Pentax K100D Review
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Pentax K100D Design
Though the Pentax K100D ranks among the smaller digital SLRs on the market, its heft and feel are still enough to be taken more seriously. The all-black body measures 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.8 inches (130 x 93 x 70 millimeters) and weighs 22.2 ounces (635 grams) with batteries, lens, and memory card installed. A shoulder strap is packaged with the camera, so you can keep it securely around your neck or on your shoulder when strolling about. The Pentax K lens mount is intended to be compatible with every Pentax K lens ever produced, and the camera features Pentax's own Shake Reduction technology to help prevent any minor blurring from camera movement in long zoom shots. Capable of handling a wide range of exposure conditions with its array of automatic and manual exposure modes, the K100D ought to please novices and advanced photographers alike, and its lens compatibility will especially pique the interest of Pentax devotees.
The Pentax K100D features a nice handgrip on the right side of the front panel, with a leathery texture for your fingers to cling to as they wrap around the camera. On the front of the handgrip is a small window covering the remote control receiver and self-timer lamp. The sliver metal K lens mount dominates the front panel, and a small button on its lower left side (as viewed from the front) unlocks the lens for removal.
The right side of the Pentax K100D (as viewed from the rear) features the SD/MMC memory compartment, covered by a hinged, plastic door that opens from the rear panel. Also visible on this side is one of the shoulder strap eyelets.
The left side holds a large plastic door that flips out toward the front and reveals the wired remote, Video/PC, and DC In jacks. A second strap eyelet is located at the top of the panel, just beneath the ribbed edge of the Mode dial. Also visible on this side of the Pentax K100D is the Focus switch on the bottom of the lens barrel.
The Pentax K100D's top panel includes the Shutter button and Power dial combination, along with the Exposure Compensation (Aperture) button. A small monochrome LCD status panel reports the camera settings. Center are the pop-up flash compartment and external flash hot shoe, with the camera's Mode dial on the far left. Also visible is the optical viewfinder's sliding diopter adjustment switch, behind the flash hot shoe.
The few remaining controls are located on the Pentax K100D's rear panel, along with the 2.5-inch LCD monitor and optical viewfinder eyepiece. In the top right corner are the multifunctional "E-Dial" (indicated by the index display and magnifying glass icons) and the AE Lock/Protect button, with a Four-Way Arrow pad and OK button below these. Adjacent to the lower right corner of the LCD monitor are the Function button and Shake Reduction switch, with a small LED that reports camera status. Lining the far left side of the rear panel are the Flash Up, Menu, Erase, Info, and Playback buttons.
Finally, the K100D's flat bottom holds the threaded metal tripod screw mount and the battery compartment. The battery compartment is just far enough away from the tripod mount to allow quick battery changes while working with a tripod, something I always pay attention to given the amount of in-studio shooting I do with each test camera.
Pentax K100D External Controls
Shutter Button: Placed at an angle out on the grip's leading edge, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the Pentax K100D's shutter when fully pressed.
Power Dial: Encircling the Shutter button, this dial turns the camera on and off. A third, springloaded position, indicated by a lens diaphragm icon, enables either an optical or digital preview in the LCD monitor. (Optical preview shows the depth of field through the viewfinder, and the digital preview captures a temporary image that indicates the result of aperture and shutter speed in the LCD monitor.)
Exposure Compensation/AV Button: Placed behind the Pentax K100D's Shutter button and Power dial on the top panel, this button adjusts the overall exposure compensation when pressed while turning the E-Dial. In Manual mode, pressing this button while turning the E-Dial adjusts the lens aperture setting.
Mode Dial: Located on the far left side of the camera's top panel, this ribbed dial sets the Pentax K100D's operating mode, offering Auto Picture, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Bulb, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, and Scene modes. (See menus and descriptions below.)
Diopter Adjustment Switch: This tiny sliding switch sits directly atop the optical viewfinder eyepiece, and adjusts the view for eyeglass wearers from -2.5 to +1.5 diopters.
AE Lock/Protect Button: In the top right corner of the Pentax K100D's rear panel, this button locks the exposure when pressed. (You can also set this button to lock either the shutter speed or aperture only through the Custom Functions menu.) In Playback mode, this button marks a displayed image for write protection, or removes the protection indicator.
E-Dial: To the left of the AE Lock / Protect button, this dial features markings for index display and image enlargement playback functions. In record modes, however, this dial changes the Pentax K100D's settings when turned while pressing a button. In Aperture and Shutter Priority modes, turning this dial adjusts the designated exposure variable. In Manual mode, turning the dial alone sets the shutter speed; pressing the Exposure Compensation/AV button while turning the E-Dial sets the Aperture.
Four-Way Arrow Pad and OK Button: Next to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this arrow pad navigates through menu items when the LCD menu is displayed. Pressing the center OK button confirms selections. When the Function menu is displayed in record or playback modes, the arrow keys correspond to specific camera functions (see Function Button below). When the information display is enabled in record mode, pressing the right arrow displays an explanation screen detailing the current exposure mode. In Playback mode, the arrow keys navigate through captured images on the memory card. If an image has been enlarged, the arrow keys pan the view on the display.
Function Button: Next to the lower right corner of the LCD monitor, the Function (Fn) button calls up the Function menu when pressed in record or playback modes. In record mode, options are Drive Mode (up arrow), Flash Mode (down arrow), White Balance (left arrow), and Sensitivity (right arrow). In Playback mode, options are DPOF settings (up arrow), Digital Filter (left arrow), and Slideshow (right arrow).
Shake Reduction Switch: To the right of the Function button, this sliding switch turns the K100D's Shake Reduction on or off.
Flash Up Button: The first in a series of buttons lining the left side of the rear panel, this button releases the pop-up flash from its compartment.
Menu Button: Below the Flash Up button, this button activates the settings menu in any camera mode. The Menu button also turns off the menu display.
Erase Button: Directly beneath the Pentax K100D's Menu button, this button calls up the erase menu when pressed while a captured image is displayed.
Info Button: Next in line below the Erase button, this button controls the level of information displayed on the LCD monitor in both record and playback modes.
Playback Mode: The final button in the series on the left side of the rear panel, this button puts the camera into Playback mode and displays the most recently captured image on the LCD monitor.
Focus Mode Switch: Located on the left side of the lens barrel (when viewing camera from the rear), this switch puts the camera into Auto or Manual focus modes.
Lens Release Button: Tucked beneath the Pentax K100D's lens barrel on the side closest to the handgrip, this button unlocks the lens from its mount.
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.