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Pentax K10D Review Summary

10 Megapixels10 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveManual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

Pentax K10D Assessment

The Pentax K10D is amazingly fitted with nearly every feature possible for a DSLR camera: stabilization, dust-reduction, weatherproofing, advanced customization, digital white-balance and depth-of-field preview, unlimited continuous drive. It is only outpaced in terms of continuous shooting by some much more expensive digital SLRs, which can shoot at 5 FPS rather than 3 FPS. It also lacks an eye-start sensor which can automatically turn off the rear LCD like on the Sony Alpha A100 and the Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Priced below $1000, this feature set provides excellent value.

The Pentax K10D performs quite well, both in terms of image quality and speed. Among 10 megapixels DSLR cameras, its image quality is still behind the Canon Rebel XTi, the current leader. Color, exposure and focus are very accurate except for automatic white-balance under artificial lighting. Note that all current DLSR cameras have the same problem, although the K10D seems more afflicted. Noise levels are average for a DSLR, which is very good. Both the Canon XTi and the Nikon D80 show less noise, particularly at ISO 1600. The Sony Alpha A100
Sony Alpha A100
shows visibly more noise at ISO 800 and 1600. One great thing about the K10D is that its images keep plenty of details even at high-ISO. The weak point of the K10D's image quality is that it produces JPEG images with softer edges than normal. Even though image sharpness can be adjusted, DP Review reports that it has no effect on edge softness.

With several innovative features, the K10D distinguishes itself among its competitors. The full list of differences can be found in our 10 Megapixels DSLR Comparison feature. These unique features include: sensitivity priority mode, shutter-and-aperture priority mode (camera selects ISO), choice of program line for automatic mode, digital white-balance preview and in-camera RAW conversion. Digital white-balance preview is particularly interesting because it allows pre visualizing the effect of white-balance. Otherwise, one has to take test shots until the desired results are obtained.

Ergonomics are good with two control-wheels and a large rubberized grip. The weatherproofing means that doors are shut tighter and are slightly harder to open. This seems like a very acceptable compromise for this feature. Note that Pentax does not currently sell any weatherproof lenses and therefore this feature is not usable at this time. Weatherproof lenses are expected around March 2007 but pricing has not yet been announced. In the end, this may turn out to be a costly feature despite the low-cost of the camera.

The bottom line is that the Pentax K10D is a very desirable digital SLR. Although its feature set is unmatched, the Canon Digital Rebel XTi and Canon EOS 30D remain the image quality champions. The major feature missing from the K10D is a 5 FPS continuous drive which is present on the Canon EOS 30D and the Nikon D200. Since the 30D also shows better image quality, that camera would be better recommended for sport and action photography. The K10D also shows less image noise than the Sony Alpha A100 which is the only other stabilized high-resolution DSLR. If weatherproofing or built-in stabilization is required, the K10D is the camera to get. The Nikon D80 also competes well but does not bring any compelling features. For top image quality better go with Canon, either the XTi with built-in dust-reduction and an eye-start sensor or the 30D with its 5 FPS continuous drive and large viewfinder (still smaller than the K10D's viewfinder).

Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review Read the full Pentax K10D review here.

PROS CONS

Natural image colors

Slightly soft JPEG images
Excellent metering accuracy Above average noise at ISO 1600
Good focus speed and accuracy Slightly less dynamic range than peers
Innovative exposure modes and choice of program line Poor automatic white-balance under artificial light
Digital white balance and depth of field preview Sealed body means doors are harder to open
Built-in stabilization for all lenses
Durable weatherproof body
Customizable auto ISO and ISO warning
Flexible image parameters
Built-in dust reduction
Large viewfinder
Good LCD visibility
In-camera RAW conversion
Great price
ExcellentExcellent Excellent

Pentax K10D Facts

SLR digital camera
10 Megapixels DSLRISO 100-1600
Pentax K Mount
1.5X FLM

Sensor-Size: 24 x 16mm

APS-C Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

Shutter 1/4000-30s
2-Axis Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls, including Manual Focus
95% Coverage
Large Viewfinder
Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning
WeatherproofSpot-Metering
Built-in Dust ReductionHot-Shoe & Sync-Port
3 FPS Drive, Unlimited ImagesLithium-Ion Battery
2.7" LCD 230K PixelsSecure Digital High Capacity
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