Magazine Article


Pentax K10D and the Broken Record

Pentax K10D
Pentax K10D
tug passes the Mary Murray ferry
The tug passes the Mary Murray ferry, visible in the distance.
Don Sutherland

The ghost of the Mary Murray
The ghost of the Mary Murray, the old ferry that sometimes turns up in lore about the Raritan River. It was wet out there, and the camera had no problems shooting in the middle of a noríeaster.
Don Sutherland

We havenít tested all of them yet, but the 10MP cameras weíve tried so far do pay some penalty for the increased pixel count compared to their 8MP and 6MP forebears. Itís to be expected, at least to the extent that history is a guide. Unless the imaging chip gets bigger, which it usually doesnít, the addition of more pixels requires they be smaller. That and other factors can make them noisier at higher speed settings.

With its in-body anti-shake system and ruggedized construction, the K10D at $999 is probably the value leader of its market. The fact that itís remarkably well-thought-out, with all kinds of digital features to expand its versatility in a variable world, makes it a serious step forward toward the camera that is finally, wholly, unapologetically digital. For sheer usability, the K10D raises the bar.

But itís the 6MP K100D that can see in the dark. We got ourselves a 50mm f/1.4, and a 30mm f/1.4 lens, deciding to make the K100D our official lowlight camera. Weíre thinking of getting a second one for backup. It supplements the K10D, which makes an excellent picture at the 100 and 200 speeds. Between the two, thereís very little, day or night, fair weather or foul, that canít be made into pictures.

We wish there were more super-high-speed lenses. Pentax made some magnificent f/1.2 lenses back in the days of the LX, our camera of choice during the late 1980s and í90s. Motion picture zoom lenses reached 12X zoom ranges, with apertures of f/1.4. So we know it can be done.

But for now, weíre impressed. Between these two Pentax models, almost anythingís fair game for photography. And the newer of them, with bold but commonsensical thinking in its features and operation, moves one notch closer to the goal we keep harping on like a broken record. Itís that much closer to the true digital camera. PTN