Thursday, January 04, 2007

Got the Pentax K10D!!!

When I was in Costa Rica, I got word that the K10D was in stock at the place where I pre-ordered. However, I could not respond immediately and hence could not secure one from the first batch and was put on the waiting list. Upon my return I did vent my frustration about this to some Pentax friends, which helped me in getting a K10D less than a week later. I cannot go into details (though everything happened perfectly legitimately), but an unsold K10D was located for me and sent through express service. Also got the grip, but not the viewfinder loupe which I had intended on getting as well.

In the mean time my personal life hasn't given me much time to play with the K10D. Only on the Christmas eve party at my parents did I shoot some family pictures. Enough to make me a happy man with the camera.

I cannot comment on image quality yet, since I didn't upload the images onto my PC yet, but I got to taste some aspects of the K10D I hadn't noticed at Photokina when I first handled it. It's the ergonomics! Pentax already had great advantage for me on this field with the *istDS, but they have really outdone themselves with the K10D. The dials have received a function in most every menu, and as such the camera is sooooooo easy to handle:
- in playback: rear dial zooms (as on the DS), front dial navigates between images keeping the zoom. Great for reviewing sharpness.
- in the menus under the menu button: one dial is page up/down, the other tab-to-tab. On the DS navigating the menus was much less confortable. All of a sudden having to go into the menus for some settings is much less work.
- Under the Fn menu. Here the dials work really well. Setting AutoISO boundaries is a breeze, flash compensation in the flash menu (exactly where it should be),
- and of course in the exposure modes (P, Sv, Tv, Av,...) both dials can be extensively customized, allowing no operation, program shift or Ev compensation to be set on the free one (which one that is, can be chosen per mode).
- I LOVE the way the bracketing works...

Well, the K10D is a much richer camera than the DS in features, but the way the controls interact and give you an considerable extra degree of freedom is just as important, if not more.

One gripe is the AF button, which becomes hard to reach when the grip is mounted and held in portrait orientation. Why couldn't an AF button be put on the grip too?

Anyway, I think the K10D will be a camera that will serve me considerably longer than the DS did. The *istDS was a great camera to get to know the advantages of digital without going overboard on specs, but now I know what digital can do for me and photography has become much more of a hobby for me than it ever was, I really think only a camera like the K10D suits me. The DS won't be retired 100% yet though. It may still serve as a small light weight alternative when the K10D is just too big to carry, esp with a pancake mounted, there's no APS-C DSLR as nice and compact as the Pentax *istD series.

Next on the list are some accessories for the K10D.
- I'm still going for the viewfinder loupe. Ok, it only enlarges 1.2x, but I tried it on my DS at Photokina as was heavily impressed by it. I want it still. I will have to forget about getting a Delkin LCD protector/hood for the K10D then though, but having it break relatively easily and become a bit loose on my DS has made like it less as a solution. A glue-on one may be a thought, but I'll probably go without for now.
- Since I'm thinking of the K10D as more of a longer term camera than of the DS, I seriously consider getting a more advanced focussing screen for it. I'm hesitating between the LL-80 Pentax makes (4 divisions horizontal and 4 vertical, unfortunately not 3 like the LF-60) and a custom Katz Eye one. The Katz Eye version would allow me to have only those lines I want and have a split screen for manual focus. I'm not sure I really need the latter one, since I always managed to focus manually just fine using the Pentax screens. Also Katz Eye has OptiBright and regular screens, the choice between which slightly influences the meter, so I will first have to get used to lens behaviour on the K10D (different or not from the DS??) to decide. The Pentax screen will not be different from the built-in one and is much cheaper, so possibly this will be the safer choice... However I would have preferred it to have divisions to enhance the 2 3rds rule rather than the 4-by-4 grid it has now...

And then we're back to lenses. I might have a chance to get a black FA31/1.8 limited soon. I'm sure I will like that even better as a standard than my FA35/2. And the upcoming DA* lenses have me eager too. Though the price will determine whether the DA*16-50/2.8 may replace my DA16-45/4 (unlikely). The DA*60-250/4 is a more likely contender though, fortunately it will come later in the year so my budget will be able to balance out more nicely...

More to follow...


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