Updated (April 2011): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Pentax K-5

Pentax K-5 vs Nikon D5100






Reasons to buy the Pentax K-5

Great image quality
Overall image quality
Great color depth
Color depth
23.7 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
14.1 EV
Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 30fps
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.
Explore our gallery of 4 sample photos taken by the Pentax K-5.


Pentax K-5 Competitors


Pentax K-3

Entry-level DSLR

$3,441 with 16-50mm lens

Cross type focus points Many more cross-type focus points
Supports 24p Supports 24p
Dynamic range Less dynamic range

Pentax K-5 II

Entry-level DSLR

Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
Battery life Longer battery life
Shutter lag Much more shutter lag

Pentax K-70

Entry-level DSLR

$599 body only

$697 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Supports 24p Supports 24p
Battery life Shorter battery life

Nikon D5100 Competitors


Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$447 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$675 with 18-55mm lens

True resolution Much higher true resolution
Color depth Better color depth
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR

Nikon D5600

Entry-level DSLR

$647 body only

$747 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution



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Showing 6 comments

anonymous (5:31 PM, August 25, 2012)
please remove the popularity point on each of comparison. we buy camera for the image quality, not the popularity. if it needed, you can put it as additional information
enterco (6:05 AM, June 21, 2012)
D5100 can't be compared with K-5, they only share image quality. On the ergonomics side, the K-5 is a winner by far. What about the D5100 which can't use 'D' lenses without manual focus? K-5 can shoot with high speed sync, can control multiple flashes, can be operated with one hand, etc.
Chicago painter (7:28 PM, November 13, 2011)
What is the point to compare cameras for $700 and $1200. It's like to compare BMW 5 and Chevy Malibu. 30G vs 60G.....
I agree with Sdick. If you spend 700 for body you won't spend 30 000 for all available lenses. 
Sdick (11:21 AM, October 18, 2011)
K-5 wins in almost any category--except for popularity, # of lenses (how many do I need?) and some of the video convenience features.  I'm probably not like most here, but I'm interested in a DSLR for taking great still pictures.  I won't need it to connect to the internet, do FB, make cel phone calls or play 3D video games.  And if I'm going to do anything more than "dabble" in videography, I'll get a good video camera--to which there aren't any DSLR's at any price that compare.  

I also find the bias and skew of this site  to be kind of cheap.  Brand "X" might have 50 gazillion lenses, and "Y" has only 30.  I only need/want 3, so am I really disadvantaged to choose those three lenses from 30?  "X" is more popular--save it for the MA pageant.  I think both these cams are great pieces of engineering and very capable for producing excellent photos.  The K-5 wins hands-down for durability, backwards compatibility of lenses, and slightly less-hands-down on some of the issues that will affect image quality.  It admittedly does lose out as a pinch-hitter of a video camera--though both of these are pinch-hitters in this category in my opinion.  And the K-5 price is a bit higher--that generally doesn't stop the serious photog who makes a living.  I just wish Pentax would have left off some of the bells-n-whistles they stuck into this one.  Shame on ALL the brands for some of the bandwagons they jump on.  Toy camera?  Miniature effect? How serious do you take yourselves?  And why do you look for/want/need some of these worthless gadgets on a serious machine?  Buy the toy camera for $6 on e-bay and get the "real" effect.  Give me a great lens or two, durability, good metering, PASM and excellent picture quality.  Affordability would also be nice.  I don't need much else.  The Sigma SD-1 just about knocked it out of the park in my books--until I saw the price.
Avatar for JeanMarcDufourq JeanMarcDufourq (5:27 AM, August 02, 2011)
I agree. This entire site sways towards Nikon; that, or there comparison algorithm does not work correctly.
eikit nahuj (8:25 PM, July 29, 2011)
and again.. Entry level Nikon is as good as semi pro pentax. Come on,stop this BS. Just tell you are Nikon fans and thats it. Or go ant compare Nikon D40 against K-5 and write that D40 is much better camera, that would be no surprise because all you can write is just how nikon is good and how pentax is awful