Pentax K-50 review
- Weather resistant build
- Internal shake resistance
- Can run on AA batteries
- Chunky body
- Fixed LCD
- Noisy lens
Pentax has long been in the shadow of Canon and Nikon in terms of the patronage of enthusiasts and pros, and cannot compete with Sony and Panasonic's marketing power. But still it keeps churning out DSLRs that, despite the lack of press or TV ads, are really rather good.
We enjoyed its original oddly named *istD digital SLR a decade ago, and its latest, the 16.28 effective megapixel Pentax K-50, continues a run of largely successful if under the radar offerings.
Like all true DSLRs, Pentax again incorporates a large APS-C CMOS sensor. Punching above its entry-level price tag, it offers an 81 seal weather resistant body like semi professional models such the Nikon D7100.
Another bonus is that the Pentax also features an internal shake reduction sensor shift mechanism to reduce the effects of hand wobble and resultant blur when shooting handheld.
On the likes of Canon and Nikon DSLRs you need to opt for an image stabilised lens instead, whereas any lens on the Pentax immediately becomes stabilised by default.
With the camera costing a reasonable sounding manufacturer's asking price of £599.99 with a standard 18-55mm manual zoom, overall first impressions look promising; but how does the K-50 shape up in use?
Pentax K-50: Controls
Launched alongside the Pentax K-500, the K-50 offers a classic look and design, and looks like any other entry- to mid-level range DSLR. Large well-labelled controls, making it an approachable tool for beginners or simply those with bigger hands, adorn an otherwise frill-free layout.
Perhaps that's why its maker is offering the camera to order in 120 different colour combinations, which allows purchasers to choose a different coloured body, grip, and lens if so wished. But, impressively, the K-50 is actually very fast; both to power up and to determine exposure and focus in the blink of an eye.
However the motor mechanics of the supplied and equally weather-proofed 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom are noticeably noisier than rival brands, not that this is at all a deal breaker unless you're aiming for candid shots of unsuspecting individuals.
Build quality overall is very good. The 12-option shooting mode dial is stiff with just the right amount of give and features user determinable settings ranged alongside manual and fully auto options, whilst the on/off lever ergonomically encircles the shutter release button.