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Old Sep 16, 2010, 11:56 AM   #1
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Default Is a K100 worth buying?

They can be had for a song now used but are they worth it? I'm not worried about the MP count (my E-1 has 5, my E-500 has 8) but rather image quality. Whats the higher ISO noise like since I shoot a lot at 400-800? Is the dynamic range good? Or would I be better off spending a little more on a newer used model?

One other question. Does Pentax have downloadable software for converting RAW files. Buying used you almost never get the CD.


ps one more question. If I use a MF lens on any of the DSLR bodies do I get AF confirm?
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Old Sep 16, 2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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Hey John,
Per your second question, yes they do.
Now back to the K-100. I cant really say, My wife has one but I don't think either one of us has really tried it out on anything higher than ISO 400. it worked fine at that setting. I'm sure others will chime in and add there experience with higher ISO's.

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Old Sep 16, 2010, 1:45 PM   #3
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John - if you can hold out for couple of months the price on the Kx (either used or new) should take a big tumble due to the release of the Kr. That would give you fantastic low light capability up to at least 1,600 and from shots I've seen on here, even 3,200.

Focus confirmation. I suppose it will depend on the camera ! I have the K7 and you get focus confirmation (beep and a green hexagonal light lights up). I hope that's what you meant ?
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Old Sep 16, 2010, 2:25 PM   #4
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I'm not going to try to answer the question whether it's worth buying. It's been out for quite a while and you'd run into the problems of buying a used camera without a warranty to fall back on, and if you don't know the previous owner, you could be buying trouble.

I currently own 3 dSLR cameras - the K100, K20 and K7. I've owned (and sold) the DS and K10. Notice that I chose to sell the K10 instead of the K100, and chose to keep the K100 when I bought the K-7. Some random thoughts I have about the K100:

The 6 mp sensor that's in it is excellent. It's much better at 1600 than either the K20 or the K7 and very significantly better than the K10 (which IMHO was the worst of them). I don't think that ISO 3200 is particularly usable under most conditions, but ISO 1600 is very usable.

It has greater dynamic range than either the K20 or K7.

The AWB is normally a bit yellower than I like but it's easy (and accurate) with a custom white balance. The K20 and K7 are both better in that regard (at least in my opinion). The AWB is hopeless for indoor incandescent lighting and the tungsten not much better - setting a custom white balance is absolutely required in such a situation. The K7 is the best one for AWB working indoors, with the K20's tungsten setting not too bad.

Like with all Pentax dSLR cameras, regardless of model or age, you do get focus confirmation with manual lenses (beep and green light in viewfinder); and you also get the viewfinder indication of which AF point is in use (something they left out with the Kx).

I don't find the pentamirror viewfinder a problem to use, it's quite bright. It might not be quite as good as the pentaprism on the K20 and K7 to some people, but I don't notice the difference all that much and never had problems shooting with a manual focus lens when it was my primary camera.

One of the main reasons I kept the K100 when I bought the K7 is that it has a weak AA filter (I think that's what they call it). The filter in front of the sensor doesn't block as much infrared light as the later cameras do, so it's possible to take IR photos using it and a Hoya R72 filter, without converting the camera to only IR use. I've rather enjoy playing around with IR photography but not enough to spend much money on it - certainly not enough to pay for the cost of converting a camera to IR only use. So I'll keep my K100 for as long as it continues to work, even though I might sell either the K20 or K7 if (when) I decide to upgrade again.

So while I'm not so sure I'd recommend buying a K100 because of its age and lack of advanced features, I love mine and won't consider selling it.
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Old Sep 16, 2010, 4:00 PM   #5
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I think Mtngal said it much better than I could have. The K100D was my first DSLR, and I was very fond of it. When I upgraded to the K20 I pretty much stopped using the K100, so I was happy to give it to someone who needed a camera and who would put it to good use. But it was a great camera, especially at higher ISOs. I am delighted with my K20D, but the K100 definitely performed better at ISO 800 and 1600. There's always a risk in buying a used camera, but if it's in good condition, it could be a stellar performer.
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Old Sep 16, 2010, 5:48 PM   #6
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Hi John,

I've had all the models that Harriet (mtngal) has had, except my K100D is a Super, so it is SDM compatible and has a larger LCD screen. Another difference between us is that I still have all of these bodies. . .

As far as the K100, I bought mine during the Ritz Camera store closings. I obviously had enough cameras, but I just couldn't resist. IMO, the 6MP Sony sensor in this cam is a classic.

If you want a direct comparison of IQ, you could take a look at the DPR E-500 review where it's compared to the Nikon D50 -- same sensor as the K100.


If you then look at their K100 review, I believe you'll see that in their opinion, the K100 had the best IQ of all the cameras that used this sensor, and there were quite a few. An advantage of this body is that if you use rechargeable AAs, you've already got batteries for it.

I've never shot any of the Olys, so I don't know how they compare in focus speed or handling, but if these aren't too important to you, I think that you'd like the results from this camera. -- If you'd like to get better AF speed, use Lithium AAs or CRV-3s. They're more expensive, but give better AF performance.

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Old Sep 16, 2010, 8:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the info guys and gals. Scott, I remember reading the DP review when the K100 came out and they called it the best 6MP DSLR available. However at the time I was looking to buy a camera Pentax were few and far between used so i ended up with Oly. Don't get me wrong I like Oly but the real strength of that system is the glass and I shoot with old glass. While it also has it's disadvantages I really like the 2x crop factor but I'm sure I'd get used to 1.5.

Oly cameras kinda suck on focus speed and really suck on follow focus, pretty much useless for BIF shots but i use MF lenses anyway so it doesn't really matter. As for buying used and the risks that go with it, all my digital cameras, lenses and accessories have been bought used. In fact most of my film stuff was bought used as well. It's my thing as it were, photography on a tight budget.

Thanks again to all. I may soon be able to post results here as well as the Oly forum. Wow, that could get confusing

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