Pentax K100D Review
The K100D, introduced by Pentax finally gets rid of the *istD naming scheme, and is one of the best bargains you'll find in the market. Yes, it just has a 6.1 megapixel sensor, but that's definitely sufficient for letter size prints.
The body of the Pentax K100D is pretty similar to the *ist D2. You can access settings such as the ISO, flash, and drive mode by tapping the Function button. Setup functions are accessible via the menu button. There's a mode dial on the left if you want to change shooting modes, or choose from any one of the 6 scene modes. There's another 8 scene modes if you choose the choice "SCN" on the dial. To the right of the 2.5 inch LCD screen lies a slider switch, which you can flip on to turn on IS (image stabilization). Overall, the location of all the buttons and dials is intuitive, and you should have zero problems getting adjusted to it.
One of the main reasons why we think the Pentax K100D is a bargain is because of its versatility. It offers advanced features that fit the seasoned photographer, as well as automated features for the "point & shooter", or the newbie. If you're absolutely new to photography, just choose auto picture mode, and it'll do all the dirty work for you. You can choose among a selection of scene modes for shooting in various specific situations. Some of the modes include: Night Scene (for shooting at night), Text (for shooting signs and text), Sunset, Surf & Snow, Candlelight (slower shutter speed), Pet (faster shutter speeds to shoot), Kids, and Museum (bright situations where you can't use flash). For the expert photographer, you can adjust everything you would expect. Everyone should be happy.
One of the more innovative features that was introduced in this camera is the shake reduction system. Basically, whenever the Pentax K100D detects any shaking in your camera body, it compensates for it. The technology behind this is pretty sophisticated, but you don't have to worry about that. It works as advertised.
The K100D has no live view mode, unlike modern DSLRs, so you can just shoot using the optical viewfinder. But the viewfinder is really good. It has 11 autofocus points, and you can pick which one you want the camera to use. If you're a beginner, you can let the camera pick which one is appropriate for the situation. On the bottom of the screen, you'll see information about the settings, such as the current ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, AF mode, etc.
So the LCD display is primarily for reviewing the images you shot. The Pentax K100D does have a digital preview option. This option displays the frames image on your LCD display, so you can check the depth of field. In most use cases, you pretty much will use the LCD display to report current settings. Just press the Info button, and it'll display everything for you.
The performance is solid, and is overall an improvement from previous models. Power up to first shot is 1.2-1.5 seconds, a tad slow. Shot to shot is .5 seconds without flash, and 1.7 seconds with flash. Shutter lag clocked in at .4 seconds in high contrast and 1.3 seconds in low contrast. In continuous mode, we shot up to 5 shots in 1.5 seconds, for a rate of 3.1 frames per second. The flash is pretty fast to recycle. If you connect the camera to any PC, downloading is really quick, so no need to buy a separate card reader. Overall, performance is solid - not the fastest in class, but definitely enough for most people.
Image quality was also quite impressive. We thought the colors were well saturated, with lots of detail, and sharp edges. Some colors are over saturated, with the exception of cyan. In general, most cameras over saturate colors to produce a more brighter, pleasing image. In terms of hue accuracy, we found the K100D created a slightly warm color balance at times, especially if you use the auto white balance setting.
The ISO sensitivity starts at 200, which strays from the standard of 100. But it does go all the way up to 3200. At low ISO sensitivity, all our images looked clean, and detailed. When we reached an ISO level of 800, we saw very little visible noise, and still clear details. At 1600, the noise will definitely become noticeable, but details were still retained. By 3200, noise will start to become a bigger issue. But even then if you stick to prints of reasonable size, your images will look okay. So overall, high ISO performance is one of the strengths for the Pentax 100D.
If you own a pair of Pentax lenses, rest assure that they should work with the lens mount in the 100D. In fact, any lens produced by Pentax should be compatible with the 100D. If you got a set of spare Pentax lenses, and got some money to spend, we would just buy this camera for fun, considering how inexpensive it is.
- 6.1 megapixels
- ISO 200 to 3200
- 3 X Optical Zoom with 18mm-55mm kit lens
- Optical viewfinder with 96% coverage
- 2.5 inch LCD display with 210,000 dots
- Built in image stabilization
- Versatile, has plenty of auto + manual features
- No raw plus JPEG mode
- 6 megapixels in on low side
Though the Pentax K100D is "only" 6 megapixels, it's one of the best bang for your buck digital SLRs you can buy.
As we said, the main thing we love about the 100D is its versatility. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or expert user, the 100D has everything for everyone. It may not have a ton of "cool" features, and it would be nice to have an ISO level of 100, but we can't argue with its very reasonable price. This is a great bang for your buck DSLR, and if cash is a big problem for you, I would highly give the Pentax 100D a serious look.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 19:09:41 PDT