New Pentax Digital SLRs

Just saw a couple of items come in on DPreview… Pentax has announced two new Digital SLRs, the Pentax K100D and K110D. Highlights include:

  • Big ass 2.5″ LCD with a “wide view” design which allows you to view the viewfinder at up to 140 degrees vertically and horizontally. Cool, how does it work in daylight though?
  • Auto picture mode. Yawn – doesn’t every camera in the world have this already? I thought the Pentax MZ series had this as well. Of course, it’s not in the *ist-D, so it would be nice…
  • 6.1 megapixels. I’m pretty dissapointed that the latest Pentax offering still has the same sensor (or at least sensor size) as their first *ist-D which was introduced in 2003. In fact, I think all of the Pentax *ist Digital SLRs had this size sensor, the D, DS, DS2, DL, DL2. That said, the images produced are very nice.
  • (Obvious) the new name, no more confusion of is it “star ist”, “star eye ess tee” confusion. It’s got a nostalgic feel as well, obviously a nod to the original k1000 film body.
  • And….. <drum roll….. > ….. Shake Reduction! This has long been downplayed in other cameras in the forums, thrown off with a shake of the head and a “setting up your picture properly in the first place will give you better results than anti-shake”. That’s all nice and all, but it is nice to have the functionality available now in my favorite body, as many other camera makers have it available.

    The K100D is equipped with the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction (SR) system, which effectively reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under difficult shooting conditions, such as using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark or at night without a supplementary flash illumination, or using extended exposures for sunset scenes. The SR mechanism incorporated in the K100D is designed to minimize camera shake by oscillating the CCD image sensor vertically and horizontally at high speed using magnetic force, while adjusting the speed of oscillation in proportion to the amount of camera shake detected by a built-in sensor. As a result, it does not require special anti-shake lenses, and can be used with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.

    The fact that this is compatible with pretty much every pentax lens ever, back to screw mounts (with adapter of course), is pretty cool. I can’t wait to use my favorite all manual 50mm/1.7 lens with anti-shake.

It looks like there won’t be a new sensor until the pro-grate 10 megapixel replacement for the original *ist-D comes out sometime in the future. Too bad, as going to 8 or 10 megapixels would be a nice upgrade, however, 6 does me just fine and should do most people just fine as well.
Someone set up a blog at Okay 1000, with some more information and some more detailed information. The author has some more information and thoughts.
My take is that unless I need a backup (or new primary) body, or fall in love with it when it comes into the stores, I probably won’t be replacing my gear anytime soon. The next step for me will be something like this but a 8-12 megapixel sensor 🙂