- Focal Length: 18 - 135 mm
- Resolution: 16.3 MP
- Screen size: 3 inch
- Sensor type: CMOS
- Type: DSLR
- Red Eye Reduction: Yes
- Battery Type: Li-ion
- LCD Info Display: TFT LCD
- Lens Kit: 18 - 135 mm
Pentax has been one of the oldest brands in the world of photography. Albeit it’s glorious history, the brand faces a lot of challenge against the big names of Canon and Nikon who own a major chunk in the entry level camera segment. The entry level cameras are quite budget friendly and do not compare with the high end cameras. With a lot of features and aggressive prices on the competing front, loyal customers prefer the brands that are dominant. 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. Pentax had announced the K-50 model in June 2013 along with the K-500 camera.
Let us take a quick look at the K-50 DSLR camera that comes along with the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR (weather resistant) kit.
The K-50 is built around the same lines as the K-30 camera. This camera consists of the same 16.3 megapixel resolution sensor as its predecessor. It also has the SAFOX IXi+ 11 point autofocus system out of which, 9 are cross type. The camera has several other features with high-speed continuous shooting at around six frames per second. The camera has high-sensitivity shooting that can reach ISO 51200. The camera has an improved Prime M image processor, which should help with that high sensitivity shooting. The camera can shoot raw format files as well. The camera has an inbuilt flash with guide number of 12 meters at 100 ISO. The camera’s maximum aperture speed is 1/6000 of a second and a continuous shooting rate of up to 6 frames per second. You can also shoot full 1080 HD videos with the K-50. The inbuilt image stabilization is quite effective for blur free images on the go. Since this is a camera that is designed for novice photographers, the features included are built to serve such purposes. The camera has the ability to shoot a few different digital filters, such as Toy Camera, Retro and High Contrast. Additionally, you can also choose to shoot Custom Images, which may be more appreciated by enthusiasts. The Custom Image option allows users to alter different aspects of the image including the contrast and saturation. The introduction of HDR originates from Pentax and this camera follows the legacy. The HDR (high dynamic range) shooting has several options for combining three images shot simultaneously to give you a fine composed result.
Sadly, this camera takes a hit at the latest technology. There is no inbuilt Wi-Fi connectivity, which is starting to become a must-have feature for DSLRs. But this camera uses Eye-Fi card to transfer images and files through wireless.
Design, Display and Handling:
The K-50 looks and feels just like a K-30, it gets difficult to differentiate between the both. The grip of the K-50 feels quite chunky in the hand and there’s no problem getting a firm hold on this camera. There is a textured coating at the front of the grip of this camera that gives it an extra edge. You can hold and shoot from this camera with a single hand. Belonging to a weatherproof category, this camera feels quite robust as opposed to other entry-level cameras on the market. This is also weightier than most other cameras. The camera can be a little noisy to operate, so it's perhaps not best suited to quiet situations such as wildlife photography. If you have sensor cleaning set to activate on start-up and shut-down, there is a knocking sound when you switch the camera off.
The best part about the K-50 is the 100% field of view offered by the viewfinder. The images appear quite placid and refined just like the ones found on high end cameras. Although it is not the brightest viewfinder, it is reasonably large. There are fair amount of buttons on the K-50 that gives the user instant access to various settings. The ISO (sensitivity), white balance, exposure compensation and flash modes can be directly accessed. Most essential buttons are placed on the right hand side of this camera within easy reach of your thumb. Perhaps the most awkwardly placed button on this camera is the live view button that is placed on the opposite side of the camera just next to the VF. When in playback mode, this doubles up as the delete button. On the side of the camera lays a button labeled RAW/Fx. By default this is set to switch between raw and JPEG shooting modes, but you can customize it to another function if you prefer. On top of the K-50’s plate is a mode dial, which is fairly simple. It features the usual aperture priority (Av), shutter priority (Tv), Manual and programmable modes as well as a couple of customizable memory recall slots and automatic, movie, and scene modes. There is a small scrolling dial placed on the back of the camera that can be sued to alter aperture if you're shooting in aperture priority or manual. If you are shooting in fully manual mode, it's a nice way to work, and feels very natural.
The camera has a 3-inch 921k dot TFT LCD screen that has anti-reflective coating. It neither tilts or articulates, and it isn't touch sensitive, this is a common factor found in the entry level DSLR’s.
Overall, this camera looks and feels great when held; the camera comes in black, white and red colours. However, if you want to play a little more with the body colours, you can special order a K-50 with any of 20 options for body color along with 6 options for grip color - 120 possible combinations.
The image quality delivered from this camera comes directly from the heart of its magnificent sensor. The colors delivered from this camera are bright and punchy. The resolution of the camera is overall very good. The K-50 comes with an 18-135mm lens as part of its kit package. This lens is an adequate performer for all-round work, giving a flexible focal length. The only concerning bit is the loud noise that the lens makes while focusing. The K-50 has a tendency to underexpose in certain conditions, such as high contrast, so you may need to either dial in some exposure compensation, or change the metering mode to spot metering to get better results. Where the light is a bit more stable, the camera has less of a problem and produces pleasingly exposed images. Images taken from this camera at high sensitivities, such as ISO 1600, display a good level of detail, without introducing too much noise into the equation. Images taken at ISO 3200 are also very good, although if you examine them very closely you will find examples of some image smoothing, as is to be expected. The best quality images are delivered at ISO ranges below 1600. Every camera has its highs and lows when it comes to video shooting, the Pentax K-50 shoots full 1080 HD videos at 30, 25 or 24 fps which is quite satisfactory.
18-55mm Lens Kit:
The SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR kit lens provided with the K-50 is a compact, standard zoom lens with focal lengths from 27.5mm to 84.5mm (in 35mm equivalents) owing to the physical dimensions of the camera sensor. The lens has an optical design and includes aspherical lens elements and super-low dispersion glass elements encased in a composite body and lens mount to save weight. Apart from the usual chromatic aberrations, this lens makes a great companion, serving most kinds of photographic purposes. It is recommended that you switch to manual focus while shooting wildlife or something that requires silence as the AF can get noisy.
Battery and Memory:
The K-50 supports AA batteries as well as lithium-ion batteries. The lithium powered batteries last longer than the AA ones. The camera supports SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. It can also support Eye-Fi SD cards.
The K-50 is a weather proof camera and comes with great features. You would love the camera’s 100% field of view viewfinder or the 6fps shooting capability. This entry level camera comes in vibrant colors and is a perfect companion for your holidays. However, the camera has a noisy AF and it might get a little annoying. The lack of Wi-Fi and inbuilt GPS is another turn off. Overall, this is a camera that has some serious potential that has not been tapped due to the stronger players like Nikon and Canon.
Pentax K 50 Rivals:
Pentax K 30
At the time of writing this article, the best available price for Pentax K 50 with 18-135 mm WR Lens in India is Rs.79995/-. The price will be updated regularly in this page.