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Pentax Plumbs 35mm Heritage For Renamed d-SLR Family

Pentax unveiled two digital SLR cameras late last month alongside a new naming system that harkens back to the company’s 35mm heritage.

In the place of the *ist D nomenclature, Pentax will refer to its digital SLR models as its “K-series” after the company’s line of 35mm film SLRs. The move completes a model naming realignment announced at International CES.

The 6-megapixel K100D features a proprietary shake-reduction (SR) system that uses a moving CCD sensor to combat image blur. Since the system is built into the body of the camera, it bestows image stabilization to all of the accessory lenses in the company’s lineup, Pentax said.

With the stabilization, the K100D offers a two-stop advantage when using a telephoto lens or shooting in low light without a flash, the company said.

The camera features a 2.5-inch, 210,000-pixel LCD, automatic ISO sensitivity to 3,200, and a 2.8 fps burst mode up to five JPEG images or three RAW images. It offers an 11-point wide-frame AF, a maximum shutter speed of 1/4,000 second, 19 customizable functions, eight scene modes, five digital filters, two depth-of-field preview modes, 16-segment multi-pattern metering and noise reduction.

The K100 incorporates Pentax’s Auto Picture Mode which selects from one of four picture modes — including portrait, landscape and macro — by calculating various photographic factors to assure optimum results.

The SLR takes SD memory and can save images as a group or automatically save them by the date taken as individual folders on the SD card. It draws power from either four AA batteries or two CR-V3 lithium batteries.

Pentax also updated the included software in its SLR kit. Bundled software will include Pentax Photo Laboratory 3 for RAW data processing and the updated Pentax Photo Browser 3, which the company says offers faster data processing speed and better operability than the previous version. The software can also convert RAW images into Adobe’s DNG format for archival purposes.

The camera will ship with the smc 18-55mm lens this July for a suggested retail price of $699.95.

Pentax will also update its entry-level model with a $599.95 price point (with 18-55mm lens included). The Kll0D will ship in August and share the features of the K100D except for the SR technology.

The company will add a new lens to its SLR system as well. The DA 21mm F3.2AL Limited wide-angle lens will ship in July for a suggested retail of $549.95.