Pentax K100D Review

 
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Pentax K100D Operation

Operation of the Pentax K100D digital SLR is fairly straightforward, with actually only a handful of control buttons on the camera body to fiddle with. The large Mode dial on top of the camera controls the main operating modes, with options for Auto Picture, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Bulb, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Scene modes. Several of the Pentax K100D's control buttons perform multiple functions, which saves space and time. The E-Dial for example, controls a variety of settings when turned in combination with a press of a button, and the arrow keys of the Four-Way Arrow pad access shortcuts to common camera settings as well. The Pentax K100D's LCD menu system is straightforward as well, with four main menus accessible via a tabbed interface at the top of the screen. (All menus are available in all modes.) Considering the multi-functional controls and variety of menu options, it will probably take most users a little time with the operating manual to really get the gist of things, but operation becomes intuitive after that.

Viewfinder
Like most digital SLRs, the Pentax K100D has no live preview on the LCD. Instead, the camera has an optical viewfinder, where you get something better: a true live view of what you're about to shoot, with no electronic delay. 11 autofocus points are arrayed across the screen. You can pick which one you want to have the K100D use (in certain program and manual modes), or you can let the camera analyze the scene and pick what it deems best. Across the bottom of the screen, the K100D keeps you posted about its settings, including flash charge status, AF mode, Scene modes, ISO setting, Focus indicator, Shutter Speed, Aperture, EV compensation, Available images, and the AE AE Lock indicator.


 

Status Display
The Pentax K100D's monochrome LCD status display appears on the camera's top deck just behind the shutter button. It displays the Shutter Speed, Aperture, Flash mode, Drive mode, AF point info, AE metering mode, Auto bracketing, White balance, Battery level, EV compensation, and the estimated number of images available.


LCD Display
The Pentax K100D's LCD monitor is mainly for image review, though a Digital Preview option does let you verify your exposure settings before snapping a picture. Accessed by turning the Power dial to the aperture symbol, Digital Preview displays the framed image in the LCD monitor, allowing you to quickly check depth of field and approximate exposure based on the set variables. Otherwise, the K110D's LCD monitor serves as an information display in most record modes, when the Info button has been pressed (or when the Mode dial is turned). The information display reports AF mode, Mode dial setting, AE metering, flash mode, drive mode, auto bracketing, ISO, tone, quality, resolution, color space, white balance, date & time, AF point, saturation, sharpness, contrast, focal length, scene mode, and Shake Reduction status. Once in this display, pressing the right arrow key pulls up an explanation of the current exposure mode. (Pressing the left arrow returns to the information display.)


Playback Mode Display
In Playback mode, the default image display shows the most recently captured image, with a modest information overlay present. Pressing the Info button once pulls up the Pentax K100D's detailed information display, which decreases the image to a thumbnail on the screen. All of the same information is reported here as in the detailed display in record mode, listed above. A second press of the Info button brings the image back fullscreen, with a small histogram at the bottom of the frame. Any overexposed areas in the frame also blink, if indicated in the Playback menu. You can press the up and down arrows in this mode to move the histogram up and down in the frame. Turning the E-Dial in this mode controls the index display and image enlargement options. The index display shows nine thumbnail images at a time on-screen, while the enlargement feature magnifies images as much as 12x.


Pentax K100D Modes and Menus

Scene Modes: Marked on the Mode dial as "SCN," this mode offers a range of preset exposure modes for capturing images in specific situations. Eight Scene modes are available on the Pentax K100D, including Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Text, Sunset, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, and Museum. Night Scene uses longer shutter times to capture more available light in dark settings, and a tripod is recommended. Surf & Snow mode optimizes the camera for bright backgrounds, while maintaining color elsewhere. Text mode increases contrast for better capture of signs and documents. In Sunset mode, the camera employs a longer shutter speed while boosting color. The Kids and Pet modes both use faster shutter speeds for moving children and animals, while the Kids mode also boosts saturation for better skin tones. In Candlelight mode, the camera again uses a slightly slower shutter speed, and Museum mode is best for taking pictures in bright settings where flash photography is prohibited.

Program Mode: This mode is marked on the Mode dial with a "P." In this mode, the Pentax K100D selects shutter speed and aperture, while you control all other exposure variables.

Shutter Priority Mode: Marked with a "Tv," this mode allows the user to control the shutter speed, from 30 seconds to 1/4,000 second.

Aperture Priority Mode: Marked with an "Av," this mode gives user control of aperture, while the camera selects the shutter speed.

Manual Mode: This mode provides complete control over the exposure, with independent settings for aperture and shutter speed. Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds.

Bulb Mode: Marked with a "B" on the Mode dial, this mode offers unlimited exposure times, holding the shutter open for as long as the Shutter button is held down (and the batteries last).

No Flash Mode: Symbolized on the Mode dial with the lightning flash symbol and a slash, this mode operates similarly to Auto Picture (explained below), and disables the flash entirely.


Night Scene Portrait Mode: The symbol of a person with a crescent moon marks this mode on the Mode dial. Here, the camera employs a slower shutter speed and a synchronized flash to capture bright portraits in dark settings.

Sports (Moving Object) Mode: An icon of a person running marks this mode on the Mode dial. The camera uses faster shutter speeds to "freeze" action on fast-paced subjects.

Macro Mode: The traditional flower macro symbol indicates this mode on the Mode dial. Though actual macro focusing distances will depend on the lens in use, this mode optimizes the camera for capturing bright color in small subjects at close range.

Landscape Mode: The familiar mountain icon marks Landscape mode, which increases the focus range for sharp pictures of sweeping vistas. Saturation is boosted for bright skies and foliage.

Portrait Mode: An icon of a person's head and shoulders symbolizes this mode, which uses a larger aperture to decrease the depth of field, thereby producing sharply focused portraits in front of slightly blurred backgrounds.

Auto Picture Mode: Indicated on the Mode dial by "AUTO PICT," this mode puts the camera in control over the exposure, automatically selecting between Portrait, Landscape, Macro, and Moving Object preset modes depending on the subject. It also controls Flash, ISO, and other settings.

Playback Mode: Playback mode is entered by pressing the Playback button on the camera's rear panel. In this mode, you can scroll through captured images, delete them, write-protect them, and set them up for printing on PictBridge-compatible printers. You can also apply digital filters for creative effects.

 

Record Menu

 

Record Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Image Tone

- Bright
- Natural

 
"Bright" increases contrast and sharpness
Recorded Pixels
- 6M (3,008 x 2,008) RAW
- 6M (3,008 x 2,008 )JPEG
- 4M (2,400 x 1,600)
- 1.5M (1,536 x 1,024)
   
Quality Level
- RAW
- *** Best
- ** Better
- * Good
   
Saturation
- Five levels from - to +
   
Sharpness
- Five levels from - to +
   
Contrast
- Five levels from - to +
   
Auto Bracket
- Bracketing Amount
- Shooting Images

- Bracketing Amount: +/- 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 steps

-Shooting Images: 0, -, +; -, 0, +; or +, 0, -.

Bracketing Amount step size measured in either 1/2 or 1/3 step increments, as set through Custom menu
AE Metering
- Multi-Segment
- Center-weighted
- Spot
   
Swtch dst msr pt
(select focus area)
- Auto
- Select
- Center
- "Select"
lets you manually set AF point to one of 11 points
 
AF Mode
- AF.S (Single)
- AF.C (Continuous)
   
Flash Exp. Comp.
- From -2.0 to +2.0
 
Either 1/2 or 1/3 step increments, as determined through Custom menu
Shake Reduction
- Set focal length from 8 to 800
 
Only available if Shake Reduction switch is on and lens in use does not support automatic lens information communication

 


Playback Menu

 

Playback Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Plybk dsply mthd

- Display Style
- Bright Portion
  

Display Style:
- Standard
- Histogram
- Detailed Info
- No Info. Display
- Last Memory

Bright Portion:
- On
- Off

"Last Memory" setting displays information retained from last session

"Bright Portion" blinks overexposed highlights if activated

 

Instant Review
- 1 sec
- 3 sec
- 5 sec
- Off
 
Controls length of time the most recently captured image appears post capture
Preview Display
- Histogram
- Bright Portion
  

Histogram:
- On
- Off

Bright Portion:
- On
- Off

Makes Histogram and Bright Portion displays available during Image Review and Digital Preview
Digital Filter
- Black & White
- Sepia
- Color
- Soft
- Slim
- Brightness

Color:
- Select from 18 color filters

Slim:
- Turn E-Dial to increase or decrease slimming effect

 
Slideshow
- 3 sec
- 5 sec
- 10 sec
- 30 sec
 
Sets interval of display for each image

 


Setup Menu

 

Setup Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Format
- Format
- Cancel

 

"Format" erases all images, even protected ones

Beep
- On
- Off
   
Date Adjust
- Date Style
- Date
- Time
  

Date Style:
- mm/dd/yy
- dd/mm/yy
- yy/mm/dd
- 12h
- 24h

Date:
- Set date

Time:
- Set time

 
World Time
- Choose destination city, set time for home and destination

 

 
Language
- English
- French
- German
- Spanish
- Italian
- Swedish
- Dutch
- Russian
- Korean
- Chinese (traditional)
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Japanese
   
Guide Display
- On
- Off
 
"On" activates display guides on LCD when the exposure mode is changed or camera is switched on
Brightness Level
- Arbitrary units from - to +
 
Adjusts overall brightness of LCD display
Video Out
- NTSC
- PAL
   
Transfer Mode
- PC
- PictBridge
- PC-F
   
Auto Power Off
- 1 min
- 3 min
- 5 min
- 10 min
- 30 min
- Off
 
Sets time before camera shuts off after inactivity
Folder Name
- Standard
- Date
 

"Standard" sets file naming in form of xxxPENTX, sequentially from 100 to 999

"Date" names files xxx_MMDD

File #
- Serial Number
- Reset
 

"Serial Number" maintains the sequence regardless of memory card

"Reset" resets numbering with each new card

Sensor Cleaning
- Mirror Up
- Cancel
 
"Mirror Up" locks the mirror up for sensor cleaning
Reset
- Reset
- Cancel
 
"Reset" returns all settings to defaults

 

Custom Menu

 

Custom Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Setting
- On
- Off
"On" enables the Custom menu
Noise Reduction
- On
- Off
 
"On" automatically enables Noise Reduction for slower exposures
Expsr Setting Steps
- 1 (1/2 EV)
- 2 (1/3 EV)

 

 
ISO Corction in AUTO
- 1 (ISO 200-800)
- 2 (ISO 200-400)
- 3 (ISO 200-1,600)
- 4 (ISO 200-3,200)

 

Automatically corrects the ISO range for the Auto ISO setting
ISO Snstvty Wrn Dspl
- 1 (Off)
- 2 (ISO 400)
- 3 (ISO 800)
- 4 (ISO 1,600)
- 5 (ISO 3,200)
 
Sets the ISO point at which the camera displays a high sensitivity warning
Link AF Point and AE
- 1 (Off)
- 2 (On)
 
"On" links the AE and AF points, so that both values are set from the same point
Meter Operating Time
- 1 (10 sec)
- 2 (3 sec)
- 3 (30 sec)
 
Time that exposure values are saved after metering
AE-L with AF locked
- 1 (Off)
- 2 (On)
 
"On" fixes exposure with focus
Recordable Image No.
   
If set, switches number of recordable images to number of continuous recordable images when Shutter button is halfway pressed
OK btn when shooting
- 1 (Confirm Sensitivity
- 2 (Center of AF Point)
- 3 (Enable AF)
- 4 (Cancel AF)
 

Sets the OK button to control AF, allowing temporary autofocus while using manual focus

"Center of AF Point" temporarily moves the AF point to center

AE-L bttn on M expsr
- 1 (Program Line)
- 2 (Tv Shift)
- 3 (Av Shift)
 

"Program Line" adjusts shutter speed and aperture

"Tv Shift" adjusts shutter speed and locks aperture

"Av Shift" adjusts aperture and locks shutter speed

Superimpose AF Area
- On
- Off
 

If switched on, highlights the AF point in red in the viewfinder

AF in remote control
- On
- Off
 
If checked, uses autofocus in remote control mode
Fl with S lens used
- On
- Off
 
If on, enables focus indicator when screw mount lens is in use
Using aperture ring
- Permitted
- Not Permitted
 
"Permitted" allows shutter to be released even if the aperture ring of D FA, FA, F, or A lenses is not set to "A" position, or if a lens without an "A" position is attached
Release when Chrging
- 1 (Off)
- 2 (On)
 
"On" allows shutter release while flash is charging
Preview Method
- 1 (Digital Preview)
- 2 (Optical Preview)
 

"Digital Preview" displays approximate exposure on LCD monitor

"Optical Preview" displays approximate depth of field in viewfinder

Mag to Strt Zm Plybk
- 1 (1.2 times)
- 2 (2 times)
- 3 (4 times)
- 4 (8 times)
- 5 (12 times)
 
Sets the initial magnification of zoom playback
Man. WB Measurement
- 1 (Entire Screen)
- 2 (Spot Metering Area)
 
Designates the area size that manual white balance is determined from
Color Space
- 1 (sRGB)
- 2 (Adobe RGB)
   
Reset Custom Fnction
- Reset
- Cancel
 
"Reset" returns all Custom settings to defaults

 

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