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03-16-2015, 09:49 PM   #1
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Upgrade from kx

I have a kx with DAL 18-55 kit lens, SMC Pentax F 80-200mm f4.7-5.6 zoom and 35/2.4. I am thinking of upgrading to k-50 or k-3. I was initially looking at the k-3 but wow the prices of the k-50s are unbelievable. Do you think Iíd see a big difference in the k-50 from the kx? Would the K-3 give me that much bang for a whole heck of alotta bucks

My reasons for the k-50 are:
Video in a usable format (kx has 720p but in avi and file sizes are just too large)
Time-lapse movies
Weather Resistance (Thatís the biggy) but none of my existing lenses are weather resistant
Some low light improvement

K3 advantages would be better low light and auto-focusing

The B+H bundle with WR 18-55 is incredibly priced ($430) but the 18-135 is more versatile (but adds $300 to the price).
Last year, I looked at a Pentax 55-300mm (to get even more zoom) at the local camera store and my old film lens blew away the new 55-300 in both color accuracy and image quality so I didnít buy it.
They also offer the 18-55 with a 50-200 for about $100 more but I donít see myself changing lenses in the rain so in all likelyhood would always leave the 18-55 on in weather and if it wasnít raining consider using my current lens to photograph wildlife etc. The 18-135 would fit a something in between niche well. One lens for reasonable zoom in bad weather but the bargain of the deal goes away.
Or do I just wait until the k-3 gets upgraded and the pricing falls?
Any advice?

03-16-2015, 10:15 PM   #2
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The K-50 is already going to be a substantial upgrade, both in terms of handling and features, but the step up to the K-3 is even more significant. Even alongside the latest K-S2, the K-3 delivers superior image quality, handling, and burst performance. It's still Pentax's best DSLR by a large margin.

If you are willing to spend the extra money, I'd recommend the K-3 + 18-135mm kit. Forget the loud-focusing zooms.

But if you want the most bang for your buck, then you can't do better than the K-50.

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03-16-2015, 11:49 PM   #3
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I'm not disappointed with the IQ of my Kx. Here are a couple examples of my 80-200 at full zoom from the Kx. I think the IQ is quite good. Would you see a noticeable difference from the K50, K3? I guess another reason that I'm thinking about upgrading is that my Kx was in the rain about a year ago (I tried to protect it) and then stopped working for about 30 minutes. When it came back on, it did some funny things for about a day but then worked fine. It has been working fine for the last year without any problems but I'm still just a little worried that it will go out unexpectedly. Not wanting to miss any special moments, I purchased an acceptable P+S that I could use in a pinch if it did go out but would prefer to photograph with a DSLR. I'm not in a huge hurry to upgrade. I actually see the K-S2 as the new K-3 equivalent and think the K-3 will go away when Pentax releases their first FF camera. I don't see any K-S2 "deals" coming out soon. Likewise if a FF K-3 comes out, I don't see sellers discounting the current K-3 that much so pricing will stay close to what it is today. I think the FF K-3 will also have 4K video to compete with the Panasonic GH4 and will retail a couple hundred dollars with significantly improve IQ over the GH4. This is all speculation but I think if I upgrade in a year, I'll be paying at least $200 more for the K-S2 and about $3-400 more for a K-3. The FF-K3 will be out of my budget and over 1500 with a WR lens. So I'm thinking the "deal" is now and if I wait the price will go up. Am I crazy?

Last edited by MarkinIL; 05-30-2015 at 07:46 AM.
03-17-2015, 12:46 AM   #4
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Although discontinued AFAIK, you might still be able to pick up a Pentax K-5IIs somewhere.... I had a K-x, and still have a K-30 and K-5IIs... The K-30 unfortunately gave me some problems which are discussed in various threads on the forums, and although I still use it, the K-5IIs is just an incredible camera, even compared to the k-3 (have a look at various threads). if you can't get a K-5IIs, I would skip the K30/50 and rather wait a bit for the eventual drop in price, and get the K-3.

03-17-2015, 12:53 AM   #5
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If you consider going used you can probably get a used K-5 body in the $300 range or a K-5II or K-5IIs in the $400-$500 range, all being a significant upgrade over the k-x. The current K-3, brand new is about $800 with a grip or $1,080 with a grip and the 18-135 WR lens.
03-17-2015, 12:55 AM   #6
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Have you thought about K5lls? itīs not as good at focus peaking in total dark, but still has Better IQ - for 400$ youīre getting better camera for half of the price.
I although have K-x and tested a K-3 for an upgrade. Honestly, i dislike k-3 24MP Sony sensor and belive that my K-x gives me much better color rendering. Because MP count was never problem for me i would have gone with K5lls (16MP like 12MP - bigger Pixels / better color).

Although do you PP your Pictures? The 300mm looks a bit foggy and not so sharp, there are many ways to fix it with few adjustments, without loosinng quality or natural look - maybe worth although spend time for right PP techniques.

Last edited by Vitalii; 06-03-2015 at 07:21 AM.
03-17-2015, 02:02 AM   #7
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I have k-x for about 5 years, with kit 18-55 (dont use it too much anymore), sigma 10-20 4-5.6, pentax 55-300 and M 50 1.7

Last week I ordered my k-3 and I'm waiting for it to arrive (thursday) so I can tell you more about differences of those two models.
03-17-2015, 05:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkinIL Quote
Last year, I looked at a Pentax 55-300mm (to get even more zoom) at the local camera store and my old film lens blew away the new 55-300 in both color accuracy and image quality so I didn’t buy it.
I'd suggest you give the 55-300 another try. Maybe it didn't get a fair run in the shop comparison. It should do better than the two samples from the F 80-200 you posted - especially with the extra 100mm reach. Here's what you can expect from the 55-300:

If you really want WR, get the latest version - although personally the extra $300 over a DA-L version doesn't seem worth it.

It is handy having at least one WR lens though. I once took my DFA 100 WR macro as the only lens on a walk because it was raining and it was the only WR lens I have! The 18-135 would be perfect in that situation.

As between K-3 body only, and K-50 with 18-135 and change, I would choose the latter in your situation. Put the change towards a 55-300 and you are set.

Last edited by Des; 03-17-2015 at 05:45 PM.
03-17-2015, 05:48 AM   #9
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I don't know anything about comparing the cameras you are looking at but I did want to make a comment about your current cam reacting to the weather.
Once moisture got into the camera it caused a short. It allowed signals to jump where they shouldn't and just create havoc. Once that moisture has evapped and your camera is dry again it will act normal again as long as it hasnt caused permanent damage. Because your camera has worked fine once dried I would say you are safe. No permanent damage was done seeing it still works. So a sudden shutdown should not be a concern anymore then normal.
Had it been a phone or watch or something like that I would suggest a bag of rice for a day the next time it gets wet. Because its a camera which are touchy with dust ect not sure this is such a good idea.
03-17-2015, 06:06 AM   #10
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The K-x was my first DSLR (purchased about when it came out) and decided to upgrade to a K-5ii late last year. I got mine for 500CAD locally (used) and I am very happy I did. If I had to do it again, I'd probably get a K-5iis instead, but it's not a "problem". Anyway, as far as upgrade and differences go, I think the K-x handling was actually very good, and the K-5ii is just as good. It has more options so in the end, once you get used to the layouts and all, its handling gets better than what the K-x offered. I obviously use the dual dials quite a bit and the Tav mode is godly for my shooting style (the K-x didn't have it).

The top screen is useless for me, it seems like I never actually got around to force myself to use it. I always look at my settings either at the back of the camera or in the viewfinder. I should probably just turn off the back screen for a month or so to force myself to learn to use the top lcd, but in the end, I don't care much.

Image quality wise, the K-x gave me pictures that I really, really liked. The viewfinder was very good as well. However, the K-5ii is, again, better in those area. The viewfinder is a little better and the focussing system is substantially better for me. For one, you see the points in the viewfinder, which makes it a lot easier and convenient to use other points (with my K-x, I always used the center point and then recompose). I now uses all of the focussing points on my K-5ii and believe to have sharper picture as a result. Focussing is faster with all of my lenses and I can now do focus adjustment for all of my lenses individually, which is a very important feature!

One thing I found annoying when I switched to the K-5ii from the K-x was the "processing" speed. The K-5ii actually felt a little slow compared to my K-x. I'm talking about reviewing images after a shot, the delay when pressing the delete button (before the message actually shows on the screen) and small things like that. It is a subtle thing, but it still annoyed me. I have a second K-5ii body and they both do the same thing (so I doubt it's only my bodies that are "slow").

Finally, about high iso performance, I'm processing some wedding pictures I took a while ago (I should have been done with them a long time ago... sigh) and It's the first time that I can really compare high iso performance and dr in real work between my old K-x and K-5ii. I'd say the K-5ii is doing an even better job at high iso, which surprised me a little, considering the K-x was so good. I have some shots at iso 8000, 1/125 or so (could be 1/80, I don't remember from the top of my head) and f2.8 - so yeah, it was quite dark - and I actually pushed the exposure up for some of those shots as well for as far as 1 stop. Those pictures aren't perfect, and they won't be printed large I assume, but they still perfectly show the moment, they even show a fair amount of color accuracy and with some sliders adjustment, I'm fine keeping them in color (while I would convert almost any shot taken at iso 5000 or above to black and white with my K-x). The skin isn't so natural looking and all, but we are talking iso 8000...

Anyway, if you can spring the K-3, I'd go for it. Otherwise, if I had to do it again, I think I'd still go for the K-5ii, just because you can get one for about 400$, which is a very good price for such camera. At this point, I'm looking mostly at AF improvement, so my future camera purchase will mostly depend on that criteria alone (meaning I don't crave for better high iso performance or better handling or stuff like that...). Pure resolution for cropping capacity would be the other feature that I'd like to have. (So yeah, the K-3 would make a lot of sense right now, but I still want to keep my K-5ii(s) for a year or so before I upgrade).

Anyway, good luck with your choice!

03-17-2015, 06:17 AM   #11
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I upgrade from k-x direct to K-5ii, and I have a nice experience with K-5ii, and i recommend you to upgrade to K-5ii if you looking for sharp and low light performance in good price
03-17-2015, 07:48 AM   #12
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I also upgraded from the K-x, which was my first DSLR aswell, to the K-5IIs. What can I say, as much as I liked the K-x, the K-5IIs is amazing and considering it's much cheaper as the K-3, I'd go for it again.
03-17-2015, 08:46 PM   #13
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I did some experimenting at the local camera store with my Kx, a K-50 and the K-3. I can't upload the images for some reason. I used my 80-200/f4.7-5.6 Film Lens and 35/f2.4 to compare models. I took only 29 total pictures in the 3 cameras. I used aperture priority f8 for all images with the telephoto and f2.4 with the 35mm. ISO was set at 800 and AWB was used. Here's my take
KX: None of the photos focused correctly which made all images non usable. Color accuracy was excellent and exposure was correct but again focusing issues made all images bad
K3: Focus was just ok (not sure why but never focused where I was aiming but was just a smidge off) images had a slight yellow tint, exposure was good
K50: WOW!! Images were just superb. Focus accurate,images with similar yellow tint to K3 but much subtler. Exposure was just a smidge dark (a very small smidge). I like my images a little dark and the exposure was perfect for me. I have to say I was very impressed much more than with the K3. If the K3 was 499 and the K50 899, I would probably still go with the K50 because the images really were amazing.
In regards to lenses, my 80-200/f4.7-5.6 Film Lens had the best IQ, a close second was the 50-200 WR lens, the 18-135 WR IQ was fair at best. I wish I could upload images but it won't let me. I have no plans to sell by old film lens but will probably buy the 50-200 lens with the kit.
03-17-2015, 11:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkinIL Quote
I did some experimenting at the local camera store with my Kx, a K-50 and the K-3.
Did you test using auto or manual focus? If auto-focus, did you do any micro-adjustments on each lens. k-x would be a hassle because you can only doing one adjustment at a time in debug mode, I'm not familiar with the k-50, K-3 you can adjust up to 20 lenses. With my K-3 most of my lenses each require some sort of focus adjustment in-camera to produce sharp images.
03-18-2015, 07:31 AM   #15
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Here is a .pdf showing the images taken. I did not adjust focus. I don't know how and was using the store's models except for the Kx. For all images, I was focusing on the middle (green) matchbox. The Kx has the pen in focus but grill of the green vehicle is fuzzy. Same with the K3. The grill is crisp with the K50. The white in the pen is a white white and accurate with the Kx. The accuracy with the K50 is a SMIDGE off but the K3 would need tint correction in post. My Kx usually focuses fine but did not in this test. I would have thought the K50 and Kx would be similar because the have similar auto-focus and with all the focus points the K3 would be best but the K50 was the clear winner.

Last edited by MarkinIL; 05-30-2015 at 07:46 AM.

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