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11-28-2008, 07:54 AM   #1
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Wow -- first impression of the new K-m

I finally got to handle the new Pentax K-m in a store yesterday. My impression of the camera is very good, and better than I expected it to be.

The quality of construction is great. It fits perfectly into the K200D/K20D line, it's obviously smaller but the same care has been taken on the K-m's fit and finish. The initial impression when picking it up is that it's made of metal. It feel's dense and very solid. There are no squeaks, no flimsiness.

The design and build are both a big step up from my *ist DL. The control wheel is a good size, bigger and with better knurling. All of the right-handed controls fall comfortably under finger (and I'm a big guy with long fingers.) The new grip is very deep, and gives a very positive perch for your hand with a solid grasp of the camera. I would be very comfortable with this camera on the back of much bigger lenses than the kit lens.

As for the kit lens, there is nothing to give away that it's a "light" version. It feels very sturdy and I actually prefer the look of the silver trim. The only way to tell there is anything different about the lens is to dismount it and pay attention to the lack of stainless ring on the mount. This might have concerned me in the past, but I have had two very good lenses that use a polycarbonate ring and stood up to much abuse which delivering great shots -- a Nikon 28-80G, and my Pentax 18-35 FAJ.

I do not miss the top-mounted LCD. I always thought this was an unnecessary hold-over from 1990's camera design. The rear LCD (which is huge and sharp, by the way) really makes the top LCD pointless. And when I'm shooting, I want to see shutter speed/aperture etc. in my viewfinder, not on the top of the camera. I think the look of the K-m is improved by removing the top LCD. It gives it a little bit of the flavour of a classic manual SLR.

I am pleased by the decision to stay with AA batteries. I am convinced of the need to use widely available commodity batteries in cameras that I want to keep and use for more than 2 years. I think dedicated batteries are simply a form of planned obsolesence. On the K-m, the battery door also feels sturdier than the door on my *ist DL.

The K-m really seems like the obvious upgrade for me. It's even smaller and better handling than my DL. It uses AA batteries. It offers the proven 10mp sensor from the award winning K10D. It adds shake and dust reduction (I know that's old news to many of you, but it's an upgrade to me and to anyone coming from low end Canikon product.)

Honestly, I would be more tempted by the K10D or K20D if they offered battery grips with AA support. But the K-m offers all the functionality I need (because I don't have a problem using one control wheel instead of two) and the picture quality of the K10D.

I think the K-m compares well to the entry level cameras of all the other manufacturers, and believe it will gain a real following. It's not a cheapie, crippled, or built-to-a-price camera (Nikon D40, I'm looking at you ).

11-28-2008, 07:53 PM   #2
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I'm wondering about noise - if it shares the same sensor as the K10D, does that mean the noise control at higher ISO is the same?
11-29-2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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I briefly played with one in a local store recently, and found it very nice. The shutter is much quieter than the K10D's. The only thing that really bugs me is the absence of focus point confirmation in the viewfinder. I understand the shooter can't control it, but I'd still like to know where the camera chose to focus in AF.A mode.

Mind you, I'm not the target audience for this camera, and I'd never use AF.A in the first place
11-29-2008, 07:45 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
I do not miss the top-mounted LCD. I always thought this was an unnecessary hold-over from 1990's camera design. The rear LCD (which is huge and sharp, by the way) really makes the top LCD pointless.
You'll miss it when you realize how much power the rear LCD draws when being on all the time...

11-29-2008, 07:59 AM   #5
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did you find the AF speed to be really fast (better than the K20D) which has been claimed :|
11-29-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
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Pentax K-m don't have a sensor that turns the LCD display off like Canon 400D.
Your choice's are ON or OFF in the menu.
ON=Always on and are off when shutter button are pressed or INFO button pressed, stays off until shutter or INFO button are pressed once.
OFF=Always off, LCD display turns on by pressing the INFO button.

I also miss the red AF light that my K10D have in the viewfinder.

Now that I'm used to the grip, I like the K-m better than the K10D. First I thought it was like the Canon 400D gripwise, but the K-m is ten times better when it comes to build quality.

The noise, auto WB and AF speed better on the K-m compared to the K10D.

I did a quick and dirty test a couple of weeks ago, NOT the best test I might add The first test with K10D at 100ISO, I touched the tripod while I took the picture.

Last edited by NorthPentax; 11-29-2008 at 08:18 AM. Reason: info added
11-29-2008, 08:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I'm wondering about noise - if it shares the same sensor as the K10D, does that mean the noise control at higher ISO is the same?
The K200D has the same sensor as the K10D too, but the pretty much overwhelming consensus is that it does better with noise than the K10D. Especially with respect to the pattern problems that showed up in many early copies of the K10D. I don't have a K10D to compare to directly, but I have compared against the DS and K100D, and can verify that the K200D is as good as either of those when comparing images at the same size. This is shooting RAW, too, so I am not taking advantage of the in-camera NR that can be applied to JPEG on the K200D (and presumably K-m).
11-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #8
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I share the same observations as yours..

.. on ergonomics and build of the K-m, ditto for the shutter/mirror sounds too. Yes, it is really small and felt more solid than the *ist as well as the K100.

However, after handling the K-m for the first time, it actually doesn't perform or look pretty as I expected and here are my first impressions (which is not the same as your experience for finding it to be better after tried it):-

RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: My Initial Impressions on the K-m

The AF is particularly not "lightning fast" as some other people told. It just hunts less - but the worst thing is that the hunting behaviour is the same and it did need to hunt most of the time, even under moderately lit condition, it just seems that it is instructed to give up hunting for just a limited number of times and there is a quota.

To be fair, as an entry level and lowest grade DSLR, it is not bad. However, Pentax do really need something more updated and advanced / powerful in their lineup.

QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
I finally got to handle the new Pentax K-m in a store yesterday. My impression of the camera is very good, and better than I expected it to be.

The quality of construction is great. It fits perfectly into the K200D/K20D line, it's obviously smaller but the same care has been taken on the K-m's fit and finish. The initial impression when picking it up is that it's made of metal. It feel's dense and very solid. There are no squeaks, no flimsiness.

The design and build are both a big step up from my *ist DL. The control wheel is a good size, bigger and with better knurling. All of the right-handed controls fall comfortably under finger (and I'm a big guy with long fingers.) The new grip is very deep, and gives a very positive perch for your hand with a solid grasp of the camera. I would be very comfortable with this camera on the back of much bigger lenses than the kit lens.

As for the kit lens, there is nothing to give away that it's a "light" version. It feels very sturdy and I actually prefer the look of the silver trim. The only way to tell there is anything different about the lens is to dismount it and pay attention to the lack of stainless ring on the mount. This might have concerned me in the past, but I have had two very good lenses that use a polycarbonate ring and stood up to much abuse which delivering great shots -- a Nikon 28-80G, and my Pentax 18-35 FAJ.

I do not miss the top-mounted LCD. I always thought this was an unnecessary hold-over from 1990's camera design. The rear LCD (which is huge and sharp, by the way) really makes the top LCD pointless. And when I'm shooting, I want to see shutter speed/aperture etc. in my viewfinder, not on the top of the camera. I think the look of the K-m is improved by removing the top LCD. It gives it a little bit of the flavour of a classic manual SLR.

I am pleased by the decision to stay with AA batteries. I am convinced of the need to use widely available commodity batteries in cameras that I want to keep and use for more than 2 years. I think dedicated batteries are simply a form of planned obsolesence. On the K-m, the battery door also feels sturdier than the door on my *ist DL.

The K-m really seems like the obvious upgrade for me. It's even smaller and better handling than my DL. It uses AA batteries. It offers the proven 10mp sensor from the award winning K10D. It adds shake and dust reduction (I know that's old news to many of you, but it's an upgrade to me and to anyone coming from low end Canikon product.)

Honestly, I would be more tempted by the K10D or K20D if they offered battery grips with AA support. But the K-m offers all the functionality I need (because I don't have a problem using one control wheel instead of two) and the picture quality of the K10D.

I think the K-m compares well to the entry level cameras of all the other manufacturers, and believe it will gain a real following. It's not a cheapie, crippled, or built-to-a-price camera (Nikon D40, I'm looking at you ).


11-29-2008, 09:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
..
I found a friend for you to play with......
let me have a question with the DxO noise test mode: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
11-29-2008, 11:05 AM   #10
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Gee Rice, thanks for your "expert" opinion..
11-29-2008, 05:41 PM   #11
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I'm impressed with all the k-m samples I've seen so far. It really makes me look forward to the K30D!

This is a great move by pentax. Having good auto white balance and metering is really important for an entry level camera.

Canon cameras, to my eye, tend to err on the side of overexposure and rather clinical white balance. If someone coming from a canon P&S picks up a dSLR and they get underexposed images with a color cast, they're going to think the camera sucks. Sure, it's a trivial matter to dial in the right exposure and manual white balance, or to just fix it in post with raw, but they don't know that.

Pentax won't gain new users with a K3D. They may lose some people who outgrow the system, but how many people entrenched in 5-10k of glass with a D3 or 1D are going to jump ship, even if pentax knocks one out of the park?

I'm a prime example of how targeting the entry level can be beneficial in the long run. Last year I was looking to buy a bridge camera, having become unhappy with the results of my digital elph. However, for only a little bit more, I noticed I could buy a dSLR. A bunch of research later and the K100D came in on top for features in the price range. Since then I've spent well over three times my initial investment on pentax gear, and I've replaced every piece of my initial kit.

Oh, and as an aside, when I first started researching I came across RiceHigh's rants. Being initially unaware of his bias, this almost swayed me towards getting the D40. Having handled one after using my K100D/K10D, boy am I sure I didn't!
11-29-2008, 08:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kirivon Quote
I'm a prime example of how targeting the entry level can be beneficial in the long run. Last year I was looking to buy a bridge camera, having become unhappy with the results of my digital elph. However, for only a little bit more, I noticed I could buy a dSLR. A bunch of research later and the K100D came in on top for features in the price range.
I was in exactly this position. My SD400 Elph was getting old, and as an amateur, Pentax offered low price, ease of use, AND, especially for a hobbyist, access to all kinds of inexpensive used lens. No brainer! I'm very happy with my K-m.
11-29-2008, 08:27 PM   #13
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Bought a K-M / K2000 anyway

I had read several accounts of the camera's capable focusing performance in very low light on the DP Review site. I have seen some superb samples (which for me are the test) of what it can do. I handled one in the store and realised it will fit in my work bag where my Canon S3IS now lives. Portability is also very important.

So I ended the agony and bought one this morning from the Canadian supplier on eBay.

I look forward to a more active participation on this site once the parcel arrives to Australia and thanks to those who answered my earlier questions about lens compatibility.

My apologies to the local stores: I really wanted to support local business, but only one retailer stocks it at AUD $900, and no other stores or Australian web suppliers stock it. After hearing there will be a price rise, and that Australian interest rates will probably fall yet again, I suspect the Aussie dollar will take yet another beating courtesy of international currency speculators.

Whether my impatience and economic predictions come to pass we shall see, but then again I might be in Walhalla tomorrow! I will post some samples as soon as it is practical. Your suggestion for the tests with the supplied lens are wecome.
11-29-2008, 08:54 PM   #14
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I completely agree - I had played with one K-m at downtown Henry's a few days ago and I was really impressed.

The only thing I do not like about the camera is... the name. Back to the good old days of *istD confusion. Besides, there is a KM body already (see here) and we have K-m now so be careful with dashes and capitalization this time. DPReview has already mixed up these two: their website reads "Pentax KM" which is wrong (see here). Although there is a K2000 in the US but that looks too close to K200D or even K20D. Imagine sorting a pile of boxes labeled K2000 K2000 K200D K2000 K200D K20D K2000 K20D K200D K2000 K20D K200D K2000 D200D K2000 K20D K2000 K200D... @-(

Last edited by Ivan Glisin; 11-29-2008 at 09:02 PM.
11-29-2008, 09:13 PM   #15
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It's easy: the price maybe will $700 $70 $7 $700 $700 $7 ....
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