Pentax K-500 camera review

More affordable DSLR brother to the weather proofed K-50, retaining many pluses

Whether you need a camera that you can use in the rain and the snow largely depends on how, when and where you usually take pictures or shoot full-HD video. The 16.28 effective megapixel APS-C sensor Pentax K-500 is brother to the higher-end K-50, which offers weather-resistant seals, but for that you’ll pay more, making the K-500 better value if you don’t find yourself out shooting against the elements.

The two digital SLRs’ feature sets are largely the same and in most respects the K-500 is equally impressive; for example shooting up to six frames per second, plus its maximum ISO 51200 light sensitivity option. In practice we’d advise sticking to a maximum ISO 12800 for grain-free results, but that still isn’t bad. Read more Camera reviews.

Entry-level digital SLR that feels better than most and handles well too. Purchase of a K-500 is a ‘can’t go wrong’ opportunity for non-Canon or Nikon users

A manufacturer’s asking price of £450 for the K-500 includes 18-55mm standard zoom (roughly 3x), which is fine as a starter option, and indeed the DSLR comes across as a great beginner’s DSLR overall, delivering crisply detailed and colour-rich results straight out of the camera for those shooting JPEG.

Naturally, unprocessed RAW files can be shot in combination or separately, and there’s automatic dust removal plus sensor-shift image stabilisation built into the body, unlike a Nikon or Canon.

We aren’t offered Wi-Fi here, as we are increasingly with higher priced models from competitors, though there is a GPS unit available for this Pentax as an optional extra. That aside, the K-500’s layout and controls could be described as straightforward in approach, the large and well labelled buttons ensuring the camera is very easy to get to grips with.

Ideally we might have liked an angle adjustable rear LCD as an alternative to the optical viewfinder, but at least here the standard 3-inch screen offers a respectable 921k dot resolution, and is no different in that respect to the K-50.

Unusually the K-500 actually delivers a better power performance than its pricier sibling, specified at around 450 shots from a full charge instead of 410. There is also the option of inserting four AAs instead of the lithium-ion cell in an emergency, which is always useful.

With the same sensor and resolution here as the K-50, results were identical. Images jump off the screen in displaying plenty of detail despite the seemingly modest 16 megapixel in use. As with all Pentax products, shots tend to be on the warm side, which is perfect for those who aren’t looking to be undertaking a heap of post production work.

OUR VERDICT

The K-500 disproves conventional wisdom, which states that ‘affordable’ and ‘entry-level’ is shorthand for ‘compromise’. If you’re not contemplating shooting in the wet you could also save yourself £150 over the K-50 model. So those not already allied to either Canon or Nikon may well want to, ahem, snap it up.

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