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03-17-2010, 09:41 PM   #1
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K-X: Help me determine if my KX is OK or Bad!

I purchased a K-X + 18-55MM lens kit.. I have two "issues" with the camera. Unfortunately, I do not have another K-X to compare with my camera so I cannot tell if my "issues" are with the model or just my specific camera

First, I am under impressed with the quality of the JPEG images when compared with other consumer grade cameras w/ 8-10 megapixels. I and a friends took side-by-side pictures with the K-X and my Canon eight megapixel point-and-shoot camera, and in our opinion the Pentax images were 5-10% superior. This was surprising given the cost difference between the two cameras, the quality of the lenses, and the fact that the Pentax is a DSLR. The question for Other K-X owners who graduated from cameras with lower megapixels or point and shoot cameras, what your opinion of your K-X's picture quality vs. your previous digital camera, eg. superior, about the same, a little better but not much?

Second, I noticed that the K-X controls the f-stop via the menu and not on the lens. I have noticed that several shots that I made with a f-stop of 16 or 22 do not possess a depth of field that I would associate with these f-stops. Even pictures shot with an F-8 and a shallower foreground and background have, in my opinion, a depth of field inconsistent with F8. I am wondering if I expecting too much from the stock lens, eg is the lens simply is not capable of supporting these f-stops, or is the camera not performing correctly?

Thanks

03-17-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote

the JPEG images
Not gonna lie, I stopped reading there.

Shoot RAW..."problem" solved.

Never let a camera "develop" your pictures for you. That's just one of the beautiful things about DSLR's! Why not USE it?


As far as the DoF issue...examples would help.
03-17-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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Just shoot a couple jpegs at iso1600 (or the highest the p&s goes) in both cams under dim, ambient light. If the K-X does not beat the crap out of the p&s then I need to buy that p&s....seriously. The kit lens is better quality than most kits and is not a systemic problem if you have one.
03-17-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by FattyMcJ Quote
Shoot RAW..."problem" solved.

As far as the DoF issue...examples would help.
Most people do not want to be photographers (and shoot RAW, convert, PP). They just want to take pictures. You can't dump that solution on everybody who is not happy with their shots.

03-17-2010, 10:20 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
You can't dump that solution on everybody who is not happy with their shots.
Nor can those individuals dump their problems on the camera and think a DSLR is going to magically produce magazine quality, award winning shots.
03-17-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by FattyMcJ Quote
Nor can those individuals dump their problems on the camera and think a DSLR is going to magically produce magazine quality, award winning shots.
If you don't want to really help new owners on this forum then just don't post. Please read the OPs entire message this time and consider that he did not say "pentax sucks" as a troll, he is asking if its the lens, the camera, or the design. The answer may just be inexperience. Its not helpful to slam people with a one size fits all answer when you know in your heart they may not be a candidate for RAW processing. So try and help instead. Thats why we have this section called Beginners Corner so people don't get rudely answered with questions of inexperience!
03-17-2010, 10:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
I purchased a K-X + 18-55MM lens kit.. I have two "issues" with the camera. Unfortunately, I do not have another K-X to compare with my camera so I cannot tell if my "issues" are with the model or just my specific camera

First, I am under impressed with the quality of the JPEG images when compared with other consumer grade cameras w/ 8-10 megapixels. I and a friends took side-by-side pictures with the K-X and my Canon eight megapixel point-and-shoot camera, and in our opinion the Pentax images were 5-10% superior. This was surprising given the cost difference between the two cameras, the quality of the lenses, and the fact that the Pentax is a DSLR. The question for Other K-X owners who graduated from cameras with lower megapixels or point and shoot cameras, what your opinion of your K-X's picture quality vs. your previous digital camera, eg. superior, about the same, a little better but not much?
A lot of people who have upgraded from a P&S think that the DSLR photos look worse than they were getting before. So you are 5-10% ahead. What happens is, the P&S adds a lot of processing to the images before you see them. The DSLR by default does not, and Pentax in particular has a philosophy of not doing that. Getting JPEGs you like means using the sharpness, saturation and other adjustments to customize your images, or making these adjustments later in a processing program.

QuoteQuote:
Second, I noticed that the K-X controls the f-stop via the menu and not on the lens. I have noticed that several shots that I made with a f-stop of 16 or 22 do not possess a depth of field that I would associate with these f-stops. Even pictures shot with an F-8 and a shallower foreground and background have, in my opinion, a depth of field inconsistent with F8. I am wondering if I expecting too much from the stock lens, eg is the lens simply is not capable of supporting these f-stops, or is the camera not performing correctly?
I'm not sure I understand the question but I'll take a stab anyway. First, the menu thing confuses me. You can definitely fix that by switching to Av mode; the aperture should change when you move the thumb wheel. But maybe you're referring to the lack of an aperture ring. Second, depth of field is related to f-stop, but the sensor/film size is also a factor. If your DOF ideas came from film or a P&S, there will be a difference. That might be your problem. Do you think there should be more DOF than you see, or less?
03-17-2010, 10:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
Thats why we have this section called Beginners Corner so people don't get rudely answered with questions of inexperience!
Fair enough, I was rude. My apologies to the OP.

Seeing "My K-x [insert complaint here]" threads daily get's old though. It's been proven over and over that the camera is only as good as the person using it. It's a high precision tool, and as with any tool, one needs to learn to use the tool before it becomes more effective than the alternative.

However, you must admit my point (RAW > jpg) still stands. If one isn't going to use the camera to it's fullest, then wonder why it's not "impressive"....I don't know, the logic seems flawed to me. It's like someone moving to Germany, purchasing a Ferrari (or other high end auto) for the sole purpose of driving on the Autoban...but they never go faster than 25mph. Just doesn't make sense.

The K-x is a VERY capable camera. It's, IMHO, the best in class DSLR (price vs. IQ vs. sensor performance vs. etc.) to date. Debatable, indeed...but most definitely better than any P&S by a much larger margin than 10%, even in JPEG.

I will concede though, the kit lens, while superior to other kit lenses, is not a very "fast" lens and does produce purple fringing and isn't as sharp as a higher quality lens will be.

To the OP:

My apologies.

I would suggest you first read the camera manual. After reading that, purchase a copy of "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. After that, go back and read the manual again, it will make much more sense.

THEN, if you're not used to using any sort of computer program to edit your photo's, take your daily shots using the RAW+ setting. This will allow you to capture your shots in both RAW & JPEG formats using the in-camera processing, but also allow you to learn to use [insert your choice of photo editing programs] while knowing what your end result "should" look similar to (having the JPEG version of the same shot). Over time you will learn to edit RAW photos with some proficiency and rely less on the JPEGs.

Once you're comfortable shooting straight RAW, a whole new world opens up, trust me.

Again, the aperture issues you describe are inconsistent with my own experiences with the kit lens, so some visual examples of shots taken with the aforementioned aperture values would be helpful in determining your dilemma.

Hopefully I was more helpful this time.

03-17-2010, 10:59 PM   #9
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As sort of mentioned faintly - there are adjustments in your camera for making jpg images look more toward your liking.

No phrase (except "zoom with your feet") gets me worked up more than "jpg straight out of the camera"...

OK, I'm better now :-)

Seriously, P&S cameras have conditioned people to expect a certain "look", whether it's realistic or not.

Also as mentioned, the "sensor size/aperture combo versus results" varies greatly between a P&S and DSLR. Much deeper focus with a P&S.

You may not want to shoot RAW and do any extensive processing, but you can simply process them all in a batch and get results similar to what you would have gotten with jpg. But, you'll still have the RAW file available to tweak or fix as desired or needed.
03-18-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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The advantages of an slr over a p&s are mainly:

- low light capabilities
- interchangeable lenses which offer wider views or extreme tele
- ability to play with limited dof

In good light the p&s of 8 mpix will perhaps be the 15% worse you mention, the effect of more megapixels
is not that big. Note that when you want a deep dof, the p&s cannot be beaten. A camera phone has even more dof.

If you want maximal dof then set the zoom to 18mm.

Note that replacing the kit with a lens of 500$ will also just give a marginal eg 15% improvement at f8. The better lenses offer nicer wide open settings for limited light and/or minimal dof photography, nice oof rendering, etc.

The kit lens is really quite good.

Last edited by tomtor; 03-18-2010 at 12:20 AM. Reason: typo
03-18-2010, 04:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
First, I am under impressed with the quality of the JPEG images when compared with other consumer grade cameras w/ 8-10 megapixels. I and a friends took side-by-side pictures with the K-X and my Canon eight megapixel point-and-shoot camera, and in our opinion the Pentax images were 5-10% superior
as other have said, this shouldn't be surprising. A DSLR doesn't magically take better pictures in settings where either camera would work well. It just gives you more flexibility for control over the results, but you have to know how to take that control. The only situations where you should expect obviously better results right out of the box would be in low light where you have to go to ISO 1600 and above (depending on the P&S, differences might be obvious at 800 or even 400).

QuoteQuote:
Second, I noticed that the K-X controls the f-stop via the menu and not on the lens.
No, not the menu. the most straightforward way to control paertur is with the rear dial in Av mode. no menu involved. There are other ways, too (including M mode), but I can't think of any that involve a menu.

QuoteQuote:
I have noticed that several shots that I made with a f-stop of 16 or 22 do not possess a depth of field that I would associate with these f-stops. Even pictures shot with an F-8 and a shallower foreground and background have, in my opinion, a depth of field inconsistent with F8.
If your expectations are set by P&S cameras, then those expectations need to be reset. Smaller DOF for the same f-stop is one of the results of the larger sensor (the other being the lower noise).
03-18-2010, 10:16 PM   #12
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re: K-X: Help me determine if my KX is OK or Bad!

DOF is either set via. the lens or via. an internal camera menu/option, ex. AV and a wheel. The issue, does the Fstop set on the menu screen correspondence to the actual Fstop on the lens or a fake software based attempt to mimic the Fstop?

My main issue, and one NOT addressed by any of the 12 replies, is for depth of field normal for this camera and lens or could the K-X + len kit be defective? This is a vital question as kit is still in the return window for the camera and I may need to return or replace the camera with the vendor.

Thanks

P.S.

I have shot over 500 pics with the K-X, and the auto focus is too "random" for consistant results. I can use manal mode, but does not possess a good manual focusing system. So I am left with fuzzy picture!
03-19-2010, 04:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
DOF is either set via. the lens or via. an internal camera menu/option, ex. AV and a wheel. The issue, does the Fstop set on the menu screen correspondence to the actual Fstop on the lens or a fake software based attempt to mimic the Fstop?
The aperture displayed on the menu screen corresponds with the ACTUAL aperture of the lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
My main issue, and one NOT addressed by any of the 12 replies, is for depth of field normal for this camera and lens or could the K-X + len kit be defective? This is a vital question as kit is still in the return window for the camera and I may need to return or replace the camera with the vendor.
You will find that the depth of field will probably be different than what you are used to with a point and shoot for two possible reasons.

1. The kit lens (18-55) is not very fast (It's widest aperture is f/3.5) and your point and shoot probably has a bigger wide end (f/2 or f/2.8).

2. The K-x has a larger image sensor than the point and shoot you are used to. The larger the image sensor a camera has the depth of field will decrease.

Read more here.

QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
I have shot over 500 pics with the K-X, and the auto focus is too "random" for consistant results. I can use manal mode, but does not possess a good manual focusing system. So I am left with fuzzy picture!
Try changing the AF point to fit your shooting style. For example, I use the "spot" option so the camera focuses on whatever I'm directly pointing at. By default I believe the camera is set to all 11 points which is a mixed bag of what will be focused on. Refine that and you will have better results.

The issues you're having are typical of those had by advanced point and shooters who have upgraded to an SLR. The IQ won't immediately blow you away, because you often times (with kit lenses) lost a stop or two from your maximum aperture. You will notice better noise control and low light performance but the pictures may often be the same.

What you need to understand is that upgrading to an SLR gives you OPTIONS. You have the option of interchangeable lenses, the option for developing your images from raw files, and so on and so fourth. When you start to take advantage of all the liberating options you'll start to produce excellent images. It's all about you, not the camera.
03-19-2010, 04:40 AM   #14
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There are very different ways between point and shoot processing of photos and your Kx. In general, the point and shoots will tend to over sharpen and over saturate their photos. You can do that too, you'll just need to change some settings.

As far as depth of field, that is not just aperture dependent, it is also sensor dependent. The smaller the sensor, the more depth of field you will get. Once you get used to having less depth of field, you will begin to enjoy it. It is particularly great when you get a wide aperture lens like a 50 and can make a portrait really pop out from the back ground.

The kit lens is pretty decent at f8-ish, although wide open it may suffer a little both at the long end and the wide end.
03-19-2010, 06:31 AM   #15
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You can get a feel for DOF with a DOF calculator like Online Depth of Field Calculator. Select your camera, focal length, aperture and subject distance and it will tell you what you need to knoow

With regards to your focusing 'issue'. If you don't use center spot focus, you will have a problem as the Kx does not indicate where it has focused at the moment that the green hexagon lits up). So I suggest (as somebody else mentioned before) to use spot focusing only.
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