Pentax K-m review
At just £287 (£330 inc VAT), the K-m is one of the cheapest digital SLRs on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s missing features. Resolution-wise, at 10.2-megapixels it’s on a par with many more expensive rivals, and it doesn’t even have a particularly small LCD monitor; in fact, at 2.7in, its screen is just as big as the one on the more-expensive Sony Alpha A330. It also enjoys a feature advantage over the Sony by offering white balance bracketing.
You’ll be hard pushed to spot any major differences in image quality, too. Our outdoors shots at low ISO looked fine compared with much more expensive cameras such as the Canon 500D; the only time we could make a major distinction was at the K-m’s top ISO of 1600 on a long, low-light exposure.
And we like the 18-55mm lens. Sharp and largely free of purple fringing, it’s an excellent starter lens. The K-m defies its low price yet further by offering in-body optical stabilisation. Just about the only missing creature comfort is a live view mode. We prefer its viewfinder to that of the Sony A330, too.
There are a few compromises some will be unwilling to accept, however. The K-m, like the K200D before it, doesn’t come with a lithium-ion battery, instead relying on four AAs. This means extra outlay on a set of rechargeable NiMH batteries and a charger (the CIPA rating for the K-m on standard alkaline AAs is a low 360 shots). There are advantages, though. First, if you use high-capacity NiMH rechargeables the CIPA rating shoots up to 1,100 shots. Second, AAs are almost universally available.
We like the design, too. To us, the K-m sits more comfortably in the hand than its budget rival, the Sony Alpha A230. Our only complaint in usability terms is that the menu system isn’t too intuitive. Its burst speed isn’t the best, either: it took five shots at a rate of 3.3 per second, but over five seconds it took just nine, which isn’t as rapid as we’d like.
But we don’t mind. The K-m is well-made, comfortable and it produces excellent images. It doesn’t offer much in the way of modern features, but if you want a cheap, cheerful camera to ease you into DSLR photography, this is a great choice.
|Camera megapixel rating||10.2mp|
|Camera screen size||2.7in|
|Camera optical zoom range||3x|
|Camera maximum resolution||3,872 x 2,592|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||123 x 68 x 92mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||none|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||1,650 shots|
|Aperture range||f3.5 - f5.6|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.25m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||27|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||83|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/4,000|
|Bulb exposure mode?||yes|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 2EV|
|ISO range||100 - 3200|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||3.5fps|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||micro-USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||yes|
|Software supplied||Pentax Photo Laboratory 3, Photo Browser 3|
|Accessories supplied||Shoulder strap, USB cable|