The Pentax K-50 is an upper entry-level DSLR announced in June, 2013, as a replacement for the Pentax K-30. The K-50 went on sale worldwide in early July. In the US, $699 will get you the camera body, while $779 will get you the camera plus a 18-55mm WR kit lens.
Even though Pentax DSLRs don't receive nearly as much attention as those from Canon or Nikon, they still have many distinctive features that set them apart from the competition, and thus they should not be overlooked. Like its predecessor, the K-50 is fully weather-sealed. This means that when combined with sealed lenses*, the camera can be used with peace-of-mind even in adverse weather. Pentax continues to be the only DSLR maker to offer an entry-level DSLR with weather-sealing.
Unlike entry-level DSLRs from other manufacturers, the Pentax K-50 features a bright pentaprism viewfinder with 100% frame coverage- something typically only found on more advanced cameras. In-body shake reduction (SR) is another traditional Pentax feature that is carried over to the K-50. Thanks to the SR mechanism, virtually any lens used with the K-50 will be stabilized, even if it's very old!
For those who like to customize the look of their cameras, the K-50 is available in 120 different color combinations, though most of these colors are available via special order only. In the US, the K-50 is regularly stocked in black, white, and red.
At the heart of the K-50 is a 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200. This sensor, which is also found in the Pentax K-5, K-30, and K-01, has gotten plenty of praise over the past couple of years, and it continues to be one of the best chips in its class. The K-50's PRIME M processor enables smooth live view performance as well as video recording in Full HD at 30 frames per second, or 720p at 60 frames per second.
If you're looking to get your first DSLR, or if you're still shooting with an older camera, the K-50 may be the right choice for you. If you're a current Pentax DSLR user, we can recommend the K-50 as an upgrade over any DSLR except for the K-30 or the K-5 series. We hope that the remainder of this review will help you decide! For a quick look at the K-50, see also our hands-on first impressions that we posted in June.
*Currently, Pentax offers 13 different weather-sealed lenses; they can be identified by their WR or DA* designations, and are listed here. There are no third-party weather-sealed lenses for Pentax as of July, 2013.
Review originally published on August 4th, 2013