Of late, the entry-level DSLR camera segment is seeing a lot of activity. After all, if at about Rs 10,000 more than the price of a top-end digital camera you can buy an entry-level DSLR, isn’t that a good deal? To some, it is. And that’s why you see a flurry of TV and print advertisements by camera companies—especially the big three (Canon, Nikon and Sony)—promoting their entry-level DSLRs.
Among the newest ones to join that list in India is the Pentax K500 (Pentax is a Ricoh brand). Almost exactly in look and feel to other DSLRs, the first impression of the K500 is its traditional design. There is the usual four-way control pad offering access to common shooting settings, the large LCD screen, and a flash at the top. The three-inch LCD screen, once you switch on the camera, is very clear, but looks a bit dated especially when compared to those of similarly-priced cameras in the market. The rubberised hand grip ensures the K500 can be easily operated by one hand. The camera’s body is made of reinforced polycarbonate and appears solid.
The main features of the K500 include a high-performance 16-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor; in-body shake reduction mechanism; pentaprism viewfinder for 100% field of view; and the Pentax K-mount that is compatible with every single K-mount lens ever made.
An impressive specification is the continuous JPEG capture that shoots at up to 6 fps (frames per second), therefore making the K500 a nice option for those who want to try sports photography and motion capture, or even wildlife photography especially if the object is near.
The K500’s battery chamber is unique, and how. While you get a lithium-ion chargeable battery with the camera, the battery chamber also supports four AA batteries through an optional battery holder. This is an interesting feature as you can replace your rechargeable battery with AA batteries in times of need.
Coming to performance, there are many areas where the K500 impresses. For example, if you are shooting JPEG files and haven’t set the camera to record Raw files with it, you have the option to record a Raw file after you take the shot. How the camera does this? You have to select the option and the camera retrieves the Raw file from its buffer system. One also has the option of keeping either the Raw file or the JPEG file when deleting selected images, of course if you have recorded both. When you use the autofocus (AF) mode, the lens of the camera, while adjusting itself, produces a whirring sound, which adds to the fun called photography.
The Pentax K500’s specifications match those of other entry-level DSLRs. Then, its design is good and it feels solidly build. Yes, it is slightly heavy but the rubberised hand grip ensures one-handed operation remains convenient. Overall, at Rs 29,995, the camera is very good value.
Estimated street price: Rs 29,995