DSLR kamere


Pentax K100D / DIWA awards test / ENG
By Matjaz Intihar / translated by: Joze Sveticic
Aug 28, 2006, 06:55

 


Since 1952, Pentax provides high quality SLR cameras. They showed the first digital SLR with a then amazing resolution of 6 MP on a full-frame CCD at Photokina way back in 2000. However, the camera wasn't ready for production at the time. High production costs and a questionable number of buyers were the major reasons against mass production of such a camera. However, Pentax  showed back then that they can and will produce a DSLR.

In 2003, they introduced the *istD. Its main competitive advantage was the fact that the camera could use all Pentax lenses, including the older K series lenses, M42 screw-mount lenses and medium format Pentax lenses using special adapters. However, its price was far from competitive. This was the main reason why people buying their first DSLR with no Pentax gear passed it over.

At the end of 2004, Pentax decided to overhaul the camera. The *istDs remedied the *istD's main weakness. It was priced very competitively. Interestingly enough, barely half a year later, a somewhat lower-spec version was released, the *istDL.

At the beginning of 2006, Pentax exchanged some technology with Samsung. Samsung took over the *istD L and started marketing it under their own brand. Pentax then introduced a new camera. While the majority of its specifications remained unchanged compared to the *istDL, the camera got a very valuable upgrade. When Konica Minolta introduced their AntiShake (AS) image stabilisation system at Photokina in 2004, more and more photographers came to realise how useful and inexpensive this technology is. Following Sony’s buyout of the Konica Minolta photography department, some companies were apparently allowed to use part of the patent or the whole technology. Especially in entry level cameras, this technology is very welcome. These cameras are usually not used with expensive, bright lenses, making the possibility of ruined picture because of camera shake very real. With Canon and Nikon, stabilised lenses can be used. However, very few of those are available to the casual photographer, while the price difference when compared to the non-stabilised version makes purchasing them somewhat less appealing. All of this means that casual photographers will have their fair share of blurry images.


The similarity to *ist cameras is obvious.


However, this is where the Pentax K100D has the advantage. It’s an image stabilisation system that works with all lenses, a very important feature. The camera is priced very competitively, with the kit bundle costing around 700 EUR, while the double lens kit, which also includes the 50-200 mm lens costs around 850 EUR. This is less than one would pay for another manufacturer’s camera with only one lens and no image stabilisation.


The kit lens is very well built.

 

In use

 

First of all, the camera is very similar to its *ist predecessors. The Pentax K100D is still very compact. Compared to the *istDL, which is still available, it got a bit bigger, measuring 129.5 x 92.5 x 70mm, making it a bit easier to hold. The weight also increased, up to 560 g without the four AA batteries, and 620 g with the batteries. The body is made of black, high quality plastic and offers a good grip. There are very few buttons on the body, making it easy to choose the right one. The need for more buttons was offset with the Fn (Function) button. When the Fn button is pressed, the display shows four settings:
1. WB adjustment
2. Capture speed, remote release, self-timer and automatic bracketing
3. ISO (200-3200)
4. Flash mode. However, the user cannot choose which functions should be available when the Fn button is pressed. This is a departure from the *istDS, which allows this.


The grip is good, and the shutter release is well placed.



Internal frame of the camera.



The main features are similar to the *istDS and the *istDL. Also keeping with the tradition of these two cameras, the K100D uses SD (SecureDigital) memory cards. The sensor remains unchanged, a CCD with 6.1 effective MP. The same goes for the shutter, capable of Bulb, 30 s - 1/4000 s and with a flash sync time of 1/180 s. The available ISO settings range from 200 to 3200, there's a pop-up flash and three metering modes, including Spot. Sequential shooting is also available, at a rate of 2.8 JPEG frames per second with a buffer that holds 5 frames, along with sRGB and AdobeRGB colour spaces, tonal adjustments, +/- exposure correction, bracketing and other settings commonly used in DSLR cameras. Because of this host of features available through the K100D’s Setup menu, I would consider this camera very feature-packed at its price point, even if it didn't have the SR (ShakeReduction) system. The camera can also capture RAW images, enabling those with enough technical savvy to push the image quality envelope even further.

Also, the camera has a very high value for all users of Pentax film cameras. As with all the other Pentax *ist cameras, the Pentax K100D is, when used with appropriate adapters, compatible with the legacy KA and K lenses, as well as medium format Pentax lenses. All legacy lenses can be used in the aperture priority mode. Another interesting and useful addition to the Pentax lineup is the Pentax AF adapter, enabling the use of autofocus with manual focus legacy lenses.


 

Most buttons at the back are very well placed. However, for those of you who look through the viewfinder with the left eye, the control dial might be uncomfortably close to the viewfinder.


It is this wealth of features and settings which the competition only provides in higher price brackets, the option to use legacy lenses that can be bought cheaply on the second-hand market and the very attractive price that makes the Pentax K100D more attractive to the buyers than the previous *ist series that was overpriced at launch.

It is because of this that I can make a rather bold claim so early in the review: The Pentax K100D is very suitable to all users of Pentax 35 mm and medium format cameras. It is also suitable for all those who are only entering the DSLR world and want to get an inexpensive camera that is chock-full of features for the advanced user. And finally, I personally consider Pentax DSLRs to offer some of the best, if not the best handling and usability.

Pentax still uses AA batteries.

 

The body

 

The Pentax K100D employs the classic SLR shape. The grip is very protruded and covered in rubber, offering firm grip.

 

The most notable feature of the front side is the metal KAF lens mount. Next to the lens mount, there’s the lens release button and the autofocus / manual focus toggle. On the front of the grip, there’s the IR receiver for wireless remote release.

While you’re just getting acquainted with the camera, use the green Auto mode or scene modes. However, you should move to Tv and Av modes later. These modes are the only way to exactly control the way the camera captures a scene. There’s a dioptre adjustment lever above the viewfinder.

 

On top, there's the left command dial for exposure mode. Further to the right, there’s the built-in flash below the external flash hot shoe, and the diopter adjustment button (-2.5 to +1.5) is above the viewfinder. On the right side, there’s a big LCD screen with all relevant exposure data and the exposure compensation button, also used to set aperture in M mode. On the top of the grip, there's the shutter release, surrounded by the on/off switch. The button also serves as a depth-of-field preview toggle. The K100D takes a test shot when depth-of-field preview is activated. The shot is then displayed, but not written to the card. This way, it is possible to review the shot with all exposure data, including histogram. It’s small things like this that give the K100D additional value.
 

On the left side, there are three connectors, covered by a plastic hatch. These include shutter release, PC/Video and DC input.

 

On the right-hand side, there's the SD card slot cover. SD cards have become the predominant memory format in entry level DSLR cameras.

The camera uses SD memory cards.

 

The rear side is very nicely organised, offering only the necessary functions via sufficiently large buttons. On the extreme left, there is a column of buttons used for raising the pop-up flash, entering the menu, deleting files, recalling information on the screen and reviewing photographs.

The viewfinder with 96% coverage is in its usual place, centre top. It’s well placed and offers a good view with exposure data displayed below, despite the fact that pentamirrors were used rather than the prism.

Under the viewfinder, there’s the 2.5 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 210,000 pixels. The display is very detailed and includes all relevant exposure data. When it comes to reviewing pictures and displaying information, the K100D is among the best in its class.

To the right of the viewfinder, there’s the dial used to set shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation and control playback zoom (up to 12x). To the right, there's the exposure lock button, also used to lock a picture to prevent accidental deletion.

Next to the display, there’s a four-way controller used to navigate the menus. In the middle, there’s the OK button to confirm the selection. The OK button can also be programmed to perform one of the four buttons (ISO display in the viewfinder, central AF point selection, AF activation and AF off). Below it is the Fn button with four functions – drive mode, sensitivity, flash mode and WB adjustment. Still further down is the card activity LED, with the image stabilisation (Shake Reduction) switch next to it.

 

The bottom of the camera is very standard. It has the tripod mount and battery compartment cover.


The 2.5 inch display with 210,000 pixels is well suited for displaying images and menu screens.

 

The display

The display is a 2.5 inch job with a good, 210,000 pixel resolution. Menus are clearly visible, and the images are displayed very clearly. Because backlighting can be adjusted, the display is well visible in almost all conditions. There are plenty of image review options. The screen can display up to 20 pieces of capture information next to the reduced thumbnail. In addition, there’s the histogram and overexposure warning. The maximum magnification is 12x, achieved in 14 steps. The screen and the information it displays will satisfy even the more demanding photographers.



The ShakeReduction system.

 

The CCD sensor

Pentax is the only DSLR manufacturer to take a different route. While they overhauled the body, the sensor remains the well known 6.1 MP CCD sensor, albeit with new algorithms that ensure increased image quality. They also added the Shake Reduction feature to stabilise the image via sensor movement, all of this in a very competitively priced package. As we all know, the megapixel count is not a very important factor in casual photography, which makes the camera a very enticing combination of technical features and image quality at a very attractive price. The technical specification show that the sensor is the same as in the *ist cameras. Manufactured by Sony, it has 6.1 effective megapixels, capable of capturing 3008 x 2008 images in RAW and 3008 x 2000 in JPEG, the sensor has a size of 23.7 x 15.5 mm and a native sensitivity of ISO 200. These data show that this is a very similar (or even the same) sensor as the one used in Nikon D100, D70s, D50 and Konica Minolta 7D and 5D cameras. Apparently, image quality in these various cameras is mostly influenced by the manufacturing quality of the sensor, algorithms and data processing.

 

The viewfinder

While the previous cameras, *istD and *istDs, had a pentaprism viewfinder, the *istDL and the K100D have a pentamirror viewfinder in order to cut costs, not unlike most entry level cameras. However, except for the smaller magnification (0.85 x compared to 0.95 x with the *istD and *istDS), there is no noticeable difference compared to the predecessors. The K100D viewfinder has a 96% coverage. On the top of the viewfinder is a dioptre adjustment lever.

The viewfinder displays a variety of information, including time, aperture, focusing, exposure program, +/- exposure compensation, AE-L, flash mode, custom WB and ISO warning. Unfortunately, the ISO setting is not displayed at all times. However, it can be displayed by pressing the OK button, if so configured.

Focus points are not visible in the viewfinder. However, when focusing, the active focus point is lit, same as with the *istDS. There are three choices available in the menu. It’s possible to use either just the central focus point, select one of the 11 available focus point or let the camera automatically pick one of the nine focus points in the wide area.


The second lens in the kit is a 50-200 lens. As far as kit lenses go, it’s extremely well made.

 

Operation

 

The camera is ready to focus, meter and capture images approximately one second after it is turned on. The autofocus system is SAFOX VIII TTL phase-matching, same as with the predecessors. For an entry level camera, it is accurate and fast (Pentax lenses do not have built in focusing motors and are instead driven with the camera motor), which meant I had no problems with the camera’s AF system for the whole duration of the review. However, this camera and lenses will not be used for taking pictures objects moving at high speed, let alone sports. The autofocus system requires relatively strong contrast, making the camera hunt for focus for quite some time. The in-camera focusing motor is too slow to allow capture of fast objects, such as sport. Therefore, when it comes to focus speed, it cannot be compared with the competition, such as the EOS 350D.

Autofocus and manual focus toggle on the front left of the camera. Pentax DA lenses allow for full-time manual focus, which means manual focusing is possible even when the camera is in autofocus mode.


With legacy lenses, only manual focus is possible, but this is made easier by the matte focusing screen and central focus point indicator. The TTL autofocus system functions in manual focus mode as well and indicates when focus has been achieved. When focus is achieved, the viewfinder indicator is lit, along with a sound indicating focus.

The Pentax K100D has three metering modes. Matrix metering with 16 areas, central-weighted and spot metering. Metering accuracy proved to be very satisfactory. However, in order to achieve the best possible exposure, it is sometimes necessary to resort to exposure compensation. On the top of the camera, there’s the exposure compensation button, enabling exposure compensation of +/- 2 EV. For the less experienced photographer, there are 16 scene modes. In addition to those, there are the usual P (program), Tv (shutter priority), Av (aperture priority), M (manual), B (bulb, i.e. the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release is pressed). There’s also a fully automatic mode (Auto Pict). In this mode, the camera tries to guess the best suited scene mode. In M mode, the aperture value can be adjusted by holding the +/- button at the top of the camera.

The flash rises sufficiently far above the lens. However, to avoid red eyes in low light conditions, pre-flash should still be used. The flash has a guide number (GN) of 15.6 at ISO 200 illuminates a field of view provided by an 18 mm lens, and provides advanced P-TTL flash metering.  In this mode, ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200 can be used. The camera can also be used to control several flashguns simultaneously. Flash sync time is 1/180 s. Also available is the external AF360FGZ flashgun, enabling shorter sync times.

The rear of the camera isn’t exactly cluttered. There was one thing that bothered me, though. I always look through the viewfinder with my left eye, which made the control dial position quite uncomfortable. When adjusting shutter speed or aperture value, I always had to partially remove my eye from the viewfinder. The menus contain a large number of functions. The most important functions are concentrated in the first of the four Rec. Mode screen. First there’s the possibility of capturing images with either Neutral or Bright mode, which has increased saturation, sharpening and contrast. Next, the resolution can be set (6, 4 and 1.5 megapixels), along with compression settings and RAW mode recording. The first screen also contains saturation, contrast and sharpening settings. In the extended section, there’s the bracketing function, metering mode (16 field, central weighted, spot), focus mode, AF mode and flash exposure compensation from +1 to -2. Last, but certainly not least, are the ShakeReduction settings. This is only active when using older lenses that do not provide the camera with feedback information regarding the lens’s focal length. Using this function, the camera can estimate when to engage the SR and how much adjustment is necessary. This is definitely an added bonus for those with older K or M42 type lenses.

Another excellent feature of the K100D is image stabilisation with the ShakeReduction function which makes it far more useful. In entry level cameras, image stabilisation is an excellent tool that allows you to take better images. Longer focal lengths can quickly lead to motion blur, making the shot useless.

 

The next menu screen is Playback, used to set the parameters used when reviewing images. These parameters include image review with or without information overlay, toggling highlight warning on or off and use of four digital filters (B&W, sepia, softening and slimming)  The last function in this screen is used to set the slideshow timing for all recorded pictures.

Next, there’s the Setup screen, containing the following options: memory card format, audio signal on or off, date and time adjustment, language, screen brightness, image transfer to the PC or directly to a printer using the PictBridge protocol, automatic shutdown after a certain period of inactivity, mirror lock-up for sensor cleaning and factory defaults reset.


 

The last screen is Custom Settings with 19 settings in total, along with two additional settings for turning them on or off and factory defaults reset. The main functions here are as follows:
- long exposure noise reduction on or off
- exposure compensation in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
- highest ISO sensitivity limit for program mode
- ISO sensitivity warning
- focus point and AE link
- AE setting with AF locked
- meter operating time
- recordable image number
- OK button action when shooting (4 possibilities, 1. show ISO on the LCD and in the viewfinder, 2. switch to central focus point, 3. AF via the OK button, 4. AF off, manual focus)
- AE button action when in M (camera can be set to expose either in P, Tv or Av mode)
- AF in remote control
- focus indicator for S series lenses
- aperture ring use for legacy lenses, enabling shutter release when aperture ring is not in the A position
- shutter release when the internal flash is still charging
- image review with information and histogram
- initial playback zoom
- manual WB measuring (entire area or just spot)
- colour space (sRGB or AdobeRGB)
- custom function reset
 
Plenty of settings, to put it shortly. Some of these will come in quite handy for the experienced photographer. Despite the rather few buttons and dials on camera, four settings are instantly available with the Fn button. Using the four-way controller, WB adjustment, flash exposure setting, ISO sensitivity setting and drive mode can be set. In image review, the Fn button enables quick use of filters, DPOF settings and slideshow display.

It is because of the Fn button that the camera is very user friendly and allows settings of all recording options.

 

Additional usefulness of the K100D

Pentax has a wide selection of lens adapters. The camera can be used with legacy lenses, such as the M42 screw mount and the K and KA mount lenses. The Pentax AF adapter enables autofocus with legacy manual focus Pentax lenses. At the same time, it functions as a 1.7 teleconverter. In case you decide to take the plunge into digital straight from your 30 year old Praktica, your lenses will still function on the K100D.



 M42 ring and 1,7X Pentax AF adapter enables autofocus with legacy manual focus Pentax lenses



Old K lens, 
 1,7X Pentax AF adapter/teleconverter and old M42 Praktica lens with M42 adapter.



 

Image quality

Image quality depends on several elements. The megapixel myth, i.e. megapixels are the deciding image quality factor, is of course just that, a myth with little substance. In modern cameras, this is one of the last links in a long chain of factors that influence image quality. However, image quality is very dependant on the observer, too.

Hence this introduction. Up to this point, the Pentax K100D fared much better than the more expensive competitive cameras in several fields. Its only technical drawback when compared to other cameras that are entering the market at the moment is only 6.1 megapixels. However, the megapixel myth has been dispelled, at least in Slovenia. Very few photographers make posters with entry-level cameras. These cameras are primarily intended for enthusiasts who want to move from the point-and-shoot camp to the more advanced cameras.

And finally, image quality is judged by the prints of the size you usually print. A magnified image on a computer screen never shows its true quality.

Let me re-emphasise what I said before. You get what you pay for. The K100D delivers a lot of bang per the proverbial buck, just don’t expect it to outclass cameras way above its price range. For the more demanding among you, there will be a comparison test in October, when all new entry-level cameras will be available. It is my firm belief that nobody will be able to distinguish between 30x45 cm (12 x 18 inches) prints from different cameras, in spite of their different megapixel counts. When viewed at high magnification on a computer screen, the difference is of course notable. However, this “measurebating” approach (as it is called on the forum) is far from a realistic display of a camera's actual capabilities.

 

The Pentax K100D offers a lot for the approximately 700 EUR you will have to part with to get the camera with its kit lens. The 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens delivered good sharpness with nice colours. Using additional settings, these can be enhanced further. The metering works well in normal lighting conditions, and in case of the more difficult conditions, such as backlighting or large, tonally uniform surfaces, exposure compensation can be performed manually.

 

When comparing test shots of my toy moose with the shots taken by its predecessors, I noticed that the image quality has been improved with the K100D. The photographer has two possibilities that can be set in the menu. Either the camera can immediately correct the tonal values and add some sharpening or the photographer can perform these in post-processing. I achieved higher quality in post-processing. Why that is so has already been mentioned in the “Digicam vs DSLR« article. However, I believe that the vast majority of K100D owners will use the first option and let the camera correct the final image. Most entry-level DSLR camera users are not after the highest possible quality and would rather let the camera produce images that are more appealing and print-ready from the start. If they want more, they can always use RAW. As we can see, Pentax has improved the image quality.

 

However, it is up to you to gather your impressions on quality. The K100D doesn’t lag behind its competition in tonality or sharpness, it just lacks the resolution for really large prints or crops. If 6 megapixels are not enough for you, be it your whim or your needs, then this camera is not suitable for you. You’ll have to move up to a different price bracket. However, if you can be sure you won’t do posters, there's nothing to hold you back. For the price of the Pentax K100D, there’s no better camera, neither in terms of specifications nor in terms of image quality. It will cost you at least 250 EUR to get a marginal 4 megapixel resolution increase if you buy another entry-level camera. And there’s another thing. Only the Sony Alpha has image stabilisation in the body. And this is the one huge advantage the K100D has in comparison to Canon and Nikon. I believe that image stabilisation is quite possibly the most important recent technical development to the casual photographer. It is far more useful than an increased megapixel count and other technical specifications. The advantage for the K100D gets even bigger when you compare its price with the competition.

 

The whole picture.



200ISO.


200ISO.

 

200ISO.

 

800ISO.

 

800ISO.

 

800ISO. Despite the high sensitivity, the image quality is still good.

 

3200ISO. Very little noise and well preserved details.

 

3200ISO.

 

3200ISO.


When the upper icon (Bright) in the Image Tone function is selected, the in-camera processing produces more contrasty, saturated and sharpened images. The lower icon (Neutral) makes the images more neutral for later post-processing. So which one should you use? The majority of users should use the Bright mode. Only the most experienced users of post-processing tools will perform corrections better than the in-camera Bright mode. With K100D, the Bright function produces appealing images the moment the shutter is pressed, with no need for later post-processing.

 

3200ISO. The left image was taken in Natural mode, while the right image was taken in Bright mode. Sharpening, saturation and contrast were increased.

 

ISO 3200 and a strong tonal correction in post-processing. At high sensitivity, the difference is only apparent in more pronounced, sharpened noise (grain).

 

200ISO. The left image was taken in Natural mode, while the right image was taken in Bright mode. Sharpening, saturation and contrast were increased. The difference can clearly be seen. If you’re not used to post-processing on the PC, the Bright function is very useful in making the images look better.

 

I had to try quite hard to get a comparable image in post-processing.

 

However, when major adjustments are performed, it's obvious that the camera preserved more tonal values in the Neutral function. (See the Compact digicam vs. DSLR article)

 

With even more brutal adjustments, the effects of the Bright function can clearly be seen. However, this is only noticeable with really strong adjustments. The Bright function should be left on unless you’re very good at post-processing and want to take advantage of the relatively untouched JPEG data in Neutral.


From left to right: ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. The noise only starts being noticeable at ISO 1600.


18mm (18-55mm)


18mm


35mm


50mm (50-200mm)


55mm


135mm


200mm


The whole image at 200 mm



200 mm, 1/400 s, SR (ShakeReduction) Off. Most users don’t take care to have a short enough time for the given focal length. This makes for a lot of camera shake induced blurriness. Image stabilisation with moving sensor will come to the rescue a lot of times, making otherwise useless images perfectly fine.



200 mm, 1/30 s, SR  On. Even at 1/30 s, the SR makes the shot clearer than a shot at 1/400 s without SR. Of course, it’s all relative. If you happen to be very relaxed when taking the shot, you can easily get a clean shot at 1/60 s without SR. This, however, is rare, making image stabilisation in entry- and mid-level cameras worth its weight in gold.



200 mm, 1/60 s, SR  On.



200 mm, 1/125  s, SR  On. The SR system is really an ace up Pentax’ sleeve.

200 mm, 1/30 s. SR on. When using long focal lengths for close-ups, the image stabilisation is less successful.



200 mm, 1/30 s. SR Off.



200ISO, 120mm, 1/500, f/5,6


200ISO, 200mm, 1/2000, f/5,6

200ISO, 26mm, 1/320, f/8

ISO 200, 50 mm, 1/180 s, f/13 and fill-in flash with the built in flash.

200ISO, 88mm, 1/30, f/9

400ISO, 63mm, 1/100, f/10

400ISO, 50mm, 1/500, f/8

800ISO, 138mm, 1/2500, f/11

ISO 3200, 200 mm, 1/60 s, f/5.6. At normal sizes, the noise isn’t noticeable. Tonal values are satisfactory as well. The difference would only be noticeable if you took another shot of the same scene with a lower sensitivity.



100% crop, ISO 3200, 50-200 mm. The K100D has good enough resolution despite the increased sensitivity.

ISO 3200, 50 mm, 1/2500, f/5.6. High-contrast scenes are no problem for the camera’s metering system.



Conclusion

 

Once again, the Pentax K100D shows that Pentax, as a brand, is severely underestimated. However, with the K100D, they really appeal to the photographer that values high quality at an affordable price, rather than a better known brand. With the K100D, the photographer gets features that are absent in the pricier competition. The camera is still compact, with a plethora of useful function, spot metering, ISO 3200, has a viewfinder that is chock-full of useful information and makes manual focus possible, it can use various legacy lenses with adapters, the rear display is large and sharp, and last but not least, the camera handles really well. These are all features that the competition didn't have until very recently. The Pentax K100D has all of this, but, oddly enough, few want to see it. Marketing tricks point us in another direction.

Also, when compared with the *istDL, the image quality has been improved. I'll say it again. The Pentax K100D is a very suitable camera for all users of Pentax 35 mm and medium format cameras. It is also suitable for all those who are only entering the DSLR world and want to get an inexpensive camera that is chock-full of features for the advanced user.

 

And last, but, to abuse this phrase once more, definitely not least: Pentax has a long history of making cameras – since 1919. They are also the first Japanese to introduce an SLR camera, way back in 1952. This is not a trivial fact. In spite of what the younger generations and “film virgins” may think, Pentax is anything but an obscure camera maker.

 

Unless your heart is set on another manufacturer’s camera and if megapixel count isn’t your sole guide, do take a look at the K100D. Unfortunately, the salespeople are also quite unfamiliar with Pentax cameras. On many occasions I heard them recommend another manufacturer rather than Pentax to the customer. In this particular case, I could definitely prove that his advice was wrong, firstly because he knew little of SLR cameras and secondly because he wanted to earn more money – at the customer's expense.

If you take a long look at what you get for the price (K100D, 18-55 mm and 50-200 mm for less than just camera bodies that are basically in the same class, apart from the megapixel count) and take into consideration the fact that the brand, class and megapixel count tell very little about how much fun the camera is to use and how much the viewers will enjoy the photographs, then you will realise how attractive the K100D really is. Its value is further enhanced when taking into consideration the profile of people buying entry-level DSLRs. These are mostly users of digicams with little or no knowledge of photography. Even when they use these cameras, they only use the green AUTO mode. I teach a class at the Canon EOS Academy, and believe me, this is not just a misjudged stereotype. Another thing worth mentioning is that both kit lenses are very well built. They are way above average when compared to the vast majority of the competition in this price range. I often see people who had no experience with film cameras make a lot of mistakes when purchasing the camera. The fact remains – 50% of DSLR users neither need nor buy more than is available in the K100D double lens kit. As far as the competition is concerned, I can state with a very clear conscience that the Pentax K100D is the camera that will offer the most bang for the buck for quite some time when compared to the cameras that are just entering the market or will do so shortly.


28mm, 1/200sec., f/8, 200ISO, +0.3EV.

23mm, 1/50sec., f/4, 200ISO, +0.3EV, flash ON.

18mm, 1/640sec., f/8, 200ISO, +0.3EV.

150mm, 1/200sec., f/5,6, 200ISO, +0.3EV.

200mm, 1/400sec., f/9, 200ISO, +0.3EV.

115mm, 1/250sec., f/6.3, 200ISO, +0.3EV.

200mm, 1/250sec., f/7.1, 400ISO, +0.3EV.

115mm, 1/200sec., f/5, 400ISO, +0.3EV.

115mm, 1/250sec., f/7.1, 400ISO, +0.3EV.

200mm, 1/200sec., f/5.6, 400ISO, +0.3EV.

200mm, 1/200sec., f/5.6, 200ISO.

Another proof of the usefulness of image stabilisation. This is even more important because the function is built into the camera body, instead of relying on expensive lenses. The K100D offers image stabilisation for all Pentax and M42 lenses at a very attractive price. 18mm, 0.3 s, f/5.6, ISO 800, SR On. By: Luka Podgorsek

21mm, 0.3 s, f/5.6, ISO 800, SR On. By: Luka Podgorsek

31mm, 1/15sek., f/4, 3200ISO, SR ON.

18mm, 1/5sek., f/3.5, 3200ISO, SR ON.

40mm, 1/4sek., f/4.5, 3200ISO, SR ON.

And another thing. No camera company, no matter how much you like it, will give you a Mercedes for the price of a Skoda, to use a car analogy.This is just impossible with entry level cameras. It is this fact that makes the Pentax K100D that much more valuable. It has everything the competition has, and more in some cases, even though the competition may have more alluring brand names for those who are buying their first (D)SLR camera and know little of how these cameras function.  All this at a considerably lower price. As always, in the end, you must decide for yourself.

 

"Apparently, Pentax has restarted production of the AF 1.7x converter. A few of these are coming to Slovenia this week. We will bring you more news on that from Photokina."


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Obnovljeno: Mar 9th, 2007 - 10:08:49