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12-11-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
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Upgrade from my trusty Kx?

I'm considering upgrading from the Kx I've been using for the last 5 years. But I'm having a lot of internal debate, and so I thought I would post something here and see if some friendly input helps my decision making.

In January I'm moving to London (from San Francisco) for work (film industry, not photo related). I intend to shoot a lot for my own enjoyment, in London, other parts of the UK I hope to travel to, and in continental Europe, where I hope to spend some time as well. Since I'm moving in the middle of winter, wet weather is one of the reasons I'm considering upgrading. But I'd like to make my purchases here before I go since it seems like the cheaper way to go.

I've had the Kx for years and it's been a PHENOMENAL investment. I think I paid around $460 for the body + 18-55 + 55-300 lens combo. I've gotten a handful of lenses over the years, mainly using the 18-135, 40, 15 and sigma 17-70. I've loved the relatively small size and the ability to take AAs. It makes for a great travel camera.

Last year I spent 3 months traveling in South America. Before my trip I bought a K5, thinking it would be a good step up in IQ, handling, and travel functionality with the weather resistance. But I ended up returning it because I just did not like how much bigger and heavier it was.

So that brings me to my current dilemma. I would still like a WR camera body to go the 18-135 lens. And I would still like to upgrade to something with better overall IQ, better high ISO, nicer VF, and hopefully better metering. But I know I don't want a camera the size of a K5. The K5 is still pretty small compared to many others out there, but it's more than I like to lug around. Honestly, I'd actually like something SMALLER than the Kx, but I'm conflicted about changing systems and giving up the OVF.

Would a K30 or a K50 be the right fit for me? Is it close enough in size to the Kx for me? And will the IQ and VF improvement be enough to justify it?

I've also considered stepping up and buying a Sony A7. I like the size and quality combo of that camera, and the EVF on it is surprisingly good. But there just aren't enough lenses for it. Maybe in a year or two I could see buying into that system.

Here are some links to galleries of travel photos taken with the Kx (mostly... there are a few s100 shots mixed in).

Colombia 2011 (mostly Kx with sigma 17-70)
Colombia 2011 - baileybrent's Photos | SmugMug

Colombia 2012 (mostly Kx with 18-135)
Colombia 2012 - baileybrent's Photos | SmugMug

Ecuador and Peru 2012 (mostly Kx with 18-135)
Ecuador and Peru 2012 - baileybrent's Photos | SmugMug

Seattle 2013 (mostly Kx with 40/2.8)
Seattle 2013 - baileybrent's Photos | SmugMug


So, K30/K50 users, what do you think? Would a K30 or K50 be the right thing for me? Or should I just wait a year and then sell my Pentax gear for FF Sony A7 gear?

All thoughts and comments welcome and appreciated.

12-11-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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I'd recommend going for the K-50. The A7 is nice (I'm currently testing it), but not having the OVF is a deal-breaker for me.

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12-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #3
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I moved from the K-x to the K-30. HERE is my review that highlighted the differences I observed.
12-11-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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I upgraded from a K-x to a K-30 just a few months ago. See my detailed findings here: Pentax K-30 vs K-x: Comparison and First Impressions

Since then, I've been very happy w/my K-30, but 2 things I still prefer a/b my old K-x (which I still use sometimes): 1) the ultra-light weight and 2) the K-x rear wheel is sticks out slightly more making it easier to thumb-adjust. Also 3) my Vivitar DF-383-PEN flashgun does NOT work at all w/the new K-30, so it's K-x if I need external flash.

12-12-2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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You mention you've had your K-X five years now and have only about $460 invested in the original purchase of the camera including the18-55 and 55-300 lens combo. Given that the K-X was released just four years ago and the initial pricing of the K-X with the 18-55 and 55-300 combo was significantly higher than $460, I think you may be allowing your desire for a new camera to cloud your analysis. I know the feeling well!
12-13-2013, 12:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tombene Quote
You mention you've had your K-X five years now and have only about $460 invested in the original purchase of the camera including the18-55 and 55-300 lens combo. Given that the K-X was released just four years ago and the initial pricing of the K-X with the 18-55 and 55-300 combo was significantly higher than $460, I think you may be allowing your desire for a new camera to cloud your analysis. I know the feeling well!
Ha! Good catch...

I went back and checked my BnH records. Bought in 2010 for $649.

But with that new info.... The order I just put in for a K30 body for $449 is an even better deal!
12-13-2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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Thanks, everyone, for your input. It was very helpful.

Amazon got more K30 bodies in stock at a great price, so I jumped on it. Hopefully the size will feel right when it gets here.

Now, about that 21mm limited prime.....
12-13-2013, 12:14 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Seems like a OMD EM1 would be ideal, but the price compared to a K-30/50 is ridiculous.
I thought that as well, and was open to spending the extra money. But I played with the A7 and the EM1 back to back in the store, and found I liked the handling and size of the A7 more.

But $449 for a good camera body that I already have lenses for is tough to turn down. I might give the A7 a shot someday, when they have lenses as good as that 12-40/f2.8...


Last edited by bailey_b; 12-13-2013 at 12:28 AM.
12-13-2013, 02:11 AM   #9
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I too was hoping the K-30 was not appreciably bigger/heavier than my old K-x. but it is. One-handing it is a challenge. There is plenty about the K-30 to love in terms of usability(especially the great bright screen and dual dials), but other than a higher percentage of keepers due to better focusing, the image quality and high ISO noise quality is not much different than K-x. So if you really want a smaller IL cam than the K-x, I suggest looking at Sony NEX5, 6 or 7 depending on your budget.
12-13-2013, 08:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kodai84 Quote
I upgraded from a K-x to a K-30 just a few months ago. See my detailed findings here: Pentax K-30 vs K-x: Comparison and First Impressions Since then, I've been very happy w/my K-30, but 2 things I still prefer a/b my old K-x (which I still use sometimes): 1) the ultra-light weight and 2) the K-x rear wheel is sticks out slightly more making it easier to thumb-adjust. Also 3) my Vivitar DF-383-PEN flashgun does NOT work at all w/the new K-30, so it's K-x if I need external flash.
This was a very helpful comparison, as was mgvh's posting. I too am in the same position as bailey_b, very happily shooting with my K-x for the past almost 4 years, but feeling like it is getting a little long in the tooth. Plus the autofocus is hit or miss, so my keeper percentage is low. Interesting, letrolink, that the image quality is not that dramatically different than the K-x -- that may say more about how great the K-x was than about the the K-30/50's performance.

Nevertheless, I got a K-01 last year that is keeping me, for the moment, from upgrading my K-x. The K-01's sensor is awesome for low light and it has better video capture than the K-x. Still, my ideal is to combine the VF and handling of my K-x with the sensor and focus accuracy of the K-01 --> which would apparently equal the K-30 or K-50. I'll have to look into making the upgrade sometime in 2014. Although I too am a little worried about the size of the K-30/50, which according to lectrolink is "appreciably bigger and heavier" than the little K-x.
12-13-2013, 08:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bailey_b Quote
The order I just put in for a K30 body for $449 is an even better deal!
Congrats! Could you please try to report back when you receive it, to let us know what you think? Also, I see that the ones sold on Amazon for that price are from Electronics Basket (though fulfilled by Amazon). EB has had a slightly sketchy reputation over the years, but they do offer deep discounts on their cameras because they are usually ones that have been separated from kits that originally included lenses.
12-13-2013, 09:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
Congrats! Could you please try to report back when you receive it, to let us know what you think? Also, I see that the ones sold on Amazon for that price are from Electronics Basket (though fulfilled by Amazon). EB has had a slightly sketchy reputation over the years, but they do offer deep discounts on their cameras because they are usually ones that have been separated from kits that originally included lenses.
I got my K-30 from them. Other than the fact that it came in a box that was clearly a kit with the lens removed (which I knew going in) the camera has been great. No problems. They answered any questions and concerns I had when I ordered and everything was perfect when it arrived. YMMV but as far as my experience, I don't have much doubt in recommending them.
12-13-2013, 09:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sumx4182 Quote
I got my K-30 from them. Other than the fact that it came in a box that was clearly a kit with the lens removed (which I knew going in) the camera has been great. No problems. They answered any questions and concerns I had when I ordered and everything was perfect when it arrived. YMMV but as far as my experience, I don't have much doubt in recommending them.
Great! Thanks for the information. Looking into whether I can afford to do the upgrade sooner rather than later. I wouldn't mind having a WR body to match with my DA 18-135 WR lens.
12-13-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sumx4182 Quote
I got my K-30 from them. Other than the fact that it came in a box that was clearly a kit with the lens removed (which I knew going in) the camera has been great. No problems. They answered any questions and concerns I had when I ordered and everything was perfect when it arrived. YMMV but as far as my experience, I don't have much doubt in recommending them.
Oh good to know. I didn't pay that much attention to the original seller because I knew it would be easy to return to amazon if needed.

I really don't need the kit lens, so paying less for a separated kit package is fine with me. As long as it's not a refurb or something.

I will report back with my thoughts when it comes in next week.

Thanks all!
12-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #15
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I got my dual lens K-30 kit through Electronics Basket as well. Going through Amazon gave me some confidence since that gives me a path of appeal and return if the deal went sour. They were also very responsive to my questions about condition, warranty validity, etc. I got a new camera with 6 shutter counts on it. Yesterday I rolled over 10k shutter counts and the camera is still going strong!
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