The PENTAX K-500 retains the 16.28MP sensor we have observed in previous Pentax DSLRs, but has been tweaked to provide a broader ISO sensitivity of 100-51,200. Compared to likewise priced DSLR rivals it equates to a 1-2 end sensitivity benefit.The K-500 is capable of shooting at up to 6fps in burst mode. Additionally consists of Pentax’s proprietary SAFOX IXi+ AF sensor module. This offers 11 AF points, nine of which are of the cross-type variety, which means that they’re responsive to both the horizontal and vertical. The Pentax K-500 is equipped with a fixed 3in, 921k-dot LCD display that’s bright and clear and produces good contrast. This is paired with an optical viewfinder that offers 100% coverage and an impressive 0.92x magnification.
While the K-500’s AF performance is impressively fast, it is also quite noisy with an orchestra of audible whirrs and buzzes with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens attached. It’s a shame Pentax didn’t see fit to equip the kit lens using its SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) technology. The PENTAX K-500‘s sensor performs well, resolving information down to simply over 24 lpmm (lines per mm), dropping to a still respectable 22 lpmm at ISO 6400. Another performance issue that grates is that the active AF point remains invisible into the viewfinder. While the camera does show you the active AF point on the back display screen, it’s of little comfort when you’ve got the camera raised to your eye. At low and mid-range ISO settings pictures show little or no noise – it’s only at ISO 3200 or above that noise shows up in JPEG files. Raw files behave a little differently during the exact same sensitivity, with a few chroma sound additionally present, but with pictures displaying a touch more detail. Raw files retain more detail than JPEGs and naturally have the wider publicity latitude for post processing.