Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS

Started Nov 1, 2013 | User reviews
cgarrard
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Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
Nov 1, 2013

Curvy, comfortable, practical. The K10D was a break out camera for Pentax and is still loved to this day by many Pentaxians.

As the title of the Review suggests, the K10D was a ground breaking DSLR for Pentax. It offered many technology firsts that continue to be staple features in current high end Pentax DSLRS. It also challenged other camera makers to try and play a bit of catch up- the K10D was loaded with features and capabilities that other brands simply didn't offer.

Today, the Pentax K10D is a DSLR that you can find for a bargain price just about anywhere. Pentax sold a lot of these cameras, so many are in great condition at bare bones prices at the popular retail outlets that sell used cameras (Amazon, B&H, Adorama, KEH, Ebay, etc). But what you get for the price today just very well may be enough for most DSLR shooters.

What I like that the Pentax K10D offers, is a huge bang for the buck, and I'll outline what I consider valuable in the K10D below:

  • Extensively weather sealed body (70+ seals, not basic weather resistance)
  • Extremely comfortable body with dual hand grips (you can hold it completely with the left hand in portrait orientation)
  • Beautiful image quality from its 10mp CCD (especially so at base ISO)
  • Large magnified view from its Pentaprism viewfinder
  • In body image stabilization
  • Impressive battery life (batteries are available for very cheap!)
  • Dual LCD screens w/illumination (rear is completely adequate)
  • Customizable menu interface and controls (one of the most comprehensive of its time)
  • Peppy auto focus w/9 cross sensitive AF points (11 total AF points)
  • Unique TAV, P, and SV modes (common w/Pentax however)
  • DNG raw format file option (two raw file options)
  • Excellent build quality (in hand much more impressive than specs might suggest)
  • Compatible with SSM focusing lenses
  • Front and Rear IR remote pick ups

So roomy and comfortable to hold, full of proper controls, and strong like a brick. Everything a photographer needs is included in the K10D to learn and grow in skill.

The K10D isn't a camera that will excite your friends that love to hear about the latest and greatest tech gear. You can't brag about its video or live view capabilities because it doesn't have any. Also, the resolution of the sensor, high speed frame rate, and low light capabilities aren't bragging points either. Certainly the K10D is capable in all the above, but on paper its shadowed today even by Pentax's entry level offerings.

But paper and real life shooting are two different worlds. One gives you results, the other just looks nice.

The K10D in real life, is a pleasure and joy to shoot with. Granted it might take a bit more skill to yield a beautiful 20x30" print mounted on your wall than say, some more modern offerings, but so what? I wonder what is wrong with those who'd rather rely on modern tech to save the image, rather than say skill? Lets face it, most modern DSLRS today are overkill for the shooters that peer through the viewfinder. Many of today's features are desired, sure, but not really needed to make a beautiful still photograph.

That said, no camera is perfect, and the K10D isn't either. There are a few things I'd like to have seen on this design that I can live without, but would have preferred in order to have made it a more complete design. These are:

  • ISO 3,200 Capability
  • AF micro adjust
  • Dedicated AF assist lamp (a raised flash will work but its so overkill and tedious to use)
  • Dual SD card slots (only for separating Jpeg/Raw files)

All that said, the K10D is a camera that shines best when the sunrises till it sets. If you look at the K10D as a camera that you pick up in the morning and put down in the evening, this camera will likely not disappoint you. It's low ISO image quality from its CCD manifest some of the richest mid tones and colors I've seen in any DSLR (and I've reviewed so many...), giving the K10D an almost cult status.

If you are patient (or are willing to learn to be patient) the K10D will reward you for your efforts. This is a camera that I want to take outdoors anywhere, knowing full well that with a weather sealed lens, I can take it anywhere in any condition and not have to worry about it malfunctioning. A weather sealed camera such as the K10D is liberating for outdoor photographers, and handy for more circumstances than you might realize. The fact that the K10D is fully sealed vs. resistant is a huge plus. There aren't any concerns about just how much it can take other than a dunk under water.

It's comfort, controls, image output, large viewfinder, and weather sealing all add up to a very enjoyable and second nature experience that makes the K10D one of my favorite DSLRS of all time.

Carl

http://www.photographic-central.blogspot.com (Gear reviews)
http://www.carlgarrard.blogspot.com/ (Best work compilation)
Also formerly AlphaMountWorld.com (Now off the web)

cgarrard's score
4.5
Average community score
4.8
bad for good for
Kids / pets
great
Action / sports
good
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
good
Flash photography (social)
great
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
robbo d
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 1, 2013

.....and I bet with a decent bit of glass on the front, and in the hands of a good operator will still take some stellar quality images !!

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robbo d
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to robbo d, Nov 1, 2013

Interested to see wether the weather seals break down over time..........

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GossCTP
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to robbo d, Nov 1, 2013

robbo d wrote:

Interested to see wether the weather seals break down over time..........

I've never taken one apart, but almost all the opening on the camera are circular, which suggests to me that they are O-rings. If they are lubed well, they should last a long time. I imagine they use silicone lube, like the waterproof flashlights do on their o-rings.

All speculation on my part though.

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ozdean
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 1, 2013

Pentax's updated FF body maybe?

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N.B. All my Images are Protected by Copyright

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brew1brew
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 1, 2013

My daughter has been using mine for the last year to take photos of her products for her blog posts. http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/

I just gave it to her for her birthday, to make room for my K3 purchase.

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cgarrard
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to ozdean, Nov 1, 2013

ozdean wrote:

Pentax's updated FF body maybe?

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Regards Dean - Capturing Creation
N.B. All my Images are Protected by Copyright

I wish

Carl

http://www.photographic-central.blogspot.com (Gear reviews)
http://www.carlgarrard.blogspot.com/ (Best work compilation)
Also formerly AlphaMountWorld.com (Now off the web)

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cgarrard
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to brew1brew, Nov 1, 2013

brew1brew wrote:

My daughter has been using mine for the last year to take photos of her products for her blog posts. http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/

I just gave it to her for her birthday, to make room for my K3 purchase.

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Les
anthisphoto.smugmug.com

Excellent gift to learn on too.

Carl

http://www.photographic-central.blogspot.com (Gear reviews)
http://www.carlgarrard.blogspot.com/ (Best work compilation)
Also formerly AlphaMountWorld.com (Now off the web)

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Col K10d
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 1, 2013

Hello SR switch, miss you.

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Colin
If a picture's worth a 1000 words, why have I run out of shelves?

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John Venables
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to brew1brew, Nov 1, 2013

My Daughter inherited my K10d when I bought the K5,  it continues to take excellent photos.

An updated body would be a good size for a Pentax FF

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douflytoo
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Goodbye
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 2, 2013

So there I was back in 2007 looking to get my first DSLR, I was all set on getting a rumored D60 from "N" company.  I was in a retail store one day and they just happen to have
a K10D on display. I knew Pentax existed and that the K1000 was a great camera, so hey, give it a try. I picked it up and I knew instanly just by the feel that this was the camera for me.  Solid build, great specs. and a price that would not require a second mortgage.  So began a long relationship with the K10D. Alas, unfortunately just a few months ago an inconsiderate person dropped it (it was even in its padded carry case) and it did not come away unscathed.  Now it will not recognize any data card and the rear LCD is intermittent.  I had planned on using it maybe one more year before upgrading to whatever Pentax came out with, (FF or not).  So after patiently waiting through the rumors, the  excitement of September's announcement that turned out to be a bust and the real October announcement, I am on the K-3 track for now.  Just waiting to see the reviews of what this thing can really do and if it's actually better than a K-5IIs.

I miss my K10, but I will always have the 12x18s, the 24x36, and a beautiful 16x72 panorama hanging in my home to remember you.

Fairwell old friend.

DS

Constructive criticism of my gallery always welcome.
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jamesm007
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 2, 2013
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dustybunter
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 2, 2013

Got my K10D in 2008 and still love it.

After getting the K-5, I used my K10 mostly with manual lenses, but now my 40mm xs remains permanently attached to it.

The ergonomics and menus system can't be beaten and how I miss the SR switch on my K-5.

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Wallace Ross
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Re: Goodbye
In reply to douflytoo, Nov 2, 2013

Well the K10d was what brought me into the Pentax DSLR world and I was very happy with mine.  My 16 year old daughter carries it everywhere now.  You will not be disappointed with a K5 or a K3 they are great advancements.

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gaddigad
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Re: Just give me a modern sony ccd camera
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 2, 2013

Last night I went over k100d and k10d/k200d  vs. / k-7/ k-5 images in Tumblr, and really there's no comparison in lower ISOs as far as I'm concerned. A highly recommended feat. It reminded me why I first chose a Pentax.

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new type
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Re: Just give me a modern sony ccd camera
In reply to gaddigad, Nov 3, 2013

It kind of looks weird after looking at k5 for so long

What if pentax comes out a ff camera with k10d body and the same battery grip?

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steephill
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*istD was the grandfather surely
In reply to cgarrard, Nov 3, 2013

It was state of the art in its day and still has unique capabilities which remain unsurpassed.

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TORHALIK
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Re: *istD was the grandfather surely
In reply to steephill, Nov 3, 2013

yeah... hhhh, and i still have 20x30" prints interpolated in PS from 6mp to 17mp. Nobody believed that those pics were taken with 6.1 mp sensor...

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torhalik

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Diffraction
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Re: Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS
In reply to robbo d, Nov 3, 2013

robbo d wrote:

.....and I bet with a decent bit of glass on the front, and in the hands of a good operator will still take some stellar quality images !!

Yes and no. At low ISO, so with good glass and a good flash, it will still deliver. But it is rather limiting compared to the current ones.

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iTrax
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Re: Goodbye
In reply to Wallace Ross, Nov 3, 2013

lot of melancholia and nostalgia here.

I still have my K10 but predominantly just look at it ,

do not use it much, well..... will need to take it for a walk.......

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