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12-02-2010, 10:18 AM   #1
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Which way to go, k-x, k20d, k-7???

I am preparing to purchase my first DSLR and am in a quandary over which way to go. Ive been using a bridge camera, the Panasonic FZ50 for the last 3-4 years, and it has served me well as long as I leave it on 100 ISO! As I have an external flash, Ive been able to manage most indoor situations but clearly Ive reached the point where I would like more options with my photography. In addition to many shots of my young children and family (playing sports, school activities, vacations, etc) I enjoy taking landscape shots, abstracts, and pics of old abandoned structures. The FZ50 spans 35-420mm equivalent, I ran the ExposurePlot program and found that while I took some long telephoto shots, the vast majority were taken near 35mm, with a good number also around 100mm (portraits mostly). The vast majority of my best shots were from around these focal lengths (35mm & 100mm equivalent, guess I need the 21 & 77 ).

Ive had k-x in my head for months, but recently Im thinking about other options. I do understand that its ultimately all about the glass, and Im looking forward to acquiring quality lenses in my needed areas. I recognize that a body upgrade every few years will be needed; however, Im comfortable being a little behind the crest of technology to find that sweet spot of value. Seeing the used k20s and k-7's here have made we wonder if I may be better served by one of them for the next couple of years. Why?

versatility of controls ease of changing settings
weather resistance beach 3-4 times yearly, peace of mind in weather
potential use of external flash sync
grip possibility I have fairly large hands

As I see it, Im sacrificing:
High ISO performance at least a stop improvement? (remember I can really only use ISO100 at this point).
Burst rate
Better AF? - how much are we talking
New factor & warranty

As I see it, I could plan on spending $400-500 on a body every few years, K20d now, K-5 in 3 or 4 years, etc and always be using a true semi-pro body, albeit an older model. That leaves me with more $ to spend on glass in the meantime.

Thanks for any advice; Ive learned so much from this forum. I know theres not really a right/wrong answer here, I need to stop thinking and BUY!

12-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #2
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This is a difficult question.
Here is my 2 cents:

The K20D and the K-7 sensors are allmost identical.
So, from an image quality perspective, it is almost identical.
So, what does the K-7 bring over the K20D?

- A simple but reasonable video implementation
- More features; level, auto horizon compensation, lens correction, filters, etc.
- Size, the K-7 is smaller, but fits much better in my very large hands
- Comptibility with a (future?) K-5 (Grip, battery)
- Many small improvements (dial lock, ISO button)
- It is faster and has a very silent shutter for a DSLR

= Bert
12-02-2010, 11:03 AM   #3
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What mode do you normally shoot in? How you intend to interact with the camera is probably more relative than weathersealing or ISO performance.

The k20d or K7 is great for someone who wants to have quick access to manual controls without having to dig through the camera's menu. A second e-dial makes it very easy to adjust shutter speeds and apertures on the fly. Scene modes such as "landscape" and "portrait" will not be present on these prosumer bodies.

If you intend to set the camera to auto, program or one of the scene modes and let it adjust the settings automatically, I would more highly recommend the kx.
12-02-2010, 12:09 PM   #4

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QuoteOriginally posted by JonathanM Quote
Seeing the used k20’s and k-7's here have made we wonder if I may be better served by one of them for the next couple of years.
The trouble here is, that while the K20 and k-7 are better all around cameras, the K-x has the better sensor. How important are the added features of the K20?

What kind of glass you expect to get may be an important factor. The weather sealing is not really all that compelling unless you have WR lenses to go with the camera, which will limit your selection to a handful of new lenses. If you don't have a lot of money for glass, you may end up using the WR kit lenses, which are hardly compelling on a semi-pro camera. If it's all about the glass, you'll probably be wanting to get non-WR lenses. In that case, no great need for WR camera.

Unless you absolutely need the advanced features on K20 or K-7, the K-x seems to me the more compelling choice.

12-02-2010, 01:50 PM   #5
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I came somehow along the same path as you do. I have a Panasonic FZ20 for 5 years when I came to dSLR last year. I chose the K-7 with no regret and I love it.

At the time, I had already the choice between K20d, K-7 and K-x, like you today. I also considered the Canon EOS500 and Nikon D90. I went to the local shop and I tried all the cameras. And my decision was easy. I selected the K-7 because of the WR, the superb viewfinder, the excellent Hi continuous shooting rate, and the super body handling. The K-x viewfinder was disappointing and the body flet too small in my hands. The D90 was too bulky and heavy. The EOS500D felt like a plastic toy compared to the K-7. The K20d did not have video and felt not as nice handling.

One year later, I would add that the K-x and K-7 are both extremely good value for the money, compared among all brands. Their price have dropped and the K-7 price in particular is really good. In terms of viewfinder, handling and grip, the K-7 is way ahead of the K-x. (Remember that the newer K-5 uses the K-7's viewfinder, body and grip: it says a lot...)

Based upon my experience, i would say go for the K-7. You will not be disappointed. (However the K-x cannot be dismiss if you want to invest more in glass.) Go to your local store and try the cameras. The decision is ours because you will use the camera.

Yet I laert you that you will miss the long zoom end of the FZ50. The longest all-around lens is 18-250mm that gives you less reach than the FZ50. But you gain enormously in image quality. At 250mm, a cropped 14 Mp shot with the K-7 and DA18-250mm does give you a far better picture and IQ than a picture taken with the FZ20 at 12 optical zoom (or 432 mm).

Hope that the comments wil help....
12-02-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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I have the both Kx (my daughters camera) and the K20. Both have excellent picture quality. I have used both side by side each with *DA lenses and got similar (good) results. I absolutely prefer the the K20 for ease of use when shooting in manual (two dials) and for the weather sealing. I do not have any experience with the K7 although the sensor is the same as the K20 and it has an advanced feature set. The Kx shoots better in low (indoor) light with good glass. I plan on getting a K5 soon but will not depart with my K20. The weather sealing is very important to me. I will not get another camera without weather sealing. Although you can by products that can protect your camera from the elements I like the peace of mind. In hind-site I would have like to get my daughter a weather sealed camera because she missed a few shots while she was living 10 months in Ecuador when she had to put the camera away (even though she had a plastic bag). My 2 cents.
12-02-2010, 04:34 PM   #7
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Sounds to me like the K7 is the best camera for you. You are right about losing some high ISO capabilities by not getting the Kx but WR is a big positive, the shutter on the K7 is much quieter, I'm pretty sure the AF is either the same or maybe even a bit better, a grip is an option (its not on a Kx) but even without a grip the K7 is one of the most comfortable cameras I have ever held, as for the "New" factor, there is no way around that unless you buy a new K7 but if you buy a used K7 with minimal use you will not notice a difference (obviously except for the warranty issue) and like you have already pointed out, it is more about the glass. Good luck with your purchase.

12-02-2010, 10:50 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum. I'm going to make your life more difficult

The K-7 will add an AF assist light (compared to the two others you mention). So you don't have to use the built-in flash (annoying as people react on it) or a dedicated flash for that under normal circumstances; exception is when flashing in nearly pitch-black at longer distances (I tried 10 meters with the K-5 and needed the AF beam of an external flash as the built in AF beam did not cut it).
Further the K20D and K-7 have a connection for a cable release; K-x (and K-r if I'm not mistaken) has a IR remote that only works from the front.

I further suggest that you try to find a way to handle the cameras and check what you prefer.

I don't see a camera as something that needs to be upgraded regularly. I have lived roughly 20 years with my first SLR and if it was not for digital, I would still use that same camera (and not be a Pentax user).
I would therefore consider to buy the K-5 and have best of both worlds and only upgrade in 10 years time.

Disadvantage: it eats into a possible lens budget.

Note on the entry level cameras:
I don't have the K-x/K-r but comparing my K100D with the K10D and K-5, I hardly miss the second dial (for ease of change of settings). The only thing I really miss is easy access to multi-segment, center-weighted and spot metering (knob versus menu). WR is nice but relative in my opinion; you can still use a K-x/K-r on the beach.
K-r has the advantage (over K-x) in my opinion that you can do a bit of AF fine-tuning (without hacks); not as extensive as K20D or K-7 though.

Sorry for this

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