Pentax is that quiet force that bubbles away but doesn't usually make a huge fuss about its product launches, at least not in the UK. But we think it should: the original K-5 DSLR was an absolutely ace camera, arguably if not certainly the best in its class, and that's now been replaced with the K-5 II. Pocket-lint had a play with the latest model - and it's low-pass-free K-5 IIs - on the Pentax stand at Photokina.
Pentax must have been happy with the K-5 to warrant giving it the "mark two" treatment as per so many other manufacturers. At least it puts a Pentax camera firmly on the map, rather than the chop-and-change approach they've had in the past that has seen few DSLR models last for more than a year or two before being discontinued.
In the hand the K-5 II feels identical to the K-5 for the simple fact that the body is the same. That means the same weather-sealing and spot-on layout that we so loved from the original. If it ain't broke then why fix it, right?
It's the camera's innards that see the biggest benefit compared to the 2010-launched K-5. Although the latest SAFOX X autofocus module sticks to the same 11-point arrangement as the K-5, it's more sensitive in low light and a little quicker too. The Pentax stand, which was spot-lit, however, couldn't provide us with the -3EV (pretty much moonlight) conditions needed to test out just how much better the system truly is, but it felt fast and accurate when snapping the Pentax staff.
We'd still like to see more autofocus points over a broader spread, though it's not always about the numbers, it's about how responsive something is - and this 11-point system works just fine and dandy.
Some may be disappointed to learn that the K-5 II relies on the very same sensor as its predecessor, but as the 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor worked so well in its previous formation that we can see why Pentax has held on to it. Though current Pentax owners are likely to have wanted that bit extra from this latest model.
The K-5 was ready for a refresh, and the K-5 II delivers that successfully, though it's a minor update rather than a huge step forward. And we still keep on wondering where that full-frame Pentax DSLR is... Isn't it about time?