A simple digital SLR camera for beginners.
- Onboard image stabilisation and dust removal
- No rechargeable battery, average kit lens with noisy focus
The entry-level Pentax K-m digital SLR is built to a high standard, with features rivalling more expensive models from competitors. The bundled 18-55mm lens is nothing special, but overall the Pentax K-m is a great SLR for beginners.
Price$ 1,075.00 (AUD)
The Pentax K-m is a digital SLR camera for novices, with a simple interface and good image quality. Its picture enhancement features are superior to competing budget SLRs, and although the bundled lens is a let-down the overall package is a great choice for a beginner.
Its basic specifications are similar to the Canon 1000D and the Nikon D60. It has a resolution of 10.2 megapixels; the same as the Nikon D60 and 0.1Mp greater than the Canon 1000D. Its 2.7in LCD has the edge over the other models, which only possess 2.5-inch panels. However at 625g it's heavier, despite being more compact than the other cameras.
We expect the reason for this is the fact that the Pentax K-m uses four AA batteries rather than a proprietary lithium-ion cell. Though Pentax quotes upwards of 1500 shots on a single set of batteries, the lack of an easy (and free) recharge option is a slight annoyance. If you’re a traveller, though, you will appreciate the ease of swapping out batteries.
Sensor-based image stabilisation makes a welcome appearance. We found it improved low-light performance measurably, helping capture clear shots down to a shutter speed of around 1/50 at f3.5. While this is no substitute for a flash or a better quality lens, it is nice to see decent on-body image stabilisation on a low-end digital SLR. In their defence, both the Canon and Nikon bodies have bundled kit lenses with image stabilisation.
The Pentax’s K-mount lens system can accept lenses designed for the small APS-C sensor size, but it also fits 35mm film-size lenses as well. The 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens bundled with the Pentax K-m body is nothing special — we’d put it on par with the equally mediocre 18-55mm from Canon; in our opinion the Nikon’s kit zoom is the best of the three.
All the Pentax K-m’s controls are located on the right side of the body and can be operated with one hand, leaving your left hand free to operate the lens zoom (and focus, if you’re feeling adventurous). Included in these standard controls is the new '?' button, which activates a help menu to offer composition advice for the current shooting mode or explain the functionality of camera buttons. If you are just starting out with digital SLR cameras this is useful for gaining an initial understanding of what does what.
The Pentax K-m digital SLR camera also features an Auto Picture mode, which attempts to choose the most appropriate scene mode for your shooting conditions. There are four of these modes, covering night, motion, landscape and macro; a dedicated Scene setting allows 10 more to be chosen.
The information display on the LCD panel when taking a photograph is comprehensive, showing a wide range of shooting details as well as offering direct access to more in-depth menu functions such as selecting individual focus points and image stabilisation. These menus are equally comprehensive and well thought out — we think that Pentax’s adoption of a Canon-like menu is a positive step. The Custom Image submenu lets you choose settings for colour, contrast and sharpness and offers a good preview mode of the effect changes will have.
There is no Live View mode, unlike the Canon 1000D. We don’t really mind — Live View is no substitute for looking through a viewfinder in our opinion.
As can be expected of a digital SLR, the Pentax K-m takes high quality images. The 18-55mm lens isn’t the sharpest or the fastest to focus, and it has a noisy autofocus, but it gets the job done and the images captured by the Pentax K-m are of the quality we have come to expect from a 10Mp SLR. Images are vibrant and consistently clear, with no noticeable chromatic aberration or distortion that we could see. Images up to ISO 400 were clear, while from ISO 800 upwards images suffered speckling and loss of detail.
The Pentax K-m is a fast camera, powering on in 0.7sec and releasing the shutter in 0.04sec. Burst mode captures images at around 3.5 frames per second, which is par for the course.
Sitting roughly on par with models from Nikon and Canon, but with the advantage of a slightly lower price-tag, the Pentax K-m digital SLR is a good choice for a beginner.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Smart Security Premium
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Internet Security
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- DJI launches Osmo Pocket stabilised camera
- PAX AUS 2018: Alienware isn't looking to sell a gaming smartphone just yet
- Fujifilm launches Cashback promotion of up to $1,000
- Fujifilm unveils latest Rangefinder style GFX 50R
- Panasonic develops its first full frame mirrorless cameras
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?