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Pentax K100D Digital Camera First Thoughts
by Howard Creech -  8/16/2006

In 1976 Pentax replaced its venerable Spotmatic 35mm SLR with a new camera called the K1000; a very basic manual exposure single lens reflex (SLR) designed to help neophyte shooters learn basic photography skills. The K1000 enjoyed one of the longest production runs of any modern camera because it was cheap, dependable, tough as nails, easy to use, and capable of producing consistently excellent results. Generations of student photographers, yearbook staffers, budding high school photo-journalists, and college sports shooters learned their craft behind a K1000. By the time production stopped in 1997 more than 3,000,000 K1000's had been sold.

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Thirty years after that first K1000 rolled off a production line in Japan, Pentax has introduced its digital doppelganger, the Pentax K100D. Point & shoot digital cameras have dominated the photography marketplace for most of the past decade, but reasonably priced entry level dSLRs are now the fastest growing segment of that lucrative market. Entry-level digital SLRs allow photographers to move to the next creative level by providing affordable access to modular imaging devices and interchangeable lenses.

pentax k100d
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The K100D is up against some pretty stiff competition including Canon's Rebel XT and Nikon's D50. At 6 megapixels the K100D looks to be holding the short straw in this contest since most of its rivals sport at least 8 megapixel resolution, but the K100D is fairly cheap ($699 with 18mm--55mm /3.5--f5.6 Pentax DA zoom), dependable and robustly built, simple to operate, and capable of producing consistently excellent results. The K100D also provides users with some unique capabilities and features including the ability to mount virtually all "K" mount lenses ever made (including lots of inexpensive manual focus optics) and image stabilization with every lens.

pentax k100d
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Serious amateur shooters may have a few issues with the K100D, but family snap-shooters, P&S digicam users just making the jump to a dSLR, student photographers, casual shutterbugs, and old timers with a collection of Pentax lenses will appreciate its reasonable price, use of universally available AA batteries, and image stabilization. Institutions that teach basic photography should very seriously consider the K100D - no currently available dSLR offers a better balance of features and capabilities plus compatibility with thousands of KAF2, KAF, KA, K, S (M42), and Pentax Medium Format optics. The K100D may, in the long term, be a more practical imaging tool than its illustrious predecessor.

Stay tuned for our full review, coming soon!

Sample Images

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