Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Japanese Interview WIth Pentax's Hisashi Tatamiya About The K10D

Over the last couple of days, the Lifestyle section of Plus D IT Media has been running an interview with Hisashi Tatamiya, one of Pentax's people speaking at the Pentax Live workshops in Japan lately. There's plenty of meaty stuff to chew on about the K10D that you may not have heard about, and a DP Review forum member has done us all a favor and translated most of the salient bits (here).

Hisashi Tatamiya. Image copyright 2006 by plusd.itmedia.co.jp.

According to Tatamiya, the benefits of the K10D will hopefully appeal to people familiar with film. In the interview, I understood that the 22-bit processing PRIME engine has an increased latitude in capturing subtle contrast in light and dark areas over previous Pentax DSLRs. The camera's own noise reduction function, which is better than in Pentax's 6MP cameras (which is pretty darn good), doesn't smooth out all the noise it can at high ISOs as a trade off to preserve as much detail as possible (and if you shoot RAW you can turn up the noise reduction as far as you want anyway). This is in respect to the fact that owning a 10MP camera is chiefly about getting more detail than you could with a 6MP. Their marketing phrase: Revolution of Image Quality, or “Gashitsu-kakumei,” is meant to indicate that even if the Pentax reputation for low noise at high ISOs takes a bit of a stumble with the K10D, the overall image quality should be judged by other revolutionary hallmarks, such as the PRIME engine, Shake Reduction, and detail and color.

Regarding the switch to lithium battery packs, I gather now from his comments that it's all about maintaining the right output for intensive processing tasks in camera. This is more important with a 10MP camera than a 6MP, but keep in mind Shake Reduction and Dust Removal aren't the power draw culprits. Apparently, AA batteries from some manufacturers aren't always reliable in the way the K10D requires, so rather than produce a product that might behave less than perfectly in the AA world, Pentax decided that this camera deserved a shot at being more reliable across the board, which is something they can control better with lithium batteries in both the body and the new grip.

Also, Tatamiya believes users are going to like the new manual white balance feature of capturing the WB with your DOF/Digital preview. And upcoming DA* lenses should be as fast as their Canon and Nikon supersonic-motor counterparts, and will eventually come with some weatherproofing virtues (even though lenses don't tend to need it as much as camera bodies).

Links: Interview Part 1 (Japanese), Interview Part 2 (Japanese), DP Forum English Translation Pt.1, DP Forum English Translation Pt.1

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