Pre-Photokina 2008: Pentax has announced the Km (or K2000, in the US), a new DSLR that will compete in the entry-level market. The camera, which is built around an image stabilized 10 megapixel sensor has been designed to be small, light and easy-to-use. The two lenses available in kits with the camera have also been re-engineered to be lighter. We've had a chance to use an early example and have prepared an in-depth, ten page preview of the new camera.

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Pentax K-m
(comparison, specs, design, operation, displays and menus)

Cash-back
Pentax UK has announced a £30 cash-back offer that will start immediately, bringing the introductory price of the camera body + 18-55mm lens down to £369 and the two-lens kit to £469 after rebate.

US lens and flash bundle
Pentax US will initially be selling the K2000 with the 18-55mm DA-L lens and AF200FG flash for $699

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PENTAX K-m



An Easy-to-Operate, Entry-Class Digital SLR Camera

PENTAX U.K. is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX K-m digital SLR camera. Designed primarily for entry level digital SLR photographers, it offers simplified, user-friendly operation, and an easy-to-maneuver compact, lightweight body.

The PENTAX K-m was developed to enable first-time digital SLR users and family photographers to enjoy high-quality digital SLR photography with ease. The camera features an upgraded version of the PENTAX-original Auto Picture mode, which automatically detects the type of subject or scene, and sets the proper shooting mode for the photographer. It also features a host of advanced features and sophisticated functions — including the innovative in-body Shake Reduction mechanism — to assist the photographer. It also offers a compact, lightweight body, designed by incorporating PENTAX’s advanced downsizing technologies.

Along with the PENTAX K-m, PENTAX will also launch two DA L-series interchangeable zoom lenses: the smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mmF3.5-5.6AL and the smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mmF4-5.6ED. Designed for exclusive use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras, these DA L-series lenses are designed to be more compact and lightweight than conventional counterparts, without sacrificing any of the exceptional optical performance common to all PENTAX lenses.*

Main Features

1. Compact, lightweight body for enhanced portability and maneuverability
Despite the incorporation of a large-sized image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the PENTAX K-m offers a compact, lightweight body to assure remarkable portability and maneuverability. This was made possible by the development of a compact, lightweight and high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis, the downsizing of the Shake Reduction mechanism and circuit boards, the employment of latest high-density packaging technologies assuring most efficient positioning and layout of various parts, and the repositioning of the battery compartment. The camera grip has also been redesigned to assure firm, comfortable hold of the camera body.

2. Simplified operation system for easy camera handling
The PENTAX K-m features a newly designed control system, which positions most of the buttons and levers on the camera’s grip side, making it easier for first-time digital SLR users to operate the camera. What’s more, the functions of each button or lever are instantly displayed on the camera’s LCD monitor with a single press of the help button to facilitate camera operation — especially for those who are unfamiliar with digital SLR cameras.

3. PENTAX-original Shake Reduction mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The PENTAX K-m comes equipped with the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions — such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark or at night without supplementary flash illumination, or using extended exposures for sunset scenes. This innovative SR mechanism shifts the position of the 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 — up to the equivalent of approximately four shutter steps. As a result, it does not require special anti-shake lenses, and can be used with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.**

4. Comprehensive Dust Removal system with prevention, removal and confirmation devices
The PENTAX K-m features the user-friendly DR (Dust Removal) system to prevent dust from appearing on captured images. Applied to the CCD image sensor surface (or low-pass filter) through the vapor deposition process of a fluorine compound, the PENTAX-original SP (Super Protect) 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 image sensor at high speed. Finally, the dust that is shaken off the image sensor will fall onto an adhesive sheet positioned at the bottom of the SR unit, eliminating any possibility of it returning to the image sensor surface. This DR system even offers a Dust Alert function, which allows the user to confirm the dust-adhesion status of the CCD in advance.

5. Auto Picture mode for automatic selection of optimum shooting mode
The PENTAX-developed Auto Picture mode is programmed to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode — from such choices as Portrait, Landscape and Macro — for a given subject. With the PENTAX K-m, this user-friendly mode is further upgraded, with automatic detection of situations requiring the Night Scene Portrait mode. Since all camera settings, including aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness, are automatically adjusted by the camera for optimum results, the user can concentrate on image composition and shutter opportunity.

6. High-quality image
The PENTAX K-m combines a large, high-performance CCD image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm) with the sophisticated PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) as its imaging engine. With its approximately 10.2 effective megapixels, it produces beautiful, fine-detailed images with subtle gradations and delicate texture description. It also features a Custom Image function, which offers a choice of six finishing touches.

7. High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 3.5 frames per second
The PENTAX K-m lets the user keep shooting images at the speed of approximately 3.5 frames per second (in the JPEG recording format), allowing the user to capture a sequence of a fast-moving subject with great ease.

8. High-precision 5-point AF system
The PENTAX K-m incorporates a five-point wide-area AF system (SAFOX VIII with five cross-type sensors) to assure dependable, high-precision autofocusing. Using the five sensors positioned in a cross pattern over the image field (one in the middle, two at the sides, and two at the top and bottom), this system automatically and unfailingly selects the optimum sensor for a given subject. It also allows the user to fix the AF detection point at the middle sensor. Thanks to a thorough review of the AF algorithm, this AF system also offers improved autofocusing speed under poor-lighting conditions, in which conventional AF systems take longer to focus on the subject.

9. Auto sensitivity control up to ISO 3200
The PENTAX K-m’s auto sensitivity control function automatically sets the optimum sensitivity between ISO 100 and ISO 3200, based on such data as the subject’s brightness level and the lens’ focal length. Since this function allows the user to take advantage of faster shutter speeds in poor lighting situations (such as indoor sports events and night time scenes), it helps the photographer to effectively reduce camera shake and subject shake and prevent blurred images.

10. Effective gradation compensation
The PENTAX K-m’s dynamic-range expansion function allows the user to expand a dynamic range (or a range of gradation reproduction) to minimise white-washed areas in the image. On the other hand, its shadow compensation function minimises pitch-black areas lacking details. Combined, they help the user to produce beautiful, rich-gradation images when shooting high-contrast subjects.

11. Large, easy-to-view 2.7-inch LCD monitor
The PENTAX K-m features a large 2.7-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots on its back panel. This monitor’s wide-view design allows the photographer to check the on-screen image from approximately 170 degrees both vertically and horizontally. It even offers digital zooming of playback images up to 16 times for easy confirmation of the image’s focusing status and details.

12. Bright, clear viewfinder
Thanks to a combination of a lightweight penta-mirror prism, a PENTAX-original finder optics and the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen, the PENTAX K-m’s viewfinder delivers a large, bright subject image with an approximately 96-percent field of view and an approximately 0.85-times magnification.

13. Digital filters for unique visual expressions
The PENTAX K-m’s built-in digital filters let the user effortlessly add some creative and artistic touches to recorded images — without the use of a PC. The user can select one of 14 different digital filters — including the new Toy Camera and Retro filters — to create a desired visual effect.

14. Other features
1) 10 Scene modes, switchable with simple icon selection
2) Energy-efficient power supply, recording approximately 1,650 images
  with four AA-size lithium batteries
3) Status screen, displaying camera settings on the LCD monitor on the
  camera’s back panel for at-a-glance confirmation
4) Index function, for five different types of display and printing modes
5) Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering
  and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications
6) Simultaneous recording of RAW- and JPEG-format images
7) Compatibility with SD and SDHC memory cards as external
  data-recording media
8) In-body development of RAW-format images
9) Compatibility with SDM-equipped lenses for quiet, smooth autofocus operation
10) PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 3 RAW data processing software and PENTAX PHOTO Browser 3 browser software included

Main Features of the smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mmF3.5-5.6AL Lens
1. A compact standard zoom lens with focal lengths from 27.5mm to 84.5mm (in the 35mm format) covering wide-angle to medium-telephoto ranges
2. Latest optical design featuring high-performance aspherical lens element and super-low dispersion glass element for effective compensation of various aberrations

Main Features of the smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mmF4-5.6ED Lens
1. A super-compact, ultra-lightweight telephoto zoom lens with focal lengths from 76.5mm to 307mm (in the 35mm format)
2. ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical element for effective compensation of chromatic aberrations over the entire zoom range and enhanced image-description performance

Notes:
* The smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mmF3.5-5.6AL and smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mmF4-5.6ED lenses will be marketed only as a part of the PENTAX K-m Lens Kit or PENTAX K-m Double Zoom Kit.
** Lenses compatible with this mechanism are: the PENTAX K, KA, KAF, KAF2, and KAF3 mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be applicable with certain lenses.

Pentax K-m specifications

Price

UK: £399 (with 18-55mm DA-L lens)
£499 (with 18-55mm + 50-200mm DA-L lenses)
US: $699 (with 18-55mm DA-L lens and AF200FG flash)

Body material Plastic, stainless steel chassis
Sensor • 23.5 x 15.7 mm CCD sensor
• Primary color filter
• 10.75 million total pixels
• 10.2 million effective pixels
Shake Reduction CCD-Shift type
Dust reduction • Image sensor moving mechanism and SP coating
• Dust-alert function
Image sizes

• [10M] 3872 x 2592 pixels
• [6M] 3008 x 2000 pixels
• [2M] 1824 x 1216 pixels

Image formats

• JPEG (Conforms to Exif 2.21), (Best, Better, Good)
• Compressed RAW ( PEF )
• Non-compressed RAW ( DNG )

Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Lenses PENTAX K, KA, KAF, KAF2 and KAF3 mount lenses
FOV crop 1.5x
Focusing • 5-area AF (SAFOX)
• TTL Phase matching
• Focus point selectable
Focus modes • AF-Auto
• AF-Single
• AF-Continuous
• Manual focus
AF assist Built-in flash
Shooting modes

• Auto Picture mode
• Picture mode
• Scene mode
• Program AE
• Sensitivity-Priority AE
• Shutter-Priority AE
• Aperture-Priority AE
• Metered Manual
• Bulb

Picture modes • Portrait
• Landscape
• Macro
• Action
• Night scene portrait
• Standard Flash-Off
Scene modes

• Night Scene
• Surf & Snow
• Food
• Sunset
• Kids
• Pet
• Candlelight
• Museum
• Stage Lighting
• Night Snap

Metering modes • Multi-segment metering
• Center-weighted metering
• Spot metering
Metering • TTL open-aperture 16-segment metering
• Exposure range: EV 0 - 21 (with 50mm F1.4 lens)
AE Lock Can be allocated to AF button by Menu.
AE Bracketing • ±0.5EV to ±1.5EV (1/2 EV steps)
• ±0.3EV to ±1.0EV (1/3 EV steps)
Exposure compen. ±2 EV (1/2 EV or 1/3 EV steps)
Exposure steps • 1/2 EV
• 1/3 EV
Sensitivity

• Auto (selectable range)
• Manual : 100-3200
• Bulb Mode: up to ISO 1600
• 1EV, 1/2EV or 1/3EV steps

Shutter Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/4000 sec
• Bulb
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade
• Cloudy
• Tungsten Light
• Fluorescent Light (W, D, N)
• Flash
• Manual setting with WB fine adjustment

Image tone • Bright
• Natural
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Vibrant
• Monochrome
Image parameters • Saturation (-4 to +4)
• Hue (-4 to +4)
• Sharpness (-4 to +4) (two types)
• Contrast (-4 to +4)
Viewfinder

• Fixed molded penta-mirror type
• Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen
• Field of view approx. 96%
• Magnification approx. 0.85X (with 50mm F1.4 lens, infinity, -1m-1)
• Diopter adjustment approx. -2.5 - +1.5m-1

Viewfinder info.

• AF frame
• Spot AF frame
• Shake Reduction
• Flash status
• Shutter speed
• Aperture
• Focus indicator
• Manual focus
• EV compensation
• AE lock indicator
• ISO warning

LCD monitor • TFT color LCD monitor
• Brightness adjustable
• Wide angle view
• 2.7 inch
• Approx. 230,000 pixels
Record review • Off
• 1 sec
• 3 sec
• 5 sec
Flash

• Built-in retractable P-TTL pop-up flash
• Guide number: approx. 11 (Standard Output Sensitivity 100/m)
• Angle of view coverage: 28mm wide-angle (35mm equivalent)
• Flash Exposure Compensation: -2 EV - +1EV (1/2EV steps)
• P-TTL
• 1/180 sec flash-sync

External Flash • Hot shoe, sync-speed: 1/180 sec.
• Wireless-sync with PENTAX dedicated flash
Flash modes • Auto
• Flash on
• Auto & Red-eye reduction
• Flash on & Red-eye reduction
• Wireless Sync
Flash compensation -2.0 to +1.0 EV
Drive modes • Single-frame
• Continuous (Hi, Lo)
• Self-timer (12s, 2s)
• Remote control (0s, 3s)
• Auto bracket
Self-timer • 12 sec
• 2 sec
• Automatic mirror lock-up with 2s self-timer
Continuous shooting • 3.5 fps - 5 JPEG, 4 RAW
• 1.1fps - until card is full or 7 RAW
Remote release • InfraRed remote (optional)
• Instant or with 3 sec delay
Custom functions 21 custom-programmable functions available
Preview Digital preview
Playback mode • One Image
• Two Images
• Index (4 or 9 or 16 thumbnails)
• Enlargement (up to 16X, scroll available)
• Image Rotation
• Folder view
• Slideshow
• Histogram
• Bright/Dark area
• Calender
• Resize
• Trimming
• Index
Digital filter
(Rec Mode)
Toy Camera
High Contrast
Soft
Star Burst
Retro
Extract Color
Digital filter
(Playback)
• B&W
• Sepia
• Color (18 type)
• Soft (three-level amount adjustable)
• Illustration (Pastel/Watercolor)
• HDR (3 type)
• Slim (+/- 8 level amount adjustable)
• Brightness (+/- 8 level amount adjustable)
• Toy Camera
• High Contrast
• Soft
• Star Burst
• Retro
• Extract Color
Menu languages • English
• French
• Germany
• Spanish
• Swedish
• Dutch
• Italian
• Russian
• Portuguese
• Danish
• Finnish
• Polish
• Czech
• Hungarian
• Turkey
• Japanese Korean
• Traditional Chinese
• Simplified Chinese
• Greek
Connectivity • USB/Video
• DC input
• USB 2.0 (HI-SPEED)
• Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats
Storage SD or SDHC card
Power • Four AA (lithium, alkaline, and rechargeable Ni-MH) batteries
• Optional AC adapter
Dimensions 122.5mm x 91.5mm x 67.5mm (4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
Weight (no batt/lens) 525g (18.5 oz.)
Weight (no lens) With lithium batteries and SD card: 590g (20.8 oz.)

Additional images

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Pentax K-m
(comparison, specs, design, operation, displays and menus)