Canon SX500 vs Pentax K-50
The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Pentax K-50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2012 and June 2013. The SX500 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX500) and an APS-C (K-50) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Pentax K-50? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SX500 and the Pentax K-50 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The K-50 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the SX500 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-50 is considerably larger (73 percent) than the Canon SX500. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-50 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX500 has a lens built in, whereas the K-50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|14.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX500 was launched at a lower price than the K-50, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-50 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-50 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the K-50 offers a higher resolution than the SX500 (15.9MP), but the K-50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.77μm versus 1.33μm for the SX500) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the K-50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the SX500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-50 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX500 is build around a CCD sensor, while the K-50 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-50 provides a better video resolution than the SX500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-50 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX500 and Pentax K-50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX500||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX400||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX510||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-30||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Pentax K-50 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX500 and the K-50 write their files to SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and Pentax K-50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX400||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX510||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Canon 100D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Pentax K-30||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-50 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX500 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the SX500 and the K-50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX500 was replaced by the Canon SX510, while the K-50 was followed by the Pentax K-70. Further information on the features and operation of the SX500 and K-50 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax K-50 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX500 or the Pentax K-50 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x70mm vs 130x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the K-50).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2012).
Advantages of the Pentax K-50:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-50 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX500 and the Pentax K-50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX500 and the K-50 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon SX500||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2012||329||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX400||..||+||..||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|14.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|17.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon G5 X vs Pentax K-50
- Canon RP vs Pentax K-50
- Canon SX50 vs Canon SX500
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX520
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX530
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX700
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX730
- Canon SX500 vs Canon T3i
- Fujifilm X10 vs Pentax K-50
- Leica M10-R vs Pentax K-50
- Pentax K-50 vs Ricoh WG-60
- Pentax K-50 vs Sony HX95
Specifications: Canon SX500 vs Pentax K-50
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2012||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 329||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||PRIME M|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1120|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/1600s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.8 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-50|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
104 x 70 x 80 mm
(4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
130 x 97 x 71 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||341 g (12.0 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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