It has to be said that the K-m isn't the fastest camera around, and it takes about three seconds to get up and running. That said, we did like the LCD screen, which is clear, bright and provides plenty of information.
The menu system is a bit of a dog’s dinner, with lots of tabs. It also involves lots of scrolling, but thankfully, Pentax has put the most commonly used functions on the info screen. Press the Info button, then the OK button and now scroll through a grid displaying the various functions, such as ISO, drive mode, white balance and file format. The four-way controller buttons also offer quick operation.
When it came to performance, there was a lot to like. The K-m produces sharp, crisp images with good contrast, exposure and colour saturation. Noise levels were also low, even at ISO 800. The continuous shooting mode offers two settings: high, which takes up to five frames at a time at 3.5f/s, and low, which reduces the frame rate to 1.1f/s, but continues shooting until the memory card is full.
One area where the K-m suffers is speed, not just in start-up time, but writing speed – it takes quite a while to write data to the card, especially if you’re shooting RAW files, continuous frames or at low light. And the five-point AF system is a little slow in locking onto subjects.
In Japan, you can even get it in white
On a brighter note, we really liked the array of in-camera editing features you get, which include cropping, resizing and picture processing using digital filters - many of these can be used during both shooting and playback. What’s more, you can process RAW images and convert them to JPEGs without using a PC.
At this price point, and with this level of performance, there’s really very little to complain about. Somehow, Pentax have put together a nice package of features at a nice price, without compromising performance to any large degree. If the K-m doesn’t force other camera manufacturers to raise their game in the entry-level DSLR sector, we’ll eat our collective hats. ®
More DSLR Reviews...
Pentax K-m entry-level digital SLR
The (mostly) white one
That (mostly) white model looks like a camera that would look good in a Star Wars trooper's hands...
Psychology is an interesting thing. The 18mm stock lenses of our Pentax cameras are actually the same as 27mm in 35mm film camera terms, due to the sensor size crop factor (which for Pentax is 1.5x). So it would be interesting if your 18mm (I mean, 27mm) shots felt less cramped than the ones from the FZ28.
Are you sure about the AF?
I've got the older model which uses the same AF system.
In my case the camera does tell you which AF spot it's using because it flashes it red, very briefly, when you half press the shutter button.
I'd be surprised if they've ditched this on the newer model so are you sure you haven't just missed it?
Movie mode, wide angle...
A lot of people seem affronted by the idea of movie mode on a DSLR. Sure, you won't be able to use the viewfinder for video, and the handling might leave something to be desired but the benefit of being able to use the same lenses for video and stills, and not requiring two separate devices with somewhat similar components.
I'm not quite sure why people are directly comparing 18mm kit lens to '28mm' on the FZ28. The FZ28 lens is 4.8mm at the wide end... in the context of field of view the two lenses give on their respective bodies, they are both approximately equivalent to ~27mm on a 35mm camera. It's about time people started learning to talk about actual FOV, rather than '35mm equivalent focal length' so that these confusions can be avoided.
a.k.a. K2000, in the US
... in case my fellow colonials want to hunt for it in the pricegrabber. Maybe that was mentioned on one of the several pages I skipped...
Seems to start at $560 for a kit with the DA 18-55mm AL Lens & AF-200FG Flash
('cause we fink brits is aliens over here)
£400 seriously???? I thought most DSLRs sit around £200 mark?