Pentax has announced the launch of a new DSLR digital camera it first showed as a prototype at PMA earlier this year that takes over as its flagship product.

The new model, which will be available in the UK in mid October will be called the K10D and feature a 23.5mm x 15.7mm CCD sensor with 10.2 megapixels and offer PENTAX's Shake Reduction (SR) system to minimise the adverse effects of camera shake.

The K10D also features a new Sensitivity-Priority AE (Sv) mode, which is designed to automatically select the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for a user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted instantly (in 1/2 or 1/3 steps) by turning the electronic dial. Since this mode eliminates the need to recall a menu screen for sensitivity changes, the photographer can react more quickly to changing photographic conditions.

It also features a manual mode called Shutter Speed and Aperture priority, which lets the user manually choose the exposure settings, while the camera then adjusts the ISO to the optimal sensitivity.

Other features include a newly developed A/D converter for image data conversion, 11-point wide-frame AF, 2.5-inch colour LCD monitor and a rechargeable battery capable, according to Pentax of 730 images from one charge.

According to Pentax the The K10D incorporates a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfully converts the analog data collected by the CCD image sensor into digital data. With the highest resolving power (22 bits, or 4.2 million gradations) among all existing digital cameras, it offers a digital-conversion capacity 1024 times greater than conventional 12-bit, 4096-gradation A/D converters.

The K10D features the new Dust Removal (DR) system to prevent dust from sticking to the surface of the CCD image sensor (or low-pass filter) and a Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch to the Shutter-Priority AE (Tv) mode or Aperture-Priority AE (Av) mode from the Program AE mode, with a simple turn of the electronic dials on the grip (one on the front for index finger control, and the other on the back for thumb control).

When shooting in the Metered Manual mode, a single push of the green button allows the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject.

Other features include a choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, centre-weighted metering and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications, 32 custom functions to personalise camera operations, extended bracket function to capture three images of the same subject at different contrast, saturation, sharpness or white-balance levels, compatibility with conventional SD memory cards and newly introduced SDHC memory cards, simultaneous recording of RAW and JPEG images, six built-in digital filters (Black-and-white, Sepia, Slim, Soft, Brightness and Colour) for easy editing of recorded images and compatibility with PictBridge, DPOF, Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching III systems.