Summary: Been wanting a DSLR for a while now but couldn't justify the price of some of the other brands. Came across the K-500 when some friends bought a K-50 and got me looking at Pentax. After reading reviews and considering past experience with Pentax Cameras we bought this one...and we are not disappointing in the least. It takes great photos. Period.
Excerpt: If you are going pro, Nikon or Canon probably are better choices. Pentax lenses are limited and are more expensive. I bought 2 prime lenses (50/1.8 and 35/2.4), they are both very sharp, but the autofocus is not ultrasound. (slow and noisy). They are completely plastic. All plastic is good for hobbyists due to lightweight, but may not be rugged enough for a pro.
Pros: 1. Great bang for the buck! ($600 for 2 weather-sealed lens, weather-sealed camera body, 1 external flash, a card and a bag) 2. Image quality is very good 3. Good ergonomics, easy-to-navigate menu system. The green button to reset exposure compensation is really nice. 4. Lots of features for the price: 2 control dials, weather-sealing, image stabilization built in sensor, etc.
Summary: I have used Pentax film cameras for over 25 years and have several lenses from my old cameras that will work on the new K-500. I am still learning about the features of the K-500 and am looking forward to using them so I can't really rate that aspect of it. All of the photos I've made so far have been excellent using the automatic mode. My only complaint is that the shutter button is very sensitive and I may take 2-3 shots when I only want to do one.