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Pentax Releases K-5 II, K-5 IIs DSLRs, New Q10 ILC
by J.R. -  9/10/2012

Today, Pentax released updates to two of its major camera lines - the K series DSLR group, and the newer Q series 'hybrid' camera system (cameras the size of a large point and shoot that offer the versatility of an interchangeable lens system). The new Pentax K-5 II might sound like a minor update to the well-received K-5, and that's what it appears to be. 

Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-5 IIs

Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-5 II

There are two major changes between the older K-5 and the new K-5 II:

  1. A completely redesigned autofocus system, SAFOX X, which, accoring to Pentax offers the greatest operating EV range of any shipping DSLR on the market: -3EV to +18EV. The new system still uses the same 11 point (9 cross) setup, offering users both 11- and 5-point AF, center focus, and user selectable focus.
  2. An "air gap free" LCD which gets rid of the space normally found between the camera's rear display and its protective glass coating. The scratch resistant screen should be brighter with better viewing angles as a result, though the resolution remains the same.

Just about everything else remains the same between the two cameras. The K-5 II uses the same sensor found in the original K-5, and same PRIME II image processor, though it does have new firmware features - it is still unknown whether some of these will percolate down to the K-5. Regrettably, video is still limited to 1080p25, or 720p30/25 - there is no 60FPS mode.

Pentax also showed off a second version of the K-5 II: the K-5 IIs (I know, please bear with us). The K-5 IIs is the exact same camera as the Pentax K-5 II, save for one striking detail - it has had its anti-aliasing filter removed. This was recently done by Nikon in the D800/D800E. Generally put in place to help ameliorate moir? patterns, the AA filter can reduce the sharpness of the image. For some users, the ends do not justify the means, and that just might steer them toward the K-5 IIs. I'm not certain at this point whether a sufficient market really exists for this model, but it is likely not too expensive for Pentax to modify from the base design.

The real question comes in at the cost of the camera - how much is it going to be? Available in the late October timeframe, the new K-5 II is expected to cost around $1200 body only, or $1350 when including Pentax's standard 18-55 WR kit lens. The K-5 IIs, without the low-pass filter, will carry a roughly $100 price premium.

Savvy photographers looking to upgrade from an older Pentax digital body would do well to check out the first K-5, which carries most of the K-5 II, and can now be found, body only, for well under $900.

Pentax Q10 (Black, Silver, Red)

Pentax is no stranger to brightfully coloring some of their camera bodies; they've really become something of a peacock of the camera world. By comparison, the new Q10 models are almost restrained, and all three - the Q10 Black, Q10 Silver, and Q10 Red - look outstanding. 

The Q10 is Pentax's successor to the Pentax Q, a slightly confused - if really quite cool - interchangeable lens system camera. The diminutive device was scorned for its small sensor and high cost; despite these, it has managed to take some very good pictures, and clearly sold well enough for Pentax to commission its updated replacement.

In addition to some slight redesigns along the body, the new Q10 also features an updated CMOS sensor - 1/2.3", of course, but the back-lit sensor now offers buyers a 12.3MP resolution count. Contrast-detect AF has been improved, and 1080p (30FPS) video can now be recorded straight to H.264, which will be a boon to users who find themselves running out of SD card space when shooting video.

Pentax's Q10 will cost buyers $700 when it ships with the company's Pentax 02 Standard kit zoom; a new, faster, 15-45mm equiv. F2.8 zoom, the Pentax 06, will cost users an additional $300. Finally, Pentax has also produced a pretty wicked piece of kit in the form of a new K-mount adapter for the Pentax Q lineup, allowing shooters who own a lot of Pentax glass (and might pick up the Q10 as a backup or secondary camera) to use that glass on the new ILC. It comes with its own built-in mechanical shutter, among other innovations, but will cost a pretty painful $300 when it launches later this year. One should note that using K-mount lenses with the Q10's sensor and adapter will provide a crop factor of roughly 5.5X, meaning that a 300mm telephoto becomes a completely ridiculous 1650mm telephoto lens.

Be sure to check out the rest of the image gallery, which includes extra shots of the K-5 II, the K-5 IIs, and the new Pentax Q10s.

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