I got a Pentax K110 digital SLR camera last month

When the Nikon D40 came out in November priced at $599, it seemed like the whole world went ga-ga over it. After all, we’ve pretty much been conditioned to expect to pay $1,000 to get into the digital SLR game.

But then I found out about the Pentax K110D. It’s also a digital SLR, and costs about $100 less than the Nikon. There wasn’t much information out there about it. So, after consulting the one person whose opinions on cameras I trust, my wife and I got one.Pentax isn’t the biggest name in cameras but is hardly a no-name either. The Pentax K1000 camera, first released in 1976, is a legend.

The K110D is a basic 6-megapixel digital SLR. It uses SD flash memory cards for storage and rechargable NiMH AA batteries for power. (Batteries are included, an SD card isn’t. But I couldn’t tell if the batteries were rechargeable because the writing on them is in Japanese.)

Most importantly, someone like me, who knows very little about photography, can take a good shot with this camera. While you can set all of the ISO settings you want, you can also put the camera on fully automatic, where it decides everything for you. In fully automatic mode, if you can frame a decent shot and get it in focus, the camera will take care of the rest.

You can see some shots I took this way with the camera at The Gauge. I shot these through a department store window, so there’s some glare. That’s not the camera’s fault.

The camera’s quality is good. You don’t want to play catch with it or expose it to any rough handling that you can possibly avoid, but it doesn’t feel fragile in your hands either. In case you’re wondering, the camera is manufactured in the Phillipines, while the lens is manufactured in Vietnam.

While 6 megapixels may seem a bit wimpy in this era of 10-megapixels and above, you don’t really need the extra resolution unless you’re making really large prints. A cheap 10-megapixel point-and-shoot could actually take a worse image than this camera if its optics and sensor aren’t of comparable quality.

If you’re looking for more versatility than a point and shoot will give you, but don’t care to spend four figures on a camera and a couple of lenses, the K110D or its bigger brother, the K100D (which adds image stabilization) is a good bet.

I like this camera a lot and would buy it again without hesitating.

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