This week, two new 10 megapixels cameras were announced, the Pentax K10D and the Olympus E-400. Together with the recently announed Canon Rebel XTi and the already available Nikon D80 and Sony Alpha A100, there are now five 10 megapixels digital SLR cameras costing around 1000 USD. Admitedly, two of my predictions from last month were wrong: both Canon and Olympus upgraded their entry DSLR offerings to 10 megapixels. Until detailed reviews are available, we won’t know if this is due to technical achievement or to a marketing requirement.
The Pentax K10D, image on the left curtesy of Pentax, has made things very interesting by adding unexpected capabilities to this price point. The K10D is now the least expensive weather-proof DSLR on the market. It is also one of only two digital SLR cameras to include body-based stabilization, the other one being the Sony Alpha A100. This new Pentax camera includes a number of innovative features such as white-balance preview and sensitivity priority mode. It also has a built-in dust-reduction system, making the Nikon D80 the only DSLR without this feature among the five.
It would be too easy if one of these cameras had all the best features and image quality, so chosing among them will be a difficult task for most people. Neocamera will have a detailed feature-comparaison among these shortly.
At the high-end, the 10 megapixels Nikon D200 is a powerful contender, yet its price premium is high compared to the newly introduced 10 megapixels models. Now that the Pentax K10D has been announced, the D200’s only clear advantage is 5 FPS continuous drive. Previously, the D200 was the cheapest weather-proof DSLR available. This was seen as a high-end feature justifying its price premium over competitors like the 8 megapixels Canon 30D which also shoots at 5 FPS but costs several hundreds less.