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09-03-2010, 08:28 AM   #1
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K10D owner moving to k-x - a few questions

I know it's a bad time to move with Photokina and new cameras right around the corner, but I have a big trip coming up and I'd like to try out the better sensor/video capabilities of the k-x. I'd appreciate it if anyone could answer these questions for me.

1. How cumbersome are ISO control and exposure compensation on the k-x? I do a lot of natural light / low light shooting in Av mode. I'll usually set the aperture where I want it, and then if my shutter speed is too slow I'll increase ISO til I reach the threshold of good hand-holdability. I'll sometimes notch the compensation up or down 1/3 from there if I'm unhappy with my curve. On my K10D I have the front dial set to control compensation by default and to control ISO when I have the OK button pressed. From what I understand, compensation can be controlled by the dial on the k-x, but I'll need to enter the menu to make ISO adjustments. Will the increase in low light performance be enough to overcome the inconvenience of menu-controlled ISO?

2. Video performance (and iso100). Dabbling in HD video is one of the big reasons I'm picking up a k-x, but I've read some conflicting things about exposure in video mode. For example, I've read that the k-x defaults to iso100 in video mode, but I've also read that the camera doesn't even have a true iso100 and that you actually lose some dynamic range at the 100 setting. So two things: What's the real story behind the iso100 setting on the k-x? And will the AE-L button allow me to lock in any preferred exposure settings of my choice (aperture, iso, shutter speed) while in video mode?

3. Sanyo Eneloops? Li Ion? Which batteries are most reliable for the k-x? And how many shots can I expect to get in one lifecycle/charge? Also, what kind of toll does video take on the batteries?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

09-03-2010, 08:59 AM   #2
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I don't have prior experience with Pentax before owning the Kx; however, I don't find the any of the adjustments to be cumbersome. I've actually found it quite easy. As far as batteries, Eneloops seems to be the general consensus. I went on an overseas trip, so I just bought two packages of Energizer Lithiums (blues). I'd say 4 last me about 1200 shots, give or take a few hundred. I don't use a flash much, though.

As far as video, I've played around with it, but not enough to answer your question. Video, low light, and price point were what got me into Pentax in all honesty. Backwards compatible lenses were a fourth. The lenses are the only thing of those I've really used so far. Go figure.
09-03-2010, 09:02 AM   #3
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1. For the situation you describe, not too cumbersome. ISO is called directly from the 4 way controller, so it's fairly accessible. In Av mode the wheel will control the aperture, hold the EV button and the wheel controls compensation.
2. Don't do enough video to pretend to have advice.
3.Eneloops FTW. The battery meter is fairly useless, I've shot in orange all day. I did a couple hundred shots and maybe 15 minutes of video on the 4th, and that pretty well killed it (battery indicator red).

If you still have your K10, and aren't an aspiring James Cameron that needs cinematic looking video, I would by a HD capable Flip-type camcorder. The K-x is nice, but not without it's weaknesses, and I find myself reaching for my K10 when I'm doing critical work. If Pentax releases an improved entry level/mid-range at Photokina, it might be a better deal.
09-03-2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for the answers so far. Eneloops seem popular. I'd hardly say I'm an aspiring James Cameron, but the flip-type cameras aren't gonna cut it for me. I don't see myself filming any shorts in the near future, but I'd love the creative flexibility that comes with SLR lenses and limited DoF. I have access to a flip HD, and now I've got the HD video capabilities of my new Evo. They're both good for what they are, but neither one is going to produce footage that wows anybody. With the k-x available for $400-450 it seems like a modest investment in trying out some new technology. Even if I opt to go with the new model(s) after Photokina, I can't see the k-x price falling too steeply over the next 2 months. It will still be an incredible low-light SLR that shoots HD video.

Another big issue for me is portability. I can work (non photo-related) on the go now, so I'd like a kit that fits comfortably in a messenger bag with a laptop and a few accessories. It would just be nice to have my camera on me when I'm out for the day. The k-x with a few primes (21,35,50,70) seems like a much better solution than my current kit.

09-03-2010, 09:16 AM   #5
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There is also a video-section a little down on the list here. With yhe controls it is limited. I don't think in videomode iso100 wil be used (you can't control it), the range in use is probably iso200-iso1600. In genereal iso is low and gets higher when the shuttertime reached it's limit.

The enelopps work fine, just do also the firmware check.
09-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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Note there's no such things as Li-Ion AA's, at least not in anything resemble a 1.5V format that you can use in a camera. There are plain *lithium* cells (sold by Energizer most notably) and they work quite well but are not rechargeable, so much more expesnvie long term. There are also about a dozen existing threads here and in the beginner's forum on AA batteries, but you already know everything you need to know: Eneloops (or similar "hybrid" NiMH cells) are the best option overall, but if you're OK with spending a lot more money and throwing away a lot more batteries, lithiums do perform slightly better.
09-03-2010, 09:32 AM   #7
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Thanks for clearing that up Marc. I knew the AA lithiums were just lithium cells. I don't know why I wrote Li Ion... too much time researching spare batteries for my Evo.
09-03-2010, 10:03 AM   #8
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Exposure compensation and ISO are as easy to access on the K-x as they are on my K20D. Changing metering or AF on the other hand are very clumsy on the K-x. I miss User Mode and TAV mode for low light when using the K-x.

09-03-2010, 10:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Note there's no such things as Li-Ion AA's, at least not in anything resemble a 1.5V format that you can use in a camera. There are plain *lithium* cells (sold by Energizer most notably) and they work quite well but are not rechargeable, so much more expesnvie long term. There are also about a dozen existing threads here and in the beginner's forum on AA batteries, but you already know everything you need to know: Eneloops (or similar "hybrid" NiMH cells) are the best option overall, but if you're OK with spending a lot more money and throwing away a lot more batteries, lithiums do perform slightly better.
Marc is certainly correct that over the long term the Energizer Lithium batteries would be more expensive (and generate more waste). However, depending on how much you shoot it might not be that much more expensive. I got over 2100 shots out of my first set of Lithiums in my Kx. That was, however, with minimal flash/LV usage.

For what it's worth, I had intended on using Eneloops when I bought my Kx but have been using Rayovac Hybrids instead because they were on sale at Target a little while back for $5 with a cheap charger and $3 for an extra set of 4 (there was also a couple coupon involved). I'm sure they are as good as the Eneloops and a high quality charger, but they've worked fine for me over the 9 months and I would guess I get 500-600 shots (at least) from a freshly charged set.
09-03-2010, 10:23 AM   #10
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I'd probably miss being able to change the metering easily, but the AF isn't a big deal for me. I mostly use center-recompose, so no need to change & no need to verify selected AF point.

I think a set of lithiums would serve me fine. I've gotten much more selective over what I even attempt to photo, especially when I'm traveling. Considering my K10D shutter count is just under 20,000 after nearly 4 years, one set of lithiums should last me ~4 months on a k-x. Of course, that doesn't take video usage into account.

Thanks again for all the replies. This community is so helpful.
09-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Marc is certainly correct that over the long term the Energizer Lithium batteries would be more expensive (and generate more waste). However, depending on how much you shoot it might not be that much more expensive. I got over 2100 shots out of my first set of Lithiums in my Kx. That was, however, with minimal flash/LV usage.
And that's quite a bit better than you can probably expect on average. Still, the way I shoot, that's a typical month or two. I'd probably be looking at 10 sets of batteries a year. Which is to say, a new $200-ish lens every couple of years, or a whole new camera every 5 years or so.
09-03-2010, 10:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Evolution Quote
I'd probably miss being able to change the metering easily, but the AF isn't a big deal for me. I mostly use center-recompose, so no need to change & no need to verify selected AF point.
Actually changing both metering and AF are relatively easy on the K-x

There are two ways via the regular Menu system -
or the quicker way via the Control panel - using the Info button



For your original inquiry the ISO and Exposure compensation are also pretty easy via the Info Button and the first "Status Screen":


If you are considering the K-x - it is probably worth your while reading specific parts of the K--x manual - the pdf is available for Download

Last edited by UnknownVT; 09-03-2010 at 11:04 AM.
09-03-2010, 11:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
And that's quite a bit better than you can probably expect on average. Still, the way I shoot, that's a typical month or two. I'd probably be looking at 10 sets of batteries a year. Which is to say, a new $200-ish lens every couple of years, or a whole new camera every 5 years or so.
Agreed, which is why (among other reasons) after I went through the first set of Lithiums that came with the Kx I switched to a rechargable hybrid. It would really only be a good move (money-wise) if you literally just used your camera for a couple hundred shots a month. Also, my numbers/thoughts were based on a set of 4 AA Lithiums @ less than $7 a set, which is what they sell for at places like Sam's Club (12 for about $20).

I also find it handy to keep a set in my bag just in case. They have a really long shelf life (10-20 years) and in a pinch you could use them for a couple hundred shots and they replace them with the rechargables and still keep them as backups for later.
09-03-2010, 11:56 AM   #14
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I had a K10D for 3 years and when that broke I first bought a K-x and then my wife took that and I got the K-7 - so I have on occasion gone back and forth between the K-x and K-7. Most of my photography is on travel. Like you, the front dial on my K-7 is set for exposure compensation and I shoot in Av mode, but I use auto ISO limited to 1600. I haven't found the K-x configuration or switching between cameras to be a problem. I use the top display on the K-7 and easily switch to using the back display on the K-x. I use the green button on both to zero the exposure compensation between subjects. Once you have adjusted the exposure compensation a few times on the K-x (+/- button plus rear dial while looking at the rear screen) it becomes second nature.

I rarely use the video or live view modes (I used the latter the other day when I put the K-7 through the bars of a gate to take a shot and then couldn't get my eye up to the viewfinder).

We have been using Eneloops in the K-x with no problems. If I want to keep weight down, I carry a set of lithiums as backup because they weigh less than the Eneloops.
09-03-2010, 12:17 PM   #15
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I've only played with the video a little bit on the K-X, but I have done quite a bit of shooting with my wife's Flip Mino HD, and my new iPhone.

The iPhone's HD video is much, much better than the Flip. Honestly, the Flip looks washed out and from a usability point of view, I'm sure the connector will fail soon. So while the iPhone has a great edge on the Flip, neither one compares to some of the test footage I shot with my K-X. The colors are rich, the resolution (while the same) is sharper, and the focus control makes for beautiful videos. While you're limited to clips of 5-15 minutes at a clip with the K-X (depending on the speed and capacity of your card), and while it's much, much, much more difficult to use (Manual focus through the LCD is. . . interesting), it's worth it if you want to capture something important on video.
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