Pentax K-50 Review
The Pentax K-50 doesn't leave much to be desired. Like its predecessor, the K-30, it delivers excellent image quality, has a host of innovative and unique features, and has many capabilities and options that are typically reserved for higher-end cameras.
With that said, the K-50 is essentially nothing more than a K-30 in a redesigned casing. The differences that do exist between these two cameras are subtle and do not affect image quality or usability. The only new feature to speak of is dedicated support for eye-fi wireless SD cards. Thus, relative to the competition, Pentax has stood still for about a year now.
On the other hand, the $699 launch price of the K-50 is considerably lower than the $849 that the K-30 was introduced at, making it an exceptionally good value. In addition, we find it very welcome that Pentax has added weather sealing to the K-50's kit lens without increasing its price. The K-50 continues to be the only upper entry-level DSLR with weather sealing, and it is now also the cheapest current camera in its class (without considering any rebates).
Value and Market Segment Price Comparison
DSLRs that directly compete with the K-50 and K-30 include the Nikon D5200/D5100 and Canon Rebel series. The table below summarizes the prices of these cameras as of August, 2013.
18-55mm Kit Price
While supplies last, the Pentax K-30 is currently a better value than the K-50, given the fact that it's $100 cheaper. At just $499, the Nikon D5100, which we compared to the K-30 last year, has become even more attractive from a value standpoint.
- Excellent image quality
- In-body shake reduction and dust removal
- Competetively priced
- User-friendly interface
- Very fast live-view autofocus
- Loaded with features otherwise uncommon for its class
- 100% pentaprism viewfinder
- Fully weather-sealed
- Durable construction
- Handles well
- AA compatibility
- High 6FPS framerate and decent buffer size
- Focus peaking in live view
- Good video framerate options, .MOV H.264 format
- Compact and relatively light
- Class-leading 1/6000s max shutter speed
- Dual control wheels
- Two-axis electronic level
- In-camera AF fine adjustments
- Compatible with any Pentax lens ever made
- 12-bit RAW files, rather than 14-bit
- Viewfinder autofocus speed lags behind the competition
- Autofocus poor for sports
- Drops out of live view when menu is accessed or mode is changed
- Loud autofocus with screwdrive lenses
- Somewhat loud shutter
- Live view button oddly placed
- Relatively-short battery life
- No external microphone jack
- Mono sound during video
- Video AF is still unreliable
- Audible dust removal
- No articuleted LCD screen
- No HDMI output
Who Is it For?
We believe that the K-50 is an ideal camera for any beginner looking for a capable DSLR camera. Except for the fact that the autofocus will be loud when using lenses without a built-in focusing motor (i.e. the 18-55mm kit lens), the camera really doesn't lack much from a beginner's point of view.
If you're on a budget, know that the Pentax K-mount has the best lens compatibility out there. In fact, any K-mount lens will work with your K-50, so there are endless possibilities if you're open to shopping the second-hand market.
We can also recommend the K-50 as an upgrade over older Pentax models, such as the *ist D series, K100D series, K200D, K10D, K20D, K-m, K-x, or K-r. If you currently have a K-30, hang on to it. If you're shooting with a K-5, K-5 II, or K-5 IIs, then the K-50 will be a sidegrade, as it has better live view and video capabilities but worse build quality and RAW bit depth.
If you're interested in sports photography or filmmaking, then the K-50 would not be the ideal choice.
The Bottom Line
The K-50 is rather unique in its feature set: for example, you won't find a 100% viewfinder in any other entry-level camera, nor will you find weather sealing. If you value features such as these over movie or performance-related features, then the K-50 may be right for you!
When compared to the competition, the K-50 is only lacking in terms of video-related features and viewfinder autofocus. It is also the only camera in its class not to feature 14-bit RAW, but it still holds its ground very well in terms of image quality.
The one thing that discourages us from recommending the K-50 is the fact that it's so similar to the K-30. Over time, however, the K-50 will end up being a much better value than the K-30, and we commend Pentax for adding weather-sealing to the DA L 18-55mm kit lens without increasing its price. As long as the Pentax K-30 continues to be in stock at stores, however, you may as well get it instead of the K-50 and spend the difference in price on additional lenses, such as a 35mm or 50mm prime.
Our rating of the K-50 has been adjusted compared to that of the K-30 based on the current state of the DSLR market.
Page 17 of 17 | First Page