Pentax K-5 Digital Camera First Impressions Review$1,499.99
LCD & Viewfinder
The LCD for the K-5 is a large 3-inch screen on the back of the camera body. This has a resolution of 921k pixels, and looks very clean and sharp. We were not able to test it in bright daylight, but other similar screens have typically held up pretty well. Pentax has resisted the trend towards screens that rotate and flip on articulated arms: the screen of the K-5 is built into the camera body and cannot be moved or rotated.
On the top of the camera body is a secondary screen that shows the basic shooting information, which will make users of older film SLRs feel at home.
The K-5 is a true SLR with a mirror, so the viewfinder is an optical viewfinder that shows exactly what you see when shooting through the lens. Shooting information such as shutter speed, etc is overlaid on the bottom of the frame.
There are two flash options on the K-5: a built-in flash or an external flash attached to the hot shoe on the top of the camera body. The built-in flash pops up when required, or can be manually released by pressing the button on the right side of the viewfinder housing. This pops up higher than most, so it should produce less red-eye effect than those that are close to the lens. We were not able to test the power of this flash, but Pentax claims that it has a guide number of 13 and covers enough area to illuminate the entire frame of a 28mm lens. That is reasonably powerful and should make it bright enough for everyday use, but we'll know more when we get a unit into our labs for testing.
The other option is to attach an external flash to the standard hot shoe on the top of the camera body. This will work with any standard flash, but Pentax sells a number of their own models which are designed to be more flexible, offering TTL (Through The Lens) metering for flash and synch speeds of up to 1/180 of a second.
Lens & Sensor
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
There are a good number of ports and sockets on the K-5. On the left side we have an external microphone port, a mini HDMI port, a combined analog video/USB port and a power input. On the right is an additional port for connecting the remote control device. All of the ports are covered by robust feeling plastic covers that snap satisfyingly into place, and are unlikely to let any dust or moisture through.
The K-5 is powered by a single D-LI90 battery, which Pentax claims will shoot about 450 images on a single charge, or shoot about 440 minutes of video. If you need to keep going for longer, Pentax does offer a battery grip (the D-BG4) that adds a second D-LI90 battery or a set of 6 AA rechargeables.
Images are stored on a single SD/SDHC Card slot. This will be upgradeable via firmware to support the newer SDXC cards that are now available.
Electronic Level - The K-5 offers an electronic level when shooting in live view mode which helps to make sure that you are holding the camera level to the ground. This appears on the back screen of the camera.
HDR Mode - The K5 also offers HDR shooting, where it takes two images at different exposures and combines them to form a single image with a wider dynamic range than the camera can capture in one image.