I recently procured for myself a Pentax K-50 DSLR camera and have enjoyed it immensely. Being a new parent and also developing a keen interested in photography I knew I needed an upgrade from my usual point-and-shoot digital camera. I upgrade technology and equipment at a slower rate than many of my counterparts, partially because I operate on a modest teacher’s salary and income from odd contract work… also because I tend to get the most out of my equipment for as long as I can. I tend to purchase computers every 6 to 8 years instead of the usual 2-3. I enjoy point-and-shoot digital cameras simply because they have improved over each previous generation in quality and features greatly and usually only replace them when they break or become severely obsolete. This time around I decided to splurge and research DSLR brands and came to favor the Pentax K-50.
Canon and Nikon are the most favored brands, the Pentax seems to be the oddball in the bunch, but I can’t seem to fathom why. The Pentax K-50 is regarded as the most overlooked model of the mid-to-entry level DSLR group of products. I teach a digital photography class that is blessed with a set of Canon Rebel T3i’s and an older Nikon D70. While these are fine cameras I hesitated to go down the same route when it came to my choice for a personal camera. I choose the Pentax K-50 for two main reasons, firstly it is water-resistant and dust proof, a feature that is rare-to-nonexistent in the K-50’s price range. On YouYube you can find a video of a US soldier burying his Pentax DSL’s in dirt and dust and then washing them off under a shower, a solid testament if I ever saw one. The second reason is that the Pentax K-50 can use almost any Pentax lens and Pentax has used the same K-mount since the 1970’s. As most photographers know, taking great photos is more about the lens than the camera. I was able to find a great set of older prime lenses such as my favorite 50mm 1:2 for very little money. The Pentax K-50 DSLR came with a resistant AF lens. Many people sell their old Pentax film cameras with lenses and great bargains are everywhere. This is an awesome feature for anyone that wants to build a collection of lenses for different shooting conditions on a modest budget.
The Pentax K-50 is packed with great features that are rare on other entry level cameras such as focus peaking, which highlights areas of focus with white highlights so you can really have tight control over your depth of field. It has some really nice preset artistic image filters that allow you to shoot in B&W, add vignettes, shoot in HDR, etc. My favorite feature is the ability to shoot double exposures right in the camera, no Photoshop needed. The K-50 isn’t the best choice for shooting video, as it suffers from some rolling shutter issues, as many DSLR’s do… for video the camera needs to be held steady or used with a tripod for best results. The video samples I have shot do look good… crisp HD and looks great through my lenses and audio is good despite the lack of an external mic jack. If I was shooting a real video project I would use my trusty Zoom H2 audio recorder anyway. The K-50 sports a 16 Megapixel resolution which is more than enough for my purposes. It may have less resolution than some of its counterparts, but unless you are printing billboards it is more than sufficient.
Overall this is a very well featured camera with enough resolution to get the job done, it has backwards compatibility and comes in at a great price. It is compatible with Eyefi memory cards. The battery bay can take either rechargeable battery packs or with an adapter run on AA batteries, a great option when away from power sources. The K-50 is rugged, easy to use and fun. I couldn’t ask for more for the price. Did I mention it comes in a variety of colors, I choose the white on black model, who doesn’t want a camera that looks like a stormtrooper? No one, that’s who.
— Seth Wilson
Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm WR f3.5-5.6 Lens
Available from Amazon