The Pentax K10D is a 10.2 megapixel DSLR, coupled with a 22-bit analog-to-digital converter and in-body Shake Reduction (.pdf fact sheet) which also provides a dust removal feature to keep dust off the sensor surface. The K10D features a new image processor called PRIME (Pentax Real IMage Engine), which interfaces with DDR2 RAM, providing a whopping 800MB/s bandwidth. The camera body is dust and weather-resistant featuring 72 seals throughout the camera. Images can be saved in JPG, Pentax’s proprietary raw image format (PEF) or standard DNG format.
The K10D is not a top performing DSLR, though it offers a competitive design and feature set deserving of comparisons to these models. At its reduced price, the K10D brings an advanced DSLR into the realm of general consumer affordability, and provides an economic alternative for seasoned shooters on a budget.
The K10D’s advantages over the competition are fairly clear; dust and weather seals, in-camera Shake Reduction which delivers at least some low light advantage with all your lenses, selectable RAW file format (although both are 10MB+), user definable Auto ISO, digital preview and those unique sensitivity-priority and shutter/aperture-priority exposure modes.
The K10D is a midsize digital SLR that’s built like a tank. It’s very solid, and all the “openings” (like the I/O port cover) are sealed for weather and dust resistance. The camera has a large right hand grip, so it’s easy to hold. The camera has its fair share of buttons, though they are well-labeled and sensibly placed. The K10D has a 2.5″ LCD that’s typical of cameras in its class. Something not-so-typical anymore is the LCD info display on the top of the camera, which has a super-bright backlight for easy nighttime viewing. The camera supports basically all Pentax KAF mount lenses, and the K10D’s Shake Reduction system means that every lens you attach will have image stabilization.
One can’t really get the measure of a complex camera like the Pentax 10D after just a week of use and a few hundred frames. But, it didn’t take me long to discover that this is a camera that the sophisticated user will find to be a pleasure to work with. Image quality is on a par with virtually anything else on the market, the camera is very feature rich, the price is right, and it therefore isn’t a stretch to say that the K10D is probably the best value in a 10 Megapixel DSLR at this time.
The Pentax K10D is an excellent mid-range digital SLR camera that manages to achieve the difficult task of being intuitive to use whilst offering a lot of complex functionality. Pentax have included a number of genuinely useful innovations that help to make the K10D stand out from the crowd.
The K10D’s Shake Reduction seems to work as well as the K100D’s does. I call it the best body-based image stabilization I’ve used to date. Its bearing-mounted sensor can not only move in four directions, it can even rotate to compensate for excited shutter mashers. The more ways a camera can compensate, the better, because only a robot can limit their shaking to just four directions.
Default JPEG images from the K10D are a bit soft and native (default) colors are a little flat, but that’s due to Pentax’s minimal sharpening and image interpolation. Users can customize images by selecting the Bright Image Tone option and tweaking color saturation, contrast, and sharpening to precisely match personal taste. Based on results with the three lenses I used for my tests, the K10D’s image quality is dependably pro quality, with very good detail capture in highlight areas, superior detail capture in shadow areas, and crisp edge transitions. Noise is virtually non-existent up to ISO 400, very well managed up to ISO 800, and visible but not objectionably so from ISO 1000 to ISO 1600.
ISO setting go from 100-1600 and the camera has a noise reduction setting that will operate at all speeds. Although it does make some slight difference at high ISOs, the job can be far better done in dedicated software packages. Files taken at speeds up to ISO800 are quite usable anyway, and the ability to select sensitivity speeds in increments of half or third stops gives great leeway.
A great feature set for the price, pro-level customization, and excellent photo quality make the Pentax K10D a bargain amateur dSLR. Only unremarkable performance holds it back from joining the pack leaders.
Overall image quality is Excellent throughout the ISO range. Color accuracy is Excellent. Noise is exceptionally well controlled all the way through, and Resolution is excellent at all ISOs. In fact, there is less than a 5 percent drop off in resolution from ISO 100 (1925) to ISO 1600 (1845), and noise only climbs from Very Low (1.15) to Low (1.95) from lowest to highest ISO.
Official Pentax Resources
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices. Additionally, purchasing your camera through these links helps support this site.
[tags]pentax, k10d, super, review, dslr, digital camera[/tags]