Published on November 20, 2012 1:35 PM

Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs

Is filterless photography harmful to photographs?

There are two versions of the Pentax K-5 II: the standard model and the "s" model without a low-pass filter. In theory, the K-5 IIs should produce sharper images with more moiré. But between theory and test there's always room for surprise. Let's dig deeper...

We are currently in the fortunate situation of having both models of Pentax's latest flagship SLR in our studios: the K-5 II, replete with its low-pass filter for limiting moiré, and the K-5 IIs, with the filter removed to produce sharper images.

Does it? We took some photos at minimum sensitivity to avoid any electronic noise and they do indeed show more detail: the lines on the map and the circuits on the video card are a bit finer and more precise. The textures on the book cover are also better, as is the logo on the olive oil bottle.

Pentax K 5 vs K 5 II vs K 5 IIs

The whole point behind adding a low-pass filter has always been to reduce moiré. So, is the K-5 IIs more susceptible to interference patterns than its filtered alter ego? Here again, the answer is yes, on both the graphics card and book cover you can see coloured artefacts that aren't present on the K-5 and K-5 II shots.

It's essentially a question of which is the lesser evil for you. You can't get around having to make the choice, but you can always use software to treat the moiré shot-by-shot in RAW.

The sensitivity, however, doesn't change. It would be reasonable to imagine that the algorithms for treating noise are sensitive to the sharpness of the source image, but here the difference appears to be negligible.

We'll publishing our full review of Pentax's new flagship SLR in the weeks to come. Until then, feel free to make up your own mind in the Face-Off!

> Browse our SLR and interchangeable lens reviews

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