Pentax K-5

Falling into the Trap and my K-5 Impressions

The other day, against my usually better judgement, I fell into a couple of debates about the capabilities of several cameras…

Three cameras with comparable capability were recently released into the wild: the Canon 60D, the Nikon D7000, and the Pentax K-5. If we ignore for the moment that the K-5 has a number of professional elements about it that places it in a different market segment, the three cameras otherwise have very comparable capability. That’s where the debates are now raging, especially based on the the DxOMark scores and the recent review from DP Review on the 60D that added their test shots from the D7000 and K-5.

These two articles sparked a series of debates that, despite my better judgement, I allowed myself to be sucked into. Whoops. However, I dropped out of the debates because, frankly, they don’t make a lot of sense. There are a couple of simple facts that come into play:

1. The people debating are no more going to change their brand than the next guy. So, does it matter if they think the other brands suck? Not really, it’s irrelevant because the proof is in the pudding anyways and that proof is really going to be the photographer.

2. The vast majority of people, myself included, using any of this gear are going to be the limiting factors for the camera. In other words, these three cameras exceed the capabilities of most photographers so sniping at each other about pixel peeping photo tests at various ISOs is ridiculous. I’ve already said before that pixel peeping is a trap and it is.

So, the debates are absurd. Forget them, just go out and shoot.

Speaking of shooting, I’ve now had the Pentax K-5 for about two weeks, so I’ve now had a chance to snap around a 1000 shots with it and form an impression… From the K20D, this is a monstrous upgrade, here’s why:

1. My single biggest complaint about Pentax cameras is now resolved. Yep, dark frame subtraction is no longer forced. This is a result of dropping the hot and noisy Samsung sensor in favour of the Sony one.

2. The dynamic range is simply stunning.

3. The frame rate has more than doubled, which helps enourmously with high action shots such as wildlife in motion and sports.

4. High ISO capability blows past the K20D producing usable images at 3 to 4 times the ISO capability of the K20D and, as an added bonus, look better than ISO 800 did on the K20D. I could have used that in some museums in Rome!

5. Higher resolution for greater detail. It’s not a huge leap in resolution, but it’s there and it shows, especially in macro shots.

6. Substantially improved autofocus capability. Where the K20D would hunt, get confused, and force me to manually focus, the K-5 just zips in and locks. Even in low light, I had reason to test this last night, the K-5 will acquire focus allowing me to do my picture of the day off a tripod. I would have never have done that the K20D, it wouldn’t work.

Now it’s not all sunshine and roses, it looks like I may have an issue with my rear dial: it’s flaky. I’m not sure if it’s a hardware issue yet or not, but I’m heavily leaning to that, so that means I may have to take it in for servicing. If I do, fortunately, I still have my K20D for my continued use. I’ll wait until I’ve applied the firmware update first though, just to be certain.

In any case, issue or not, I’ve simply found the K-5 a joy to use. I loved the K20D, but there’s no getting around the fact that the K-5 is a substantial upgrade for me. Good job Pentax!

2 thoughts on “Falling into the Trap and my K-5 Impressions”

  1. Hi,

    Interesting information about dark frame subtraction. Do you know if there are any circumstances where it is forced as I have read other reviews that claim it is still not possible to turn it off. I held onto my K10D, even though I bought a K7, for this reason alone.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      The K-5 allows for turning off the DFS for long exposures now. It was one of the reasons that I made the upgrade, I might not have without that. Anyways, I guess with the substantially better sensor from Sony, Pentax no longer felt they had no choice.

      John

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