There are an awful lot of things to set on the Pentax K10D. I kept discovering new things all the time, and I would recommend reading the instruction guide a few times and trying it out a bit. Fortunately, you can program the user settings, including the exposure program, sensitivity, corrections, quality and contrast. The settings will be available instantly if you set the button for the exposure programs on User. All settings can be checked via the screen and owners of the Pentax K10D will have nothing to complain about in this respect.
Pentax K10D - MTF curve for exposure
In the last chapter, we looked at the various unique exposure programs, but I haven't finished yet. You can indicate the progression of the program line yourself. Exposure can be set via the MTF curve. The camera adjusts the aperture to get the best out of the lens. You will need to use a DA, D FA, FA or FA J-lens for this as they pass on the requisite information. You can also adjust the curve to the shortest possible shutter speed (e.g., sport) or maximum depth of field (e.g. landscapes). It is striking to see how the combination of shutter speed and aperture changes and it is great that the photographer can control how curve unfolds.
Pentax K10D digital SLR - Image stabilisation
The DA, D FA, FA and FA J-lens work with image stabilisation, just like the F-lens. With the Pentax K10D, image stabilisation works by having the image sensor make a corrective movement. The movements increase or decrease according to the focal point used. If you are using lenses that do not pass on this information, you can set it manually via the menu. In practise, stabilisation with a sensor works just as effectively as stabilisation in the lens. I had no reason, apart from testing it, to turn off the Shake Reduction. Image stabilisation is also very effective with wide-angle, e.g. if you are moving the camera along with the subject.
Pentax K10D - Moving sensor for dust reduction
The moving sensor is also used for dust reduction. Dust reduction is activated via the menu when you turn on the camera. It is so fast that it gives hardly any delay. You can feel the camera shaking as a lot is being moved. It is difficult to measure the effect of dust reduction, but I didn't have a single piece of dust on any of the multitude of photos I took under varying circumstances.
Pentax K10D DSLR camera - RAW & JPEG photos
No one will be surprised that you can take photographs in RAW with the Pentax K10D . You can save a RAW and JPEG at the same time, which is very handy, especially as you ca determine the size of the JPEG yourself. You also have two options in RAW: PEF or DNG. The first format is from Pentax and you can only open it with Pentax software. DNG is more universal and you can open it in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), but not in Apple Aperture. The difference in the RAW formats are mainly in the size and the programs with which you ca open it. A PEF and DNG picture of a test shot that have both been converted in Pentax PhotoLab are completely identical. There is a difference between a DNG that has been converted with PhotoLab or ACR. Pentax's software uses slightly stronger noise suppression, which gives a cleaner picture, but loses a lot of detail. The colour saturation with ACR is just a fraction higher. This is not really significant and you could change it in the program settings. I preferred transfer with ACR. I can live with that little bit of noise as long as I have good detailing.
Pentax K10D - RAW files turned into JPEG
RAW files can also be turned into JPEG in the camera itself. This is rather unique. You can also set parameters like white balance, size, quality, sensitivity and focus. With standard settings, you have an identical picture as a standard JPEG. This is logical, but by changing the settings, you can do more without having to depend on your computer. This is great if you are working on location and need a good JPEG quickly.
Pentax K10D SLR camera - Sharpen photos
The Pentax K10D's picture quality is good and JPEG directly from the camera is fine. You cannot see the difference between a TIFF converted with RAW. The standard focus is rather low, but I didn't mind that. I nearly always turn the sharpen setting off and fix it in Photoshop when I have the photo ready to print or put on the web. If you want to print directly from JPEG, you should raise the sharpen setting a little. The colours produced by the Pentax K10D are very nice: not too saturated, not too weak, they are very natural. You will need to set the white balance properly as it can go wrong in artificial light. This is another reason to take photos in RAW.
Pentax K10D PRIME processor - Noise free pictures
Noise is a hot issue in digital photography. With film, we chose to take grainy pictures, but digital photos must be as clean as possible. The Pentax K10D will make you very happy on that count. I was already impressed by the processor in earlier models from Pentax. Using the same sensor as Nikon, Pentax had always managed to keep down the noise. It's repeated the trick with the Pentax K10D. The PRIME processor gives amazingly noise free pictures. Even at ISO 1600, noise can only be seen at 100%, mainly if you convert RAW photos with ACR. The JPEGs and the pictures converted with PhotoLab have practically no noise, thanks to the noise reduction. Naturally, this is achieved at the expense of the detailing. It's up to you to choose what is more important to you.
Pentax K10D DSLR - DA lenses
Throughout the test, I worked with both the standard DA 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AL lens as well as the 2 pancakes, the DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited and the DA 21mm f/3.2 Limited. The standard lens is quite good, more as less what we are used to with these sorts of lenses. They are fine and give you value for money. The two pancake lenses are a different story altogether. They are extremely compact and give wonderful results. The focus is not great with open aperture, but just close two stops and you will have a top lens. If quality is your absolute top requirement, you should buy the pancake lenses.