Saturday, July 21, 2007

The K10D Book, a good companion to the Pentax K10D

The K10D Book by Yvon Bourque.

A while ago, photographer Yvon Bourque sent me a copy of his book about the Pentax K10D and asked me what I thought about it. In the past month, I also happened to start writing a review of my own K10D that I received not long ago (my tales are coming soon) and I was pretty sure I knew everything about it, inside and out. Well, then I opened up Yvon's book. Without a doubt, he had captured in writing just about everything I had already put together in my mind after days of exploring the possibilities of the camera. And he had fished up experiences I hadn't even gotten to, yet, like using an M42 adapter for old screwmount Takumar lenses. Better still, he even compared the various kinds of M42 adapters most people use. My kind of guy!

The K10D Book: Looking at M42 adapters and how to use them.

My gut feeling tells me that if you're in the market for a K10D, when you're picking out the things you really need to get with the camera (like a new 4GB SDHC memory card, an extra battery pack, microfibre cloths, and a rocket blower), you ought to order this $19.95 book, too.

About The Book

Old hats with Pentax cameras will appreciate that the book has fewer "pictograms" and has more substance than the manual, so it's easier and faster for new owners to get up to speed. For instance, there are lots of people new to the K10D and Pentax who still haven't really understood the reasoning behind "Hyper-Program" or figured out how to customize the front and rear dials to their liking, and there are shooters who want to know that info without getting a headache first. Even Pentax diehards can get cloudy when it comes to the nitty gritty, because, quite frankly, it takes a while to get completely familiarized with your camera, and we don't all have the time before we take the camera and put it through some paces.

That's where Yvon's book comes in; it cuts through jargon, showing you the ropes and giving you confidence. His writing voice is very thoughtful and the book is well organized and easy to follow. First, Yvon runs through all the features, then the general usage you'll do, followed by insight into processing your images, then a good look at other items in the Pentax system (overview of compatible lenses, flashes, etc.), and he wraps up with a remedial look at basic photography techniques from a K10D perspective. All throughout, there are plenty of easy-to-follow illustrations. You won't find detailed schematics of the chips used or the internal wiring, but the book's not meant for that tech level. I would have liked seeing him cover third-party accessories and applications (Silkypix, Lightroom, etc.) or digging deeper into using flash systems (everyone reads Strobist nowadays), but the book is still chock full of useful explanations.

Yvon wrote the book, did the layout himself, and even prints and binds copies together, one by one, out of his own pocket. There aren't any riches to be found in self-publishing, and rarely even with the big houses, despite what you read about cash advances and bestsellers. So Yvon clearly came up with the book because he understood the niche and was happy to share his fascination and love for his camera (he beat Magic Lantern on getting a book out to the public by a matter of months). It's not going to win any design or literary awards, but it's well done.

As you probably know, the book has a coil binding so it can lay flat and so the pages don't fall out unless you really tear at them. I talked to Yvon about the average color inkjet reproduction inside (keep in mind the book is predominantly black and white and on standard office paper) and about the possibility for harder paper stock for the cover, and he's thinking about ways to improve the production. I think it really means more people have to buy the book before he can afford to increase the print quality. In the meanwhile, he offers free downloads of all the updates he makes to the text, so when new K10D firmware comes out, you're guaranteed you have access to an up-to-date version. Honestly, Yvon's tenacity to do well by everyone won me over and I'm happy to endorse the book.

Conclusion

If you're considering buying a Pentax K10D, especially if you're new to Pentax or jumping up from a point-and-shoot, I highly recommend the book. More than just a manual, it's a straightforward crib sheet for amateur DSLR photography that compiles plenty of research and experience into down to earth lessons, letting you in on all that potential in the camera.

Link: The K10D Book

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. I have finally decided that the K10D will be my first DSLR. Keep up the great work, it is appreciated. Now I have to add this guide to the list.

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