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Pentax K-5 II vs K-500

The Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16.1 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-5 II versus Pentax K-500
Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/25p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 51,200) ISO 100-51,200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
7 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
740 shots per battery charge710 shots per battery charge
131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g 130 x 97 x 71 mm, 646 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-5 II 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-500. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Pentax K-5 II vs Pentax K-500
Compare K-5 II versus K-500 top
Comparison K-5 II or K-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-500 are of equal size. However, the K-500 is markedly lighter (15 percent) than the K-5 II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the K-5 II is splash and dust resistant, while the K-500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
2.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
3.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099i
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i
9.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
10.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
11.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
12.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
13.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
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. The K-500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the K-5 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the K-500 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of chip-set technology, the K-5 II uses a more advanced image processing engine (PRIME II) than the K-500 (PRIME M), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-500 sensor measures

Even though the K-5 II has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 16.1 megapixels. This implies that the K-5 II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 4.77μm for the K-500), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the K-500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the K-5 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Pentax K-5 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).

K-5 II versus K-500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
2.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
3.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
7.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
9.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
10.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
11.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
12.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
13.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the K-500 provides a faster frame rate than the K-5 II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the K-5 II is limited to 1080/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The K-5 II and the K-500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.61x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax K-500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
3.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M51440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
7.
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
9.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-50optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
12.
 
Pentax K-30optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
13.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the K-5 II, but is missing on the K-500 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The Pentax K-5 II 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 K-5 II and the K-500 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 Pentax K-5 II and Pentax K-500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Pentax K-500Ymonomono---2.0---
3.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--
8.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-50Ymonomono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
12.
 
Pentax K-30Ymonomono---2.0---
13.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the K-5 II 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.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-5 II (unlike the K-500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the K-5 II and the K-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The K-5 II was replaced by the Pentax K-3, while the K-500 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Pentax K-5 II better than the Pentax K-500 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-5 II:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (PRIME II vs PRIME M).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/6000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).


Advantages of the Pentax K-500:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/25p).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 114g or 15 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-5 II is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

K-5 II 09:04 K-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 K-5 II or the K-500 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5..80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
2.
 
Pentax K-500......4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
3.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +81/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099i
5.
 
Olympus E-M54/5+ +80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Pentax KP4/5..82/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i
9.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
10.
 
Pentax K-505/5....5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
11.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
12.
 
Pentax K-304/5..78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
13.
 
Pentax K-54/5..83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Pentax K-5 II:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax K-500:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Pentax K-5 II 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,099 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 372.09 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.81 μm 4.77 μm
    Pixel Density 4.32 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/25p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 51,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor PRIME II PRIME M
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.8 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.1 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1235 1087
    Screen Specs Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x 0.61x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-500
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type D-LI90 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)740 shots per charge710 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 131 x 97 x 73 mm
    (5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 760 g (26.8 oz) 646 g (22.8 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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