Pentax K-500 vs Sony A58
The Pentax K-500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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 Pentax K-500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58? 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 Pentax K-500 and the Sony A58 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 Sony A58 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Pentax K-500. Moreover, the A58 is markedly lighter (24 percent) than the K-500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the K-500 nor the A58 are weather-sealed.
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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Pentax K-30||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-5||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||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 obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The K-500 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the A58 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the A58 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the K-500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the A58 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.77μm for the K-500). Moreover, it should be noted, that the K-500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the A58, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A58 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A58 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-500 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Pentax K-500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the K-500 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A58 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|3.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
|14.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.4||13.4||1013||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A58 provides a faster frame rate than the K-500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, 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 A58 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the K-500 has a higher magnification than the one of the A58 (0.61x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-500 and Sony A58 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Pentax K-500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|6.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Pentax K-30||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Pentax K-500 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.
The K-500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Pentax K-500 and Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Pentax K-500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Pentax K-30||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A58 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The K-500 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the K-500 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The A58 was replaced by the Sony A68, while the K-500 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the K-500 and A58 can be found, respectively, in the Pentax K-500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A58 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Pentax K-500 better than the Sony A58 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-500:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.61x vs 0.57x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the A58).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 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.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 154g or 24 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2013).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-500 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-500 and the Sony A58 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-500 or the A58 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Pentax K-30||4/5||..||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||849||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-5||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,099||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? 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.
- Canon SX420 vs Sony A58
- Leica M10-P vs Pentax K-500
- Olympus E-3 vs Sony A58
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Pentax K-500
- Panasonic GH5s vs Sony A58
- Panasonic TZ200 vs Pentax K-500
- Panasonic ZS200 vs Pentax K-500
- Pentax K-500 vs Sigma fp
- Pentax K-500 vs Sony A7S
- Sony A58 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Sony A58 vs Sony RX100 VI
- Sony A58 vs Sony RX1R
Specifications: Pentax K-500 vs Sony A58
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||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax K mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2013||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.77 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.39 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME M||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||23.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.1||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1087||753|
|Screen Specs||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/6000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Pentax K-500||Sony A58|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||710 shots per charge||690 shots per charge|
130 x 97 x 71 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
129 x 95 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||646 g (22.8 oz)||492 g (17.4 oz)|
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