Nikon P950 vs Pentax K-500
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Pentax K-500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2020 and June 2013. The P950 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (P950) and an APS-C (K-500) sensor. The Nikon 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 Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Pentax K-500? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-500 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-500 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Nikon P950. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the P950 nor the K-500 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P950 has a lens built in, whereas the K-500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the P950 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799|
|2.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|9.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|10.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|15.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|17.||Sony RX0 II||59 mm||41 mm||35 mm||132 g||240||Y||Mar 2019||699|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 Nikon P950 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-500 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 P950 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the K-500 offers a higher resolution than the P950 (15.9MP), but the K-500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.77μm versus 1.33μm for the P950) due to its larger sensor. However, the P950 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 6 months) than the K-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P950 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix P950 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|17.||Sony RX0 II||1-inch||15.4||4800||3200||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the P950 provides a higher video resolution than the K-500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the K-500 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon P950 and Pentax K-500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX0 II||none||n||1.5||230||tilting||n||..||5.5||n||n|
The Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-500 both have 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 P950 and the K-500 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 Nikon Coolpix P950 and Pentax K-500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX0 II||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the P950 has a microphone port, which is missing on the K-500. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the K-500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the K-500 from Pentax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-500? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-500 requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 6 months of technical progress since the K-500 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-500:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x97mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (710 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P950 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 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 Nikon P950 and the Pentax K-500 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the P950 or the K-500 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.||Nikon P950||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2020||799|
|2.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||..||+||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|9.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|10.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|15.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|17.||Sony RX0 II||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon P950 vs Pentax K-500
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||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2020||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|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||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1087|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||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|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon P950||Pentax K-500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||710 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
130 x 97 x 71 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||646 g (22.8 oz)|
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