Pentax K10D Review
If you're looking for a new DSLR, don't want to spend a whole lot, and don't mind an old model, the Pentax K10D is a solid choice. It offers many features that makes the K10D a bargain at this price (below $800) like a 10 mega pixel sensor, shake reduction, a solid and durable body, and an 11 point AF system.
Though the price is entry-level, this is not your beginner's camera. The Pentax K10D lacks most automatic features such as scene modes, and a comprehensive help guide. So if you've been a point and shooter your entire life, you'll scratch your head, wondering what all these options and buttons are on the K10D. So, this camera is basically designed for the person who has some experience, or is motivated to learn the ins and outs of photography.
The Pentax K10D is not a complex camera by any means, but the workflow may need some getting used to it, even if you've used a DSLR before. The K10D uses a Function menu to adjust ISO, white balance, flash mode and drive mode. The function menu itself is fairly easy to navigate, but it does need some getting used. Most people are used to looking for a control in the body of the camera, instead of digging in the menu to change some settings.
We liked the design of the Pentax K100D. It has a nice, comfortable grip. Along the top panel, you'll find the shutter button, power dial, and the green button used to access hyper-program/hyper-manual modes. A small LCD is located in to the bottom that tells you the current camera settings. In the center of the top panel is the pop-up flash compartment, and hot shoe.
In the rear, we have the rest of the controls, as well as the 2.5 in LCD display, and optical viewfinder eyepiece. To the right of the LCD display is the 4-way navigation controller, an OK button, and autofocus pt. mode switch. Below this cluster is the aforementioned function button. To the right of the function button is the switch for turning on/off shake reduction.
You can only shoot with the optical viewfinder as the K100D has no live view. But the viewfinder is solid. It features 11 autofocus points, and you can choose which one to use, or you can just let the Pentax K100D decide which one to use. Across the bottom, the camera lets you know the current settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, any warnings, etc.
The LCD display is simply for reviewing your images. There is a digital preview option that lets you check your exposure before taking that shot, but we rarely use this feature.We mostly just use it to check up on our current settings such as AF mode, flash mode, ISO, resolution, white balance, etc. You can't trust the colors you see in this LCD. In fact, we recommend just looking at the histogram.
The image quality is one of the highlights of this camera. Our photos displayed a nice broad dynamic range, with excellent color accuracy. Most digital SLRs produce over-saturated images to please consumers, who want bright, vibrant colors. Not so with the K100D. Most colors are accurate, with just minor over-saturation of a few. If you shoot photos of people, you might notice slightly warm skin tones, but most people actually prefer this since it makes their skin look healthier.
The K100D also retained sharp details very well. We did notice a few edge enhancement artifacts on high-contrast subjects, but it's not a big deal.
Noise profile was pretty good when using an ISO up to 800. Even at ISO (its max), noise was still not a big issue, just some chroma noise and loss of some details, but it's too be expected. You can see have reasonably good prints in ISO 1600 if you stick with a size of 11 X 14 or less.
The K100D also performed solidly in low light, but the AF system did take a long time to focus on the subject. You will definitely need a tripod or something to support the photos if you want to get good photos in very low lighting conditions. If you don't got a tripod, we recommend just setting the K100D on some surface, and using the self-timer, so you don't have to press the shutter yourself.
The performance is a weakness though, and is a bit below average. From start to first shot takes .5 seconds. We had trouble autofocusing in dim light conditions, which led to a 1.5 second lag. Shot to shot takes .5 seconds for both JPEG and RAW, which is average. Continuous shooting speed clocks in at 3.1 frames per second, which is below average. A few times we had focus lock problems, especially in close up shots. It would just wiggle back and forth for a few moments like it was unsure whether it was perfect.
If you got an extra pair of Pentax K lenses lying around, you'll be glad to know that the K100D supports every K lenses. Not all functionality will be available with all lens however, so you might want to do some research to see what you can do. The kit lens that comes with the body is a 18-55mm lens, and it's pretty solid. We got very good results at wide angle, with only a tad of softness. As we expected, there was some coma distortion and chromatic aberration in some corners. At wide angle, the kit lens had a 0.75% barrel distortion, which is pretty solid.
- 10.2 megapixels
- Kit lens comes with 18mm-55mm lens
- Kit lens has 3 X optical zoom
- Optical viewfinder, 95% field coverage
- 2.5 in LCD screen with 210,000 pixels
- Outstanding image quality
- Solid build and great design
- Great camera for the price
- Kit lens is solid
- Performance is subpar
The Pentax K10D, while released over 4 years remains a very good bargain digital SLR. It has many features, lots of customizations, and great image quality. If you're a complete beginner with no experience in DSLRS, and no intention on learning the nitty gritty of photography, I'd recommend buying another camera. If you're an aspiring amateur, or just need a cheap backup, the Pentax K10D is a good bang for your buck camera.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
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Prices last updated on: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:49:00 PDT