View Full Version : PENTAX K10D Hands on report

10-28-2006, 02:44 PM
Today I finally got my hands on the long awaited and launch-delayed K10D. To those who donít know this is supposed to be THE all-time value DSLR with a fancy 22-bit processing engine, 11 AF points (9 of which are ďcrossĒ types), full weatherproofing, built-in anti shake system and, as if that wasnít enough, self cleaning anti-dust sensor.

To good to be true?
Iím afraid so. Let me tell you why.

I waited half an hour around the Pentax Forum in Tokyo for a glimpse of this great new beast, and within 30 seconds of my handling the thing I already found two deal breakers.

1. A violent AF that hunts like a dog on acid.
I donít know of some of you remember some of the early AF Pentax analog cameras, but they tended to have what can only be described as a jerky, violent, raging AF. Well old traditions doe hard at Pentax I guess because no sooner had I pressed the shutter half way that the AF started jerking into motion so powerfully that I feared it would put me off my aim (not that this would be a problem for me ;o))) Disappointed I thought I would put the cam through a true street-shooting test: I extended my arm to the right and aimed the camera at innocent Pentax staff members standing by Ė the body thing started hunting and wheezing and would not shoot. Much worse than anything I have encountered with the Canon 5D!

2. The baby sized grip:
Now pretty much everyone on TE has handled a Canon Eos 350D by now. Yu know the one with the tiny grip made for tiny hands. Well the semi-pro, weatherproofed, superduper K10D has a grip that is like the 350Dís brother only slightly bigger. Even with the 16-45mm zoom lens, which only weighs a mere 400gm, the camera was bending forward and you had to grip like hell to keep it upright.

By then all my hoes evaporated and I knew I would give the Nikons (D80 but mostly the D200) a serious look again. To me, there is just no comparison. This was all the more disappointing that I was really looking forward to trying out this new toy and had great hoes for it.

10-29-2006, 01:27 AM
Thanks for the report Francis!

Can't say the size of the grip is a particular deal breaker for me - I'd rather a camera with a small grip, than something that weighs more than I do... Not sure why the camera pulling forward an issue - don't you always support the lens with your other hand?

AF should be sorted out soon hopefully - as I understand it the current AF system uses a motor in the body, but Pentax are going for a lens mounted USM type motor in some of their upcoming lenses - so hopefully that'll fix it. Of course AF performance is a non-issue for those of us who tend to focus manually ;) A bit silly of them touting the AF as a key selling point if it's not up to scratch though.

10-29-2006, 02:13 AM
Hi Adrian:
Abiut the grip I simly meant that I din't feel the gri was deely recessed enough for a cam of that size and heft an that even a modest zoom lens like the 16-45 didn't balance well on it - not perhaps a good sign...

10-29-2006, 06:29 AM
Sounds weird cause the K100D is such a nice camera..which fits, atleast mine, hands easily.

I hope to have it in my hands soon..want to judge it too.

I encounter a hunting AF too sometimes, with the K100D. But can't compare it to other camera's, have had 350D in my hands, but didn't shoot long enough with it to judge it fairly.

10-29-2006, 09:38 AM
Hello Emiel:
Let me be more precise - the K100 does indeed handle better - it's ergobnomics are more balanced for its size and weight. The K10D is a HEAVY camera that wnats to be lighter than it is, so you have a small loking body with lots of corners cut to achiev that shape, one of them being a sufficiently generous grip. With the 16-45mm, 400g zoom attached you can immediately sense the imbalance. If you add the exra batter pack/grip, the balance is re-established but it is a eral shame Pentax couldn't get it right without the extra grip, as the 16-45 is NOT their heaviest lens, ;o)
These are just my observations please take them as such, and remember that I really wanted to be bowled over by the K10D - I was considering it...

10-30-2006, 05:41 AM
Thanks again for reply. I hope some shops here will have it in their stores in the nearby future. Want to try it. Just want to feel and see how the follow up to the K100D or well maybe it's bigger mother/father is feeling.
Probably by the time I need a new body there are allready other camera's from Pentax, topping the K10D.

10-30-2006, 01:49 PM
Hi Francis,

As you know, I've been following your 'affair of the heart' with interest following the break-up with your 5D. It did catch me by surprise that you bought a G7 after teasing us with those photos from the borrowed D200 but, after this review, I still think your heart lies with Nikon.

Following my own decision to part company with KM and move in with Nikon, I've been getting my hands on every review of the D80 and the D200. First of all, I thought the D80 was a steal at the price but I see several reviews now where (like other pro-sumer dSLRs such as the 400D), it is said to be 'highlight happy' (i.e. tends to blow the highlights). I've found this a real problem with my KM 5D in the field - as soon as sun appears, I'm dialling in minus 2/3 to 1 stop compensation.

So, it looks more and more like the D200. But the Fuji S5 Pro will be interesting when it arrives early in the New Year. Two great things - 1) it will use the D200 shell so great handling, metal and Nikon lenses; 2) its sensor will have the best dynamic range of any dSLR so no more blown highlights! The magazines say it's aimed at wedding and portrait photographers but I think all of us could benefit.

Sorry if I've written something similar before. It's the fading memory. . .

Best wishes


10-30-2006, 02:16 PM
Hi Stephen,
The G7 is very useful in its own rtight - it is an ideal little street demon ;o)
But yes, I am leaning more and more toward the D200 that has the best body and the best bang for the buck of any cam I've evr seen.
Look for the Fuji S5 to be once again horrendously priced for what is in fact just a 6M cam with a "trick up its sleevs" where it pretends to be 12. No, the 5D IS 12, not the 5S. I suspect the D200 is a much more together package,, though wedding photographers whose livelihood depends on ercreating creamy skin tones have to consider the S5.

10-31-2006, 11:50 AM
Francis, looks like you are in this photography business for ages,
and i was preaching about the cameras to you, LOL! sorry for that!!

Would you mind if you had a brief report on M8 too maybe?? (because i know that you are a bit familiar with it, no? ;))

i think some future users of M8 will really appreciate your reviews about it (only for our sake of course, or maybe we even convince you! who knows.. ;)


10-31-2006, 12:49 PM
Ok I'll go to the fancy Leica showroom near my office in the Ginza and see if they let me play with it...
Of course they might not be able to pry it from my hands and that could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

10-31-2006, 12:58 PM
Francis, why don't you ger yourself an Epson RD-1 ? it is a beautiful camera, only a bit more expensive than D200, you could slowly buy some lenses, and then after some time get the M8

10-31-2006, 01:08 PM
Man, first Evren, then You, Maciej...PUSHING me toward the M8, this time via the RD-1 route, LOL!
WHo knows... I'm havincg such a hard time selling my 5D I wuoldn't be surprised if I was back with it in my hands in c couple of weeks looking like a damn dool...;o)

10-31-2006, 01:27 PM
so you still haven't sold your 5D? is it still on sale? and what lenses are you selling? I'd love to have this 35mm f/1.4 lens. I use my 35mm f/2 lens very often, that's my main lens for night shooting, the image quality is very fine, it is very small, just this buzzing autofocus is so loud.

and I'd love to have an RD-1, lovely camera, David Alan Harvey tested it some time ago - <a href="http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0503/harvey.html">HERE on Digital Journalist</a>. it uses the same 6mpix sensor as old nikon D70, which is not bad at all.

interesting what he said:

There was a festival there that week, and I saw a couple of guys with accordions playing from house to house. I followed them around and took pictures of them, and we became friends. Soon I was hanging out and drinking beer with them.

Though I was most influenced by Frank and Cartier-Bresson, as a photographer I'm different from them, and not just because I shoot color instead of black and white. Neither of those guys went inside people's homes or inside their lives. They were both stand-back, fly-on-the-wall photographers. I'm a participant; I get inside. I'm usually sitting at the same table with the people I'm photographing, so they sort of forget that I'm there to take pictures. It's a different way of getting a natural photograph.

10-31-2006, 02:23 PM
My 35 f1.4 sold within days of putting it up. Sorry...
Just the 5D that won't sell - but Nikon D200 8second hand) only last a couple of days before someone picks them up (of curse they go for half the price and they're twice the body - it7s true! But not twice the sensor, hee hee.
The M8 is a much, much better an more reliable camera than the Epson - I've seen pictures both B/W and color - they can stand up to 5D right up to iso 800 or 1000, toe to toe (in fact they have more 3-D-ness, more contour to them. Damn those Leitz people, Maciej - they're going to ruin us.

Thanks for the quite from Digital Jurnalist (one of my fav sites) - yes Harvey is one of those Nat Geo guys who settles own in a place for a cuple of months, goes to the same cafe every night, gets to know the natives...I frankly don't know if I could be bothered - it's not my style...let's be honest. I feel closer to Winogrand, and he was NUTS, but took some fantastic pictures, raw and ture as yu please - I have a lot of affection for that guy...

11-01-2006, 10:56 AM
Disappointing about the K10D-- looks like they couldn't make up their mind with the grip as it's halfway between an old school MF camera which characteristically lacked a hand grip (ala K1000) and a more contemporary beast. Pity. Probably won't be a deal breaker for a lot of people but, like you, I can predict the pain of lugging a heavy lens on a body with an inadequate grip-- use a Nikon FM3A which as no grip whatsoever with a 600g 20-35 zoom. After several hours my hand gets sore and the pain sometimes lasts more than a few days!