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07-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #1
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Pentax K-500, first day impressions

Well,

after an outdoor session during the day, I have some initial impressions:

The camera build is very nice, nothing groundbreaking designwise, but it feels good in my hands.

The screen is good, bright and nice when you need it. It's easy to navigate around in the menu system. When you get a bit further in, and do several changes, it gets a bit harder to figure out if something cancels out some other setting, but I suppose that would be something one might get used to over time. The screen irks me a bit with its brightness and constantly changing f/stop and times when I have it up to my eye, less in bright daylight, but it would be annoying in darkness. I turned down the brightness, but it still irks me in darker conditions.

Turning it the screen off is possible by two taps on the info button, and then OK. This is not persistent, so unless you dig around in the menus and try to save it into the U1 (user) or U2 profiles, you'll have to do this waltz every time you turn on the camera.

I tried to avoid this button waltz, by not turning the camera off. This did not work, the screen came back on several times (without pushing the menu button - this triggers the screen obviously): so back to the waltzing again. It might have something to do with the camera going into "sleep mode" and resetting when it wakes up again.

I also tried to save it into the U1 setting by turning the screen off and then saving, but still no luck. I have the feeling that something is not correct here.

AF feels snappy, although with the 5 or 11-point focus activated it sometimes feels like it does not refocus, even when moving the camera position. This might be that it is so silent or that it actually just moves the focus point within the camera - I have no idea.

Having no illuminated focus points, and not even having indications where the points (on the focus screen itself) should be, that kills this camera off actually. In sidelight, with glasses, and no illuminated focus point you can see that something is in focus, by the green in focus indication light but not where. I should have read up on this better apparently - I was under the assumption that any low-end DSLR would have this.

If you are using 5 or 11 points mode, you have no control at all. In good light you might be able to guesstimate where the focus is, but in darker conditions, well ...

The viewfinder is really good, the layout and the information inside is easy to read and understand.

Controls on-camera are good, I had a minor issue with the AF/AE-L button being a bit far down.

Anybody else having any other impressions to share?


Last edited by knaster; 07-20-2013 at 10:51 AM. Reason: clarifications
07-20-2013, 10:50 AM   #2
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Isn't there a memory setting for the lcd? My info screen stays off.

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07-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #3
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There might be a memory setting, somewhere. The obvious INFO button two times and then OK, does only turn it off during a session, but it resets when the camera is turned off and back on again. And it seems that it resets when it goes to sleep also.

I found this thread earlier, before heading out today:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-50/231840-turning-off-k-50-k-30-lcd-display.html

but I haven't tried the longer version of changing the settings, so it may be user error on my part.
07-20-2013, 11:17 AM   #4
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Of course I don't know the K-500, but all Pentax P&S up to the Optio A40 and all DSLRs up to the K200D had somewhere in the menus a list, where you could mark/unmark all settings which should live through switching the camera off and on.

This should be independend from the Profiles U1/U2. If display settings are not included, I would call this a bug.

07-20-2013, 12:37 PM   #5
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p-215 of the K-500 manual relates - 'Selecting Settings to Save in the Camera (Memory).

Make sure the box that says 'Shooting Info Display' is ticked so that the shooting info settings you had active when you power off the camera are retained. By default those settings are not saved at power-off.
07-20-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by knaster Quote
Having no illuminated focus points... kills this camera off actually.
I don't see why. The K-x also lacks visible AF indicators, but you don't even notice they aren't there. It doesn't stop the AF from working or being accurate. If you want more confidence in your AF without any visible AF indicators, just shoot with centre spot AF point as your default. That's what I do anyhow most times with all my cameras.

The K-500 still has the improved AF of the K-30/K-50 and K-5 II (including the new light colour sensor and diffraction lens assembly, and even the expanded area AF tracking mode) that older cameras like the K-5 lack. Sounds to me like even without visible Af indicators, the AF on the K-500 is going to be pretty good.
07-20-2013, 04:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
The K-500 still has the improved AF of the K-30/K-50 and K-5 II (including the new light colour sensor and diffraction lens assembly, and even the expanded area AF tracking mode)
wtf. I used K-m-x-r-5 and now I use K-30, the autofocus is very decisive and safer than the four mentioned models, the expanded area AF tracking mode before K-30 did not exist
07-20-2013, 04:40 PM   #8
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Why did you get a K500 instead of a K30 if you want to have the AF points in the VF ?
Not being rude here, just trying to see what other advantages the K500 might have?

07-21-2013, 01:48 AM   #9
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ybo1,

no offense taken.

I read and re-read reviews and tried to figure out everything, looking also at several different brands of cameras, trying to find a good compromise between price and performance. I liked the K-30, but it is been out of stock in several places. And then I found the K-500 in a local store, and I thought (my mistake) that these two would be have same innards but in different shells. And I managed to miss the lack of AF points in the K-500.

As to the K-500, other than being available and being very slightly cheaper, I can't see much difference in theory (less the AF points).

Like it says, the devil is in the details.
07-21-2013, 01:59 AM   #10
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rawr,

obviously it does not make the camera worthless. As you, I tend to shoot with the centre AF spot. I move around and compose the image in the viewfinder. So maybe it is only a matter of getting used to this and trusting the AF. The output from the camera (raw) is very good, and as mentioned, the AF feels snappy. And the viewfinder is really good.
07-21-2013, 04:08 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbukal Quote
wtf. I used K-m-x-r-5 and now I use K-30, the autofocus is very decisive and safer than the four mentioned models, the expanded area AF tracking mode before K-30 did not exist
Reread my post. The cameras I mentioned were K-30, K-50, K-5II. All of which have the expanded AF feature. K-m, K-x, K-r and K-5 'classic' did not, of course. The K-30 introduced the feature and now Pentax seem to have made it a standard function.

QuoteOriginally posted by knaster Quote
So maybe it is only a matter of getting used to this and trusting the AF.
Sure. You can't really go wrong with centre-spot AF.

But as Reagan said: trust, but verify Use the camera, check the results, make any necessary adaptions to your technique etc. Maybe even take comfort in the fact that flickr has over 5.6 million K-x photos that look OK, even if that camera has no flashing AF indicators.
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