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Pentax K-50 review

A weatherproof all-rounder well-suited to beginners

Our Verdict

The best thing about this camera is its weatherproofing credentials, so to get the most of it, partner it with the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR (weather resistant) optic.

For

  • Weatherproof
  • 100% field of view viewfinder
  • 6fps shooting

Against

  • Fixed screen
  • Noisy operation
  • No Wi-Fi
Ratings in depth
Design 4
Features 4
Performance 4

Usability 4

Value 4


Despite being one of the oldest brands in the photography world, Pentax struggles against the big names of Canon and Nikon to lure in those all important entry level customers.

Although cameras at this end of the market are much cheaper than the pro gear that sits at the top, snagging somebody at this point in the buying cycle usually means you have a loyal customer for quite some time – especially if they start to invest in accessories such as lenses.

Since Pentax was taken over by Ricoh, release schedules have sped up a little to compete with the faster churn, at least at this end of the market, of the equivalent Nikon and Canon models.

The K-50 was announced in June 2013, at the same time as the K-500. It shares many of the features as the K-30, including the same 16-million pixel APS-C size sensor. Despite the similarities between these two cameras, Pentax says that the two cameras will both continue in the line-up.

The sensor is pretty special, as it features Pentax's Shake Reduction system, which works with pretty much all Pentax lenses. When the system is activated, the sensor can automatically rotate by up to one degree to correct problems with sloping horizons in compositions. To help further with that there's also a digital level display option for both the viewfinder and the LCD screen.

Pentax K-50
Chunky, but not unpleasant to hold

As with the K-30, the K-50 uses the new SAFOX IXi+ AF module which has 11 AF points, of which nine are cross-type.

Several of the other features of the camera outdo the Nikon and Canon equivalents, on paper at least. For starters, there's high-speed continuous shooting at around six frames per second, while high-sensitivity shooting can reach ISO 51200 (which is also an improvement from the K-30)

Another improvement the K-50 offers is an improved Prime M image processor, which should help with that high sensitivity shooting.

The ability to shoot in raw format is offered, and one useful thing about Pentax cameras is that its raw format is DNG, rather than a proprietary to the camera file format, meaning that your software, whether that's Photoshop or something else, should already be able to read any files it outputs rather than having to wait for an update.

As this camera is primarily aimed at beginner photographers, there are a few features designed to entice them in. For example, it includes the ability to shoot a few different digital filters, such as Toy Camera, Retro and High Contrast. Additionally, there's the option of shooting different Custom Images, which may be more appreciated by enthusiasts – here you can alter different aspects of the image, including saturation, contrast and so on. There's also a variety of scene modes.

Pentax was of the first companies to introduce automatic HDR (high dynamic range) shooting in SLRs, with the K-30 having several options for combining three images.

There's no inbuilt Wi-Fi though, something which is starting to become a must-have feature for DSLRs, but you should be able to use an Eye-Fi card if you want to give it that ability.

The three inch, 921k dot, TFT LCD screen features anti-reflective coating, but it neither tilts nor articulates, and it isn't touch sensitive – again something which is starting to become more commonplace, especially at the lower end of the market. The optical viewfinder offers a 100% field of view, something which is unusual for cameras at this price point and means you won't get any nasty surprises when looking back at shots.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.3 Megapixel
USBYes
Wide AngleNo
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
DurabilityWeather Resistant, Dust Resistant
FeaturesLive View, Face Detection, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4 AVC
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)650 g
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Total Camera Resolution16.5 Megapixel
HDMINo
Camera AssemblyBody Only
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedD-LI109
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Eye-Fi Card
Height96.5 mm
Width129 mm
Depth70 mm
Autofocus Points11
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelK-50
Product NameK-50 Digital SLR Camera
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number10882
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.ricoh.co.uk
Marketing Information

The PENTAX K-50 boasts outstanding basic specifications that rival many upper-class models, including high-speed continuous shooting at approximately six images per second, super-high-sensitivity shooting at ISO 51200, and high-precision AF with accurate tracking of moving subjects. This means that beginning digital SLR users and casual family photographers can enjoy high-quality digital photography with very little effort. The K-50 also features a weather-resistant, dustproof construction to assure solid performance under demanding outdoor conditions, and also to reduce the need for maintenance. It even provides a wide range of advanced shooting features, such as full HD movie recording and a selection of creative tools such as digital filters, to accommodate various shooting requirements. It can be powered by easy-to-obtain AA-size batteries, in addition to the standard lithium-ion battery.

Battery Life480 Shot
Package Contents
  • K-50 Digital SLR Camera
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • Strap O-ST132
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI109
  • Battery Charger D-BC109
  • Software CD-ROM S-SW138
  • Hot shoe cover FK
  • Body Mount Cover
Display Resolution921000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker