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Pentax K10D Gordon Laing, April 2007

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

 
Outdoor scene - Pentax K10D vs Canon 400D / XTi vs Nikon D80 with kit lenses

Pentax K10D at 26mm f8   To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Pentax K10D, Canon 400D / XTi and Nikon D80 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and 100 ISO sensitivity.

To reflect typical usage, each camera was fitted with its most common kit lens option, respectively: the Pentax DA 18-55mm, Canon EF-S 18-55mm and Nikkor DX 18-135mm.

The image above was taken with the Pentax K10D at 26mm f8, with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original *** JPEG measured 3.29MB; the Canon 400D / XTi and Nikon D80 images were taken with matching exposures and measured 4.19 and 4.54MB respectively.

The crops are taken from the upper left, center and lower right portions of the originals and presented here at 100%.

Pentax K10D
Using DA 18-55mm
Canon 400D / XTi
Using EF-S 18-55mm
Nikon D80
Using DX 18-135mm
Pentax K10D crop 1   Canon EOS 400D / XTi crop 1   Nikon D80 crop 1
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
         
Pentax K10D crop 2   Canon EOS 400D / XTi crop 2   Nikon D80 crop 2
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
 
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
 
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
         
Pentax K10D crop 3   Canon EOS 400D / XTi crop 3   Nikon D80 crop 3
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
 
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
 
1/250, f8, 100 ISO

Judging from the samples above, the Pentax K10D is capable of recording roughly the same degree of detail as the Nikon D80 when both are using the kit lenses stated above. The Pentax DA 18-55mm is softer in the corners than the Nikkor DX 18-135mm, but again the degree of recorded detail is roughly the same. As you'll see from our other sample images though, the K10D's default JPEG image processing produces relatively toned-down photos which can certainly handle a boost in almost every respect. This is particularly apparent next to the D80's Normal setting which delivers quite punchy results in comparison. Overall though it's still a respectable result for the K10D which records comparable detail to what's arguably the leading 10 Megapixel mid-range DSLR.

The biggest differences in the crops above though are once again from the Canon EOS 400D / XTi. As seen in our other DSLR comparisons, the 400D / XTi is let down by the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens which suffers in particular from softening in the corners - this is most visible on the trees in the final row of crops.

Pentax K10D JPEG versus RAW comparison

To eliminate the effect of the K10D’s in-camera processing and compression, we set it to record a RAW file at the same time as a *** JPEG. The K10D offers the option of recording RAW files in the proprietary Pentax PEF or open Adobe DNG formats; we opted for the latter. The JPEG and DNG RAW files measured 3.29MB and 16.1MB respectively.

Note: the RAW file was processed with Adobe Camera RAW 3.6 under Photoshop CS2 using the Camera RAW default settings (and 'As Shot' White Balance), then transferred to Photoshop with 16-bit tonal depth, before converting to 8-bit then cropping and saving using the same JPEG settings as above.

Pentax K10D JPEG versus RAW, using DA 18-55mm
Pentax K10D - JPEG
Pentax K10D - RAW
JPEG, 1/250, f8, 100 ISO
RAW conversion, 1/250, f8, 100 ISO

Using the Adobe Camera RAW defaults and 'As Shot' White Balance, the processed RAW file is noticeably sharper and saturated than the in-camera JPEG; indeed they look like they're from different cameras. While you may ultimately prefer the toned-down (dare we say, dull) approach of the default JPEG processing, there's no denying the K10D delivers considerably less punchy images straight out of the camera than its rivals. Personal preferences of course vary, but for more vibrant results closer to models like the Nikon D80, you should consider boosting the K10D's image parameters, or shooting in RAW mode for later processing. As always, different source material, not to mention different RAW converters may deliver different results.



Pentax K10D results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2
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