Features & Controls
- Size: 23.7 x 15.7mm
- Color depth: 8 bits/channel JPG, 14 bits/channel RAW
- Effective pixels: 16.3 MP
- Total pixels: 16.9 MP
- Recorded resolutions
- Still: 16M (4928x3264), 10M (3936x2624), 6M (3072x2048), 2M (1728x1152)
- Movie (resolution/FPS): 1920x1080p25, 1280x720p30/25, 640x480p30/25
- Quality levels: **** Premium, *** Best, ** Better, * Good
- Dust Removal: DR II (ultrasonic vibration to low pass filter) with Dust Alert function
- Type: Sensor-Shift Shake Reduction with rotational compensation (4 stops max)
- Electronic level function: Yes, verification via viewfinder and LCD panel
The company doesn't publish a range for the built-in flash in the camera's specifications, but it looks to have a limited range within roughly 10 feet. Even so, within that range it will never throw around the amount of light an external flash can. The results I got from the built-in flash in dark interiors looked dull and grayish, lacking sufficient illumination.
Not that built-in flash performance should be a primary purchasing decision for a digital SLR, but having more power would make it a better backup for when you forget your external flash, or don't have time to grab it to capture a shot.
Built-in Flash Specifications:
- Type: Retractable P-TTL popup flash
- Guide number: 13m (ISO 100)
- Coverage: 28mm wide angle (equiv 35mm)
- Flash modes: On, Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Wireless
- Flash exposure compensation: -2 to 1 EV (1/2 steps)
The flash shoe atop the camera body accommodates one of four external flashes listed on the company website (one of them a ring flash). An external flash, of course, gives you a lot more power than the built-in flash.
For example, the AF200FG ($200 MSRP) has a specified range of 2.3 to 11.8 feet. The $350 AF360FGZ has a specified range up to 17.8 feet.
Flash Hotshoe Specifications:
- Type: Hotshoe (P-TTL), high speed sync and wireless with Pentax dedicated flash, X-Sync Socket
- Synchronization speed: 1/180 sec
On the side of the camera body, near the lens mount, are the RAW/Fx button and focus mode switch.
The RAW/Fx button allows you to quickly switch from JPEG to one of the RAW formats, depending on which one you've selected in the menus. You can choose to shoot in RAW+, which records both a RAW file and a JPEG file. By default this is a one-shot process and returns to the default file format selection after one shot.
You can choose Pentax's own PEF RAW format or use Adobe's DNG RAW format.
The focus mode switch offers two auto focus modes: AF.S (single) and C (continuous). In the custom menu you select the priority of each mode. AF.S can shoot in focus-priority (shutter will not release until subject is in focus) or release-priority (which will allow the shutter to release even if focus is not locked on). Continuous can be set to focus-priority or FPS-priority, which gives priority to the shooting speed.
Note also the microphone port above the ports door and below the mode dial. You can plug in an external microphone here to improve the sound quality on your videos.
- Type: SAFOX X TTL phase-difference 11 point (9 cross) wide autofocus system with light wavelength sensor
- Focus modes: AF Single (with focus lock, focus/shutter priority selectable), AF Continuous (with focus/FPS priority selectable), Manual
- Focus point adjustment: Auto 11 Point, Auto 5 Point, User-Selectable, Center
- AF assist: Yes, via dedicated LED AF assist lamp
The main switch around the shutter button has a preview position in addition to on and off. In the Button Customization menu you set this to serve as optical preview (to check depth of field through the viewfinder) or digital preview (for checking your composition using Live View on the LCD).
The e-dial on the front of the hand grip, just below the shutter button, is used to navigate menus, alter exposure values (depending on the exposure mode being used), and to scroll through images in preview mode.
The exposure compensation button just behind the shutter button launches the EV compensation menu, which you adjust with the rear e-dial up to +/- 5 stops.
The ISO button brings up the ISO menu with settings from ISO 80 - 51200, which you select with the rear e-dial.
The LCD panel atop the camera body displays basic settings information, such as shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO, flash mode, file format, file number, number of frames remaining, and displays a batter life indicator.
The mode dial sits to the left of the flash atop the camera body. The metering mode switch that sits below the mode dial allows you to quickly change the metering method from multi-segmented metering to center-weighted or spot metering.
Note that there is no scene mode, or SCN, position on the mode dial. That's because this camera does away with scene modes altogether, offering instead more sophisticated ways to get the perfect shot.
Mode Dial Positions:
- Green: Full Auto mode
- Program: Automatically sets shutter speed and aperture, while allowing selection of shutter-priroty and aperture-priority via the front and rear e-dials.
- Sv: Sensitivity priority automatically selects shutter speed and aperture value according to selected sensitivity (ISO), which you select via the rear e-dial
- Tv: Shutter priority lets you set the shutter speed
- Av: Aperture priority lets you select the aperture value
- TAv: Shutter and aperture priority sets the ISO automatically using the selected shutter speed and aperture value
- M: Manual exposure allows shutter speed and aperture value to be manually selected
- B: Bulb exposure is designed for using show shutter speeds to capture images of fireworks and night scenes
- X: Flash X-sync speed locks the shutter speed at 1/180 second for use with an external flash that does not set the sync speed automatically
- User: Up to five settings can be saved to this custom exposure mode position
- Movie: Movie recording
The rear e-dial serves to quickly change menu settings such as ISO and exposure compensation, exposure values (depending on exposure mode currently in use), and scroll through menu pages. In playback mode it magnifies images (rightward) and zooms out to index view (leftward).
The AE Lock button to its right locks the exposure. An asterisk is displayed in the status screen and in the viewfinder to indicate AE Lock is engaged.
The green button below the rear e-dial sets the exposure mode to Automatic and resets the settings.
The AF button can be used to enable auto focus or to cancel it. By default the button performs auto focus just as pressing the shutter button does. Or, you can set the AF button to cancel auto focus and allow manual focus while the button is held down (releasing it returns the operation of auto focus).
The ring around the AF button selects the focus area.
Focus area options:
- Center: Set to center of viewfinder
- Select: A user-selectable point from 11 areas in the frame
- Auto: 11-point or 5-point auto focus
The Live View button is nestled into the edge of the four-way control - it falls very easily under the thumb for turning Live View mode on and off.
Three of the four positions on the four-way control are the usual affair for changing the drive mode, white balance, and flash mode. The odd man out is the rightward position (labeled with a hexagon over a rectangle), which launches the Custom Image function. Offering settings like Portrait and Landscape, the settings have some relation to traditional scene modes (which this camera does away with altogether), but these are clearly aimed at serious photographers who are familiar with color settings and film developing effects, such as Bleach Bypass and Reversal Film.
To the left of the viewfinder, below the mode dial, are the Playback mode button and the Trash button for deleting images.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.