I have to agree with CameraLab’s final verdict about the Pentax K10D (quoted below). It definitely is a more hands-on DSLR than the others. But then isn’t that the point of a SLR? It’s not a point-and-shoot.

Pentax K10D final verdict

One thing should be clear from our comments so far: the K10D is not the greatest performer using its default settings. If you want a camera that takes great-looking JPEGs straight out the box, then look elsewhere. Shooting alongside the K10D with a Nikon D80 really cemented this point home.

But the K10D undeniably offers a lot of features for the money. For starters it’s the most affordable DSLR with environmental sealing. The Shake Reduction may only have offered a couple of stops compensation in our tests, but it’s certainly better than nothing. The anti-dust system may not be as good as the Olympus SuperSonic Wave Filter, but it sure proved more effective than the Canon 400D and Sony A100 systems in our tests. The support for both proprietary and open RAW file formats, along with in-camera processing is also very welcome. And while it’s annoying not to have buttons offering direct access to the ISO and White Balance, the K10D makes up for it to some extent with its Sensitivity Priority mode and a dedicated RAW button.

Had the K10D sported superior metering and better-looking JPEGs out-the-box, it would have easily achieved our Highly Recommended rating. But the fact you need to put some effort into learning the camera when rivals are ready to go straightaway means we can only award it our lower Recommended rating.

At this point you could argue any product needs to be learnt to make the most of it, but in photography you may only have one chance at your shot – and the fact is cameras like the Nikon D80 will get it right almost every time, whereas the K10D often requires some adjustment. By that time your opportunity may have passed.

Ultimately if you’re a beginner or want the easy life, look elsewhere. But if you’re willing to learn how to get the best from the K10D, it undoubtedly represents great value for money and a compelling option. Just don’t expect miracles from the Shake Reduction and be prepared to tweak the settings.