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09-16-2011, 08:42 PM   #1
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3 weeks with the k-r: the good, bad & curious

I picked up a black k-r from a nearby forum member, after deciding to part with a much-loved k-x. I was trying to save some money, and while I didn't lose much on the deal it certainly wasn't the fundraiser I was planning! The opportunity was too good to pass on, especially since it was 10 miles away (a liter of gas is still cheaper than Priority mail) so here I sit with another great Pentax camera.

So how has this k-x owner taken to the k-r?

Good news first: I like the different look of the k-r, a bit boxier and bulkier - it looks more like its k-# siblings than the k-x. The new battery is a cool idea, as I've railed for years now about a cartridge for holding four AAs as a single unit. Had they done this in 2008 I would never have gone with Sony, but hey the A200 was a fine camera and once Sony lost their mind in the market I regained mine The k-r has taken away the few niggles the k-x presented to me. I had become accustomed to them though, so this 'good news' is a bit tempered for now. I know that in time I will use interval shooting and an occasional hand-held HDR (set to Low or Auto!), and at some point I hope to add the GPS/astro module. As to pulling out the last jpeg image as a RAW file, I've used that already and to good advantage:


This was processed in DCU software, which gave me a result I liked a bit better than Elements 9 - but this too needs more practice!
I'm still wrestling with DCU vs. ACR, and even have a $20 copy of PS-Pro X2 around here somewhere..


The "yes-but" news. The fit is different in my hand, and I'll have to leave it at that: different, not necessarily better or worse. I've tried the micro-AF tuning but it seems that the zero setting is 1 from ideal with most of my lenses so no big win there either. I am not much of a live-view user, but for sure the AF is quicker in that mode, and the zoom/focus/unzoom is comforting if a bit disorienting. I'm sure I would get used to it, but as I said this is not a common technique for me. The screen is very nice, no surprise there.. but I see it as a battery drain as much as a composition aid. If I did live view this would be a big plus I'm sure.. but we've covered that so it isn't. I came from the K-7 to the k-x and expected to miss the screen more than I did - so likewise getting it back is nice but not amazing-nice. And as I note above, I had adapted to the k-x quirks and must now adapt again... or switch back to AF-spot, the most prominent example.

Less good news: either my k-x had the perfect 2010 sensor, or the k-r has a less-perfect 2011 model -- or has the PRIME jpg engine mutated a bit? In any case, I feel this k-r has a bit more chroma noise than the k-x copy that I owned - this will vary from camera to camera, but I think I stepped down a notch on this. It still does very impressive work to iso4000 at least, and once I get the hang of fine-tuning the NR I may be right back to my k-x gold standard. More time will help as I learn to do better with my k-r, as of course it would help anyone with any camera! And I'll join the chorus in chastising Pentax for not including an AA cartridge with the camera: I am still waiting for my Asian clone to arrive, hopefully before next week's long hike. If others can make and sell these for about $10, the marketing genius who left one out of the box needs to watch his/her step for a while.

And finally the curious. A few of my first images looked ghastly green and underexposed in my Picasa software, giving my stomach a turn. Turns out those were .dng files every time, which Picasa chose to show me at their very worst in thumbnail form. In other preview windows (even in Picasa) they look just fine. Picasa was a fine and minimalist piece of software once, but I'm tiring of it now as it adds more features and thereby buries the ones I really liked beneath the new stuff. Oh well..

So that's my story so far. Thanks for reading!

09-16-2011, 10:17 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this Jim.

I'm sure there are many K-x Pentaxians, like myself, asking themselves about the K-r! Its great to see the opinion of someone who has done it.

No doubt the decision depends on personal preferences - for me I love the AAs and don't miss focus points at all (never had them but when I tried a camera with them can't really see why they are needed). On the flip side I like the look of the interval shooting (I have done lots of manual timelapse shots and I have had enough) and the better screen would be great for focussing with LV (which I use sometimes for accurate focussing of manual lenses). Also the high ISO performance of the K-x is pretty good and now I'm spoilt with it I don't think I use anything with less performance now.
I think I am currently leaning towards either:
* Keep saving and eventually buy a K-5 once it comes down (perhaps with release of a new model??). Or
* Run the K-x until it dies and then see what the options are then (only 19000 shutter cycles so hopefully plenty to go).

Keep posting how you go!

Cheers

Jonathan
09-17-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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Original Poster
good points

QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Thanks for posting this Jim.
... better screen would be great for focussing with LV (which I use sometimes for accurate focussing of manual lenses).

I think I am currently leaning towards either:
* Keep saving and eventually buy a K-5 once it comes down (perhaps with release of a new model??). Or
* Run the K-x until it dies and then see what the options are then (only 19000 shutter cycles so hopefully plenty to go).
I've used and liked images with manual-focus lenses on the k-r, but have not availed myself of the screen assist. Since my 50/1.4 seems to front focus compared to the VF, I really need to get familiar with that on a few lenses!

If I come into easy money I'm sure I would grab a K-5, as I do miss several of those switches (AF modes & metering) that the K-7 had. Money seldom does that though, so the k-x / k-r will do quite nicely in the meantime! I had planned on going with your plan 'b' with my k-x, so now am doing so but with the k-r.
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