The K10D follows the same rounded 'sweeping' design cues which are common across the Pentax digital SLR range, indeed it looks very similar to the K100D/K110D, just a little larger. From the front you can see the large comfortable hand grip and the rubber coating which extends to the right side of the lens mount. One notable difference compared to the competition is a slightly lower profile thanks to the less pronounced viewfinder chamber on the top of the camera.
The rear of the camera certainly appears busier and more comprehensive than previous Pentax digital SLRs, on the right side we have a rubber thumb grip and a set of controls designed to be 'under your thumb', on the left the large 2.5" LCD monitor and a column of four buttons all related to user interface tasks.
The only 'pro feature' the K10D appears to be lacking is a magnesium body (compared to the Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200), however the plastic used for the case feel extremely robust and the whole thing is attached to a metal chassis (see below). Additionally Pentax state that the entire body is dust and weather sealed (see diagram on the first page of this article), closer inspection of the compartment doors supports this.
Side by side
Below you can see the K10D flanked by the Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 30D. The K10D is similar in width to the EOS 30D but (as mentioned) sits lower thanks to its flatter viewfinder chamber. Personally I prefer the forward position of the EOS 30D's shutter release button but to counter that prefer the K10D's front mounted control dial.
In your hand
The K10D has a nicely shaped grip which is comfortable to hold and thanks to a soft rubber coating remains steady. The front grip features a nice deep lip and the rear hand grip is shaped to fit into your hand and provide your thumb with good purchase.
|The K10D features a bright and sharp 2.5" LCD monitor with 210,000 pixels, it has a quoted viewing angle of 140 degrees (this appears to be in both the horizontal and vertical directions). It also has a wide range of brightness adjustment which affects the LCD backlight and gamma of image display. The LCD is covered by a plastic screen but doesn't feature any anti-reflective coating.|
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). The panel has a very bright green backlight which stays on for approximately nine seconds after pressing the exposure compensation button on the rear of the camera.
A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagram below.
We have always raved about the excellent viewfinders in Pentax digital SLRs compared to other 'cropped sensor' digital SLRs and the K10D is no different. It utilizes a glass pentaprism (picture here) and achieves a 0.95x magnification with a 95% frame view. This all adds up to a bright and clear viewfinder view which appears surprisingly large and has no distortion. The eyecup is removable and and the supplied eyepiece cover can be attached to stop stray light from entering the chamber during long exposures.
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 selection or center point only.
Viewfinder status bar
Along the bottom of the viewfinder view is the status bar which carries a range of 'essential' information such as aperture, shutter speed and the focus indicator. In Sv or TAv mode the remaining frames indicator switches roles to become the ISO indicator, it's a pity there isn't a dedicated display for all exposure modes.
* Indicates frames remaining / EV compensation /
ISO sensitivity (Sv or TAv modes and during change).