Discover the Power of Pentax K-5: A Comprehensive Review

If you're on the lookout for a high-end DSLR camera that combines advanced features, great image quality, and excellent performance in a durable body, then the Pentax K-5 should be on top of your list. Our blog post offers a detailed look at the camera's specifications, features, and performance to help you make an informed buying decision.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Pentax K-5 article cover photo

Key Features

Dec 18 2010


16 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

Other similar cameras

Pentax K-50 thumbnail

Pentax K-50

Released Nov 27 2013 | 16MP resolution

Pentax K-500 thumbnail

Pentax K-500

Released Nov 27 2013 | 16MP resolution

Pentax K-5 II thumbnail

Pentax K-5 II

Released Jun 04 2013 | 16MP resolution

Overview of the K-5

When it comes to DSLR cameras, the Pentax K-5 is a top contender that packs a punch. From its sturdy, weather-sealed body to its 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and 7fps burst mode, this camera can hold its ground against other leading brands. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the Pentax K-5 and evaluate its strengths and limitations. Whether you're a professional photographer or an amateur enthusiast, we hope this review will help you decide whether this camera is the right fit for you.

Pentax K-5 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Pentax K-5 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Excellent image quality
Weather-sealed body
Fast autofocus
Low noise at high ISO
Dual SD card slots
In-body image stabilization
Wide dynamic range
Solid build quality
Good battery life
Customizable controls


Limited lens selection
Slow Live View autofocus
Outdated video capabilities
Small buffer for continuous shooting
No built-in Wi-Fi or GPS
Menu system can be confusing
Limited third-party support
No touchscreen or articulating screen
Expensive compared to some competitors
Moderate sized, not ideal for heavy-duty work

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Pentax K-5

Weather sealed
Dimensions131 x 97 x 73mm

Weather Sealing

The Pentax K-5 camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the K-5 is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution921k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 921k dots. This makes the Pentax K-5 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


K-5 includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.61x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Pentax K-5 has a 16MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 16 pixels. Pentax K-5 has a native ISO range of 80 - 12800 which can be boosted to null - 51200. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Dec 18 2010


80 - 12800

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - 51200
Max resolution4928 x 3264 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


82 / 102

Color Depth

23.7 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

14.1 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

1162 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Pentax K-5 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the K-5 is above average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life980 shots
Battery ModelD-LI90
Wireless Connectivity


The Pentax K-5 supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Pentax K-5 uses the D-LI90 model of battery pack. This is rated for 980 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Pentax K-5 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Pentax K-5 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Pentax K-5 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 11 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Pentax K-5?

The Pentax K-5 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Pentax K-5 weather sealed?

Yes the K-5 does have weather sealing.

When was the Pentax K-5 announced?

The Pentax K-5 was announced on Dec 18 2010

Does the Pentax K-5 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the K-5 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Pentax K-5?

The K-5 has a native ISO range of 80-12800, which can be expanded to ISO null-51200 for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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