updated 10:55 pm EDT, Sun September 21, 2008
Pentax tonight jumped into competition against the Nikon D40 and Canon Rebel XS with the launch of its previously leaked K-m digital SLR. Although equipped with the full-size sensor and detachable lens system of an SLR, the 10.2-megapixel camera is consciously designed to acclimate first-time users with a smaller body and simplified controls that resemble those of a point-and-shoot. Settings info is moved to the back LCD rather than the top LED display often found on higher-end cameras, while a D40-like help button is also present.
The camera producer gives the K-m features that are potentially useful to both classes, including image stabilization on the sensor itself as well as automatic dust removal and an unusually quick 3.5 frames per second burst mode for the class. A full 16 scene presets are there to automatically tune settings either for newcomers or quick, off-hand shots from experts. Light sensitivity is however limited at ISO 100-3,200.
In an unusual turn, the K-m can be powered by disposable AA batteries rather than the proprietary lithium-ion battery packs that can be difficult to recharge on trips.
Details for the camera have so far only been announced for Europe, where the camera will appear in November for about €499 ($722) with an 18-55mm kit lens. An American release is very likely to be announced soon and will potentially cost less. [via Photoscala]