Cameras

Pentax Announces K-50, K-500, Q7, New Lenses

Custom body colors make their way to Pentax's DSLR lineup.

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Pentax announced not one but three new cameras yesterday at a press event in New York City.

Highlighting the event was the introduction of the new K-50, a weather-sealed model that replaces the aging K-30. The K-50 can shoot at up to 6 frames per second, with sensitivity up to ISO 51200. Four optional interchangeable focusing screens are available, and shutter speed maxes out at an impressive 1/6000th of a second. Using an optional adapter, it's also possible to power the K-50 using AA batteries.

Taking a cue from the Q lineup, the K-50 will be available in no less than 120 different color combinations, which may be custom ordered on Pentax’s website. This launch will also coincide with two brand new weather-resistant lenses, a DA-L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR, and a DA-L 50-200mm f/4-5.6 WR.

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Weather-sealed and colored like a cotton candy stand, the new Pentax K-50.

The K-50 will hit stores in July for $699.95 body-only, $779.95 with the new 18-55mm WR, or $879.95 with both the 18-55mm WR and the 50-200mm WR.

Pentax also introduced an even more affordable SLR, the K-500, which offers many of the same features as the K-50, minus the weather sealing and color options. This camera appears to use the same 16.28 megapixel sensor, with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 51200, and 6 fps continuous shooting. Both models also feature in-body Shake Reduction, an 11-point autofocus system, and 1080p video recording.

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The K-500 will be an amazing deal, but lacks a few important features.

While both models feature a 100% coverage optical viewfinder, the K-500 lacks a focus point indicator overlay, just like the K-x did. So while the focus systems are identical, precisely where you’re focusing won’t be as clear with the K-500. The camera is powered by AA batteries by default, but it's also compatible with an optional lithium battery pack (sold separately).

The K-500 will also be available in July, and kits will be identical to the K-50, but without weather resistant lenses. The 18-55mm kit will be priced at $699.95, and a kit with both the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm will be $699.95. A body-only option has not been announced.

Pentax has also drastically upgraded the tiniest mirrorless system camera line in existence by debuting the new Q7. Weighing just 7 ounces, the Q7 will also be available in 120 color combinations. But you already knew that.

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Much more importantly, the sensor has finally been upgraded to a 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS (from a 1/2.3-inch), capable of ISO 12800. All the old lenses still work, the image circle is still compatible. It's almost as if Pentax had been planning this all along.... Scandalous.

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The Q series steps up to a larger sensor, starting with the Q7.

Pentax is claiming a 10% improvement to overall operating speed for the Q7, thanks to an upgraded Q Engine. The Q7 also features an improved Shake Reduction system, 1080/30p video recording, a 3.0-inch LCD display, and enhanced control options including AF/MF switching and a wide selection of filters and effects.

The Q7 is available immediately for $499.95.

Alongside this announcement, Pentax also introduced a new “Mount Shield” lens. This fixed-aperture, fixed-focal-length accessory was clearly inspired by Olympus’ similar offering last year. The Mount Shield lens costs only $79.95.

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