Pentax has announced the launch of the PENTAX K-m aimed at entry level digital SLR photographers.

Claiming to offer simplified, user-friendly operation, in an easy-to-manoeuvre compact, lightweight, body the camera has a 10.2-megapixel CCD image sensor.

The K-m features a newly designed control system, which positions most of the buttons and levers on the camera's grip side, and gets an upgraded version of the Pentax's Auto Picture mode, which automatically detects the type of subject or scene, and sets the proper shooting mode for the photographer.

There's shake-reduction, a "comprehensive" dust removal system, shooting at 3.5 frames per second, a five-point wide-area AF system and sensitivity between ISO 100 and ISO 3200.

The PENTAX K-m features a 2.7-inch colour LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots on its back panel as well as a penta-mirror prism and it runs off four AA-size lithium batteries claiming to record approximately 1650 images.

Due to be sold with smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6AL lens or the smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6ED lens, the K-m will retail at £399.99 with smc DA-L 18-55 or £499.99 with smc DA-L 18-55 + 50-200mm.