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Old Nov 18, 2006, 11:36 AM   #1
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I've been doing a lot of research to try and determine if this is the right camera for me. It's difficult because there are no stores in the area that carry these cameras so I can't try one out. I apologize if I seem like I'm getting overly picky, but getting detailed information is the only way I can feel like I'm making an informed decision.

The biggest complaint I've read about with the K100d is it's small and slow buffer, which prevents it from shooting long stretches of continuous shooting. I was wondering if it's possible to extend how long you can shoot continuously if the quality or resolution is turned down. It might not be an ideal solution, but if I find myself trying to shoot sports, it may be better to lower the quality than to risk missing the shot.

More important to me though is how the camera performs when taking only RAW photos. I've done a lot of research online compairing image quality, and have noticed that the K100d's jpg quality isn't terribly impressive. While I haven't found samples of the K100d shot in RAW from a reviewer yet, I did see how the *ist DS performs in RAW vs JPG on dpreview.com, and it does significantly better in RAW than in JPG. The images are much more defined and less processed looking. I was wondering if the same applies to the K100d.

I'm also wondering how responsive the camera is when shooting just in RAW mode. My Sandisk Ultra II SD cards should be fast enough to keep up with the camera, but I'm wondering if the camera will let me keep shooting as long as there's room on the buffer, or if it tends to stall while it empties the buffer. Basically, if I were to snap one RAW photo after another, would it keep shooting until the buffer was full, or would I have to wait until each shot is saved until it would allow me to begin another shot. Also, when the buffer fills, do I have to wait until it's completely empty, or only until there's room for one more shot?

Finally, I'd like to know if the processing settings of JPGs could be adjusted to more closely resemble the fine detail of the RAW images. The samples of JPGs I've seen from this camera all tend to look like they have a 2 pixel unsharp mask, which will tend to make an image look sharper when zoomed out, but ruins a lot of detail up close. I haven't seen samples of photos taken with a -1 or -2 sharpness setting, and would be curious to see if one of those settings does the trick.

Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated.


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Old Nov 18, 2006, 12:16 PM   #2
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I don't know how much impact the sharpness settings have.

But, if you read the review conclusions for models you're considering, you'll find performance tests. It should continue to shoot with a full buffer (just at a much slower pace).


Continuous Shooting mode captured 5 JPEG Best quality shots in 1.5 seconds, with subsequent shots at 8/10 second intervals as the camera emptied its full buffer. It required 4.5 seconds to write a buffer full of JPEG images to SD card before being ready to capture the next burst at full speed. The above times were observed using a SanDisk Ultra II 2GB SD memory card, 18-55mm kit lens, flash off, continuous AF, daylight lighting, 3008x2000 JPEG/Fine. We also tested with a MyFlash 4GB 150x Turbo SD card (not a SDHC type), achieving similar results. The K100D is also compatible with the latest SDHC type SD cards as well. Shooting in

RAW mode slows things down a bit. The Continuous burst mode captured 3 images in 8/10 second, with subsequent shots at 3.6 second intervals as buffer contents were processed; it took about 10 seconds to empty a buffer full of RAW images.

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Old Nov 18, 2006, 11:11 PM   #3
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I think I can contribute to one part of your question. I have the K100D and have been using 150x SD cards from PQI and Transend etc. The 3 image buffer (RAW) did not really mater that much to me initially since I thought that a 3 image burst would be sufficient.

One area I was interest in was HDR, using the bracketing function where it takes the standard image, followed by an underexposed and then overexposed (using a pre designated exposure step), thus the 3 image buffer. What I was trying to do was to do a large scale panaromic stitching the images together, however with each panel a HDR output.

So, I proceded to set the shot up, first panel I take, the camera takes the 3 images, then I move on to the second panel and push the button and it waits a bit, then takes the initial shot, waits and waits then does the under exposed, then waits and waits .......... waits more then takes the overexposed.

It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on, but the 3 image buffer, in RAW format (11MB per raw image), takes about 10 seconds to empty. That is one thing that I think would be rather cheap to fix, but would have added to the image chip size would be more memory. As Jim pointed out above - the timing, seems longer in my case with the camera to the eye waiting for the shots to reel off, while I was trying to figure out what was going on. Now that I know - I just make adjustments and take this in to account.

I believe that the 150x card is more than fast enough, it just takes time to push out 33 MB out to the card. JPGs would be faster since they are compressed and thus smaller. I have not tried it yet though.

I will say, that I do like the K100D very much. The size (for me) is excellent. I went to a guinea pig show today with my wife. One of the Judges had a Nikon which was HUGH compared to the Pentax. The Nikon's lens (image stablized) was MASSIVE compared to the 50-200 I was using. Nice camera, but I did not want to be lugging the Nikon around.

I just returned from a business trip to the east coast. Took the camera with me and I would not want a larger (volume wise) unit. I had to break it apart to get it into my backpack with a laptop and papers, etc. Worked out ok, but if I had the Nikon - it would have been just too big.

Hope that helps
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 4:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.

I kept calling around, and eventually I found a store that had one as a display model. I got to play with it for a while and found myself liking it a lot. The RAW mode was as responsive as I hoped it would be, and I was surprised that it autofocused extremely quickly. I thought it was supposed to be pretty slow at that.

They let me bring in a memory card to take some photos to look at at home. I took a number of JPGs and RAW images, and didn't actually see a huge difference in resolution, though the RAW definitely as the advantage of broader dynamic range. I kind of wish that it had an ISO 100 setting that would eliminate some of the grain that is (barely) visible at ISO 200, but the fact that it produces images at ISO 800 that are good enough to enlarge is quite impressive.

I wasn't able to get a good 1 second exposure, but 1/2 second wasn't too hard, and 1/4 second was pretty easy. The camera had a very easy time getting good exposures in bad light.

It looks like Buydig.com dropped the price $30 since yesterday. That would be $520 after rebate, and free shipping. It just got much more tempting.
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 1:11 PM   #5
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LOL! Now that the K10D is starting to ship, I wouldn't be surprisedto seethe prices on the K100D drop a bit.

As far as noise in low light situations, proper exposure plays a pretty big part. If you underexpose and adjust it with software, you'll have far more noise than if you were to slighly over-expose and adjust the darks. That took some getting used to, since my previous cameras would blow the highlights so quickly, I always chose to underexpose a bit if I wasn't sure.
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