Pentax K-5 IIs

Pentax updates K-5 dSLR, offers AA-filter-free model

As with the Pentax Q, I never got around to reviewing the Pentax K-5; but the latter I regret a lot more. Pentax makes pretty good dSLRs, and with its traditional dust-, weather-, and cold-resistant body plus comparable specs to the Nikon D7000, it really deserved a look. I hope the same won't be true about its replacement(s), the K-5 II and IIs which include some important updates. Taking a leaf out of Nikon's D800 book, the new model will come in two versions: one standard, the K-5 II, and one without an antialiasing filter on the sensor, the K-5 IIs.

Dropping the AA filter is an interesting move. On one hand, ditching it means more naturally sharp images -- the antialiasing process softens edges to eliminate the jaggies and moiré inherent in color-filter-array-based sensors. (Not a clue what I'm talking about? Try reading this primer.) But without an AA filter you have to post-process at least a little bit to fix any aliasing or moiré that crops up. And I would think that anyone seriously concerned with a small increase in sharpness would also be likely to opt for a full-frame camera. Then again, those don't come cheap. (Yet?)

Though it's the same resolution as the K-5 and K-30, the II/IIs uses a new sensor with a faster readout; I'm not sure how that will affect photo quality, as the unchanged ISO sensitivity range usually indicates no improvement in the midrange sensitivities. (For example, when a camera manufacturer says "now it goes up to ISO 102,400!" It usually means that ISO 102,400 is still unusable but ISO 6400 has gotten better.) But it also has an updated image-processing engine. The other important update is a new autofocus sensor which the company claims improves focus performance at f2.8 and better focus tracking, and it specs with the lowest AF exposure sensitivity I've seen, which theoretically means better ability to focus in dim light.

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