Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pentax K10D camera

Well, I did it. I went out and purchased my first DSLR camera. I chose the Pentax K10D as the camera. Why? Because I have Pentax glass and I did not want to spend a lot of money on new glass. And the features (weather sealing, CCD image cleaner, shake reduction) are simply not found on a camera in the price range of the Pentax. No one even comes close.

I've had the camera for a couple of months. I've put 2,500 pictures through it. Here is what I think it does well:

Good stuff it does:
* It takes sharp pictures. Need good glass to get good pictures.
* It fits well in your hand.
* Controls are fairly simply to master and not overly complicated. (Although there were a couple of things that are in locations that are somewhat counter-intuitive).
* Battery lasts a LONG time. In fact, I've never killed a battery completely dead when shooting. Then again, I don't use the internal flash, nor do I spend a lot of time reviewing photos on my camera. That's why there's Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS3.

The not so good stuff:
* Automatic white balance often times is clueless. But nothing you can't fix in Lightroom.
* Photographs seem a little on the dark side, especially in high contrast photos. The camera has a tendency to expose more for the brighter areas than the darker areas. This surprises me because of the multi-segment metering system. In backlit situations, I generally have to adjust the exposure. But I have to be careful because too much adjustment and you blow out the picture. Lightroom can correct dark photos quite well.
* When in auto ISO mode, you don't know what ISO the camera is set at. It would be very handy to see in the viewfinder the ISO setting at all times, in addition to shutter speed and f-stop settings.
* When you are at the high ISO settings (800 - 1600 range), there is a fair amount of noise. A little more than I care to have.

Overall, the camera does a fairly decent job of taking pictures, especially when the ISO is in the 400 and below range. In fact, I took some photos of a friend and his family and the pictures turned out really well. I had about four rolls of unexposed 35mm film left. After I took my friend's photos, I gave the film away. I don't ever intend or plan on going back to film ever again. In fact, I'm going to get rid of my film camera. Mistake? I don't think so. The great thing about digital is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot until you either run out of battery or memory on your memory card. Then you can print what you like and discard what you don't want.

I also went to Yellowstone National Park and took a bunch of photos. I have some great pictures of a bull elk with velvet on his antlers.

The one thing I yearn for is a larger sensor. I like the sensor of the Canon 5D because it is full size 35mm. That full size sensor helps keep the noise down at the higher ISO settings.


jjide said...

I know I am commenting on an old post but I just found it today. I also checked out some of your other posts and there were some very interesting ones on here like the rolling Isuzu. About this post it was nice to read someone else was having their pictures turn out on the dark side with the K10-D. I like you did a lot of research and found that the Pentax K-10d would be the best bang for my buck. I spent a little extra and got the lens upgrade to 16-45 lens . Well, I had two complaints about the camera one being the flash was not positioned high enough to not be obstructed by the lens even when moderately extended, I get a black half circle at the top of my shots. I guess I need to get a remote flash.
But more to the point of my comment was my photos have shown up very dark even when not backlit. Looking at my photos compared to my standard point shot digital camera they seem even darker. I take pictures of art on skateboard decks and I try and achieve a clean shot with no dark spots or shading. In my experience unless you have an expensive studio nothing beats natural light for getting good shots. When I am taking a picture of a board with a dark background and then a dark art on it the pictures were coming out very dark to the point where it was hard to distinguish between a dark navy and black. This is very disappointing and much of it can probably be attributed to my limited photography knowledge. I use the green or the fully auto mode for the most part. I do use the manual settings but usually for action shots and not still portraits as I believe the camera can decide what to use when I am giving it unlimited time to focus. If you have any tips that you have found to lighting up shots with K-10d please let me know. Or in general if you can think of a better why for me to achieve my desired shots. I do realize Photoshop and other secondary programs can some what correct them but as I load many pictures I was hoping to avoid secondary manipulation to save time. Thanks for reading my comment and posting your blog.

Tom said...

May I suggest the following:

1.) Take time and experiment. Since this is digital, the photos are free, right? So when I am taking photos, I remember that. I don't have to spend money to develop my photos. So take a bunch. Play with the exposure. If the exposure is too dark, move up the exposure more so that it lightens up. And you can bracket your photos. Start at normal and then work your way up to two or three stops above normal until you find the right exposure. Again, it depends on how dark your photos are and how much you want them lightened. I suggest going in 1/3 stop increments.

2.) Get photo editing software and shoot in raw mode. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for all my post processing. Yes, it is not full bore Photoshop, which I hope to purchase some day, but for me for now, its good enough. It is powerful enough to correct exposure.

About shooting in raw mode. I set my camera to save photos in jpg and Adobe DNG format. The jpgs are there so that if I want a quick photo w/o touching it up, I can send it in and be done with it. The DNG format is the best quality raw format for the K10D, better than Pentax's own PEF format. And Adobe Lightroom uses DNG as its native format, which is another plus for the Pentax.

I've shot over 6,000 photos through my Pentax thus far and I've only had the camera for about 18 months or so. It does have its problems, but it isn't that bad of a camera. I just need to get more glass for the body.