Thursday, August 20, 2020

Quick Spot: Pentax Perfection- The K5IIs

Quick Spot: Pentax Perfection- The K5IIs
August 2020, Carl Garrard
Pentax's K5IIs still remains one of my favorite cameras I've ever used, let alone in the DSLR segment. It's August 2020, and time has not taken it's toll on this beauty of a DSLR. The K5IIs is still an absolute gem, a small and amazingly built camera. It's capable of fantastic image detail because it lacks an AA filter, and its raw files don't feel as strained in post processing as the 24mp chips do. Besides the K70/KP it has the best overall APS-C image quality of any Pentax DSLR and it comes with better than expected video performance if you need it. With this list, the K5IIs is nearly future proof. The only feature it's missing is full compatibility with any KAF4 mount lens, this means the excellent 55-300mm PLM.
Pentax K-5 IIs Body Only (Black)

And yet, it's low light auto focus is stellar, it's highly sensitive, super quick, and absolutely tenacious in it's desire to find focus. For it's price today, the K5IIs offers a ridiculous value, not only on a spec sheet, but in your hand. I'd challenge anyone to find a better built and capable camera for less than the K5IIs. Like new samples can be had for $250-$350.00, this is a pro-level camera in nearly every respect.

Take it in the cold and weather with confidence, it practically begs you too.

It has better overall build quality than even the K1 Mark II, a full magnesium body, not just partially.  It's a perfect DSLR for the high mountain country with its freeze proof, fully weather sealed, light weight and very compact design. It's reliability has withstood the test of time, and it's battery life is phenomenal too, like really phenomenal!

So sturdy, Mag on the outside, Stainless steel on the inside

And the cherry on top, is the fact that the K5IIs is just so much fun to use. Whether using old manual focus glass or new, it's equipped. Operation is super quiet (oh man that shutter), but it remains a fast and eager little camera.The combination of its high quality metal body, supremely comfortable grip, excellent buttons and dials, are all designed to near perfection.

Fully weather sealed, and many lenses to choose from that are too (this is very important!).

Those buttons and dials are properly sorted too, making it easy to mentally map locations for eye level adjustments that don't require moving your eye from the viewfinder. Which is so very important for photographer/camera synergy. And speaking of the viewfinder, it's 100% accurate, bright, and large for a camera of this class. I added the O-ME53 magnifier for an even larger view but mainly to help block out light and give my nose space from the camera. I suggest the same.

My personal K5IIs. Note the position of the playback and del button so close to one another, and the metering switch under the lockable mode dial. All of the controls are ideal in this way, even better than the K3 cameras that succeeded it.

Whether you are shooting full manual with manual focus, or fully automatic in every way, the K5IIs will make you smile, and is capable of making huge detailed prints that will impress any level of viewer you put in front of them. Highly recommended is an understatement. Add one to your collection, or make it your first camera, either way you aren't going to regret it.

When I hit the mountains backpacking into backcountry, it's the one of the first cameras I think of taking with me (along with a couple of weather sealed lenses). For the longest trips, it's the only choice because of its smaller size, weight, and small sealed lens options.

Although the K5IIs is small, it doesn't sacrifice a large comfortable grip, external controls, top mounted LCD, a pop up flash, or anything else you'd see on a full sized DSLR. My 35mm LTD macro is one of my favorite leisure lenses to use with it (too bad it's not weather sealed!)

So if you aren't a paid pro-sports sideline photographer, this is a camera I recommend to any level of photographer who wants performance to match the physical pleasure of using it. This is one you won't regret buying for use or for collection.  Pentax's K5IIs  just brings free smiles all day and trophy images home.

And that's what I want from a camera.

Stay focused.


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