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Design

The new rounder, softer appearance to the K100D's body is certainly more appealing and appears to have become the 'family trademark' as it has been repeated with the recently announced K10D. The front of the camera carries some interesting curves, one of which crosses the face of the hand grip which interestingly isn't just for looks, it matches the increasing width of your fingers in the grip. At the back we have a fairly familiar Pentax digital SLR layout, a simple thumb grip on the right side and a set of controls clustered around the 2.5" LCD. One addition here is obviously the Shake Reduction switch.

The K100D's body is the now familiar re-enforced ABS plastic but under the skin there is a stainless steel chassis (image below), not that dissimilar to that of the K10D.

Side by side

Below you can see the K100D beside some new competition, the six megapixel Nikon D40 . As you can see the two cameras are approximately the same height but the D40 is narrower yet maintains a reasonable grip size. As you can see from the table below despite its small dimensions the K100D is one of the more weighty digital SLR's, this mostly it appears down to the Shake Reduction system (the K110D being 75g lighter).

Camera Dimensions
(W x H x D)
Body weight
(inc. battery & card)
Olympus E-500 130 x 95 x 66 mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in) 479 g (1.1 lb)
Nikon D40 126 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in) 524 g (1.2 lb)
Canon EOS 350D 127 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in) 540 g (1.2 lb)
Canon EOS 400D 127 x 94 x 65 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in) 556 g (1.2 lb)
Sony DSLR-A100 133 x 95 x 71 mm (5.2 x 3.7 x 2.8 in) 638 g (1.4 lb)
Pentax K100D 129 x 93 x 70 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.8 in) 660 g (1.5 lb)
Nikon D80 132 x 103 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in) 668 g (1.5 lb)
Nikon D70 / D70s 140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in) 679 g (1.5 lb)

In your hand

The K100D has a decent sized hand grip which as mentioned above is shaped nicely to match the natural shape of your hand. The rear thumb grip provides a little extra support and all of the cameras main 'shooting' controls are within reach of your thumb and forefinger. The grip itself has a soft rubber coating but this does not extend to the rear of the camera nor is it repeated on the left side.

LCD monitor

The K100D features a bright and sharp 2.5" LCD monitor with 210,000 pixels and a wide viewing angle. It also has a wide range of brightness adjustment (-7 to +7) which affects the LCD backlight and gamma of image display. The LCD is covered by a plastic screen but doesn't feature an anti-reflective coating.

LCD panel

On top of the camera is a large LCD panel which provides a wide range of information about the current camera settings and exposure. The frames remaining display also doubles up to display information such as the exposure compensation setting and 'PC' or 'Pb' when the camera is connected to a computer or printer (PictBridge). Unlike other digital SLR's the K100D's panel does not have a backlight.

A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagram below.

Viewfinder

We have always highly rated Pentax viewfinders, they tend to provide large bright views thanks to high magnification and frame view. This was primarily due to the use of a Penta-prism, however the K100D uses the cheaper Penta-mirror type where mirrors are used of a prism. That said it's one of the better Penta-mirror implementations and while magnification is reduced to 0.85x the view (for an 'APS size sensor' camera) is still relatively large and bright.

Viewfinder view

Looking through the eyepiece the first thing you will notice are the AF frame and the spot metering frame. Normally the AF areas are not visible, the image below is simulated to indicate the position of the AF points. You can choose from Auto AF-point selection, manual point selection or center point only.

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