Monday, August 21, 2006

RiceHigh's Pentax K100D Review

Editor's note: It has to be said that the following has sarcastic overtones which are intended to warn the reader about the dubious quality of the review. I've consequently made some changes to make this more overt. It's of popular opinion not to take this review too seriously.

In digital camera reviewland, there are your standard "commercial" reviews, which are written for consumers who are shopping, and then there are the "user" reviews, which tend to be a bit more subjective and personal. And then there's RiceHigh (cue theme music). RiceHigh's completely, ahem, "independent" methods are spurious and not always exact (remember, he's doing this anonymously), so take it all with plenty of salt and read this thread at DP Review.

A typcial user who writes something up about their own camera is a bit more invested in what they're experiencing, because they've already made the purchase. But, like RiceHigh, some user reviews can get so analytical about the nitty gritty that the review is no longer about the performance of the camera, it becomes a meta-review: a review about how well the review is documented with arcane measurements, for the purpose of revealing consumer power. Ken Rockwell called it "measurebating" when someone compulsively examines the pixel level attributes of photographs of graphs and and charts designed to calibrate cameras. And no one understands this quite like RiceHigh, a longtime Pentax user who has kept a website of his very meticulous inspections of Pentax DSLR performance, RiceHigh's (Pentax) DSLR and Lens Measurbation Page on Exposure Accuracy and More.

So, now, after many *ist D and *ist DS camera's have passed through his hands, RiceHigh has finally got a grip on the K100D. His review is not about how the K100D compares to Nikon and Canon, it's about comparing the K100D to his older *ist cameras, and, ultimately, unto itself. How fast is the camera from pressing the shutter release to AF lag to the final mirror return? RiceHigh digitally records the sounds of the camera and breaks down the camera's performance by the millisecond after analyzing the waveform. Is the K100D AF red point alignment illumination on the focus screen matched with the resulting focus? RiceHigh tests Pentax quality control with no less than 5 cameras at 5 different stores in Japan. Yep, it's a little over the top.

His verdict? There's improved focusing with fast prime lenses, better center-weighted averaging for exposures (at least as good as the Pentax film camera, the MZ-S, he says), and some tweaks have improved overall handling. However, he also chides Pentax with his longstanding criticisms (such as the histogram overlay issue, EV compensation breaks auto ISO, and general quality control). Yet, as always, it's because he's genuinely addicted to Pentax and sincerely wants to see them do the best they can. It's precisely these types of user reviews that keep a camera company on their toes, whether or not there's any truth to what the users say.

"A good but funny example is that some Pentaxians used to be very happy with their *ist Dx cameras but until they have got their K100Ds recently, they suddenly learnt that something were/are wrong and there have been "great" improvements!(?)" - RiceHigh

RiceHigh's other Pentax related pages are an interesting read for other Pentax owners to compare their experiences to, but bear in mind it's completely different than most other published results.

Links: RiceHigh's K100D Review, RiceHigh's (Pentax) DSLR and Lens Measurbation Page on Exposure Accuracy and More


ShadZee said...

Too bad MOST of his logic AND engineering methods and measurements are FLAWED.
The only thing true about your article on him is; He uses Pentax equipment.
I assure you his measurements are NOT factual.
His latest rants about the AF location and the red indicater shows his lack of understanding on the AF/Metering concepts.

OK-1K said...

Duly noted. It sure is contentious.

Anonymous said...

I would take a RiceHigh review any day over Ken Rockwell's. There's something about Ken's propensity to review equipment he does not have that strikes me as idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgggh. I don't know where to begin, but first let me say that "middle grey" is not 125 in RGB color space but 110. That pretty well destroys his "exposure problems" except for the low spot readings which seem to be a planned feature for some reason. See Thom Hogan's web site for "Meters Don't See 18% Gray" for a better and more professional explaination.One quick quote " A recent discussion on one of the digital camera sites caught my attention. Basically, someone had shot a picture of a gray card, and then remarked that his meter must be off, since the histogram that the camera generated showed the peak of values to the left of center. This reminded me that we've all been brainwashed into believing something that isn't true: light meters don't measure 18% gray." The fact that Pentax has now gone to "Canon Standard" reflects an attitude change not a flaw.... I'll stop at that. "The hand held meter" book by Bob Shell is also a good read on the subject. That said there is some good in his stuff, just hard to decide between fact or fiction, or bitterness.

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