Pentax K10D Review

 
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Pentax K10D Operation

Operation of the Pentax K10D digital SLR is fairly straightforward, but tuned with the experienced photographer in mind. You'll do better with the K10D if you take time to read the manual and learn every little function. The large Mode dial on top of the camera controls the main operating modes, and tells the story of the K10D's uniqueness. It has options for Green (Auto), Program, Sensitivity priority, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Shutter and Aperture priority, Manual, Bulb, and X-sync (flash). Several of the Pentax K10D's control buttons perform multiple functions, which saves space and time. The e-dials for example, control 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 K10D's LCD menu system is straightforward, with four main menus accessible via a tabbed interface at the top of the screen. Considering the multi-functional controls and variety of menu options, it will probably take most users a little time with the manual to really get the gist of things, but operation becomes intuitive after that.


Viewfinder
Like most digital SLRs, the Pentax K10D 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 K10D 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 K10D keeps you posted about its settings, including Shake Reduction, flash charge status, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Focus indicator, Manual Focus mode, EV bar, EV compensation, Flash EV compensation, AE Lock indicator, ISO warning, Number of images available/ISO setting. See the complete list below.

1
AF frame
11
Exposure compensation indicator
2
Spot metering area
12
Flash exposure compensation indicator
3
AF point
13
AE lock indicator
4
Shake reduction indicator
14
ISO warning
5
Flash status
15
Number of recordable images
6
Shutter speed
EV compensation value
7
Aperture
Sensitivity (ISO) indicator
8
Focus indicator
9
Manual focus indicator
10
Exposure compensation scale
Exposure meter in manual mode

 

Status Display
The Pentax K10D's monochrome LCD status display appears on the camera's top deck just behind the shutter button. It displays the Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, exposure mode, battery status, EV compensation, drive mode, and the estimated number of images available, varying depending on mode and buttons active. See the complete list below.


 

1
Shutter speed
9
Battery level indicator
2
Aperture
10
White balance indicator
3
Flash mode
11
ISO warning
4
Drive mode
12
RAW capture mode
(+ indicates RAW + JPEG)
5
EV bar
13
Number or recordable images
6
Auto bracket indicator
EV compensation value
7
Flash exposure compensation indicator
PC mode
8
EV compensation indicator
14
Multiple exposure mode

 

LCD Display
The Pentax K10D'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 K10D'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. Pressing the Function button brings up a Function menu, allowing quick settings of commonly accessed items, including White balance, Drive mode, ISO, and Flash.


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 K10D's histogram view. Pressing the up or down arrow switches between a luminance histogram and an RGB+Luminance histogram set. Any overexposed areas in the frame also blink, if the option is selected in the Playback menu. Pressing the Info button again brings up a 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 third press of the Info button brings the image back fullscreen, with no information. 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 K10D Modes and Menus

Green mode: Full automatic mode. Camera sets shutter speed and aperture. AE lock, EV compensation, auto bracket, multiple exposure and flash compensation cannot be set in Green mode.

Program mode (P): Called Hyper-program, K10D selects shutter speed and aperture, while you control all other exposure variables. You can use the front and rear e-dial to adjust exposure, or press the Green button on the top deck to return to the Program mode's default choice.

Sensitivity Priority mode (Sv): In this unique mode you set the ISO by pressing the shutter button halfway, then turning the Rear e-dial. The camera picks the Aperture and Shutter value accordingly.

Shutter Priority mode (Tv): 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 (Av): Marked with an "Av," this mode gives user control of aperture, while the camera selects the shutter speed.

Shutter and Aperture Priority mode (TAv): Another unique mode, opposite of Sv above: The camera adjusts the ISO sensitivity to meet the requirements of your Aperture and Shutter settings.

Manual mode (M): Dubbed Hyper-manual mode, this setting 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 (B): 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).

Flash X-sync mode (X): Sets shutter speed to 1/180 second, for use with manual strobes.

User mode (USER): This mode lets the user quickly recall a set of favorite settings including exposure mode, flash mode, EV compensation, exposure bracketing, drive mode, flash exposure compensation, sensitivity, auto sensitivity range, white balance, file format, JPEG size and quality, image tone, saturation, sharpness and contrast.

 

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
Recorded Pixels
- 10M (3,872 x 2,592) RAW (PEF or DNG)
- 10M (3,872 x 2,592 ) JPEG
- 6M (3,008 x 2,000)
- 2M (1,824 x 1,216)
   
Quality Level
- RAW
- *** Best
- ** Better
- * Good
   
Image Tone

- Natural
- Bright

 
"Bright" increases contrast and sharpness
Saturation
- Seven levels from - to +
   
Sharpness
- Seven levels from - to +
   
Contrast
- Seven levels from - to +
   
File Format
- JPEG
- RAW
- RAW + JPEG
RAW file format
- PEF
- DNG
PEF is Pentax's native RAW format; DNG is Adobe's Digital Negative standard
Extended Bracket
- Off
- White Balance
- Saturation
- Sharpness
- Contrast

Bracketing amounts vary depending on type selected
Multi-exposure
- Number of Shots
- Auto EV Adjust (check/uncheck)
- 2, 3, 4, or 5 times
Memory
- Flash mode
- Drive mode
- White Balance
- Sensitivity
- EV Compensation
- Auto Bracket
- Playback Display
- File No.
Allows you to select what settings are saved when you turn the camera off. All are selected by default
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
Playback Display

Bright/Dark area  

Over and underexposed areas flash on playback

 

Instant Review
- Display time
- Histogram (on or off)
- Bright/Dark area (on or off)
- 1, 3, or 5 seconds
Controls length of time the most recently captured image appears post capture, and whether a histogram and high/low exposure flashes
Digital Preview
- Histogram
- Bright/Dark area
  

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
- Interval
- Repeat Playback
- 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
USER
- Cancel
- OK
Saves current settings as settings for USER on Mode dial
Format
- Format
- Cancel

 

"Format" erases all images, even protected ones

Beep
- In-focus
- AE-L
- RAW
- Self-timer
- Remote Control
- All options: check/uncheck
Sets whether the camera beeps or not by category
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
- Portuguese
- Italian
- Swedish
- Dutch
- Russian
- Korean
- Chinese (traditional)
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Japanese
   
Guide Display
- Off
- 3 sec
- 10 sec
- 30 sec
 
Activates display guides on LCD when the exposure mode is changed or camera is switched on for set amount of time
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

Select battery
- Auto
- Body first
- Grip first
 

Sets which battery is used first when two are present

Dust Removal
- Dust Removal
- Start-up action
First option shakes the sensor when you press OK from this menu, Start-up action shakes sensor on startup
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
- 1: On
- 2: Off
"On" enables the Custom menu
Program line
- 1: Normal
- 2: Hi Speed
- 3: Depth
- 4: MTF
Hi Speed sets Program mode to bias toward high shutter speeds; Depth sets the Program mode to bias toward wider apertures; MTF selects for best apertures for the attached lens (most effective with DA, D, D FA, FA, and FA J lenses)
EV Steps
- 1: 1/2 EV
- 2: 1/3 EV

 

 
Sensitivity Steps
- 1: 1 EV Steps
- 2: As EV Steps

 

"As EV Steps" adjusts ISO based on what variable is set in the previous Custom menu item (EV Steps)
ISO Warning
- 1: Off
- 2: ISO 400
- 3: ISO 800
- 4: ISO 1600
 
Sets the ISO point at which the camera displays a high sensitivity warning
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
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
Auto Bracketing order
- 1: 0 - +
- 2: - 0 +
- 3: + 0 -
- 4: 0 + -
Sets shooting order for bracketed exposures
Auto EV compensation
- 1: Off
- 2: On
Automatically overrides exposure when proper exposure is not set
WB when using flash
- 1: Unchanged
- 2: Flash
 
When flash is used, white balance can stay as measured, or switch to Flash white balance
Fine tune when AWB
- 1: Disabled
- 2: Enabled
AF Button Function
- 1: Enable AF
- 2: Cancel AF
 

Option 2 turns off AF button function

AF by Press Halfway
- 1: On
- 2: Off
Option 2 disables Shutter release AF
Superimpose AF Area
- 1: On
- 2: Off
 

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

AF in remote control
- 1: On
- 2: Off
 
If checked, uses autofocus in remote control mode
Noise Reduction
- 1: On
- 2: Off
Sets whether Noise Reduction is applied when shooting at low shutter speeds (This takes longer between exposures because it has to capture a dark frame after the main exposure)
Color Space
- 1 (sRGB)
- 2 (Adobe RGB)
   
Color temp steps
- 1: Kelvin
- 2: Mired
Kelvin: Color temp can be set in steps of 100K

Mired: Color temp can be set in steps of 20 mired

e-dial in Program
- 1: Front=Shutter, Rear=Aperture
- 2: Front=EV, Rear=P Shift
- 3: Front=P Shift, Rear=EV
- 4: Front=disabled, Rear=disabled
Sets functions of e-dial in Program mode
e-dial in Sv mode
- 1: Front=disabled, Rear=ISO
- 2: Front=P Shift, Rear=ISO
- 3: Front=ISO, Rear=P Shift
Sets functions of e-dial in Sensor priority mode
e-dial in Tv mode
- 1: Front=Shutter, Rear=disabled
- 2: Front=Shutter, Rear=EV
- 3: Front=EV, Rear=Shutter
Sets functions of e-dial in Shutter priority mode
e-dial in Av mode
- 1: Front=disabled, Rear=Aperture
- 2: Front=EV, Rear=Aperture
- 3: Front=Aperture, Rear=EV
Sets functions of e-dial in Aperture priority mode
Green Btn in Manual
- 1: Program line
- 2: Tv Shift
- 3: Av Shift
Sets function of Green Button in Manual mode
One-touch RAW+JPEG
- 1: One time
- 2: Continue
 
Second option sets RAW button to a RAW toggle rather than a one-frame setting
Illuminate LCD panel
- 1: On
- 2: Off
 
Default value illuminates LCD panel when EV button is pressed; option 2 disables this
Release when Chrging
- 1: Off
- 2: On
 
"On" allows shutter release while flash is charging
Preview Method
- 1: Optical Preview
- 2: Digital Preview
 

"Optical Preview" displays approximate depth of field in viewfinder

"Digital Preview" displays approximate exposure on LCD monitor

Recordable Image No.
- 1: Recordable image no.
- 2: Rcd img no. (cont.)
Option 1 always displays number of recordable images; Option 2 displays maximum number of images with a half-press of the shutter button in continuous mode
Initial zoom display
- 1: 1.2 times
- 2: 2 times
- 3: 4 times
- 4: 8 times
- 5: 16 times
 
Sets the initial magnification of zoom playback
Auto Image Rotation
- 1: On
- 2: Off
 
Turns auto-rotation on or off
Saving rotation info
- 1: On
- 2: Off
 
Using aperture ring
- 1: Prohibited
- 2: Permitted
 
Setting one prevents image capture when the aperture ring isn't set to A.
Reset Custom Fnction
- Reset
- Cancel
Resets all Custom Functions to default

 

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