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03-21-2014, 10:53 AM   #1
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K20D to K-500 - wise move?

The K-500 is going pretty cheap nowadays... especially the kits with the 18-55, which seem to be cheaper than the body only prices.

I could sell my K20D locally for about 250 with its own 18-55, maybe even closer to 300, and this seller Voodublu has a bunch of K-500 kits they're selling on Ebay and Amazon for 359 and 369 dollars respectively. So the jump from K20D to K-500 would be about 100-odd dollars.

I expected the K20D to have some advantages over the K-500, but some of them I saw aren't really an issue. I thought the shutter speed would be better on the K20D because it was the top APS-C from Pentax a few years ago, but the K-500 is better (162 to 174ms). K-500 wins in high ISO of course, but also in viewfinder coverage, shutter speed, fps, IQ, color, dynamic range. Even battery life seems better with the K-500. It's got two wheels and it seems like all the controls I need are there - including the green button on the top, which is where I prefer it.

So other than the K20D having a metal frame and probably being more durable in the long run, is there anything that I'd lose, other than the fact that I'd walk around with a much cheaper-looking camera with no top LCD (which I don't use anyway, my eye is always in the viewfinder) and no weather sealing (which I haven't really used)?

03-21-2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
So other than the K20D having a metal frame and probably being more durable in the long run.
The K-500 is similar construction, polycarbonate over a stainless steel frame, just like all non-magnesium Pentax bodies.
03-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #3
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I didn't do the K500, I did do the K50 from a K20D and have No Regrets. Build quality is the same. Image quality is superior. SR is superior, can't qualify it though.
I've always bought the 'Flagship' model and was reluctant at first on buying a mid grade model. Not any more
The camera is a bit more menu driven than the K20D. Lack of a top screen isn't a problem. I actually like the rear screen read outs more.
I don't think you'll go wrong choosing less than the Flagship Model.
03-21-2014, 11:21 AM   #4
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I think the main disadvantage of the K-500 is the lack of viewfinder AF overlays, if I remember correctly. It doesn't have those little red lights that show you which AF point was triggered. To me, that is a pretty big downside on a DSLR. I would seriously consider buying a K-30 or K-50 instead, just for the AF overlays and WR.

Edit: Also, you can get a used K-5 for a very good price these days, and it will deliver even more features + image quality

03-21-2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
The K-500 is similar construction, polycarbonate over a stainless steel frame, just like all non-magnesium Pentax bodies.
I think the K20D is a magnesium body, that's what I meant.

I was looking at some sample pictures and I have to say that ISO 6400 on the K500 looks about the same as ISO 800 on the K20D. Probably better since I am comparing my RAW files to K500 jpgs.

Honestly I don't care about the AF overlays. Maybe because I don't trust them in my K20D, when the focus light comes on a lot of times the image isn't even in focus.

I'll have to give this K500 serious thought...

Na Horuk, a used K-5 would be 200+ dollars after I sell my K20D. So I'd have to bring up about a hundred dollars more. I'm also thinking about that, but I'm a simple shooter that lives in M mode and shoot RAW, so I don't need all the bells and whistles, to be honest. But I might still go for the K-5 for dynamic range and bit depth.
03-21-2014, 11:39 AM   #6
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If you're ok with AA batteries, and no grip options, I'd say go for it The lack of VF focus point lights doesnt bother me, as i use centerpoint focus. I have a K10D, and am thinking of going the same route (but keeping the K10D!).

edit: I see the K500 can also use a lithium-ion rechargeable as well.
03-21-2014, 11:51 AM   #7
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The K-500 is not WR as Na Horuk mentioned above. Although I have not personally needed the WR in my K-30, having it gives me a greater feeling of confidence in the durability of the body. More attention is paid to the WR DSLR models than the non-WR DSLR models due to the extra hardware that goes into it. The K-30 is a rock solid piece of equipment and that is what would lead me to recommend the K-50.
03-21-2014, 12:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
I think the K20D is a magnesium body, that's what I meant.
They didn't go magnesium until the K-7, the K20D was still polycarbonate over stainless steel like the K10D.

03-21-2014, 01:43 PM   #9
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Oh ok, my bad. I thought I had read that information somewhere.
03-21-2014, 01:59 PM   #10
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As far as basic photographic capability and image quality, the K-500 will be equal to or better than the K20 in virtually every aspect. The biggest concerns come not with the capability, but with the intangibles...

Switching to a K-500 instead of the K20 (or K-50 upgrade) will mean a smaller more compact body that will be lighter. While this has its perks, some people with larger hands have been rather vocal on the forums about the smaller/lighter bodies for cameras below the K-7/5/3 series builds. Youll also lose things like WR, top LCD, ability to add a battery grip, etc. These are things that some people cannot live without, and that is something that only you can decide. If youre simply looking for an improvement to IQ, then the K-500 is a definite upgrade to the K20...if by nothing but the sensor alone. The 16 MP sensor that is in that body (same base sensor that started in the K-5) is really still to this day, one of the best APS-C sized sensors on the market! You wont be disappointed in the IQ from that sensor!
03-21-2014, 04:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Honestly I don't care about the AF overlays. Maybe because I don't trust them in my K20D, when the focus light comes on a lot of times the image isn't even in focus.
Then your K20D must be broken somehow? Honestly, a camera - especially a DSLR - should offer reliable focusing, at least under normal lighting conditions (e.g. daylight). If your technique is up to scratch, you should be able to get the sharpness where you want it.
03-24-2014, 01:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
Then your K20D must be broken somehow? Honestly, a camera - especially a DSLR - should offer reliable focusing, at least under normal lighting conditions (e.g. daylight). If your technique is up to scratch, you should be able to get the sharpness where you want it.
I don't know... sometimes it will be in focus, sometimes it won't. It might be user error on my part though. I find that I get it right more often if I just go by what my eyes are seeing, than by the beep. I think it also might have to do with the fact that I have center confirmation, but the focus on the K20D will look for the areas of highest contrast, even if those aren't in the center. If that makes sense... especially if the subject is a bit darker than the rest of the image, and it's a busy scene...

Anyway, that's not a problem I have with the K20D, I get plenty of shots I like. I'd switch because of the better sensor, ISO performance, dynamic range, color depth, etc...
03-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #13
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One thing to keep in mind is that the focus areas are actually much larger than the indicators in the viewfinder.
03-25-2014, 12:53 PM   #14
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K500 is quite simply a great value camera. I bought it on a whim and can't put it down.... I also have a K3 but the 500 gets my vote
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