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07-03-2007, 05:19 PM   #1
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Pentax K100D or K100D Super?

Oh dear.......the more information one reads in these forums, the greater the difficulty in deciding becomes ! I am in a terrible quandry as to which direction to proceed next. Many years ago I started out with a pair of Olympus OM1 bodies accompanied by a few lenses, because I firmly believed that at the time, their cameras were the toughest and lightest 35mm film cameras available. I later acquired a Mamiya medium-format body paired with their superb Sekor 50mm f4.0 shift lens, mainly for shooting architectural photography. I was quite happy with matters until the dreaded subject of 'digital' photography tentatively raised it's head above the proverbial parapet in the early 1990's.
In the near future I would dearly love an opportunity to actually use this magnificent shift lens on a digital camera body equipped with a genuine full-frame 6 x 4.5 sensor (No crop-factor please. Is anyone still listening at Mamiya ?) I believe that most sane individuals nowadays regard the asking price for medium-format digital backs/bodies as utterly excessive. I am categorically not a professional myself and have no intention whatsoever of throwing stupid amounts of money at equipment that can so rapidly become obsolete.
Going from one extreme to another, I first dipped my toe in the digital waters and bought a Fuji Finepix F602Z digital bridge-camera with dust-free-sensor, which has served me fairly well for quite a few years. In some ways the easy upgrade path from the F602Z might have been to purchase a Fuji S9500, but I became deeply concerned by the number of people who have reportedly experienced severe problems with broken or malfunctioning command-dials on this model, allied to debatable image quality & noise issues ? The ideal choice ought to have been the Fuji S9600, but for some unfathomable reason the manufacturers messed around with it's hand-grip, which is tangibly narrower (far less comfortable to me) than the S9500. Why in god's name can't camera designers leave perfectly adequate designs alone for more more than 5 minutes ! In a moment of madness I supplemented the S602Z with a Panasonic FZ20, which is endowed with a fantastic stabilised Leica 36-420 zoom lens. However the downside of this design is a truly noisy sensor ! Oh lordy, where do I go from here ? You've probably guessed by now that I've been desperately trying to resist the continuous onslaught of the 35mm digital SLR bandwagon, whilst waiting for prices to become more maybe that day is at last approaching ? I reckon that handling-wise, the nearest digital equivalent to my old Olympus OMI is perhaps the K100D with SR (Shake Reduction), which instinctively feels ergonomically right to me. Incidentally, I've briefly handled Nikon's D40/40X and Canon's 400D bodies, but both of their hand-grips feel way too small for my liking and their respective range of VR and IS stabilised lenses seem excessively expensive in comparison to Pentax lenses. Another advantage of the K100D is that it can use AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (of which I have many). I can never fully comprehend why many people seem to dislike them so much, as proprietary batteries often become obsolete over a relatively short period ?
I'm aware that the K100D isn't equipped with inbuilt Dust Removal (DR) or an SDM (Sonic Direct-drive Motor) pin, but the recently announced K100D Super DSLR addresses the DR and SDM issues. I am particularly underwhelmed by the fact that this new camera only features a 6 megapixel sensor, but wholly appreciate that under certain low ambient light conditions the 6 MP sensor in the K100D behaves less 'noisily' than the 10MP one in the K10D. Nevertheless the benchmark has been raised by the closest competition and I would personally expect nothing less than 10MP on a supposedly *new SLR camera (how about a Pentax K100D SG (for *Stop-Gap !). I quite often selectively crop my images and for this reason alone would find a 10MP sensor to be invaluable. If and when Pentax eventually get around to producing a full-frame digital SLR (dream on !) with a 36mm x 24mm sensor , I imagine that all those APS-C specific lenses will suddenly drop like a stone in value, but maybe this is the unavoidable price we pay for progress ? I find the apparent shortage of Pentax's advertised range of lenses rather worrying and the overall situation is not exactly helped by the current uncertainty surrounding Hoya's recent take-over of the company. Although I greatly admire many aspects of the top-of-the-range K10D, I find it too bulky and unwieldy for my requirements, as I've become tired of carrying too much equipment around on holidays etc. Fortunately (or not, depending on your viewpoint) I don't possess any legacy K-mount glass. Even allowing for the focal-length magnification factor, I still remain unsure why so many of the old K lenses are apparently praised by some and yet seemingly dismissed by others as being unsuitable, because they are not 'digitally optimised' in the way the latest ones are ? In conclusion any constructive suggestions would be greatly appreciated as to which way I should proceed.

07-03-2007, 05:26 PM   #2
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I believe most testing shows that DR is not very effective. A good rocket blower does wonders, and the occasional Eclipse fluid/pad treatment seems to really help.

Can't comment on the SDW feature.
07-03-2007, 05:30 PM   #3
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Ummm.. I kinda got lost half way down there but if you think you will use the DA* Lenses it would be best to wait for the Super.

Imagine a 2.8 zoom lens + image stabilization + excellent high iso capability!
It just makes my mouth water.

As for the 6mp sensor, it was a smart decision. It may not be a good gimmick for the ignorant general consumer, but it is one of the main selling points of the camera for me. Honestly, I doubt you will miss them. For the resulting print size to just double the megapixel count must quadruple! In otherwords the K100D produces 300dpi prints at 8x10 and it would take a 24mp camera to produce 16x20's at 300dpi. A difference of 4 megapixels is near negligable.
07-05-2007, 02:44 PM   #4
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As a former Olympus shooter who got screwed by them dropping the OM mount when they went digital, I was in the same boat as you when it came time for me to move to a digital SLR. I originally started out with Pentax gear in my teens, so I was looking at the K100D or K10D. After my dealings with Olympus, I went with the K10D to ensure the most compatibility with any future lenses. The K100D didn't have the contacts for the promised Supersonic lenses. Now with the Super model, that is changed. Not that my K10D is bad, but I would probably get the K100D Super now and use the money saved for a better main lens, like the Sigma 17-70 or similar.

(I do keep hoping that Olympus will either make a stripped DSLR that uses the OM mount themselves or license it to another maker. There is a lot of great Zuiko glass out there that should have been brought into the digital world. I believe there is a market for a digital OM-1 if someone would just make one. I know I'd buy one. I don't mind manual focus.)

07-06-2007, 06:18 AM   #5
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In reply to egarrard, I'm 1000% in agreement with you when you state that "there is a lot of great Zuiko glass out there that should have been brought into the digital world". I own one of their amazing 35mm f2.8 perspective-shift manual lenses which I used to use A LOT, especially for architectural photography. I will probably never know who was jointly responsible for dropping the original mount when Olympus eventually decided to enter the realm of digital SLR's, but if I ever meet them in a dark alley somewhere, I can assure you they're gonna be leaving in a body bag ! The only way I can hope to achieve a full-frame digital equivalent of my OM1/35mm f2.8 set-up would be to invest something in the region of £2,500 in a Canon 5D body & 24mm TSE if that's likely to happen in the near future......NOT. Oh yeah, I'm really p.....d-off with Olympus alright !!!

Last edited by Confused; 07-06-2007 at 02:44 PM.
07-06-2007, 09:54 PM   #6
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I happen to have both a K10 and a K100 and I use them together all the time (keep different types of lenses on each camera body). Just my opinion based on my own two cameras, the K100 has as good image quality as the K10 and better low light capability. There are several reasons for going with the K10, but except for wildlife photographers or others who crop significantly for some reason, 10 mp isn't one of them. I think it's wonderful that Pentax is offering an updated K100 with the excellent 6 mp sensor.

As far as whether you buy the K100 or the K100 Super - how likely are you to want SDM? If you shoot mostly macros and manual lenses, then the K100 would be fine. If you are shooting sports and plan on getting a DA* lens right off, then wait for the Super. The dust removal is a nice advertising device - I don't get much dust on my sensor but what little I do hasn't come off with the sensor shake - I've always ended up having t use the rocket blower.

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