Pentax K10D Review Summary
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).
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|
|Good LCD visibility|
|In-camera RAW conversion
Pentax K10D Facts
|10 Megapixels DSLR||ISO 100-1600|
|Pentax K Mount|
Sensor-Size: 24 x 16mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|2-Axis Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Hot-Shoe & Sync-Port|
|3 FPS Drive, Unlimited Images||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|2.7" LCD 230K Pixels||Secure Digital High Capacity|
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