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Pentax K-500 Comparison Review

The Pentax K-500 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in June 2013 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.

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Is the Pentax K-500 a good camera? The K-500 has a Camera Elo of 1783. This rating puts the K-500 among the top 50 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-500 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-500
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100 - 51 200
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
710 shots per battery charge
130 x 97 x 71 mm, 646 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Pentax K-500 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax K-500 vs credit card front
K-500 versus credit card top view
K-500 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-500 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible 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-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
2.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599i
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
8.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
9.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
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.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-500 was launched in the US market at a price of $549. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Pentax K-500:
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Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Pentax K-500 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-500 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Pentax K-500 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
2.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
4.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
5.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
8.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
9.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
11.
 
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. The K-500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-500 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-500 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.61x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the 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-500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
7.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-50optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-30optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One convenient feature of the K-500 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

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Connection 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-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-500Ymonomono---2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-50Ymonomono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-30Ymonomono---2.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
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Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-500 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-500......4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
2.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
3.
 
Olympus E-M104/5..80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+..5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
5.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
6.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
8.
 
Pentax K-505/5....5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
9.
 
Pentax K-304/5..78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5..80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Pentax K-500 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-500.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the K-500 based on?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Pentax equipped the K-500 with the PRIME M image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-500?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-500?

Pentax does not publish a shutter rating for the K-500. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Pentax K-500 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax K-500?

The K-500 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Pentax K-500 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The K-500's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax K-500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2013
    Launch Price USD 549
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 367 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 928 x 3 264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.77 μm
    Pixel Density 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51 200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME M
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1087
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type 4xAA power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)710 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 646 g (22.8 oz)

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