Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS

Started Nov 1, 2013 | User reviews thread
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cgarrard Forum Pro • Posts: 15,509
Pentax K10D- Grandfather of High End Pentax DSLRS

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 (Gear reviews) (Best work compilation)
Also formerly (Now off the web)

Pentax K10D
10 megapixels • 2.5 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Sep 13, 2006
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