Just like other Pentax digital SLR's the K10D has two 'image tone' options of Natural and Bright which define the base color and tone. Unlike the 'consumer orientated' K100D/K110D the K10D uses the Natural setting as its default rather than the more highly saturated Bright. In addition to these 'baseline' image tone selections you can of course change contrast, saturation and sharpness with a range of seven levels for each.
Image parameter adjustments
- Tone modes: Bright, Natural
- Color space: sRGB, Adobe RGB
- Image parameter adjustments
- Contrast: -3 to +3
- Saturation: -3 to +3
- Sharpness: -3 to +3
As mentioned above the image tone setting provides a baseline for the other image parameters, you can directly compare the color response of these two settings later in our Photographic Tests section, below are a few crops to demonstrate the differences between these two options.
Image tone resolution / sharpness difference
Note that there does also appear to be a subtle drop in sharpening going from the Bright to Natural tone, although it's not significant enough to lead to any loss of detail or resolution (in fact if anything it helps to avoid sharpening halos).
Adjusting the tone alters the shape of the 'S curve' used to map the linear image data captured by the sensor into the correct gamma. A lower contrast setting maintains more of the original data's dynamic range but leads to a flatter looking image. A higher contrast setting stretches the grayscale (dark to light) of the image and could lead to clipping of both shadow detail and highlights. The K10D provides a good range of contrast adjustment with sufficient steps in each direction (-3 to +3).
Color saturation adjustment
Saturation adjustment allows you to control the strength of color in the final image. Using the default 'Natural' image tone the chances are that color saturation is strong enough to deliver pleasing images while avoiding clipping of any particular color channel when taking shots of bright colors. That said the 'Bright' image tone can indeed cause the clipping, especially with strong reds. Hence you may wish to apply some negative saturation adjustment in this case. Good to see a wide latitude of adjustment with plenty of steps.
As we have seen on previous Pentax digital SLR's the default sharpness level is a little more conservative than other cameras, that's not a bad thing and simply means that if you want your images a little sharper out of the camera just select +1 or +2. We also note that Pentax appear to be using a sharpening algorithm which produces 'undershoot' (a darkening of black side of contrast on an edge) rather than 'overshoot' (white halos), this can be seen most obviously on the watch fingers in the +3 crop. Unfortunately this appears to leave some black edges looking a little soft and increasing the sharpness setting doesn't help.
|Sharpness: 0 (default)|