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08-02-2012, 05:25 AM   #1

help with buying 1st Digital SLR

I shoot now with a nikon and canon 35mm and finally talked my husband into letting me buy a DSLR, but max for $300. What do you think about this.....

Pentax k-x in very good condition and working order with one flaw. The af/mf switch is broken, meaning that autofocus lenses still autofocus as usual, and manual lenses manual focus as usual; however, the broken switch prevents an autofocus lens from focusing manually. I never use af lenses that way, so it never bothered me, but I have priced the camera to reflect the defect. Otherwise, the camera works fantastically. Included are the Pentax Takkumar 135mm 2.5 and Pentax M 50mm 1.7. Also included is the k-x manual. Both lenses are in excellent condition and both are manual lenses. Cash only. Pickup only. Thanks for looking. $250 OBO

Ive done alot of research on the camera itself, but am unsure of the defect b/c I've never used an autofocus lens.
The guy emailed me again saying....

The two lenses advertised are manual, but any manual or autofocus lens made in a Pentax k mount (going back decades) work with this dslr. The defect is that the camera will not manual focus an automatic focus lens. Autofocus lenses work perfectly in autofocus mode, they just won't switch to manual focus. They're not really intended to be used manually anyway, so it never affected me. Manual lenses like the one you want to buy with the kx, work perfectly as intended. I hope thus clarifies things. I will actually be playing a musical gig on Friday, which you may know is a bit south of ****. I will agree to 200 if you'd like to see it Friday when I'm closer to you. If do, let me know, and we can work out a time.
what I'm really asking is... would this be worth the risk? and has anyone had this camera with this issue?

08-02-2012, 06:03 AM   #2
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they are manual lenses only. So i don't understand how you think the camera will work in AF only? The price is only so-so--as the lenses can be gotten for about $100. from KEH. And you can get a used K10 for about $250. from KEH.
08-02-2012, 06:07 AM   #3
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Sorry I now see what you are saying and as long as the camera works w/o AF you should be fine. And 200. is a good price. I was thinking you said $300. But whether the camera will have other problems associated with AF not working I don't know. I would think the other main check is that exposure works.
08-02-2012, 06:24 AM   #4


I am new to digital, what is the best way to make sure the exposure works when I look at the camera? thanks.

08-02-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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The kx is a great first DSLR, it's what I cut my teeth with. Have you had a look on ebay and the marketplace on this site as well? There are some bargains to be had. Here's one within your budget, only got the kit lens but they're not bad at all., and here's another, white, one that's just a little over. I notice the seller's had it up for a few days and bumped it so you might be able to beat him down a bit.

And does it have to be a kx? Lots of other cameras for cheap on ebay, such as and

Last edited by wildweasel; 08-02-2012 at 09:10 AM.
08-02-2012, 10:51 AM   #6
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By exposure works--I meant the light reading is OK/it sets the appropriate shutter speed/takes an appropriate picture. If you used film camera it's no different except for the green button. I use a K20D and I assume it same on all the Pentax's. Set exposure dial to M, make sure the non-A lens is permitted (one of the menus--if not it will not work--but as you are getting kit from current owner it should be set up), set the desired iso, f stop, and meter mode you want (matrix, centerweighted or spot) and push the green button--the camera will set appropriate shutter speed. If the details are a bit different someone else will no doubt chime in. Then actually take the picture and review it on rear display--the exposure should be reasonable.

BTW as you likely will later purchase an A lens (or FA or DA) it would be nice to verify you can have the camera set the aperture for a chosen shutter speed. This gets you into TV and AV modes. But if the camera works in manual mode/sets the exposure it should be OK. And the extra bells and whistles you will pick up as you use the camera/manual. I am an old timer and actually only use camera's in manual (M) mode--so the additional detail is not my forte.

If you are worried, then pass on it as the buy is good but not exceptional. You can always buy one through KEH used and get a 2 week return and 6 months warranty. (I like KEH a lot--their BGN condition is actually EXC condition elsewhere)
08-04-2012, 12:08 AM   #7
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get something better

I'm instinctively wary of any product that has a fault. You can of course get it fixed but to do so is likely to turn your 'good price' buy into a 'it wasn't worth it' product later on.

The use of AF lenses is the modern way to go but the ability to switch over to manual focus is helpful for those times when the light is getting weak and the AF system just will not lock in properly.

I advise you to look at a second hand KR instead. There are at least 20 detailed improvements compared to the KX, most notably in my opinion the improved AF system. I know because I've used both and still use the KR.
08-04-2012, 02:51 AM   #8
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Both those lenses are MF lenses ... so how are you going to check that the AF does actually work ? If you decide to go for it he MUST bring along an AF lens to demonstrate that the AF doesn't have additional issues - such as it doesn't work at all !

IMHO look for another Kx with it's kit lens (the Pentax kit lens is way better than that offered by Canon and Nikon - though I heard Nikon have improved theirs). MF lenses can be bought for great prices - there's a guy on here called Rio Rico who can give you great advice on how to pick up $10-20 bargains, once you know what you are looking for. If you can save up for a Kr even better !

08-04-2012, 03:05 AM   #9
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Yes. I would echo what the others have said about looking at the marketplace for a "deal." I have purchased equipment (and sold it too), many times and always been satisfied.
08-04-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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I avoid products with obvious faults. Dings are one thing but when you KNOW that the product has at least one feature that is not working - no thanks.

As others have said, the K-x is a sweet little camera and an excellent place to start with dSLR (I did too). There are some being offered here for around $300 by reputable people with good reputations and that work as intended. The Pentax 18-55 lens is a nice place to start with descent image quality (IQ) and nice versatility.

Good luck, and why not join?
08-04-2012, 10:35 AM   #11
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I would pass. The AF/MF switch jammed on my old *ist DS2 but I was able to fix it myself...but I wouldn't want to take that chance when buying -- it's not that good a deal.
08-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #12
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I would pass. I have always done well by buying used gear from KEH, Adorama, and B&H. I would recommend you shop there for low cost DSLR bodies.
08-04-2012, 04:16 PM   #13
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There will be times when it is important to be able to manually focus your AF lenses.
Pass on this one. There will be others. A second hand K10D would be a good option.
08-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #14

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I would pass. Some AF lenses may work better MF mode. My 10-20mm sigma comes to mind - it won't work with AF reliably at the 10mm end, so just presetting the focus manually ends up being better than relying on AF.

The K10d approach is very different than a KX. The K10d has worse low-light performance, and notably more size/weight, but also has some higher-end features (weather sealing, quieter shutter, pentaprism, top lcd, second control wheel) All of those are significant for some photographers and some applications, but not for others.


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