Pentax has announced the 6.1 megapixel K100D Super, the latest outstretched hand into the narrowing gap between digital SLR and consumer compact. With lots of automatic and preset modes, clever shake reduction, and a system for keeping dust off the camera sensor, the K100D Super makes things simple for anyone wanting to make the leap to dSLR.
Pentax has obviously decided to add anti-dust functionality to make the SLR experience less intimidating. Dust particles on the sensor -- or on the protective low-pass filter covering it -- can be a problem with SLRs, as lenses are changed over and the innards of the camera are exposed to the elements. Cleaning a sensor is a relatively simple process with the right tools and a bit of preparation, but opening up a piece of technology this complex -- and expensive -- is always going to be daunting for the newcomer.
Pentax has added its two-pronged Dust Removal technology, first seen on the K10D, to the K100D Super. A 'vapour deposition process of a fluorine compound' is the first strike, followed by a tiny little shimmy from the sensor to shake persistent particles on to a sticky strip beneath. And no, we don't know what a vapour thingy of a fluorine whatchermacallit is either, but it sounds mighty impressive.
The K100D Super has a number of preset shooting modes, just like on your compact. The Shake Reduction mechanism is the superior mechanical kind, so it actually moves the sensor when it twigs your hands shaking. The SAFOX VIII auto-focus system has 11 points of focus, and can automatically select ISO settings up to 3,200. All of this makes out-of-the-box point-and-shoot snapping easy for those wishing to get to grips with their first SLR system. To really hammer the point home, the mode dial is described in the publicity as 'friendly'. Which is nice.
Prices and packages on this side of the Atlantic are still to be announced, but US upgraders will be paying $519.95 (£260) for the body alone, or $599.95 (£300) bundled with an 18-55mm lens. Rip-off Britain tends to see prices north of the US, so the K100D Super will probably be in the region of £350-£400.
Update: A full review of the Pentax K100D Super is now available. -Rich Trenholm