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05-13-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
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K-x or other for college student?

I'm helping my college student daughter pick out her first real DSLR, shes going to take a photo course. We have read the reviews of the K-x and am very impressed with the featues for the price, but I'm concerned about the lack of the AF viewpoints that is mentioned. Is this going to be a problem in taking a course that she's going to get graded on? We really like the K-x, but at this point we aren't brand, model loyal. Help an old dad out,please.

05-13-2010, 08:24 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by justdad Quote
I'm helping my college student daughter pick out her first real DSLR, shes going to take a photo course. We have read the reviews of the K-x and am very impressed with the featues for the price, but I'm concerned about the lack of the AF viewpoints that is mentioned. Is this going to be a problem in taking a course that she's going to get graded on? We really like the K-x, but at this point we aren't brand, model loyal. Help an old dad out,please.
All the best to your daughter at college. Many who have both, af points and no af points, say it doesn't matter. In all honesty, I like having them but it would really only matter if I wasn't paying attention to what I'm doing. My cameras stay locked on Center AF only so in my case, I could take or leave them. The Kx offers a lot of bang for the buck but the move to a DSLR, will require some learning (and the ability to control) the basics of taking a good picture.

Again, best of luck to her.

05-13-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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I would suggest having a conversation with the prof of the course. Typically, for entry level courses they require a film, mf only camera. If this isn't the case, then jump on the K-x. It's great image quality, high ISO range, very usable and easy to learn.

AF is a great start, but she'll do just fine with that camera (with the 18-55 lens) doing MF as needed. Also, with the original files (and even files that are PP'ed), the prof will be able to tell if AF was used or not, and more than likely in most circumstances they'll want to see MF shots only anywho.
05-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #4
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The course instructor might have some camera guidelines. It makes it a little easier for the instructor, so they don't have to be an expert in multiple cameras. They might not lead you to the best camera for the money, but your daughter won't have to translate everything into "how do I do that on my camera".

Chasing a red dot around the viewfinder to get the AF to work properly never seemed like an efficient concept to me. I use my camera differently than most, though.

05-13-2010, 08:47 AM   #5
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My daughter is a confirmed Pentaxian, and for her 18th bday she wanted a white K-X. She'll be taking it, plus her SP1000, to college in the fall. The focus point thing isn't a major deal, she hasn't had any difficulty getting things in focus. She enjoys being a Pentaxian surrounded by Canikonians.
05-13-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RallyDriver96 Quote
I would suggest having a conversation with the prof of the course. Typically, for entry level courses they require a film, mf only camera. If this isn't the case, then jump on the K-x. It's great image quality, high ISO range, very usable and easy to learn.

AF is a great start, but she'll do just fine with that camera (with the 18-55 lens) doing MF as needed. Also, with the original files (and even files that are PP'ed), the prof will be able to tell if AF was used or not, and more than likely in most circumstances they'll want to see MF shots only anywho.
QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The course instructor might have some camera guidelines. It makes it a little easier for the instructor, so they don't have to be an expert in multiple cameras. They might not lead you to the best camera for the money, but your daughter won't have to translate everything into "how do I do that on my camera".

Chasing a red dot around the viewfinder to get the AF to work properly never seemed like an efficient concept to me. I use my camera differently than most, though.
That's good advice but unless film is actually required, setting the camera to MF and M mode will solve most of the compatibility problems.

To the OP, Don't spend more than $50-$75 for a basic Spotmatic or K1000 with a basic (Pentax-M 50mm f1:2.0 in the case of the K1000) lens. At semester change, I've noticed in past years that sellers love to jack the price of those cameras due to the -requirement-...

05-13-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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You only miss the AF-points if you had them before. Since I gather this is her first DSLR I don't think you will have an issue. Definitely check with the instructor, but you should be fine. I've found that not having the points has led to better shooting habits.
05-13-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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I use center AF all the time and really don't use the selectable AF points feature. My only concern with not having the points visible in the viewfinder is that on occasion on my K10D, I have have accidently moved my focus point in handling the camera and having that little red square flash in an odd place saved me from a bunch of deletes. I haven't handled a Kx so I don't know if that is likely to happen.

I agree with the other answers which suggest finding out from the professor what gear is going to be required. My daughter is graduating Sunday. WHile she didn't take a photography course, many of her courses required more stuff than just books and at her school, all the professors were very cooperative on letting the students know ahead of time what will be needed. I tried to keep the "Dad, I need $500 to get........by tomorrow!" phone calls to a minimum.

05-13-2010, 10:07 AM   #9
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If you only use center focus, there is no need for the red dot. Focus on the main subject, recompose so the subject is in the right place in the photo and take the picture. It's the way it was done without AF, so nothing wrong with that technique.
05-13-2010, 10:17 AM   #10
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Be wary with the instructor, though, if he's a fanboy, you might be told that only canon or Nikon make good cameras so something like that.

If he's knowledgeable, he will probably be glad that you consider Pentax.

The K-x is an excellent tool, and it can take any picture your daughter might want to take.
05-13-2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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I recently took a digital photography class at a local junior college. I can't imagine any beginning class being that critical of one camera over anther's feature - in this case AF indication - being any basis for a concern or grade in a photo class. In mine, we had a range of folks with P&S cameras being used in manual to high end cameras like my k20d and all focused on the basics, exposure, aperture, ISO, etc. That's what really matters not whether or not this button or feature is on this or that brand of camera.

What can be an issue is that the prof may be familiar with the canikon features and not Pentax. But the same is true for Sony, Panasonic, Oly, or other non-canikon's features. The prof should be able to figure other brands features out. What I've found is that because I don't expect much help in that area (all the little nuances of my Pentax), I've learned them myself and that's allowed me to focus on the good stuff.

This is a Pentax forum and you have to expect we'd be biased that way. I think you will be fine with whatever camera you choose - all will provide excellent results when used correctly. I think though for a student you want to not spend a bundle and the K-x fits that bill. But the spiffy choices in colors are a head turner.

Pentax's slogan last year was 'think differently.' That was posted over a field of sheep (labeled Canon and Nikon), that is a bit of the Pentaxian attitude a number of us have. Good luck on that and if your student goes the K-x route have her join the forum and participate.
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