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06-17-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
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How important is AA battery feature?

Hi All,

I am new to this forum and I am considering purchasing a K-R. So far I am aware of the e-dial and auto focus issues with the K-R, but am not too concerned about them from what I have read on this forum.

I was able to compare the K-R and a Canon T2i today. The Canon did auto focus much quieter than the K-R and was, perhaps, a slight bit more reliable when focusing. Also I understand that the Canon does 1080p video and has hdmi out, whereas the K-R does only 720p and only has USB out. However, I like the K-R form factor more than the Canon, and video is not a huge priority for me.

I know that the AA battery cradle is another $15-$50 depending on after market versus OEM, but I like the fact that the K-R can use AA batteries. How important was it to other K-R purchasers that the camera can run on AA batteries?

06-17-2011, 11:28 PM   #2
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Deal-breaker for me. Life without eneloops isn't worth living.
06-17-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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imagine yourself with low battery due to forgetting to charge. You got a shoot coming up in ten or so minutes so no time to charge em. Luckily, you realize you had some fully charged eneloops in your spare flashes that you could use. The shoot goes as planned and no one realized you forgot to charge your batteries.
Moral of the story- Its handy in a tough spot, but generally a non-issue if you stay on top of charging your lithiums and keep a spare or two around for longer shoots.

as for quiet autofocus, that is a function of lens design rather than camera bodies. Although admittedly, the canon probably does have better AF than the k-r.
As for video, i found myself using that.........twice. Thought it'd be a nice thing to have, but im not a video person, so i tend to forget it even exists on my camera.
As for the form factor, i have to agree with you there, it was one of the biggest reasons i ended up going with my k-x. it just felt right in my hands =)

good luck deciding on your camera purchase! is there any particular reason you are choosing those bodies in particular?
06-18-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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To get quiet and more precise AF you need to pay for more for a better lens kit, such as the DA17-70. Also this lens is better optically and with more reach, there is also more light passing through.
The AA battery option is particulary useful when you purchase external flash (many DSLR owners do). All external flashes do use AA batteries so you will have all the kit powered with single type of battery, requiring single chrager.
Li-on block users are forced to travel with 2 battery chargers when they take external flash.

06-18-2011, 01:12 AM   #5
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I've had my K-r for a bit more than 24 hours, so I can only offer very initial impressions of it. My decision was also down to the T2i or the K-r, and it wasn't an easy decision. I think the K-r is probably capable of higher general IQ, and the AF seems quick enough for me. I don't shoot under tungsten, so I'm relatively unconcerned with the ff issue. Video is also a non-issue for me, as 720p is plenty for the few occasions I want to shoot a clip. My thinking is, if you want a good video camera, buy a good video camera (too). A DSLR is primarily for stills, and the video option is a bonus.

The ergonomics of it was what finally tipped the scales for me. The trigger placement is so much better than on the Canon. It's a small and light camera, but they didn't skimp on the shape of the right side grip at all, it's much more natural feeling.

The flexibility of being able to use AA batteries is nice, but if you keep a couple spare lithiums around you may never need it. The important thing is to be diligent about charging your batteries, regardless of type, so you don't get caught short in the field. I've heard many good things about the Sanyo Eneloops, and I think I'll pick up a set and an aftermarket holder, but it's not a high priority for me right now compared to some other accessories I'd like.

Bottom line, so far I am thrilled with my K-r. I researched these two cameras for over two months before buying, and despite the many reviews praising the K-r, it has given me a better initial experience than I expected. My only complaint with it so far is that I wish the display in the viewfinder were a bit brighter. Not the viewfinder itself, that's fine, I mean the green display at the bottom which shows your ISO, aperture and such. If anyone knows of a setting to brighten that up a bit, it'd be much appreciated.
06-18-2011, 04:37 AM   #6
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I was one of those people who couldn't understand why you'd spend for the AA adapter when it was cheaper to just buy an extra lithium ion battery (or two). But after hearing so much about Eneloops, I finally cracked and got the adapter and two sets of Eneloops. Wow! I'm currently on my 300th shot on the latest charge of the Eneloops and I'm estimating that 90% of those have been with flash and/or LiveView because of the conditions I've been shooting under. If I was using the standard battery, I'd have had to change it out for a spare long ago.

For me, it was something that was so far down my list of priorities, yet it's really turned out to be a great feature. Not only do you get better battery life, but certainly more flexibility. I now have two sets of Eneloop AA's and two lithium ion batteries. Can't imagine battery life every being a problem.
06-18-2011, 05:26 AM   #7
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AA's are essential IMHO. I got around 1700 shots in my K-x with Lithium batteries and the Eneloops are giving me 800+ per set. Add to this that AA's are available even in many of the remotest parts of the world and that you can get a AA cradle for the K-r for around $10 shipped from China and you have a camera that becomes hard to stop due to power issues.

I just do not understand the fascination many have with proprietary batteries. Add to that the charger that Pentax bundles with the K-r is like something from 1990 and it makes the AA's much more important IMHO. At least Pentax could have made one of those fold-in plug chargers instead of the one they did with a detachable 6 foot cord. ALL my other chargers have the folding plug. Why Pentax? Why?
06-18-2011, 05:33 AM   #8
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AA batteries give one options. Do you travel? The battery adapter doesn't take much room in you camera bag. If you are away from home and your battery runs low just stop in the local store and buy some AA batteries. Regular AA batteries won't last as long as the Li Ion, but could save the day in a pinch. If you like camping, there are solar chargers for AA batteries ready made. The battery adapter is now under $10, cheap insurance.
Brand New Battery Holder Box for Pentax KR K-R Camera - eBay (item 180669498715 end time Jun-18-11 17:50:54 PDT)

06-18-2011, 06:10 AM   #9
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It was not the deciding factor for me, but it certainly made the K-r more attractive vs. other alternatives. I travel a lot overseas, so it is a very nice feature. Kudos to Pentax for thinking of this and providing a thoughtful feature.
06-18-2011, 06:14 AM   #10
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If you travel a lot especially where electricity is rationed or non existent, AAs even rechargables via solar is a big necessity. If you tend not to religiously recharge daily, AAs are a quick fix.
06-18-2011, 06:23 AM   #11
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I have solar rechargers for my AAs. If I'm out of battery for my K20D, I'm out of luck.
06-18-2011, 06:50 AM   #12
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Well I run on K-5 but I bought a handfull of spare battery's for that to never dry up and that is also a road to follow with K-r if you don't run on AA's.
06-18-2011, 09:06 AM   #13
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Being able to use AA's is a lifesaver but not a deal breaker. It's those times you haven't realised your battery is low that Eneloops with a cheaper holder are handy. The Lithium k-r battery is not meant to be left sitting on the shelf charged up so Eneloop AA's are a better alternative to extra Lithium batteries of the same type as shipped with the k-r. Plus they offer more flexibility.

Last edited by Bill_R; 06-18-2011 at 09:12 AM.
06-18-2011, 09:13 AM   #14
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Eneloops are great but if you forget to charge them you're equally out of luck. They're hard to find retail, especially if you're far from a metro area.

For me, the best insurance is a set of AA lithiums. They're expensive but lightweight, easy to find and they last a long time.
06-18-2011, 09:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by InlawBiker Quote
Eneloops are great but if you forget to charge them you're equally out of luck. They're hard to find retail, especially if you're far from a metro area.
If you forget to charge ANY battery you are out of luck. Unless you want to waste on always buying non-rechargable batteries and run out and buy more all the time. Then you can be really out of luck.
Eneloops actually hold the charge much longer than std rechargeable NiMh so, as long as there is charge in them you are fine.
As for availability - never had an issue. But then, you only need to buy 1 or 2 sets to start with. It isn't as if you'll go shopping for a set each week!!! 1 backup set charged and ready and exhaust 1 set and the extra life means you are more than covered.
Common sense comes into it.
Lithiums AA's: ok for an emergency if you need to buy them in a pinch. Poor efficiency and resultant high heat output. Not a good choice.
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