Monday, August 28, 2006

Mike Johnston Reviews K100D at Luminous-Landscape

Mike Johnston, aka. the Online Photographer, who's known for his excellent columns about general photography, has finally weighed in with his opinions on the Pentax K100D, after using it for a few days this summer. I think he appreciates the new camera as deserving of being in the highly competitive marketplace, as you should be able to tell from his article's title, "Totally, Completely...Okay."

To quote part of his article: "In use, the K100 is totally, completely...okay. It won't blow you away. Neither will it frustrate or dismay you. In fact, you may end up appreciating its tough, cheerful, scrappy can-do character. It's good-looking and very ergonomic for a very small SLR – a nice, clean, sculpted design – and feels solid and well constructed within the parameters of the "light to moderate" usage I was talking about earlier. Although it's light for a DSLR (or even for an SLR), it feels heavy because it's so small.

Especial care seems to have gone into the interface. It's not so different than most other DSLRs, which are starting to standardize in terms of controls, but the K100 is admirably straightforward, simple, and easy to use. It appears to have had its controls and input parameters designed and refined through actual use – that is, in the course of actual picture-taking by actual photographers. Its controls are arranged with economy and solid common sense. I especially liked the fast and easy LCD zooming.

I compared the viewfinder to my friend Scott Hill's Konica-Minolta 5D, and found that the K100's viewfinder is very slightly smaller and very slightly brighter. It's thus typical of its (woeful) genre, but (like the 5D) on the good side of typical.

The only other things I noticed are that shutter lag is good, and that shutter noise is fairly high but has a crisp, clean sound that implies precision and contributes to the camera's subjective sense of responsiveness."
- Mike Johnston at Luminous-Landscape

Additionally on his blog, Mike writes, "It's a small, light, workmanlike entry-level DSLR. How much you would like it probably depends on what you want to do with it and where you're coming from. If you've been using more professional DSLRs or mid-level and above film SLRs (say the level of the F100 and higher), then you'd likely be underwhelmed by the Pentax. But if you're coming from the world of "prosumer" and pocket digicams, the increase in quality and capability will be considerable, at a price that's singularly easy on your wallet, your shoulder, and your clamber up the DSLR learning curve."

He wraps it all up by suggesting that the Pentax K100D has a good advantage in price and backwards compatibilty with older lenses that should allow it to be a competitive camera in the consumer DSLR category of cameras. It's also neat to see him write that the K100D "slaps its only direct competitor, the D50, smartly upside the head with its bargain anti-shake."

Overall, this is a nice review and a good indication that Pentax consumer DSLRs continue to be taken seriously in critical circles. It's also a good acknowledgment of the aggressive pricing and features that, I think, make the Pentax K100D the underdog champ of the summer of 2006.

Links: Mike Johnston K100D Review at Luminous-Landscape, Luminous-Landscape, The Online Photographer

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