The simple to use Pentax K100D Super looks every inch the real deal. It is a great choice if you want to make your first foray into digital SLR photography.
Pentax has overhauled its six megapixel Pentax K100D Super - and stuck that ‘Super’ suffix on the model name - but the resolution hasn’t changed, thus positioning this DSLR very firmly at the entry-level end of the market.
Keeping things simple, power comes courtesy of four non-rechargeable AAs, while it’s also just a tad more compact if weightier than Olympus’ E510. This time around you do get a CCD-shift dust removal system to prevent undesirables sticking to the sensor when changing optics, plus a flexible 11-point auto focus system, but what’s really super is that the Pentax K100D Super is a digital SLR with a lens for under £400. Incredible.
Despite the budget tag, nothing about the Pentax K100D Super feels compromised. It’s weighty in the palm, construction is solid, plus the controls are large and obvious – with, unusually for a beginners’ model, a separate LCD display window atop the camera showing essential shooting options, in addition to the main screen on the back.
The Pentax K100D Super’s mode wheel allows users to simply point and shoot from the off, with a range of pre-optimised settings for typical subjects and scenes.
The Pentax K100D Super powers up for the first shot in a couple of seconds, the auto focus immediately locking onto its target and the camera emitting a beep of confirmation. Press to take the shot and there’s no discernable shutter delay – impressive for an amateur model. For shooting in low light, or at maximum telephoto setting it’s best to activate the Shake Reduction feature handily accessed via a dedicated slider control with wobbly hand icon at the back.
It’s a mute point whether the target audience for the Pentax K100D Super are really going to benefit from dust removal – as the majority of first timers will most likely stick with the supplied kit lens – but it’s certainly an extra that makes the camera more competitive when ranged against rivals lacking such a feature, including Nikon’s D40x. You also get low light sensitivity all the way up to an impressive ISO3200, though the range does start higher than most as ISO200.
Still, with the bundled 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens bolted to the front and plenty of light available, the results are crisp and colourful.
To sum up, the Pentax K100D Super is an unfussy, uncluttered user-friendly camera that is still packed with enough features for most amateur DSLR users. On our test shots, the Pentax delivered warm colours with just the right degree of softness for our portrait image, while, although the low light shot was slightly noisier than that delivered by the Olympus, its white balance performance was less variable. In short, it’s a great all-rounder at a fantastic price.