One of the main disadvantages of the *ist DS2 was its speed. Fortunately, the Pentax K100D shows significant improvements in this area. Although the camera isn't exactly a speed freak, it now proves excellent to work with, which instantly increases the appeal of the Pentax K100D. The camera's operation, we should point out, is as easy as one-two-three; there is no need to immerse yourself in endless user manuals in order to operate the K100D. The function button is the only feature that could perhaps cause confusion, but once you have worked with it, all will simply be as clear as daylight.
Pentax K100D - Activate the camera
The Pentax K100D is ready to capture a shot almost immediately after being activated; in fact, the entire process will take less than a second. It should be said, however, that the main switch easily changes position unintentionally, which means a certain degree of caution is required when placing the camera into the bag, so that you will not leave the camera switched on by accident. Even though the Pentax K100D will go into sleep mode automatically, losing out on valuable power would still be a shame. After activating the camera, information regarding the selected exposure programme will appear on the large monitor. Pressing INFO during the actual capturing of your images will also show you all available information. This proves particularly handy when you wish to quickly check the settings.
Pentax K100D - Changing settings
Apart from the exposure lock, all buttons on the Pentax K100D feature a single function, which greatly increases the camera's simplicity, and ensures the camera is clear and easy to work with. It are the less experienced photographers in particular that will benefit from this high level of ease and simplicity. After all, constantly having to search for the function or feature you need simply takes all the fun out of photographing, or at least it does in my opinion. Once you have discovered the function button, you will never want to do without. This button enables you to quickly adjust important settings such as white balance and image speed. However, the fact that the manual setting requires you to keep a button pressed down to alter the aperture proves a little less convenient. A second mode dial would certainly come in handy here. On the other hand, such an addition might just translate to a slightly higher price-tag. Moreover, the camera isn't likely to be switched to manual all that often in the first place.
Pentax K100D - Fast 11-point auto focus
The fact that Pentax have adjusted the algorithms in the K100D certainly contributes to the camera's speed. The 11-point auto focus is considerably faster, and the photos are quickly written onto the memory card. The focus points cannot be seen in the viewfinder; it is only the point on which you focus that lights up. This may occasionally cause situations where you find yourself having to search for the point that provides the ideal focus. Then again, you are likely to quickly become familiar with this process. The nine points in the large focus frame are cross-type sensors and sensitive. A line sensor can be found at the two far ends on the left and right. Slightly less sensitive, yet certainly effective. The accuracy of the auto focus leaves next to nothing to be desired.
Pentax K100D SLR - Histogram function
The large monitor proves to be particularly valuable when reviewing your photos. The quality of the monitor itself is reasonable. Not bad, yet not exactly outstanding. Either way, the sharpness can be properly assessed after zooming in. The colours, however, do clearly deviate from what the end result will be. Although a certain degree of deviation will always be present; the computer screen is much more accurate, Pentax show just a little too much.
Consequently, you shouldn't go by that alone. If needed, you may opt to use a histogram to check the exposure. This histogram only shows the brightness, and not the red, green and blue colours separately. Then again, we must admit that would be somewhat redundant for a camera in this class. Pressing INFO during the playback of your photos will display extensive information about the image. No less than 25 pieces of info will be shown, including the focal point that was used. It goes without saying that the photo will then be displayed in a smaller size.
Pentax K100D - Depth of field control
A remarkable function is the depth of field control. Normally, this can be seen in the viewfinder. The aperture will be closed down to the selected value, whereupon the result will become visible in the viewfinder. Although the view becomes dark, you will still be reasonably able to assess what is happening. The K100D also offers you the option to view the depth of field on the monitor. In this case, a photo will be taken, which is then stored in the camera's buffer. Unfortunately, this function does not come in all that handy, simply because you cannot zoom in. You only get to see the overall picture, and we have to say the option to see whether or not the focus really is where you want it would really add an indisputable surplus value to the camera. For now, it isn't much more than a fun gimmick.
Pentax K100D SLR - Shake Reduction
One of the most common mistakes is a blurred, moving image. This generally occurs because the camera has not been kept steady; the so-called blur caused by jitter. Years ago, the introduction of special lenses equipped with an image stabilisation already proved to help reduce this form of blurring. The downside of this type of lens, however, is that they are often quite costly. On the other hand, the fact that stabilisation in the lens simply offers most room to experiment, forms a major advantage. Digital photography, however, enables an additional way to stabilise the image. This is done by letting the sensitive element, the image sensor, make an opposite movement. Konica Minolta were the first one to apply this technique, but now Pentax follow suit with a similar system in the form of Shake Reduction. According to Pentax, you will be able to win 2 up to 3.5 steps, depending on the lens and the subject's proximity. It has to be said that the degree of blur caused by jitter greatly depends on the applied angle of view, and thus the focal length of the lens. Pentax offer a solution to this. The contemporary lenses convey the focal point, which is then used by the camera to either increase or decrease the movement of the sensor. If working with an older lens, you will be able to set this yourself via the menu. Shake Reduction proves excellent to work with in practice, although it can of course never prevent jitter entirely. You do, however, experience significantly less problems. Ideal for those who take a lot of photos indoors, or make frequent use of a tele lens. The best solution, however, remains using a decent and thus heavy and sturdy tripod, but that simply isn't always convenient.