The K10D is the flagship camera in Pentax's digital
SLR lineup. It arguably has more bang for the buck than any other camera in
its class, with a 10 Megapixel CCD, optical image stabilization, dust removal
system, support for two RAW formats, and a solid, weather resistant body. The
K10D sells for under $1000 with an 18 - 55 mm kit lens.
The K10D has a "twin" in the Samsung GX-10. They
are the identical except for minor cosmetic differences and no support for
the PEF RAW format on the GX-10 (it still supports the DNG format). For more on the GX-10, check out its mini-review.
Is the Pentax K10D the ultimate midrange D-SLR? Find out now
in our review!
What's in the Box?
There are two kits available for the K10D: body only, and
with an 18 - 55 mm lens. Here's what you'll find in the box for both of these
- The 10.2 effective Megapixel K10D camera body
- Pentax F3.5-5.6, 18 - 55 mm autofocus lens [lens kit
- D-L150 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Battery charger
- Viewfinder cap
- Hot shoe cover
- Shoulder strap
- USB cable
- Video cable
- CD-ROM featuring Pentax Photo Browser and Photo Laboratory
- 234 page camera manual (printed)
As is the case with all D-SLRs, Pentax does not include
a memory card with the K10D. So, unless you already have some SD cards laying
around, you'll need to buy one. The camera supports SD, MMC, and the new high
capacity SDHC cards, and I'd recommend buying a 1GB card to start with. A high
speed card is recommended for getting the best performance out of the camera.
If you get the lens kit then you'll find a Pentax F3.5-5.6,
18 - 55 mm lens in the box. This lens can be purchased separately for a little
over $100. The 18-55 is a decent lens that is good for everyday
shooting, though it does have a bit of a problem with vignetting that I'll
The K10D uses the D-LI50 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
for power. This battery packs a whopping 12 Wh of energy, which is about as
high as you'll find these days. How does that translate into battery life?
Have a look:
||Battery life, 50% flash use
|Canon Digital Rebel XTi
||600 shots *
||500 shots **
||650 shots **
||4 x 2500 mAh NiMH
|Sony Alpha DSLR-A100
* Not officially calculated using
the CIPA standard, but same methodology used
** With live view turned off
*** Same as the D-LI50
Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer
The K10D's battery life is a bit below average, but not by
much. If you want more juice, then you'll need this:
K10D with optional battery grip and F2.4L, 70 mm lens
Yes, it's a battery grip, known as the D-BG2 (priced
from $144). It takes a second D-LI50 battery, effectively doubling your battery
life. It also offers a few additional buttons, which come in handy when you're
shooting in the vertical orientation.
I suppose I should mention the usual downsides about proprietary
batteries like the D-LI50. They're expensive (priced
from $50), and you can't
use off-the-shelf batteries when you run out of juice. That said, only the
"old" Pentax K100D supports AA batteries straight out of the box.
A few others let you use them in their optional battery grips.
When it's time to charge that D-LI50, just pop it into the
included charger. It takes about three hours to fully charge the battery. This
isn't one of those handy chargers that plug directly into the wall -- you must
use a power cable.
Let's talk about accessories now. Being a D-SLR, the K10D
supports just about every thing you can imagine. I've compiled some of them
into this handy table for you:
||Why you want it
||Supports all K-mount lenses (even really old
ones) with a 1.5X crop factor
|Get more flash power and less chance of redeye
|Wireless remote control
||Take photos wirelessly...
|Wired remote control
||... or while tethered to the camera
||Doubles your battery life while adding a grip
for shooting portraits
||Power your camera without draining the battery
||Protect your camera from the elements
|* Prices were accurate at time of publication
There are a few other accessories out
there not on the list, most of them related to the optical viewfinder.
Pentax Photo Browser 3
Pentax includes two pieces of software with the K10D: Photo Browser and Photo Laboratory. There are Mac and Windows versions of each, and the former is Universal, meaning that it runs at full speed on Intel-based Macs.
Photo Browser 3 is a fairly typical photo organizer. It'll download the images off of the camera and put them into the usual thumbnail view. As you'd expect, the thumbnail size can be adjusted, and there are various ways of sorting through your photos. Information about the currently selected image is shown below the thumbnails. The software can displays selected photos in a slideshow, if you wish.
Photo Browser can open RAW images and convert them to JPEG or DNG format. It cannot, however, edit the RAW properties -- you'll need the Photo Laboratory software described below for that.
If you double-click on a thumbnail you'll arrive at the above screen. Here you can rotate and crop your photos, as well as print them. While there is an auto enhance feature, I was surprised to see that there was no redeye removal tool.
Pentax Photo Laboratory 3
Pentax includes their Photo Laboratory software (which is based on SilkyPix) for all your RAW editing needs. It lets you adjust things like exposure, saturation, contrast, and sharpness covered. There are nice white balance controls, plus you can reduce noise, chromatic aberrations, and lens distortion as well. If that's still not enough, you can play with tone curves to your heart's desire.
If you don't want to use Photo Laboratory, you can also import the RAW files directly into Photoshop using the latest Camera Raw plug-in.
What's the big deal about RAW anyway, you ask? RAW images contain unprocessed image data from the camera, which must be converted on your computer into more common formats like JPEG. Since the image data hasn't been touched, you can edit the properties mentioned above without reducing the quality of the image. So if you screwed up the white balance, RAW lets you redeem yourself.
The K10D is very unique in that it supports two RAW formats. Naturally, it supports Pentax's own proprietary PEF format, but it also allows you to use Adobe's open standard called DNG. While the photo quality will be the same with either format (since they're both RAW), there are some differences in performance that I'll detail later in the review.
Being a pretty complicated camera, it's not too surprising
that Pentax includes a pretty thick manual in the box with the K10D. It's in-depth
and covers all the camera features. Extra points to Pentax for using a font
size that doesn't require a magnifying glass.
Look and Feel
The K10D is an exceptionally well-built, midsize digital SLR.
It's just the right size (at least for me) -- not too small, not too big. There's
a large grip for your right hand, so you never feel like the K10D is about
to fall out of your hands. The camera has a sturdy plastic shell over a metal
frame, and it feels really solid in your hands. The various buttons, dials,
and ports on the camera are dust and weather resistant, so the camera can be
out in the elements without a problem. Speaking of buttons, while the K10D
has many of them, it's still fairly easy to just pick up and use.
Now let's see how the K10D compares to other entry-level
D-SLRs in terms of size and weight:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Canon Digital Rebel XTi
||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6 in.
||48.1 cu in.
||510 g |
||5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in.
||69.4 cu in.
||700 g |
||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in.
||46.3 cu in.
||482 g |
||5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.
||64 cu in.
||585 g |
|Olympus EVOLT E-410
||5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in.
||38.6 cu in.
||375 g |
|Olympus EVOLT E-510
||5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in.
||52.5 cu in.
||470 g |
||5.1 x 3.6 x 2.8 in.
||51.4 cu in.
||560 g |
||5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 in.
||62.7 cu in.
||710 g |
||5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 in.
||62.7 cu in.
||710 g |