Pentax K-5 II vs K-5 IIs Comparison Review

John Riley compares the Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-5 IIs to see if the K-5 IIs is worth the additional investment.

28/01/2013 - 11:45


Pentax K 5 II (4) Pentax K5 IIs (6)

Just two manufacturers have so far offered an alternative version of a DSLR by removing the anti-aliasing (AA) filter. Nikon led the way with the Nikon D800 and D800E variant and now Pentax, at a very different price level, have offered the K-5 II and its almost identical twin, the new K-5 IIs. Now both Pentax cameras have been looked at in detail we can look at the advantages and any disadvantages of removing the AA filter.

Read our full Pentax K-5 II Review.
Read our full Pentax K-5 IIs Review.

Pentax K-5 II vs K-5 IIs Features

Pentax K5 IIs (9)

Both the K-5 II and K-5 IIs share an almost identical set of features.

A rugged magnesium alloy body, weather resistant, well established and well tested as being reliable and efficient. The key shared features include:

Key Features

  • 16.28MP APS-C sensor
  • Pentax KAF2 bayonet mount
  • In-body shake reduction
  • Glass pentaprism with 100% field of view
  • 3 inch LCD monitor with 921,000 dots and no air space
  • Live View with Contrast Detection and Phase Matching AF
  • SAFOX X AF module sensitive to -3EV
  • Weather resistant construction with 77 seals
  • Magnesium alloy shell
  • 7fps maximum frame rate
  • ISO range 100 to 12,800, expandable to 80 to 51,200
  • Full HD Movie Mode
  • 17 Digital filters
  • DNG RAW format
  • Premium JPEG Quality level
The difference is in the final touches to the sensor. In most DSLRs, up to this point, there is a low pass or anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor. The effect of this is to slightly blur the image and the obvious consequence is that post-capture it needs to be sharpened again. In Adobe Camera Raw sharpening of 25% is done by default right at the start and this is referred to as input sharpening. If we have shot in JPEG then sharpening is usually done as the very last part of the process, to avoid introducing artefacts into the image.

Pentax K 5 II (16) Pentax K5 IIs (10)

The blurring is done in the first instance to avoid the interference effects in fine repeating detail that we call moire. Moire effects were typically seen on television in the past as a shimmering of, for example, fine detail in tweed jackets.

However, without that blurring the amount of detail resolved could be far greater, and it in seeking this increase of detail that Pentax engineers found that sensor technology had moved on to a degree where the AA filter could be dispensed with, albeit with a slight risk of moire and false colour effects in a small number of images.

The K-5 II takes the conventional path and has the usual AA filter in place, and was reviewed in November. Keenly awaited, the K-5 IIs review has now been completed over the past three days. The questions raised were, does the removal of the AA filter make a significant difference and is it worth the increased cost?

Pentax K-5 II vs K-5 IIs Handling

Pentax handling is well established and anyone familiar with Pentax from the Spotmatic of 1964 onwards will not take long to feel at home with the K-5 II and IIs.

Pentax K 5 II (13)

A compact and solid body, good reliability, weather resistance, plenty of dedicated buttons, top screen and two control wheels, all add up to good ergonomics. It feels good in the hands and works efficiently.

These cameras are at home in studio or outdoors, but the features encourage rugged outdoor use. I would certainly prefer to carry any K-5 variant across mountains and moorlands than lug around much heavier and bulkier DSLR kit.

Pentax K 5 II (8)

The design also encourages experimentation as there is unparalleled backwards compatibility across a vast number of both Pentax and other makers' lenses stretching back many decades. This is icing on the cake, as there is a growing range of excellent Pentax lenses in the current catalogue.

Pentax K-5 II vs K-5 IIs Performance

In terms of general performance, the K-5 II and IIs can be considered identical. There appears to be no difference in speed of operation, file sizes, and in the most important area of general image quality. By this I am referring to the superb quality of Pentax colour, which I find to be a very significant plus point to the Pentax DSLR in general. In addition, the outstanding low noise performance of the K-5 and K-5 II is not compromised.

The removal of the AA filter and whatever changes in processing that this has required do not appear to have had any detrimental effect on any of the other qualities.

The key question now concerns detail, in a practical sense even more so that in the realms of optical theory. There would be little point in giving increased resolution that could be measured but not seen.

To consider for a moment working with black and white film, users of an ISO400 film would be able to enjoy very good resolution of detail. However, use instead an ISO50 film and that detail would be shown with greater contrast and much greater fidelity. It would have a clarity. The downside of course is that more exposure would be needed, and this would bring in the possibility of camera shake. The benefits would only be fully seen in tripod mounted shots, or using high shutter speeds in good light.

Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-5 IIs
Tungsten Preset | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 24.4 mm | ISO 100 Tungsten Preset | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 24.4 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 24.4 mm | ISO 100 Tungsten Preset | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 24.4 mm | ISO 100
1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 80 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 80
1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 80 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 80

The difference between the II and IIs is similar. The II delivers excellent, sharp images to screen or print and is up amongst the best performers in its class, and beyond. The IIs adds a sense of effortless clarity to the fine detail and absolutely excels at rendering texture. In a practical sense, whatever the measured numbers might be, the effect is there to be seen. Texture in paintwork, texture in hair, finer detail in complex masses of branches, are all clearly to be seen.

Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-5 IIs
Portrait CS5 Processed | 1/13 sec | f/11.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200 CS5 Portrait Processed | 1/20 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200
Portrait CS5 Processed | 1/13 sec | f/11.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200 CS5 Portrait Processed | 1/20 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200

I had wondered if the IIs would be too severe on detail for portraiture, but we can diffuse if we need to and the superb hair detail will be enjoyed by many subjects. It does not cause any particular problems with skin detail that could not be handled in post processing, or even using the rather pleasant in-camera Soft filter.

Moire Test | 1.3 sec | f/11.0 | 30.6 mm | ISO 200
Moire Test | 1.3 sec | f/11.0 | 30.6 mm | ISO 200

Moire effects were not apparent in anything I could find to challenge the camera. Pentax suggest that if moire is seen, using a lens open aperture or no further stopped down than f/8 will give the best results, to avoid diffraction effects adding to the problem. In the event, shots down to f/16 did not show any untoward effects. Beyond f/16 sharpness suffered due to diffraction, as would be expected, but the shots were still usable, and still there was no sign of moire.

The two reviews include images shot as nearly as possible in identical conditions. They are two months apart, so there will be some unavoidable variation in the shots, but using a good sample of the SMC Pentax 18-55mm WR lens in both shoots and being fortunate to find similar lighting conditions, the variables have been reduced to a minimum.

Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-5 IIs
CS5 Processed | 1/50 sec | f/11.0 | 37.5 mm | ISO 200 CS5 Processed | 1/60 sec | f/11.0 | 47.5 mm | ISO 200
CS5 Processed | 1/50 sec | f/11.0 | 37.5 mm | ISO 200 CS5 Processed | 1/60 sec | f/11.0 | 47.5 mm | ISO 200
Pseudo Infra Red | 1/40 sec | f/16.0 | 40.0 mm | ISO 200 Pseudo Infra Red | 1/30 sec | f/11.0 | 32.5 mm | ISO 200
Pseudo Infra Red | 1/40 sec | f/16.0 | 40.0 mm | ISO 200 Pseudo Infra Red | 1/30 sec | f/11.0 | 32.5 mm | ISO 200

The images are unsharpened and were shot at the Premium JPEG setting. All shots apart from the portraits were made using a firm tripod and the 2 second delay. This raises the mirror before the exposure and removes any possibility of vibration.

Pentax K-5 II vs K-5 IIs Verdict

  The Pentax K-5 IIs is worth the additional investment of the K-5 II.
This was clearly an interesting proposition and I was keen to see for myself what difference, if any, the removal of the AA filter would make. The conclusion was quite obvious as soon as the images were examined. Removing the AA filter lends an incredible clarity to the detail in images. Shoot carefully on a tripod, use good lenses and the benefits will definitely be worth it. Architecture, landscape, still life, studio work, all will benefit from the IIs variant. However, to be fair, the II version is £130 less and delivers excellent results in its own right. If we shoot holiday pictures, family, people and other general hand-held shots then the K-5 II will deliver perfectly well. Printed at small sizes the advantages may not be so clear.

But for the enthusiasts, the camera club competitions, commercial work and professional use the K-5 IIs definitely gets my vote. It does make a difference, that difference is quite clear, and the extra £130 is well worth paying.

Read our full Pentax K-5 II Review.
Read our full Pentax K-5 IIs Review.

Pentax K-5 IIs Specifications

Effective Magnification 1.5x
Image Sensor
Pixels 16.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4928
Pixels (H) 3264
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C
Sensor Size (width) 23.7mm
Sensor Size (height) 15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 921,000 dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest 30sec
Bulb mode No Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • A
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity 100 - 51200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp +/-5
Magnification No Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 7fps
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS 30
Stereo Sound No
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Wi-Fi No
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Rechargeable D-LI90P Lithium-ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating) 740shots
Box Contents
Box Contents No Data
Weight 680g
Width 131mm
Height 97mm
Depth 72.5mm

Related Photos


Link Posted 03/02/2013 - 10:48
Thank you John , After reading all of your reveiw It convinced me to get one. I went out today and got myself a K-5 11/s body , for I have quite a few lenses.


Link Posted 09/05/2013 - 19:41
I rarely use a tripod and prefer handheld for spontaneity. I like the filterless feature of iid for sharpness. MUST I use a tripod for most photos to enjoy sharpness result??? - thanks,
"It's not what you look at that's important, it's what you see" - Thoreau


Link Posted 24/10/2018 - 07:13
The lens comparison is really important because in this way you come to know which one is good for your DSLR. The share the explain review of these two lenses.


Link Posted 29/10/2018 - 09:46
It will help me a lot for working on the new things and they already help the reviews. The naturesfortune-book suggest me the first time to get the new ideas from here.


Link Posted 15/11/2018 - 13:46


Link Posted 04/01/2019 - 13:24
Thanks for the reviews about this lens and the comparison on it have many details. The appreciate your work.
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