Pentax has announced the K-m, a new DSLR that will compete against other cameras in the entry-level market. Designed around an image-stabilised 10MP sensor, the K-m has been built to be small, light and user-friendly.

Designed primarily for entry-level DSLR photographers, this compact, and it would seem, easy to use camera was developed to give family photographers and first-time photographers the opportunity to capture high quality images from a camera that isn?t overly complicated to operate.

The K-m features an upgraded version of the Pentax-original Auto Picture Mode, which automatically detects the type of subject or scene, and then manipulates the camera?s settings accordingly.

Other features in the K-m include in-body Shake Reduction, Dust Removal system, high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 3.5 frames per second, five-point AF system, Auto sensitivity control up to ISO 3200, 2.7 inch LCD screen, 10 scene modes, and built-in digital filters. The latter?s filters allow the user to add creative touches to their images without the use of a PC. One of 14 different digital filters can be selected, including the new Toy Camera and Retro filters.

Along with the Pentax k-m, Pentax is also launching two DA L-series interchangeable zoom lenses: the smc PENTAX-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6L and the smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mm f/4-5.6ED. These two lenses are designed for exclusive use with Pentax DSLR cameras.

Pentax UK has announced a £30 cashback offer that will start immediately, bringing the introductory price of the camera body plus 18-55mm lens down to £369 and the two-lens kit to £469 after rebate.

PHOTOKINA VIDEO REPORT: Andrew Mellor of Pentax UK discusses the new
Pentax K-m with WDC Editor Nigel Atherton

Press Release:

Main Features
1. Compact, lightweight body for enhanced portability and maneuverability:
Despite the incorporation of a large-sized image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the PENTAX K-m offers a compact, lightweight body to assure remarkable portability and maneuverability. This was made possible by the development of a compact, lightweight and high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis, the downsizing of the Shake Reduction mechanism and circuit boards, the employment of latest high-density packaging technologies assuring most efficient positioning and layout of various parts, and the repositioning of the battery compartment. The camera grip has also been redesigned to assure firm, comfortable hold of the camera body.

2. Simplified operation system for easy camera handling:
The PENTAX K-m features a newly designed control system, which positions most of the buttons and levers on the camera?s grip side, making it easier for first-time digital SLR users to operate the camera. What?s more, the functions of each button or lever are instantly displayed on the camera?s LCD monitor with a single press of the help button to facilitate camera operation ? especially for those who are unfamiliar with digital SLR cameras.

3. PENTAX-original Shake Reduction mechanism for sharp, blur-free images:
The PENTAX K-m comes equipped with the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions ? such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark or at night without supplementary flash illumination, or using extended exposures for sunset scenes. This innovative SR mechanism shifts the position of the image sensor vertically and horizontally at high speed using magnetic force, while adjusting the shifting speed in proportion to the amount of camera shake detected by a built-in sensor. It offers an outstanding compensation effect ? up to the equivalent of approximately four shutter steps. As a result, it does not require special anti-shake lenses, and can be used with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.**

4. Comprehensive Dust Removal system with prevention, removal and confirmation devices:
The PENTAX K-m features the user-friendly DR (Dust Removal) system to prevent dust from appearing on captured images. Applied to the CCD image sensor surface (or low-pass filter) through the vapor deposition process of a fluorine compound, the PENTAX-original SP (Super Protect) coating effectively removes dust and stains from the surface. In the next step, dust that still remains on the surface will be shaken off when the SR system shifts the image sensor at high speed. Finally, the dust that is shaken off the image sensor will fall onto an adhesive sheet positioned at the bottom of the SR unit, eliminating any possibility of it returning to the image sensor surface. This DR system even offers a Dust Alert function, which allows the user to confirm the dust-adhesion status of the CCD in advance.

5. Auto Picture mode for automatic selection of optimum shooting mode: 
The PENTAX-developed Auto Picture mode is programmed to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode ? from such choices as Portrait, Landscape and Macro ? for a given subject. With the PENTAX K-m, this user-friendly mode is further upgraded, with automatic detection of situations requiring the Night Scene Portrait mode. Since all camera settings, including aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness, are automatically adjusted by the camera for optimum results, the user can concentrate on image composition and shutter opportunity.

6. High-quality image:
The PENTAX K-m combines a large, high-performance CCD image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm) with the sophisticated PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) as its imaging engine. With its approximately 10.2 effective megapixels, it produces beautiful, fine-detailed images with subtle gradations and delicate texture description. It also features a Custom Image function, which offers a choice of six finishing touches.

7. High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 3.5 frames per second:
The PENTAX K-m lets the user keep shooting images at the speed of approximately 3.5 frames per second (in the JPEG recording format), allowing the user to capture a sequence of a fast-moving subject with great ease.

8. High-precision 5-point AF system:
The PENTAX K-m incorporates a five-point wide-area AF system (SAFOX VIII with five cross-type sensors) to assure dependable, high-precision autofocusing. Using the five sensors positioned in a cross pattern over the image field (one in the middle, two at the sides, and two at the top and bottom), this system automatically and unfailingly selects the optimum sensor for a given subject. It also allows the user to fix the AF detection point at the middle sensor. Thanks to a thorough review of the AF algorithm, this AF system also offers improved autofocusing speed under poor-lighting conditions, in which conventional AF systems take longer to focus on the subject.

9. Auto sensitivity control up to ISO 3200:
The PENTAX K-m?s auto sensitivity control function automatically sets the optimum sensitivity between ISO 100 and ISO 3200, based on such data as the subject?s brightness level and the lens? focal length. Since this function allows the user to take advantage of faster shutter speeds in poor lighting situations (such as indoor sports events and night time scenes), it helps the photographer to effectively reduce camera shake and subject shake and prevent blurred images.

10. Effective gradation compensation:
The PENTAX K-m?s dynamic-range expansion function allows the user to expand a dynamic range (or a range of gradation reproduction) to minimise white-washed areas in the image. On the other hand, its shadow compensation function minimises pitch-black areas lacking details. Combined, they help the user to produce beautiful, rich-gradation images when shooting high-contrast subjects.

11. Large, easy-to-view 2.7-inch LCD monitor:
The PENTAX K-m features a large 2.7-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots on its back panel. This monitor?s wide-view design allows the photographer to check the on-screen image from approximately 170 degrees both vertically and horizontally. It even offers digital zooming of playback images up to 16 times for easy confirmation of the image?s focusing status and details.

12. Bright, clear viewfinder:
Thanks to a combination of a lightweight penta-mirror prism, a PENTAX-original finder optics and the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen, the PENTAX K-m?s viewfinder delivers a large, bright subject image with an approximately 96-percent field of view and an approximately 0.85-times magnification.

13. Digital filters for unique visual expressions:
The PENTAX K-m?s built-in digital filters let the user effortlessly add some creative and artistic touches to recorded images ? without the use of a PC. The user can select one of 14 different digital filters ? including the new Toy Camera and Retro filters ? to create a desired visual effect.

14. Other features:
1) 10 Scene modes, switchable with simple icon selection
2) Energy-efficient power supply, recording approximately 1,650 images
 with four AA-size lithium batteries
3) Status screen, displaying camera settings on the LCD monitor on the
 camera?s back panel for at-a-glance confirmation
4) Index function, for five different types of display and printing modes
5) Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering
 and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications
6) Simultaneous recording of RAW- and JPEG-format images
7) Compatibility with SD and SDHC memory cards as external
 data-recording media
8) In-body development of RAW-format images
9) Compatibility with SDM-equipped lenses for quiet, smooth autofocus operation
10) PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 3 RAW data processing software and PENTAX PHOTO Browser 3 browser software included

Main Features of the smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mmF3.5-5.6AL Lens: 
1. A compact standard zoom lens with focal lengths from 27.5mm to 84.5mm (in the 35mm format) covering wide-angle to medium-telephoto ranges
2. Latest optical design featuring high-performance aspherical lens element and super-low dispersion glass element for effective compensation of various aberrations

Main Features of the smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mmF4-5.6ED Lens:
1. A super-compact, ultra-lightweight telephoto zoom lens with focal lengths from 76.5mm to 307mm (in the 35mm format)
2. ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical element for effective compensation of chromatic aberrations over the entire zoom range and enhanced image-description performance

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