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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pentax K100 Review by MJ


I've had a short review of the Pentax K100 published over at The Luminous Landscape.

It's a small, light, workmanlike entry-level DSLR. How much you would like it probably depends on what you want to do with it and where you're coming from. If you've been using more professional DSLRs or mid-level and above film SLRs (say the level of the F100 and higher), then you'd likely be underwhelmed by the Pentax. But if you're coming from the world of "prosumer" and pocket digicams, the increase in quality and capability will be considerable, at a price that's singularly easy on your wallet, your shoulder, and your clamber up the DSLR learning curve.

More at the link.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

11 Comments:

Blogger m. said...

Sounds like a pretty reasonable assessment of the camera. I am in the market for what would be my first SLR (and don't worry, I'm not asking for advice). I do like the anti-shake capabilities, although I'm not excited about it otherwise.

My Dad actually had what I believe was a Pentax SLR. When he died, my brother wound up his camera equipment. I suspect he sold what he could on eBay.

You wouldn't want to trade brothers, would you?

1:28 PM  
Blogger JS said...

Mike,

"If you shot Canon, by contrast, you'd have to shell out for EF or later lenses for every little thing you want to do, because they're all that will work on Canon DSLRs."

Thankfully that's not true, or I wouldn't be able to use my Zenitar 16mm in M42 mount!
May be better worded as "you may prefer to shell out for EF or later lenses.." Some of the first pictures I took with my Drebel were with a Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8. I have no doubt that it's easier to press a button and have the camera stop the lens down than to focus manually wide open and then set the shooting aperture, but if a Canon user wants to experiment with older lenses from other manufacturers, they're only an adapter away from doing it.

1:29 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

Hello Michael,

Enjoyed your review and you are right about this:

"Canny Pentax buyers could get a lot of photographic functionality for thousands less if they were willing to do some lens research and spend some time hunting for lens bargains."

...however bargains are harder to find these days. Because they work so well on today's cameras, good old Pentax lenses are going for a premium.

One thing about them is because they cover the full 35mm frame, the APS sensors are completely within the "sweet spot" of the image circle and images have virtually no vignetting or softness in the corners. Even certain lenses that weren't considered Pentax's best produce very fine results because of this. Pentax doesn't make them any more and users have wised up, so they are going for hefty prices.

People are even snapping up new 35mm Ltd lenses which are still being made, such as the 77/1.8. Vendors such as Adorama and B&H are occasionally out of stock and have to reorder.

It's really interesting to watch what's happening in the Pentax camp right now. The K100 is selling well and there's a huge buzz about the pending K10, supposedly to be announced on September 14th and supposedly to have anti-shake and be price competitive with the other 10mp models.

A few years ago I sold off most of my film gear, but kept my stable of Pentax primes. I've been waiting for this. Very interesting times for Pentax.

Regards,
Clayton Jones

9:39 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

Mike,

Pentax's lens compatability charms may go even further than we thought. See this thread (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=19738793) at DPReview, which indicates that Pentax dSLRs may also be compatible with (at least) pre-AI Nikon F-mount lenses, and possibly Nikon AI, AI-S and autofocus lenses as well.

Best regards,
Adam

5:40 AM  
Blogger Robert Roaldi said...

I am one of those guys who sold off all his manual focus Pentax lenses and film bodies 3-4 years ago to consolidate with my wife's EOS film gear. Nothing wrong with the EOS stuff but I just don't like it. This is an ergonomic thing, nothing to do with photography. Boy do I regret it now, because it is beginning to appear that the mid-range EOS zooms I own don't measure up to the modern digital sensors and I do not want to spend the kind of money on "L" lenses that is perhaps needed.

Had I kept all the manual focus Pentax lenses (from 20mm to 400mm), I'd be laughing now. Snap up a relatively cheap 6 mpix K100 and later a 10 mpix K??, and I would be set.

Too bad we can't predict the future better.

7:06 AM  
Blogger dazedgonebye said...

Nice review. The K100 does seem to be in the spirit of the K1000. Nice to see anti-shake at that price point.
I do have to defend Canon on the lens compatibility point though. I currently own and shoot, Nikon, M42, Pentax K-mount and Carl Zeiss glass on my EF mount Canon camera. Other mounts are possible, I just don't own any.

12:03 PM  
Blogger George Hazelton said...

I read your full review on Luminous Landscape. I'm a long-time Pentax user (K 1000, MX, ME-Super, and LX, plus a number of lenses) and the fact that Pentax has remained true to backward compatibility is good news. What isn't good news is the tiny viewfinder images presented by Pentax DSLR's and, apparently, by all but the most expensive other brands. I compared the expansive view through my LX to the cramped tunnel vision of the K100 and, even worse, a Canon Rebel. Good grief! Interchangeable finder screens would be nice, as would mirror lockup and interchangeable finders, and ... how's about a digital LX??

12:15 PM  
Blogger Adam Richardson said...

George-

I have a DS and while the viewfinder image is not as large as my old Canon T90, it's a heck of a lot better than the Rebels or even higher end models like the D70. I found those unacceptable, otherwise was quite ready to drop $ on Nikon. I would give props to Pentax for keeping a higher priority on this aspect than most of the other manufacturers, who seem to assume that people coming from the *truly* terrible viewfinders of digital point and shoots will be happy to have something twice as large.

I don't know for the K100 but for other Pentax DSLR's you can change the focusing screens. Katz makes some: http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/ This may not be possible on the K100 but it's a safe bet for the K10.

Adam

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George...

I'd just like to add that you'll find mirror lockup on ALL of the Pentax DSLRs via the 2 second self timer.

--Andre

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Joel Becker said...

Hey Mike, I'd still love to see a short and sweet "Best lenses to pick up for Pentax". I just grabbed a K100D today, the minute I was able to hold it in person. I hated the feel of the *istD, but the K100D, while not apparently different, feels *right* in my hand. Enough to make me buy. I just need to know what lenses to hunt for :-)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Stamp-Connection said...

This is such a great camera! I love shooting with it!

1:44 PM  

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