Pentax’s K100D Super; The Digital K-Mount Revolution Continues

In 1979 Pentax launched the ME Super as a manual focus, aperture-priority automatic SLR with an electronic focal plane shutter. It was small, light, and by all reports had excellent ergonomics. It used the by-then ubiquitous K-mount lens system and was sold successfully through '84. Fast forward to 2007 and Pentax Imaging launched the K100D Super D-SLR with a few of the innovative features found on their more advanced, higher-priced camera, the K10D.

Since its introduction I've recommended the Pentax K100D to people who were looking to move up from digital point-and-shoot cameras and all of them--even those with initial reluctance because they weren't familiar with Pentax--have thanked me for it. And why not? The K100D and K110D are well-made, easy-to-use, inexpensive D-SLRs that provide a gateway to more than 24 million K-mount Pentax lenses already out there, and that doesn't even count those made by third-party companies! The Pentax K100D Super is the newest member of the K-series of D-SLRs and it combines shake reduction, dust removal, and full compatibility with SDM-series autofocus lenses.

(Top): In 1835 Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette founded a fur-trading adobe outpost they called Fort Vasquez that was located on the South Platte River between Brighton and Greeley, Colorado. Image was captured with a Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED/AL (IF) lens at 19mm. Exposure was 1/640 sec at f/8 and ISO 200. The original black and white image was sepia toned in the digital darkroom to give an antique look. (Above): Whenever I see large "bears," I always take a picture of Mary with them. Proving that the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED/AL (IF) lens can be used for portraits, this photograph was made in Shutter-Priority mode at 50mm (75mm in 35mm terms) with an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/8 and ISO 200.
All Photos © 2007, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

The K100D Super uses the "trickle-down" theory of digital imaging. Some of the capabilities of Pentax's capable, semipro K10D trickled down to the entry-level K100D series of D-SLRs, producing the feature set for the K100D Super. The imaging sensor's low-pass filter is coated with a vapor-deposited fluorine compound to reduce dust attraction. Then the camera uses the K10D's super high-frequency Shake Reduction (in body Image Stabilization) mechanism to remove dust particles. Any dust shaken from the CCD falls onto an adhesive sheet located at the bottom of the Shake Reduction unit, stopping it from jumping back onto the imager. I guess that last part is similar to how the DUST-AID ( sensor cleaning system works and all of my files from the K100D Super were as clean as Martha Stewart's kitchen.

(Left): Sometimes photo ops are where you find them. I was carrying the Pentax K100D Super with a DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) on my daily walk when I saw this backlit fireplug decorated with a splash of red paint and highlighted by the little blue flag. Exposure was 1/250 sec at f/4 and ISO 200 with -1/3 stop exposure compensation. (Right): My favorite place to test a camera's highest ISO settings is in my train room where I photographed this articulated O-gauge Union Pacific "Big Boy" locomotive negotiating a curve at ISO 3200. Exposure was 1/15 sec at f/2.8 with a +1/3 stop exposure compensation in a room with all the lights out and some early morning daylight peeking through the blinds. Noise was visible but was crisp and controlled.d