The latest addition to the bustling entry-level market the Pentax K-m, but just what does it offer that the K200D doesn’t?
As mentioned previously, the major change between the K-m and the K200D is in size, with the K-m being noticeably smaller. When you consider that very few, if any, sacrifices have had to be made to the specification of the K200D to fit it into the body of the K-m, it’s quite some achievement.
To say that sacrifices have been made to design and button layout would be inaccurate, as any views on the changes made would be far more subjective than objective. That said, a reduction in the size of the body calls for either smaller buttons or the removal of excess buttons and features. Pentax has wisely opted for the latter option. The top of the K-m sees the removal of the top-plate LCD, with the mode dial shifted from the left over to the right to sit where the LCD used to be. Shooting settings are now displayed on the camera’s rear LCD, as is often the preference with current entry-level DSLRs. To fit in with the reduction in width, the LCD screen now runs flush to the left of the camera’s back, with operating buttons moving over to the right of the screen. This means all of the function buttons, including the D-pad, command dial, menu, info buttons and the like are closely grouped, which certainly aids the camera’s usability.
On the matter of functionality, the focus on the entry-level aspect of the K-m has led to a few nice design features. Not only does the D-pad on the camera’s rear now double as a quick access point to ISO, white balance, drive mode and flash control, but the top of the camera sees the introduction of a ‘?’, or help, button. Upon pressing the help button for the first time, the camera’s LCD will display a full explanation of the current shooting mode selected. One further press of the button will take you into a button explanation help mode, allowing the user to access a full explanation of any button of the camera – a small and quirky feature, but one that will no doubt prove useful for beginners.
The cosmetics of the K-m further differ from the K200D with the addition of a stainless steel flash of piping along the base of the camera’s top-plate. While this isn’t a massive change, it does serve to mark the camera out from the crowd, and adds a further element of class to the camera’s already impressive build quality.