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Compared to...

For direct comparison to another six megapixel digital SLR we chose Nikon's outgoing but still widely available D50 which can be purchased as a kit for approximately the same price as the K100D kit. We also included the Pentax *ist DS to better compare the difference in image processing. Last but not least we must include the eight megapixel Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT), which while superceded by the EOS 400D (Rebel XTi) is currently available at the same price as the K100D kit.

Camera Kit Price Sensor
Megapixel
difference
Pentax K100D * $699 6.1 MP CCD (1.5x crop) -
Canon EOS 350D $699 8.2 MP CMOS (1.6x crop) +34%
Nikon D50 $649 6.1 MP CCD (1.5x crop) -

* The K110D is also available for $100 less and is identical to the K100D except for the lack of the Shake Reduction system.

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down (typically to F9). For the 'cropped' sensor cameras we used 50 mm lenses (Pentax 50 mm F1.4 for the K100D, Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 for the EOS 350D and the Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 for the D50).

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Pentax K100D vs. Pentax *ist DS

Camera settings:

  • Pentax K100D: Pentax 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Bright), Self-Timer
     
  • Pentax *ist DS: Pentax 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Bright), Self-Timer
Pentax K100D
Pentax *ist DS
2,481 KB JPEG (3008 x 2000)
2,399 KB JPEG (3008 x 2000)

I think this comparison adequately displays the difference in image processing between the *ist DS and K100D. As previously mentioned we were heavily critical of the image processing in the *ist DS which delivered images with significantly less detail than was possible from a converted RAW. The K100D looks sharper and more detailed with crisper, finer lines and better texture.

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