Pentax slams down the K-5 dSLR: 16.2MP sensor, snappier AF, HD and enhanced HDR

Pentax K-5 dSLR slams down a 16.2MP sensor, snappy AF, HD and enhanced HDR

With the big Photokina expo beginning to rev up in Germany today, some of the big guns are releasing details of their new products, and Pentax have taken the opportunity to tell us about their new K-5 dSLR.

Pentax K-5 dSLR slams down a 16.2MP sensor, snappy AF, HD and enhanced HDR

Sky high ISO

Lurking inside is a big’n’beefy 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor – said to match the one in the 645D – backed by an ISO range shifting smartly from  100 to 12800 (with the option to accelerate up to grain-splattered 51200 ISO, courtesy of a custom function).

Pentax K-5 dSLR slams down a 16.2MP sensor, snappy AF, HD and enhanced HDR
Improved HDR

There’s also a sprightly 7fps burst mode, an upgraded 11-point autofocus, and improved HDR mode, but only SDHC memory card compatibility.

Around the back of the lightweight magnesium alloy body is a generous 3-inch, 921k-dot LCD, and the K-5 can record full HD movies too (1960 x 1080 pixels, 25 frames per second).

There’s no pricing details yet, but don’t expect to find this one loitering anywhere near the budget end of the shelf.

Pentax K-5 dSLR slams down a 16.2MP sensor, snappy AF, HD and enhanced HDR

The full press release:

HOYA CORPORATION Pentax Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the Pentax K-5 lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera.

Encased in a compact but solid, functional body, this new model comes equipped with a host of advanced photographic tools for the easy creation of diversified visual expressions, while demonstrating much higher standards of image quality, data processing speed and operability than previous models.

Developed using the highly acclaimed Pentax K-7 (introduced to the market in June 2009) as its base, the K-5 inherits the exceptional reliability, user-friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor, yet it is more resourceful and flexible in photographic expression.

Coupling a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels, even when shooting in the continuous shooting mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second. It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and Full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels to expand the boundaries of high-quality visual presentation.

Adding other improvements and refinements – such as a much-faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function now usable in handheld shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components – the K-5 is designed to be more functional and maneuverable in every detail, and more capable of responding to the discriminating demands of advanced amateurs than previous models.

For sales price please contact the local Pentax subsidiary.

Major Features
1. High-resolution, low-noise, true-to-life image reproduction
The K-5 incorporates a newly designed CMOS image sensor with a wide image-sensitive area measuring 23.7mm by 15.7mm. It assures high-speed image data readout much faster than that of previous sensors. By coupling this image sensor – equivalent in performance and data processing speed to the image sensor incorporated in the Pentax 645D medium-format digital camera – with the reliable PRIME (Pentax Real Image Engine) II imaging engine, the K-5 produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with 16.28 effective megapixels, while suppressing annoying digital noise to a minimum. The K-5 also offers a wide sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800. This range can be intentionally expanded by the user from ISO 80 to ISO 51200 via a custom function to accommodate applications intended for more creative expressions, such as open-aperture shooting using a large-aperture lens, and indoor and nighttime shooting with incident light only.

2. High-speed continuous shooting at approximately seven images per second
The K-5’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 22 images (in the JPEG recording format) in a single sequence at a maximum speed of seven images per second, allowing the photographer to preserve sharp, crisp images of active, fast-moving subjects – such as sports players, stage performers and wildlife – with great ease.

3. Responsive, high-precision AF system
The K-5 features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This sophisticated AF system has completely redesigned optics, and factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter-release options – between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode – to make the photographer better equipped for varying photographic requirements. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the AF system in poorly lit locations.

4. Compact, solid, functional camera body
Despite its compact dimensions, the K-5 is built to be exceptionally solid and durable, with a body of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and a chassis of high-rigidity stainless steel. Thanks to the inclusion of 77 special seals in the body, it also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring reliable operation even under harsh conditions, and at temperatures as low as -10°C. It also features a reliable shutter unit that provides a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second and the outstanding durability to withstand as many as 100,000 shutter releases. Despite all these features, the K-5 still offers an extremely compact, functional body, because Pentax has applied all its years of experience and expertise in camera downsizing that it accumulated since the earliest days of film-format SLR cameras.

5. Bright, clear optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
The K-5 features a glass-prism finder with a nearly 100% field of view and at 0.92-times magnification (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity) to provide a better view of the image field and improve the accuracy and speed of focusing and image composition. It also comes with the renowned Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen to assist the photographer with manual-focus operation. The K-5’s bright, clear viewfinder assures greater visibility in outdoor shooting – especially when using a telephoto lens – allowing the photographer to better concentrate on the subject and image composition.

6. Effortless Live View shooting
Thanks to a new image sensor and a more sophisticated algorithm, the K-5’s Contrast AF mode assures better performance and greater focusing speed than before during Live View shooting. With the addition of a Golden Ratio option, the K-5 offers a choice of three different grid patterns to facilitate image composition.

7. Pentax-original SR mechanism with user-assisting options
The K-5 features the Pentax-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by 2.5 to 4 shutter steps, to produce sharp, blur-free images. This innovative mechanism works with almost all Pentax interchangeable lenses – even those designed for film-format cameras.* Thanks to the SR mechanism’s flexible design, which tilts the image sensor unit in all directions, the K-5 offers some handy tools to assist the photographer during shooting. These include an auto level compensation function to assure high-precision framing and effortless adjustment of horizontal alignment, and an image-composition fine-adjustment function to automatically compensate for the camera’s inclination during handheld shooting – vertically, horizontally, and in the direction of rotation.

* Lenses compatible with this mechanism: Pentax K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mounted lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.

8. Recording of Full HD-proportion movies (1960 x 1080 pixels, 25 frames per second)
The K-5 captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 Full HD proportions (1960 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second.** This extends many of the benefits of high-quality SLR photography to the world of movie shooting: For instance, you can reduce the depth of field to make a subject stand out, or use different interchangeable lenses to create distinctive visual effects. The K-5 also provides greater possibilities in visual presentation in movies***, especially through the application of custom images and digital filters.

** Movie recording may be terminated when a memory card with a low transfer rate is used in the K-5.
*** In case with particular image processing, the number of frames is subject to change.

9. Innovative image-processing functions to produce distinctive photographic expressions

(1) Custom image function for distinctive finishing touches
The K-5 features the custom image function, which lets users easily select the desired finishing touch for a particular image, in order to more faithfully express their creative intention or emphasize the prevailing atmosphere. The K-5 offers a choice of nine custom image modes, including Bleach Bypass, which is designed to create a dramatic visual effect used in motion pictures. In addition to the conventional Sharpness and Fine Sharpness modes, the K-5 also offers a new Extra Sharpness mode, which is designed to place extra emphasis on the outline of even the minutest details to enhance image

(2) Versatile digital filter function
The K-5’s digital filter function allows the user to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways and produce highly individualized visual expressions – without requiring a computer. The user not only has a choice of 18 different filters, including the newly added Sketch and Posterization, but can also apply different filters one after another to a single
image to create more inventive visual effects.

(3) Cross process mode with three options
The K-5 features the unique cross process mode, in which the camera automatically shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique, dramatic colors – just like pictures treated with the cross process**** in film photography. In addition to Random, where the results are unpredictable until the image has been processed, the user also has two other options: Preset, with three different sets of preset parameters; and Favorite, with user-selected parameters.

**** A film development technique that uses unconventional film development to create a distinctive finish with dramatic, stylized colors.

(4) HDR (High Dynamic Range) function
The K-5 features the HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures, without requiring a computer. It offers a choice of auto, standard and expanded (at three levels) modes to accommodate different creative intentions. Thanks to the addition of an automatic alignment correction function, the user can now take advantage of this creative tool even with handheld shooting.

10. Other features
① Digital level function, with a newly added tilt confirmation tool
② Extended-exposure NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a choice of Auto, On and Off modes
③ High-sensitivity NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a camera-dependent Auto mode and a user-adjustable reduction level control for different sensitivity settings
④ RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format, as well as for assignment and instant recall of a specific function
⑤ Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch wide-view color LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
⑥ 77-segment multi-pattern metering system for extra-accurate light measurement
⑦ DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism, to shake dust off the CMOS image sensor as effectively as any other dust removal device
⑧ Long battery life, for recording of 1,100 images with full recharge*****
⑨ User-friendly Hyper control system, to flexibly and accurately respond to the
photographer’s creative intentions
⑩ Dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both whitewashed (overexposed) and black-out (underexposed) areas
⑪ Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)
⑫ CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colors of sunset scenes
⑬ Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
⑭ D-BG4 Battery Grip (optional) for extra power supply with an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or six AA-size batteries
⑮ Color-specific control buttons/dials for easy recognition and quick access, based on the universal color design
⑯ Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, including a RAW-data processing and browser application (based on the popular SILKYPIX RAW-data processing engine
developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) and a browser application

***** Under testing conditions prescribed by Pentax, when using a rechargeable D-LI90 lithium-ion battery with no flash discharges.