Pentax K-50 Review

Think Twice

A sturdy, weather-sealed body makes this model more rugged than most cheap DSLRs, but photo and video quality aren't up to par and overall performance is lackluster.

This camera has a weather-sealed body and comes in 120 different colors, but some Pentax K-50 reviews lament that form outweighs function in this case. An expert from CNET judges the performance of the camera and the quality of the photos simply OK. She notes that the default settings seriously compromise color accuracy. Users can improve the color and contrast by fiddling with the settings, but those who don't feel comfortable doing so, or assume the automatic option will suffice, may not be pleased with their photos. Images above ISO 800 also show too much noise for this reviewer's taste. In video mode, the Pentax K-50 (starting at $597, Amazon) suffers from various distortions and in low light the autofocus struggles to lock onto a subject. The camera does have a pretty fast burst rate of 6 frames per second in continuous shooting mode. The 3-inch LCD boasts 921K-dot resolution and is easy to read even in bright light. Another useful feature of the K-50: It can draw power from AA batteries, to the tune of 1,250 images before replacement, in addition to the included rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which lasts about 450 pictures. At the end of the day, though, CNET's Pentax K-50 review maintains that the competition simply delivers better photo quality and fewer annoyances.

The staff of Digital Photography Review admires the build quality of the K-50 and appreciates the weather sealing, which makes this a durable camera for taking outdoors. However, these experts -- and a number of others -- found the lens mechanism loud enough to be disruptive and worth noting in a review. They also wish the battery lasted longer, although they actually found the image quality quite good up to ISO 1,600. This Pentax K-50 review points to another notable feature: The optical viewfinder displays 100 percent of the area that will be captured in a picture, whereas many competitors show only about 95 percent.

This digital SLR from Pentax uses a 16MP APS-C image sensor and supports a variety of Pentax K-mount lenses. Users can save images in the JPG, RAW, DPOF, and PIM III formats, and store them on SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards, including Wi-Fi-enabled Eye-Fi memory cards. Unlike most digital SLRs, this camera has image stabilization built into the body as opposed to the lens, so it's there no matter what lens you put on. The ISO range reaches much higher than the other cameras we researched: from 100 to 51,200. Shutter speeds go from a super-fast 1/6000 to 30 seconds. Users can connect the camera to other devices via a USB 2.0 or A/V port.

The Pentax K-50 is a well-made and highly designed camera with several standout features. It's weather-sealed to help protect it from the great outdoors, which may be a big enough selling point for some consumers. But its picture and particularly its video quality may not stand up to the competition, and overall performance sometimes suffers.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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