The pictures from the Pentax M50 are pretty good considering the camera’s price point and limited specification. In particular I was struck by the sharpness and lack of purple fringing. It crops up occasionally but not enough to matter too much. By keeping a sensible number of pixels and with decent processing at the best quality JPEG setting, most people would be happy with the pictures.
Exposures are pretty much spot on, in a range of conditions, and colours and tones are, if not neutral, at least punchy in a pleasant consumer way. By this I mean contrast and saturation is a little higher than natural to enhance the images as most consumers prefer this.
The wide ISO range of the camera from ISO 64 to 6400 is a challenging proposition even for more expensive cameras, but Pentax has made a good job of it. Images up to ISO 400 display very little image noise; while from ISO 800 it looks like Pentax has employed noise reduction algorithms. This is fine up to ISO 1600 with smooth tones, and just a little chroma noise appearing, but at ISO 3200 and 6400 there’s a definite softening of the images, especially at ISO 6400 with images looking distinctly blurry and painterly.
As an entry level camera, the Pentax M50 puts in a remarkably good performance that matches that of more expensive cameras. In particular the high ISO performance is impressive. While the camera may not match the style of some lifestyle cameras it certainly has enough going for it if image quality is a criteria. As point-and-shoot cameras go, Pentax is on the right track with the M50. It’s simple to use and is capable of great pictures all at a good price.
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