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Pentax debuts 10.2-megapixel dSLR

Pentax debuts 10.2-megapixel dSLR

Pentax formally announced its long-anticipated 10.2-megapixel dSLR today, putting the company in a better position to compete with the offerings of other camera makers, such as Nikon, Sony, and Canon, all of which offer 10-megapixel SLRs. To date, all of Pentax's digital SLRs have been 6-megapixel models.

The camera, called the K10D, also includes Pentax's Shake Reduction system, which uses gyros to sense any motion in the camera and shifts the sensor to compensate. According to the company, users can expect between 2.5 and 4 stops of compensation when using the system. This means you should be able to shoot with shutter speeds that are 2.5 to 4 times slower than you usually do and still get sharp images. For example, if you normally shoot at 1/125 second, you should be able to shoot between 1/30 second and 1/8 second with acceptable results. In an effort to conserve battery life, the system activates only when you press the shutter release. You can also disable the system entirely, for those times that you feel particularly steady.

Shake Reduction and megapixels aren't all you can expect from the K10D. Pentax also developed a new image-processing engine, which it calls the Pentax Real Image Engine (PRIME). It includes a 22-bit analog-to-digital converter to help crank out those images, which can be recorded onto SD or SDHC memory cards as either 8-bit JPEGs or 12-bit raw (PEF or DNG) files.

Like so many new SLRs, Pentax built a dust-removal system into the K10D, which shakes the sensor to keep dust from settling on it. They also built 72 separate weather seals into the camera body in an effort to make it as dustproof as you can make a piece of equipment with a detachable lens.

Per Pentax's track record, the K10D accepts all the same lenses that the company's other dSLRs accept. That means you can use K, KA, KAF, and KAF2 lenses, as well as screw-mount lenses and also 645- and 67-system lenses with proper adapters. According to the company, about 24 million such lenses have been sold as of March 2006.

Since a new SLR announcement is a perfect time to introduce a new lens, Pentax is also announcing the smc Pentax-DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited. Like Pentax's 40mm f/2.8 Limited lens, the new 70mm version uses a "pancake" design, which makes it fairly slim and lightweight. The company also noted that it will offer a battery grip for the K10D--model D-BG2--which is expected to sell for about $190. The 70mm f/2.8 Limited lens is expected to ship in October for about $600.

Pentax expects to ship the K10D and the battery grip by November. The K10D will be available in a kit with the same 18mm-to-55mm, f/3.5-to-f/5.6 lens currently offered with the K100D and K110D for about $1,000, or body only for about $900.