Consumer DSLR Camera Roundup (2014)
16MP APS-C CMOS sensor | 6 fps continuous shooting | Weatherproof sealing
What we like:
- Big, bright, real pentaprism
- Front and rear control dials
- Solid, weather-resistant body
What we don't like:
- Poor battery life
- Lacks articulating LCD
- Lens motor is louder than most
Very similar in appearance and spec to the (now discontinued) K-500, the K-50 improves by adding weather sealing, a lithium-ion battery, and autofocus point indicators in the viewfinder. It retains a 100% field-of-view glass pentaprism (a distinct bonus in this category) and is usually sold with a water-resistant variant of the 18-55mm AL lens, which has reasonably good quality for a kit lens.
"It's hard to beat the K-50's real pentaprism viewfinder, which shows 100% of the image area."
The K-50's image quality is good at low ISOs, ranging from 100 to ISO 800, where it finally starts to creep up at 1600. Color becomes a bit more saturated as ISO rises. Noise at 12,800 and up lightens contrast slightly, but the camera avoids blotchy color errors at the expense of slightly more luminance noise, which is a reasonable tradeoff.
Build on the Pentax K-50 is solid, with no creaking or flexing. Controls are well-placed and easy to activate. The mode dial turns a little too easily, but it's tucked away well enough that it's not a huge problem. As such, it's a bargain stand-in for the K-5 II, with quite similar image quality. Its small rechargeable lithium-ion battery isn't as powerful as we'd like to see, capable of capturing only 410 shots per charge, so we recommend a spare.
For enthusiasts, it's hard to beat the K-50's real pentaprism viewfinder, which shows 100% of the image area, and it's good to have front and rear control dials for quick adjustments when shooting in Manual exposure mode. And its weatherproof sealing and relatively rapid frame rate make the K-50 a great choice for active outdoorsy types. And if you're into personalization, the K-50 can be had in up to 120 color combinations.