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Pentax K10D Gordon Laing, April 2007

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

Pentax K10D vs Canon 400D / XTi vs Nikon D80 real-life noise


To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene using the Pentax K10D, Canon 400D / XTi and Nikon D80 at each ISO and their best quality JPEG settings.

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 3.04MB; the Canon 400D / XTi and Nikon D80 images were taken with matching exposures and their 100 ISO samples measured 3.81 and 4.51MB respectively. The crops are taken from an area just below and to the left of the centre.

The Pentax K10D performs very well in this test, delivering detailed results with low noise from 100 to 400 ISO. At 800 ISO, some texture from noise and noise reduction becomes apparent, although the biggest drop is at 1600 ISO - the highest sensitivity of the K10D - which you should only ideally use for smaller prints. Unusually for a camera of its class, the K10D doesn't offer a 3200 ISO option.

Throughout its ISO range, the K10D compares favourably with the Canon EOS 400D / XTi and the Nikon D80, and despite slight variations in the brightness of the images, the K10D's samples contain finer detail in the foliage areas behind the tennis court; this is particularly apparent when compared against the Canon EOS 400D / XTi.

As before, the K10D's default image processing lacks impact compared to rival 10 Megapixel DSLRs, but this can be tweaked if desired; the important point is the detail is being recorded. For more examples throughout the sensitivity range, check our Pentax K10D Gallery.

Pentax K10D
Using DA 18-55mm
Canon 400D / XTi
Using EF-S 18-55mm
Nikon D80
Using DX 18-135mm
Pentax K10D at 100 ISO   Canon EOS 400D / XTi at 100 ISO   Nikon D80 at 100 ISO
100 ISO, 1/250, f8
100 ISO, 1/250, f8
100 ISO, 1/250, f8
Pentax K10D at 200 ISO   Canon EOS 400D / XTi at 200 ISO   Nikon D80 at 200 ISO
200 ISO, 1/500, f8
200 ISO, 1/500, f8
200 ISO, 1/500, f8
Pentax K10D at 400 ISO   Canon EOS 400D / XTi at 400 ISO   Nikon D80 at 400 ISO
400 ISO, 1/1000, f8
400 ISO, 1/1000, f8
400 ISO, 1/1000, f8
Pentax K10D at 800 ISO   Canon EOS 400D / XTi at 800 ISO   Nikon D80 at 800 ISO
800 ISO, 1/2000, f8
800 ISO, 1/2000, f8
800 ISO, 1/2000, f8
Pentax K10D at 1600 ISO   Canon EOS 400D / XTi at 1600 ISO   Nikon D80 at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO, 1/4000, f8
1600 ISO, 1/4000, f8
1600 ISO, 1/4000, f8
Pentax K10D - 3200 ISO not available   Canon EOS 400D / XTi - 3200 ISO not available   Nikon D80 at 3200 ISO
3200 ISO not available
3200 ISO not available
H1.0 (3200 ISO), 1/4000, f11

Pentax K10D results

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2
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