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My Photography with the Pentax K5 IIs

Jim Radcliffe

January 2013

Why upgrade to the Pentax K5 IIs?

Well, that's a good question, one that I wrestled with for about a week before I made the decision to do so.

In The Camera Shop - Here we go again.....

Here’s how it went down for me.  I visited a local camera store that carries Pentax gear and they just happened to have received one K5 IIs.  I put my own memory card and battery in it and proceeded to take the usual “test shots”.   I was surprised by the results.  Everything I shot DID look much sharper.  I even shot some photos of materials and subjects that might generate moiré.. I saw none.  I believe the concern about moiré is a bit overblown.  But if you are truly concerned about moiré, then wait and see what others produce.

The AF did seem to be a bit faster and more accurate.  I tried every lens I owned on the K5 IIs and in every case there seemed to be no need for any micro-adjustment of the AF.  I found that to be surprising as every lens I own (except the DA 35mm macro) DID require AF micro-adjustment on my original K5.  I have no idea why every lens required a slightly different adjustment of the original K5 but that was the case.

So the decision was made on the spot because I had my old K5 and the new K5 IIs side by side and based on what I saw on the LCD in Pixel-Peeper Mode and the accuracy of the AF.. I said "Ring it up!"

No In-Depth Review?

There is no point in going into a full blown review of the K5 IIs as far as ergonomics and controls go.  They are the same as the original K5 and if the K5 IIs did not have that IIs label on it you would not be able to tell the difference between the original and this new version by looking at them.  They look and function exactly the same with a couple of exceptions… the camera does seem to focus quicker and more accurately, especially under low light conditions, a condition I often encounter.  The image IQ, to my eye, is better.  Is that worth the upgrade?  That depends on you and what you demand of your camera.

The new LCD does seem much better than that on the original K5 and with the recent firmware update allowing for contrast and brightness control of the LCD it’s much, much better than the LCD on my old K5.

The real improvement is the better IQ of the photographs produced by the K5 IIs.  They are sharper, they are better… for me.  The lack of an AA filter on the K5 IIs works for me.  I have not encountered a single instance where moiré has been apparent or ruined a shot for me.  That is not to say that it will never happen but so far, so good.

Was It Worth The Upgrade?

Was the upgrade worth it?  To me, yes.   If you already own a K5 you will have to make that decision based on what and how you shoot.
In browsing many Pentax related forums the participants seem to be split.  Some see no need to upgrade, claiming there is not enough improvement or reason to do so.  Some, like myself, see a difference and are happy with the decision to upgrade.  I have listed my original K5 for sale.  If it doesn’t sell it will become a backup, not that I have ever needed one.

The Challenge You Will Be Offered
At some point someone will say that you would be hard-pressed to pick out a properly post processed photo from the K5 IIs from the original K5 or K7... Really? Who cares? If you like what you see from the K5 IIs that is ALL that matters. End of Challenge.

The Fuji X-Pro1 vs The K5 IIs

Some know that I also use the Fuji X-Pro1 and might wonder how I would compare the output of the K5 IIs to the Fuji X-Pro1.  I will give a slight edge to the X-Pro1 simply due to the non-standard sensor that is used in the X-Pro1.  But I must say for versatility, speed and lens availability the Pentax K5 IIs has the edge.  And one further note.. the Pentax K5 IIs and the Fuji X-Pro1 really are (all things considered) about the same size unless you have a large telephoto lens mounted on the K5 IIs, something not available for the X-Pro1 at this time.  But remember the K5 is weather sealed; the X-Pro1 is not.

A Bit Of History

I switched from Canon to Pentax in March of 2011.  I really have no regrets.  Do I miss the full frame of my Canon 5D MKII?  Every now and then I do... but not enough to go back to the bulk and weight of that camera system, not to mention the cost.  The K5 serves my needs and I am happy with my decision to upgrade to the K5 IIs. 

As I mentioned above, there is no need to go into a technical overview of the K5 IIs.  There are plenty of online sites that you visit for that GearHead stuff. So here you will find samples of what I have produced with this new version of the K5. If I discover quirks, warts, malfunctions or "undocumented features", I will write of them here.

 



To View The Images
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A Note About The Images
I post process all images in Photoshop CS6.  I tweak contrast and saturation.  I dodge and burn.  I adjust curves and I do BW conversions. I correct for lens distortion and more.  In short, I use a digital darkroom.  I am not one of those who believes that  what comes out of the camera is the final product.  There has yet to be invented the camera that can capture exactly what we see or what we envision. The digital darkroom let's me do everything I used to do in the wet darkroom but without the chemistry, paper safes, print dryers, and working under safe lights. 

 

 

More to come.....