Price (RRP): $1,699
Reviewer: Byer Gair
While priced at the top of its category, the Pentax K10D is an important camera in many ways. To begin with, it feels substantial; although this means that, with a lens attached, it weighs over a kilo. Although it sits well in the hand, its bulk and size let you know you’re holding a serious SLR!
The effective pixel count on the CCD is 10.2 megapixels. This accounts for a maximum image size of 3872 x 2592 pixels, sufficient to produce a 44 x 29 cm print.
What sets this model apart from many others is its internal shake reduction system, which effectively reduces camera shake to produce sharp, blur-free images even when using a telephoto lens, shooting in low light or when using extended exposures. The internal mechanism shifts the position of the CCD image sensor vertically, horizontally and rotationally at high speed, while counteracting camera shake detected by the built-in sensor. Pentax claims you can use shutter speeds 2.5 to 4.0x slower than normal. The shake reduction system can be used with almost all existing Pentax interchangeable lenses.
The camera also has a dust removal function to clean the CCD that can be summoned up at any time or set to operate each time the camera is turned on.
As with almost all digital cameras (DSLRs and compacts) the exposure functions are selected via the mode dial. Aside from this there are few other control points on the camera but these are supplemented by extensive menu options, viewed on the rear LCD screen.
A four way controller takes you through image size, extensive white balance management, a number of ‘digital filters’ (sepia, B&W, 18 colour filters, vertical and horizontal image squeeze and more) plus adjustments to image sharpness, colour saturation and contrast.
Almost alone at this price level, the K10D offers an internal anti-shake system that releases you from the burden from buying expensive lenses that perform this function.
A few more unusual features set this camera apart from the rest of the field. You can save images in Pentax’s or Adobe’s RAW formats as well as JPEG – or you can shoot and save simultaneous JPEG and RAW images. To add to this convenience you can make an in-camera conversion of RAW images to JPEG.
Art photographer fans will appreciate the camera’s facility to shoot multi exposures in order to create one composite image. A special and near-unique feature is the K10D’s ability to preview images before shooting on the LCD screen.
With semi-pro pretensions, the K10D can shoot a run of images at 3 fps, all the way to the full capacity of the memory card. It also offers second curtain synch for the inbuilt flash unit, helping you make those eye-catching shots of moving car lights.
Pentax’s K10D is a camera that will be ideal for the more advanced photographer, but possibly its over-abundance of control points and shooting options could confuse the beginner.
The quality and sharpness of images shot with the K10D are top notch, with quite a bit of credit due to the Pentax lenses.
This is a substantial camera with serious ambitions, bringing with it access to a range of excellent lenses and accessories.
Try to strike a deal that delivers a body and two or more lenses.