of their excellent K-5 reviewed here. The new K-5 II and K-5 IIs as they are called share a nearly identical design to the K-5, preserving the superb ergonomics and usability. They also keep its reach feature set:
- 16 megapixels CMOS sensor
- ISO 100 – 12800, Expandable to 80 – 51200
- 7 FPS continuous shooting
- Full 1080p HD video capture
- Built-in Shake-Reduction to stabilize all lenses
- Dual-axis digital level with automatic horizon correction
- Dual control-dials with plenty of customization
- Bright 100% coverage viewfinder with 0.92X magnification
- Weathersealed body, freezeproof down to -10C
Above all that, the K-5 IIs and K-5 II both feature a new SAFOX X autofocus sensor with 11 AF-points, 9 of which are cross-type, that is the most sensitive autofocus sensor in the industry. It can focus down to -3 EV and is optimized for precision focus with bright F/2.8 lenses.
These cameras also improve the rear LCD display with a scratch-proof protective glass and no internal air gap to provide a crisper view in bright light. It is also now slightly recessed to avoid the tendency to leave nose smudge-marks on the LCD.
While the Pentax K-5 is an excellent DSLR and the most feature-rich to date, it lags behind its top competitors in terms of autofocus speed and sensitivity. It is therefore a very pleasant development to see Pentax Ricoh addressing this issue with full force. Honestly, this is a surprising development as most were expecting a more megapixels to be the primary change, following with Sony’s 24 MP APS-C sensor already used in several DSLRs and SLDs.
The newly announced near- twins have a single difference between them. The K-5 IIs does not use an anti-alias filter like the K-5 II and almost all current DSLRs. The Sigma SD1 Merrill and full-frame Nikon D800E are the only other exceptions. This should give a slight edge in resolution to the K-5 IIs when used with top-quality lenses, at the expense of moire-risk.
The Pentax K-5 II is scheduled to be available in October for $1199 USD. While the K-5 IIs, in the spirit of less-is-more will be available for $1299 USD. The II can already be pre-ordered here. We are still waiting on preordering for the IIs.