Cotswolds with K-5

Pentax K-5 15mm F4 lens
Pentax K-5 15mm f/4 lens Multi-Image Panoramic Stitch


At last I was able to get a significant amount of time with the Pentax K-5 in decent light. Well more than decent as you can see.


Pentax K-5 15mm F4 lens

Pentax K-5 15mm f/4 lens 


These were taken at Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds. After an afternoon shooting pictures in Broadway Village, the weather started to become overcast again, but just as I was about to leave and go home the clouds started to part. I drove up to the tower which is on a hill overlooking the village and there was half an hour of beautiful light before sunset. It was incredibly cold, just above zero but with a biting wind. I was working in thick gloves and trusting everything to the K-5. 


Pentax K-5 70mm F2.4 lens
 Pentax K-5 70mm f/2.4 lens Multi-Image Panoramic Stitch


I was really pleased with the performance of the camera and the two lenses. Its been a while since I've used a DSLR for such a long time. However with the 15mm and 70mm lenses this was a very light outfit, and a pleasure to use.


Pentax K-5 15mm F4 lens
Pentax K-5 15mm f/4 lens


I really do like the 15mm lens. I found I was able to judge where to stand very easily and its not too wide. By this I mean there isn't a lot of wasted space in the images or a requirement to get very close to the subject. In fact though I spent the day working with just two primes, I never felt handicapped by this and liked the combination of the two lenses very much.


Pentax K-5 15mm F4 lens
Pentax K-5 15mm f/4 lens


I'm very impressed with the K-5's colour. There's not too much over compensation. This late afternoon light was very warm and this has been recorded very well. I've been using m4/3 cameras an awful lot, and they produce very "clean" and "glossy" images. I do like this but the Pentax produces images much closer to my Leica M9. A "digital Fuji Velvia" look for want of a better description. There's a richness and a depth of colour to the images which I love and is very useful for landscape work.  


The K-5 sensor does produce sharper images than the K-7 I had. There's none of that softness that I found so disappointing. Images from both lenses have a real "bite" to them. I had to add a fair amount of sharpening to the images I shot on the K-7, but these need far less. For edge to edge sharpness the 15mm lens does need to be stopped down a bit. f/8 and f/11 are the best apertures. There's no such problem with the 70mm, which is a really good lens. 


Pentax K-5 15mm F4 lens
Pentax K-5 15mm f/4 lens


Using this camera / lenses combination has gone some way to lessening my antipathy  towards DSLR's in general, though I do realise that this is far from a typical outfit. While the K-5 and the two lenses performed very speedily and accurately, this is a very small and light pairing and some way from the general bulk and weight of most alternatives. Pentax have always produced cameras and lenses like this and their alternative take on what a DSLR should be like is one of the reasons I've always liked their products. They have shown that it is possible to produce a system that doesn't compromise on performance and construction without making it a struggle to carry. The K-5 is rightly getting very good reviews and while not restoring Pentax to its former glories, will hopefully get the company back to a position where its taken seriously again. 


Back in the 1960's and 1970's Pentax were right up there with Nikon, Canon were hardly on the scene. Pentax cameras and lenses were used extensively by professionals. Currently they are seen as a niche enthusiast type brand, with a small market share and that is a shame. They don't always get it right but when they do they can produce some really impressive products. For many of my early years in photography Leitz, Zeiss and Pentax were always regarded as the great lens makers. I doubt many would even mention them now. I do have an attachment to the brand, partly because a Pentax was my first serious camera and because during my film days Pentax 35mm and MF cameras were the ones I used. This attachment has been tested occasionally by some of what they have released, but its nice to be back using the K-5. Its a great camera and I like it very much. 


Words - David
Images - David and Ann