Pentax K10D, Exclusive Preview
Pre-Photokina 2006: Pentax has announced its new ten megapixel K10D digital SLR. A long list of features include a '22 bit' analog to digital converter, CCD-shift type Shake Reduction, dust reduction, environment sealing, eleven point auto focus, sixteen segment metering, selectable program lines and some unique exposure modes including Sensitivity and combined Shutter/Aperture priority. The K10D also provides both Pentax PEF and DNG RAW format options. We have had our hands on a pre-production K10D and have produced a detailed hands-on preview of this interesting new camera.
Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Pentax K10D
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)
A High-Performance Lens-Interchangeable Digital SLR Camera
Combining 10.2 Effective Megapixels with the Latest Technologies for Superior-Quality Image Reproduction
PENTAX will be unveiling their new flagship product, the K10D lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera on September 14th 2006. This new digital SLR camera combines 10.2 effective megapixels with a host of advanced technologies - including the PENTAX-original Shake Reduction (SR) system.
The K10D combines 10.2 effective megapixels with an array of new advanced technology to make this camera a true class leader. These include the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction (SR) system to minimise the adverse effects of camera shake, a newly developed A/D converter designed to convert a large volume of data more accurately and swiftly, and a new high-performance imaging engine designed exclusively for the K10D.
The K10D also comes equipped with a host of features and functions designed to assist the photographer in all aspects of high-quality digital SLR photography. They include a new Dust Removal (DR) system to keep dust off the CCD surface, a PENTAX-original exposure system for accurate reproduction of the photographer's creative intentions, and a dependable dust-proof, water-resistant body construction meaning photographers don't have to stop taking pictures when the rain starts. All combined, the K10D delivers exceptionally high image quality and responds brilliantly to the exacting demands of advanced photographers and keen amateurs alike.
1. High-quality image reproduction
 10.2 effective megapixels for true-to-life, rich-gradation images:
The K10D features a large, high-performance 23.5mm x 15.7mm CCD with 10.2 effective megapixels as its image sensor, assuring the reproduction of true-to-life, rich-gradation images.
 PENTAX-original Shake Reduction mechanism for blur-free images:
The K10D is equipped with the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction (SR) system, which effectively reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images. Even in demanding shooting conditions, such using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark or at night without supplementary flash illumination, or shooting at extended exposures for sunset scenes. This innovative mechanism shifts the position of the CCD image sensor vertically and horizontally at high speed using magnetic force, while adjusting the shifting speed in proportion to the amount of camera shake detected by a built-in sensor. It offers an outstanding compensation effect equivalent to two to four shutter-speed steps. As a result, it does not require special anti-shake lenses, and can be used with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.*
* Lenses compatible with this mechanism are the PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645 and 67system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be applicable with certain lenses.
 Newly developed A/D converter for truthful image data conversion:
The K10D incorporates a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfully converts the analog data collected by the CCD image sensor into digital data. With the highest resolving power (22 bits, or 4.2 million gradations) among all existing digital cameras, it offers a digital-conversion capacity 1,024 times greater than conventional 12-bit, 4,096-gradation A/D converters.
 Newly designed PRIME imaging engine:
The K10D incorporates the new PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) as its imaging engine. Designed exclusively for PENTAX digital SLR cameras, this new imaging engine produces well-balanced, true-to-life images through efficient control of CCD signals, saturation, brightness, white balance, sharpness and contrast. Its new memory (DDR2: Double Data Rate 2) also serves to enhance speedy image processing and high-speed data transfer.
2. Dust Removal system to keep dust off the CCD surface
The K10D features the new Dust Removal (DR) system to prevent dust from sticking to the surface of the CCD image sensor (or low-pass filter). Applied to the CCD surface through a vapour deposition process of a fluorine compound, the PENTAX-original Special Protect (SP) coating effectively removes dust and stains from the surface. In the next step, dust that still remains on the surface will be shaken off when the SR system shifts the CCD at high speed. The dust that is shaken off the CCD will fall onto an adhesive sheet positioned at the bottom of the SR unit, eliminating any possibility of its returning to the CCD surface.
3. Original exposure system for flexibility and creativity
 Hyper Program function:
The K10D's Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch to the Shutter-Priority AE (Tv) mode or Aperture-Priority AE (Av) mode from the Program AE mode, with a simple turn of the electronic dials on the grip (one on the front for index finger control, and the other on the back for thumb control). To return to the Program AE mode, simply press the green button positioned next to the shutter release button.
 Hyper Manual function:
When shooting in the Metered Manual mode, a single push of the green button allows the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject.
 Sensitivity-Priority mode:
The K10D features a new Sensitivity-Priority AE (Sv) mode, which is designed to automatically select the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for a user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted instantly (in 1/2 or 1/3 steps) by turning the electronic dial. Since this mode eliminates the need to recall a menu screen for sensitivity changes, the photographer can react more quickly to changing photographic conditions.
 Shutter & Aperture-Priority mode:
Another exposure mode offered by the K10D is Shutter & Aperture-Priority AE (TAv) mode, which is designed to automatically select the most appropriate sensitivity for a user-selected shutter-speed & aperture combination.
4. Dust-proof, water-resistant construction
The K10D boasts a reliable dust-proof, water-resistant construction, with special seals applied to 72 different parts of the camera body, including the shutter release button and switches/levers/dials. This dependable body makes it possible to use the K10D in the rain or in dusty locations without any worry
5. Bright, clear viewfinder
Featuring a glass pentaprism, the K10D's viewfinder offers a 96-percent field of view and a 0.95-times magnification for easy viewing of the subject and effortless confirmation of focus and composition. Coupled with the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen, it delivers a large, bright subject image.
6. Compatibility with supersonic motor-driven lenses
The K10D is designed to be compatible with supersonic motor-driven autofocus lenses (currently under development), which are expected to provide smoother, quieter autofocus operation than conventional lenses.
7. Auto sensitivity control up to ISO 1600
The K10D's auto sensitivity control function automatically sets the optimum sensitivity up to ISO 1600, based on such data as the subject's brightness level and the lens' focal length. Since this function allows the use of higher shutter speeds in poor lighting situations (such as indoor sports events and night scenes), it helps the photographer to effectively reduce camera shake and prevent blurred images. For specialized applications, the sensitivity can be set manually from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.
8. Continuous shooting at approximately three images per second
To trace the movement of an active subject or capture a sequence of the subject's expressions, the K10D offers a continuous shooting mode that allows the photographer to capture a series of images at a maximum speed of approximately three images per second. In the JPEG recording format, the user can take unlimited images in succession until the capacity of the SD memory card runs out.
9. Reliable shutter unit
The K10D's shutter unit is designed to withstand nearly 100,000 releases, whlst assuring high-precision operation over the entire shutter-speed range - up to a top speed of 1/4000 second. It also features a flash synchronisation speed of 1/180 second for more versatile flash photography.
10. 11-point wide-frame AF
The K10D's sophisticated SAFOX VIII autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically focus on the subject with utmost precision, even when it is positioned off centre. The in-focus sensor point is automatically super-imposed in red in the viewfinder for at-a-glance confirmation.
11. Extra-large, wide-view LCD monitor
The K10D incorporates an extra-large 2.5-inch colour LCD monitor on its rear panel. Its wide-view design allows the photographer to check the monitor image from 140 degrees both vertically and horizontally, ensuring effortless image viewing even from a diagonal position. With approximately 210,000 pixels, it also offers digital zooming of playback images up to 20 times for easy confirmation of the image's focusing status and details.
12. Powerful rechargeable batteries for extended shooting
The K10D features new, large-capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which can capture approximately 730 images** when fully recharged.
** Under testing conditions prescribed by the CIPA standards (flash illumination used in 50% of images).
13. Other features
- Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, centre-weighted metering and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications
- High-rigidity stainless-steel chassis
- 32 custom functions to personalise camera operations
- Extended bracket function to capture three images of the same subject at different contrast, saturation, sharpness or white-balance levels
- Compatibility with conventional SD memory cards and newly introduced SDHC memory cards
- Choice of two preview functions (digital/optical)
- Simultaneous recording of RAW and JPEG images
- Manual fine adjustment of white balance
- Day-by-day folders to simplify the arrangement and search of recorded images
- Six built-in digital filters (Black-and-white, Sepia, Slim, Soft, Brightness and Colour) for easy editing of recorded images
- Remote shutter release from the front and back sides of the camera using optional remote controller
- PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 3 RAW data processing software and PENTAX PHOTO Browser 3 browser software, included on the accompanying CD-ROM
- Compatibility with PictBridge, DPOF, Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching III systems
Exclusive Optional Accessory
D-BG2 Battery Grip
Developed for exclusive use with the PENTAX K10D, this battery grip can be used in combination with the camera's rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to greatly extend the battery life. With an extra shutter-release button, preview lever, electronic dial, AE-lock button and green button, it makes vertical-position shooting simple and effortless. It also features the same dust-proof, water-resistant construction as the K10D camera body.
- Launch date (tentative): Mid October, 2006
- Power source: Exclusive lithium-ion battery (D-LI50 type)
- Dimensions: 140 (W) x 43 (H) x 73.5 (D) mm (excluding protrusions)
- Weight: 235g (without battery)
Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Pentax K10D
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)