Pentax K-m review: Pentax K-m

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The LCD carries good, clear shooting information, and an interactive user interface that’s quick and logical to use. The design of the camera as a whole is clean and uncluttered, and perfect for novices.

But the K-m has plenty to satisfy more adventurous snappers too. It includes Pentax’s unique dynamic range expansion function which genuinely does capture highlight detail that other D-SLRs leave behind, and there’s a whole raft of digital filters you can use when shooting and when tinkering around with saved images afterwards.

Uniquely, the K-m uses four AAs rather than a lithium-ion rechargeable. Pentax claims a single set of lithium (non-rechargeable) AAs will last you an amazing 1,650 shots, and the set of Duracells alkalines we used in our tests were still showing full power after 100 shots and lots of experimenting.

Negatives
The one real issue with this camera is the kit lens. Pentax’s 18-55mm kit zoom has never been one of the world’s greatest optics, with poor edge definition and a good deal of chromatic aberration. This appears to be a cheapened version with a plastic mount and no distance scale on the focus ring. The optical performance is no worse, thankfully, and to be fair the Canon 18-55mm kit lens and Sony’s 18-70mm are just as bad. (Nikon’s 18-55mm and Olympus’s 14-42mm kit lenses are a class above in this sector.) The AF system makes a bit of a racket, too.

And while Pentax has worked on its interface design, the K-m’s menu system in particular still looks a bit crude compared to those of its rivals.

Conclusion
Really, though, the kit lens is the only thing worth complaining about, and it’s not really any worse than you’d expect at the price. The rest of this camera is terrific, especially the depth, richness and dynamic range of its images -- a real Pentax strong point at the moment. This is a sturdy, practical, straightforward and extremely likeable camera.

Edited by Cristina Psomadakis

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