Features & Controls (cont.)

The 3-inch TFT color LCD has a high resolution of 921,000 dots and has an anti-reflective coating to help reduce glare.

Its most notable function is Live View, which is very convenient for many casual shooting situations; but the drawbacks can be burdensome. The camera manual lists many of these. Among them, Live View may differ from your captured image if the brightness of the subject is low or high; light source changes may cause the image to flicker; rapid changes in camera position may result in a slow response from the screen to reach appropriate brightness; and noise may appear in dark locations and when the ISO is set high. Prolonged use of Live View can also degrade image quality by raising the camera's internal temperature too high.

That's not to say Live View isn't a great feature. I only ran up against some slightly unstable responses to changes in brightness, but nothing else from this list of side effects.

What the manual doesn't mention in this list is the response of auto focus in Live View mode, and in this Pentax is not alone. Auto focus responds more slowly in Live View mode versus using the optical viewfinder, and it is significant. I found that using Live View when photographing fast-moving toddlers wasn't very workable, and ended up with a lot of out-of-focus shots. It wasn't spectacular either when taking macro shots indoors, and again I ended up with quite a few shots incorrectly focused.

In our test shooting, when using the optical viewfinder, the camera focused and took a shot in approximately 0.6 second. But doing the same using Live View slowed it down significantly to approximately 1.8 seconds - a lot can happen in nearly 2 seconds.

Live View:
  • Type: TTL by CMOS image sensor
  • Field Of View: 100%
  • Display Modes: Magnification (2-6X AF, 2-10X MF), Grid Overlay (4x4, Golden Ratio, Scale), Bright/Dark Indication, Histogram
  • Autofocus: Yes, Contrast + Face Detection, Contrast Detection, Phase Difference

The Pentaprism viewfinder offers 100% field of view coverage and diopter adjustment of -2.5m to 1.5m. It shows most of the important exposure information along the bottom.

Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism
  • Coverage (field of view): 100%
  • Magnification: 0.92X (w 50mm F1.4 at infinity)
  • Standard focusing screen: Natural-Bright-Matte III (interchangeable)
  • Diopter adjustment: -2.5m to 1.5m
  • Depth of field preview: Optical (diaphragm stop-down), Digital

On the left side of the camera are most of the camera's ports: HDMI, USB/AV, and power for use with an optional AC adapter kit. USB and AV cables are included. A HDMI cable is optional.

A remote control port sits below the SD Card slot on the right side of the camera. This is for use with an optional cable shutter release. A wireless remote control is also available.

The camera stores images and videos on a SD Card and supports the following formats: SD, SDHC, and SDXC (via firmware update). We recommend you use a fast card with this camera, like the Sandisk Extreme Pro card shown above.

The rechargeable Li-Ion battery (D-LI90) can record approximately 980 images (approx. 740 with 50% flash, CIPA-rated). It has a rated playback time of roughly 440 minutes. Movie recording time is estimated at approximately 25 minutes. (The camera offers automatic overheat shutdown protection). Pentax includes an external AC charger and power cord. This allows you to keep spare packs charged and ready at all times.

You also can get the D-BG4 Battery Grip, which can hold a second Li-ion battery or six AA batteries.

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.