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Pentax K-500

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
11 40,363 Tue December 8, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
91% of reviewers $482.70 9.18
Pentax K-500


The Pentax K-500 introduced in June 2013 is basically a K-50, but without weather-sealing, viewfinder AF point illumination, or the electronic level so that it can be offered at a lower price point. The K-500 is a 16-megapixel DSLR built around a metal chassis and the body is made from polycarbonate. The camera has a good array of external buttons to make it faster to use in the field for the demanding photographer.

The K-500 is available in black only. It retains the ISO 51,200 sensitivity of the K-50 and it in this aspect an upgrade over the older K-30.

Two K-500 kits were introduced:

Some of the key features of the K-500 are:

- A focusing screen optimized for manual focusing is available
- Two User Modes for saving/recalling user settings
- RAW/Fx customizable button
- Wireless control of external flash
- Composition adjustment
- Astrotracer mode (with optional O-GPS1 GPS unit)
- Wired and wireless remote control
- 19 digital filters, multilayered
- Embed copyright information in EXIF
- Image plane indicator
- In-camera RAW development
- Save last JPG as RAW
- Optional hand strap O-ST128
- Optional AC adapter K-AC128
- Comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
- Can use AA batteries with an optional battery holder

Compared to the K-50 the differences are:

- No weather-sealing
- No electronic level
- No automatic horizon correction

Read our in-depthreview of the K-500 here.

Major features subsequently added through firmware updates:

  • Version 1.02: Added compatibility with HD Pentax-DA Rear Converter 1.4X AW
  • Version 1.01: AF assist light function made compatible with the new flashes, AF360FGZ II and AF540FGZ II

Camera Manual:

Pentax K-500
©, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
In Production
No (Discontinued 2014)
Current US Price
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor Format
Sensor Type
3264 x 4928 pixels
AA Filter
Super Resolution
Bit Depth
Minimum ISO
Maximum ISO
ISO Range
100 - 51,200
Exposure Modes
Auto (green), Scene, HyP, Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, M, B
Program Modes
Maximum FPS
Continuous Shooting
Hi: 6 fps up to 30 frames (JPG), 8 frames (RAW) Lo: 3 fps until card is full (JPG), 10 frames (RAW)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s - 1/6000s (stepless)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 30s - 1/6000s. Up to 300s in Astrotracer mode
Shutter Life
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV (+/-2 EV in movie mode)
Auto bracketing
Exposure (3 frames), one-push EV bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Self timer
2 s with mirror lock-up, 12 s
Metering Sensor
Meter range
0 to 22 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
Interval shooting
Up to 999 frames, up to 24 hours between frames
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Yes, average and additive, 2 to 9 shots
Pixel mapping
Scene Modes
19: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, Food, Pet, Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
Yes (sensor-shift SR)
Power zoom
Not supported
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses except for lenses with the KAF4 mount variant. Manual focus only with K-, M-, and A-series lenses. Stop down metering only with K- and M-series lenses. M42, Pentax 645 and Pentax 6x7 lenses with the appropriate adapters (stop down metering and manual focus only).
Lens correction
Distortion,Lateral Chromatic Aberration
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX IXi+, 11 focus points (9 cross type), diffraction lens, wavelength sensor)
AF Points
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustments for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
0.92x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Focus Peaking
Back LCD
3 in. 921,000 pix
Weather resistant
Control wheels
Battery grip
Card slots
Dust removal
Yes, Sensor Shake DR
Dust alert
Memory card type
Size (W x H x D)
129 x 96.5 x 70 mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in.)
650 g (23 oz)
File format
Battery life
480 images with Li-Ion battery (no flash use), 1250 images with AA lithium (no flash use)
D-LI109 lithium-ion rechargeable or 4 x AA batteries with battery holder D-BH109
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 12 (ISO 100/m)
Sync speed
P-TTL flash
Flash functions
Auto discharge, On (leading curtain sync), Redeye reduction, Slow-speed sync, Trailing curtain sync, High-speed sync*, Manual*, Wireless*, Contrast control* * Available when combined with external flash
TTL flash
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 30, 25, and 24 fps,
1280x720 (16:9) at 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 fps,
640x480 (4:3) at 30, 25, and 24 fps,
MPEG4 AVC/H.264,
Interval movie
Exposure Modes
P, Av and M exposure control
Movie mode restrictions
In Av and M mode: Aperture must be set prior to shooting (unless using a lens with manual aperture setting)
AF During Recording
Sound in Movie mode
Mono Adjustable sound level
Via Accessory
USB 2.0, AV out, cable release
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
User reviews
In-depth review
In USA sold with battery holder for 4 x AA batteries. In Europe sold with Li-ion rechargeable battery and charger. Astrotracer compatible, Embed copyright information in EXIF, High ISO NR can be customized for each major ISO value, In-camera RAW development, Image plane indicator, Multilayer digital filters, Save last JPG as RAW, The RAW button is customizable and can perform a variety of functions, hereunder exposure bracketing
Megapixels: 16.3 MP
ISO Range: 100-51,200
Weight: 650 g (23 oz)
FPS: 6 fps
LCD: 3 inch, 921,000 dots
In Production: Buy the Pentax K-500
Type: Entry-level DSLR
Weather Sealed: No
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-500 in-depth review!
Price History:

Add Review of Pentax K-500 Buy the Pentax K-500
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-11 of 11
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2020
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 8, 2020 Recommended | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Durable, versitile, light weight, great lens selection
Cons: Not supported by the pentax community
Years Owned: 6 years    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

New Member

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 16
Review Date: December 18, 2017 Not Recommended | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: picture quality, features, size, versatility
Cons: aperture lever failed before 28000 shutter count
Years Owned: 3    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 5    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 5    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Aperture lever failed before 28000 shutter count. Now I can't use lenses unless they have manual aperture; can't use most Pentax DA series. But I can use ancient Takumars.
New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Location: Porthtowan
Posts: 17
Review Date: October 30, 2016 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent specification and value for money
Cons: The odd quirk...
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I've given it a 9 for ergonomics and user interface because it's better than most digital cameras and is customisable. In an ideal world it would have a shutter speed dial and the lenses would have aperture rings... can you guess how old I am yet? Like another reviewer I'd like the depth of field preview button to be closer to the shutter release. Perhaps I could reassign that green button? Or the focus/expose lock button? I don't use either of them.

The odd quirk I mentioned - why on Earth would anybody want the exposure compensation setting to apply in manual exposure mode? For several minutes I thought it'd developed a fault. Have they always done this?
New Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 6, 2015 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: price, size, pentaprism finder
Cons: At its price, none at all+
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 7    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 6    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I was looking for a backup body for my k-5 and found a great deal on a k-500 from Broadway Camera in Vancouver.
While it lacks the rugged build, LCD display and other features of the K-5, including some in the AF set (eg. illuminated, red focus point in finder) it retains some weather sealing. This includes crucial seals at the battery and card compartments but none in the included version of the Pentax 'kit' lens. I've never been crazy about the plastic zoom and immediately sold it to bring down the cost of the body even further. I have a collection of glass including: Tamron, current DA and Limited lenses, vintage Takumar and Pentacon m42 focal lengths. In most situations, using the same lenses, I can't detect any difference in IQ between my k-500 and my k-5 The small primes and small body are a terrific, all-day, walk-around combination.

While it's a down-market model with fewer features and a plastic body compared to a k-5 or K-3, the K-500 still retains the killer features of a proper, pentaprism finder and dual control wheels. Neither are found in any other company's model lineup at the same price. The K-500 (k-30 or K-50 for that matter) is a stunningly complete and able camera at the price it sells for.
There are occasions (shooting with a vintage, small or pancake prime) when I reach for it rather than my K-5
I think that says it all.
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Grenoble
Posts: 22

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 4, 2014 Recommended | Price: $455.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ease of use
Cons: None
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 6    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Bought this as a replacement for my K100D which I still have. Like the fact that all my lenses from my screw mounts upto the latest ones can fit. Not too bothered by no red spot on the focus point as I set it to the centre spot position so I know where it is. Still learning all the quirks but upto now I really like it. Not overly sophisticated but enough of a step up for me. Ther auto focus can hunt in poor light but I switch to manual focus in these situations so not really a problem. Just have to use the older skills learned on my KM 35mm slr. Like the fact that both f stop and shutter speed can be controlled by seperate dials in manual mode.
New Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 10, 2014 Recommended | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great value, excellent low light capabilities, ability to use older K and M mount lenses.
Cons: its difficult to use live view at night
Years Owned: 9 months    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

My first camera was a K1000 (still functional ready for a roll of film). I also owned several other Pentax film cameras including a Program Plus, an ME, and a ZS-5. Of course, I also accumulated several lenses which have sat idle since switching to digital. Up until the K500, I was unable to afford to get back to a Pentax DSLR body, so when I started shooting at night and had horrible experiences with the camera I was shooting, I researched the existing DSLRs out there and concluded that the K500 was a fit for my needs, and, it was in a price range that fit my budget. I primarily shoot long exposures and night photos, always in manual mode, so my old K mount lenses all work just fine. So far, I am very happy with my K500 and would recommend this to anyone.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 73

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 7, 2014 Recommended | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Best entry level camera for the price. Simple.
Cons: No viewfinder AF point illumination
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I bough this camera a year ago and it was and is my first DSLR. Prior to purchase, I've spent 2 weeks of my life studying all the various entry-level cameras from all brands out there, comparing shots, noise levels, and learning all about ISO/aperture/shutter speed/focal length in the process, only to come to the same conclusion as anyone else out there who's done their research:
The K-500 is by far the best camera for the money. The 6fps, the pentaprism VF, the amazing high ISO performance in RAW, the HDR modes, exposure bracketing, timelapse, 2 user modes, 2 function dials, the ability to use AA batteries in a pinch, etc... most of these features only available on much more expensive DSLR's.

But don't take my word for it. Do your own research and compare it to similar offerings from Canon/Nikon and Sony. Nobody comes close the rugged build, feature set and overall sensor quality at this price point.

Keep in mind though; A camera body is only around 30% of the overall image quality. Without a good lens, it will never show it's true potential. The Pentax kit lens is a step above most out there and is great for learning and with a little experience you can get some great pictures with it, but for real quality and a taste of the famous Pentax primes I recommend the Pentax DA 35mm f2.4 AL as your first prime lens (amazing IQ and very cheap). That was my first prime, and also the first lens that showed my what my K-500 is really capable of

Needless to say, I fell in love with this camera and would recommend it to anyone starting out with photography or anyone looking for a lot of camera for very little money. So unless you're a die hard Canon/Nikon fan or you're already heavily invested in another brand, there is no reason not to try the K-500 (or the K-50, if you require a weather sealed camera).

Here are a few shots I've made with the K-500:

For more examples, check out my Flickr Page
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Lisboa - Portugal
Posts: 20

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 31, 2014 Recommended | Price: $375.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Touch and Feeling, High ISO, 6 fps, 100% VF, Unexpensive
Cons: Omission of the red AF points on VF
Years Owned: 6 Months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

As a amateur and beginner it was for me a perfect match between price and functionality.

I've got it with DAL kit lens (18-55 and 50-200mm) for 450.

It give me very good photos. Colors are superb.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 6, 2014 Recommended | Price: $469.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Inexpensive. Class leader for features and quality at the price point
Cons: No viewfinder AF point illumination. Only 3 shots in bracketed mode.
Years Owned: 8 mos.    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I've had Pentax since my very first camera (ME Super film camera) and my first DSLR was a Pentax (K110D). I've always thought of Pentax as the leader in delivering a well engineered product with industry leading features sets and the K500 does not disappoint. The 16.3mp sensor, while impressive, is not what drew me to the K500 -- it was the promise of a usable wide ISO range giving the ability to shoot at high ISO and get low noise shots! That and the ability to take burst mode shots at a faster pace with more of shots before the buffer filled. Well in those respects, it has not disappointed one bit. Don't get me wrong the K110D was a fine unit, but everything that held that unit back has been addressed in the K500. Features, Programability, Picture Quality, and Versatility, are all top notch and industry best for its class. At this price, you can't have everything. I understand that, but that does not mean one can't wish for more ...

1. Viewfinder AF point illumination (it was on the K100 and K110, but vanished on the K500).
2. The top mounted LCD display. (Just got used to it and found it helpful as a quick check of system status)
3. The DOF preview button as part of the shutter button. (Sure the RAW/FX button does that, but the placement on the shutter button area just seemed more intuitive)
4. Wish we could include more shots in the auto-bracket mode. Having 3 (- 0 +) is a minimum, it would have been nice to have 5 or 6 shots in a bracketed set w/o having to play around with EV compensation to work around it.
5. Wish it and other Pentax units had a better focus screen. (It's appears to be the same as the K100/K110 as well as other current Pentax DSLRs, but oh how these older eyes miss the Split Prism screen that was on my ME Super.)

All-in-all, it's the best camera I have owned. Excellent build, and its ability to take great pictures coupled with the expansive feature-set, delivers an entry-level DSLR platform that punches well above its weight class.

If only Pentax marketed as well as they engineered ...

** Note -- purchase price included DA L 18-55mm and DA L 55-200mm
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2013
Location: Prague
Posts: 272

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 10, 2014 Recommended | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: uncomplicated. uncluttered tough and ready to to go
Cons: could be more flash friendly,
New or Used: New   

Vorsord, my k-500 has been totally reliable since I purchased it in July 13. I think the camera is an exceptional value considering what Pentax put into it. You must realize that the K-500 is also weather sealed! Yes, not all 81 points no, not like its bigger brothers, but in strategic points it is! It does miss some features from the k-5, like better flash syncing (if that is important to you). It is only PTT, no slot for a flash cable. If you are not a serious flash user, it is not a big issue.
I have not had an issue yet with the camera, shoots wonderfully,good response, reliable, no issues with buttons or dials. Love how the camera feels in hand. Works happily under many conditions not complaints. A worthwhile investment!
New Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 24, 2014 Recommended | Price: $449.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very nice upgrade from a K100D Super
Cons: None so far
Years Owned: 1 Mo    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I bought it as an upgrade an still be able to use my old screw mount from my spotmatic days. So far was a good buy, I bought this over K50 because none of my old lens are weather sealed anyway. as far as having a few less features than the K50, I won't miss what I never had.
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