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Old Jan 10, 2011, 4:05 AM   #1
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Default KR vs K5

I know the K5 is technically a better camera than the KR but was wondering if someone with practical experience of both could shed some light on situations where it really made a difference.

Do they not both also have the same sensor? So where does the improved low-light performance etc. come from?
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Old Jan 10, 2011, 2:18 PM   #2
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They do not have the same sensor - the Kr has the same sensor as the Kx, a 12 mp Sony sensor. The K5 has the 16 mp Sony sensor. The Kr is smaller and lighter than the K5, yet is comfortable to hold and I would guess to use. I was real tempted by one when I saw it at a photo show last month.

There was a huge difference in high ISO noise between the previous K7 and the Kx/Kr, the K7 being considered lousy above ISO 1600. The K5, on the other hand, is quite useable (with a certain amount of noise reduction) up to about 16,000. I've used 20,000 but it starts to get more difficult to balance loss of detail with noise reduction above that. So I think the K5 and Kr are much more equal when it comes to high ISO (I didn't actually use my card to take high ISO pictures with the Kr, so I'm going by what I've seen on-line).

There are a number of features that the K5 has that the Kr doesn't. Like anything else, some of those features will be critical to some people, while others won't care 2 cents for them. In that category is weather sealing - the K5 has seals while the Kr does not. That's something huge for me. There are a number of other feature differences.

Bottom line is that both cameras will get the job done. The Kr is really light, would be perfect as a walk-about with one of Pentax's small primes, but it's not like the K5 is all that much bigger. The red camera looks fantastic, though I'd buy a white one, and the colors don't scream "expensive pro photographer" like the K5 does, you can stay under the radar more.

I find that I'm shooting auto exposure sets less since the K5's pictures have a huge (compared to the K7) amount of shadow detail and can be "pushed" without introducing much noise (unlike the K7). Not sure if the Kr has the same dynamic range, I haven't read much about that aspect of the Kr. While I haven't tried your program, I can imagine that K5 pictures would take to it very well.

I'm sure others will bring up their points of view, these are just a few random thoughts of mine. As a side comment - I wouldn't trade my K5 for a Kr, as much as I'd like to have a storm trooper white one.
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Old Jan 10, 2011, 3:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
I know the K5 is technically a better camera than the KR but was wondering if someone with practical experience of both could shed some light on situations where it really made a difference.

Do they not both also have the same sensor? So where does the improved low-light performance etc. come from?
Hi Martin,

I only have the K-5, so I really can't answer your questions form practical experience.

They do not share the same sensor, though I believe that they both are Sony Exmoor sensors. The K-5 uses a 16.3 MP version, and the Kr uses a 12.4 MP version. I could definitely be wrong, but my impression is that given an equivalent level of sensor technology, the smaller individual light sensor pitch will show a finer grain of noise, so the possibility exists that a higher level of amplification in the image processor might be more tolerable.

As far as features go, the K-5 uses a more advanced 77 segment metering sensor, while the Kr uses an older 16 segment sensor.

The K-5 has a 100% pentaprism viewfinder, while the Kr uses a 96% pentamirror.

The K-5's AF sensor has an additional color sensor that is supposed to correct for focusing errors due to the predominant light frequencies of the scene.

The K-5 has AF micro-correction with the ability to memorize 20 individual lens corrections, the Kr allows AF focus correction, but only as a global solution which applies to all lenses used.

The K-5 can remember 5 User modes, has 2 e-dials and more dedicated buttons for faster or more convenient control over settings.

The K-5 is fully weather sealed and has a magnesium alloy outer shell over a stainless steel subframe. The Kr is not sealed, and has a polycarbonate shell over a similar stainless subframe.

The K-5 has an HDR Capture Mode, where 3 exposures are taken (-3Ev, 0, +3Ev) and processed in-camera with automatic alignment, so this can be done handheld. The processing can be controlled to some extent. I have not used this personally.

The K-5 has electronic leveling sensors for both horizon and lens tilt.

The K-5 has an additional shooting mode TAv, where you can set Shutter speed and Aperture, while allowing the camera to choose ISO sensitivity. With the wide range of usable ISO, this mode takes on a new level of usability. You can also choose between 6 different program lines -- Auto, normal, MTF, speed, and DOF (deeper or shallower). The last 4 bias the program line towards max lens resolution, higher shutter speed, or more or less DOF. The K-5 also allows you to set up high ISO NR at different levels for individual ISO settings as opposed to ranges of sensitivities.

The K-5 can be set to ISO 80, while the Kr's lowest setting is 100. According to DXO, the K-5 shows 14.12 Ev DR compared to the Kr's 12.37.

The Kr is supplied with a proprietary Lithium Ion battery, but can use AA batteries with an optional battery holder. The K-5 only uses a proprietary Li Ion, but can use AA batteries in the optional (BG-4?) vertical grip.

There are other differences, but these are the ones that come to mind. . .

Between these two, I chose the K-5 for the speed and handling features, and as I plan to use it alongside my K-7, the similarities in controls were the major consideration. Most of the other differences would actually be relatively unimportant for my use.

Scott
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 2:27 AM   #4
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Sorry for the sensor mix-up. I've been looking at too many cameras recently. It's the Sony A55 that I think has the same 16MP Exmoor sensor as the K5.

The *only* feature on the K5 which I think really appeals to me is the weather sealing and possibly the 14-bit processing but I'm pretty sure everything else is just a distraction that I wouldn't use if I have it and won't miss if I dont. Still more research to do I think...
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 3:05 PM   #5
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HDR capture with auto-alignment is available in the K-r, too - but I noticed that the alignment doesn't work very well in most of the images.

So it's back to "normal" bracketing shots and use a PC to combine.

- 14 bits D/A converter
- available additional battery grip and a somewhat bigger body
- weather sealing
- bigger/better viewfinder
- user modes and more sophisticated lens correction

are the arguments for the K5 for me... but in the end I went for the K-r for less than 50% of the K5 price.
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