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04-05-2011, 03:27 AM   #1
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Is the K-x the best choice for an entry level Pentax SLR?

Like a lot of money-conscious beginners, I am looking to buy a Pentax K-x in the next couple days, because of its rave reviews and low price, but I was wondering if there were any other suggestions as far as Pentax entry level cameras? Overall image quality is most important to me, especially in low light settings, and since this is simply going to start off as a hobby for me, at least for now, price is a big factor as well. So is the Pentax k-x a good choice? Other suggestions?

04-05-2011, 05:46 AM   #2
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The Kx is the best choice, price/feature wise...you could also look for used K20D or K7, that have worse lowlight capabilities but have some Pro features (weather sealing lens microadjustment to solve FF or BF issues that come from body/lens calibration differences, more dials and buttons for direct access to features,higher dinamic range and better low iso performance ***edit: not true...the rendering is different because it's a different sensor but the Kx has a better dinamic range).
Another option is the Kr..it has some FF issues in tungten light, and the features it offers over the kx do not, for me, justify it's price gap (you get AF assist lamp, more sensitivity, a better LCD screen).
You won't go wrong with the Kx.
Be sure to consider if this is the system you want...The body is NOT the most important, the LENSES are, so take a hard look at what each system offers...
That said pentax has a good prime lineup, and the possibility to buy "old" glass with good compatibility, and you can always use third party suppliers to fill the gaps in the pentax lens lineup...bear in mind that there won't be the possibility to grow to a fullframe camera in this system and that most of Pentax lenses are straight top of the line (no cheap conformist lenses...but as i said before there is always third party lens to cover this "flaw".)

Last edited by Coeurdechene; 04-10-2011 at 04:01 AM.
04-05-2011, 05:50 AM   #3
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I bought the K-x a couple of weeks ago and have no regrets. I don't think you could do better from an image quality to price perspective. Like you, I bought on a hobby-basis but had an incentive to buy Pentax in that I had two good old lenses from a family member which I could use on a Pentax (and which saved me several hundred 's if I'd had to buy them new).

I had considered the K-r and actually bought one and returned it for a replacement because of the front focus issue, but ultimately returned the replacement as well. The K-x has no such issue.

From an image quality perspective, the K-x matches the K-r, so the principal differences are: (1) slightly smaller, lower resolution screen; (2) no focusing confirmation points; (3) AA batteries only; (4) 4.7 frames per second v 6 fps; (5) no AF fine adjustment.

(1) I got used to the screen pretty quickly and the screen is absolutely fine for in-camera checking.
(2) Focus confirmation was a lot less important to me in practice than I thought it might be (I centre-focus and recompose). I've actually really grown to like the clean viewfinder and I trust the AF (unlike on the K-r).
(3) The batteries seem to last forever and I got some rechargeables as part of the package, so not an issue.
(4) Not an issue for me - I rarely use this and I'm not sure I'd notice a 1.3 fps difference in practice.
(5) So far, none of my three lenses have need AF adjustment.

There are other technical differences, but none which matter to me on a day-to-day basis. The only other difference which I noticed at first but which I'm now used to is the ergonomics. The K-r fit my hands slightly better, but the K-x feels fine now too.

Regarding other brands, I can't say too much as I haven't used any others, but pass on a few things which I found in my research:
- the nearest current DSLR price-wise is the Nikon D3100. I think it is generally accepted that the K-x has far better image quality at higher ISO (that's my impression from the Imaging Resource tool anyway). If you're planning on buying any lenses, you may find the D3100 (and D5000) limiting in that it doesn't autofocus all of Nikon's lenses and also doesn't have in-camera stablisation (which means lenses without stabilisation built in will have a greater tendency to blur).
- Canon's current entry models seem to be more expensive, but perhaps a slightly older model might compete on price. I didn't research Canon very much, so I can't really comment.

This is my experience. Hope it's helpful.
04-05-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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If you are a beginner (as I am), you might find the higher resolution LCD of the K-r a very compelling reason to go to that camera. I am always checking my photos in camera and zooming in close to make sure I got the focus right. People who are more experienced and don't worry about such things might not have as much need for that, but I know it helps me a lot! The last thing I want to do is think I have the shot I want and then download it to the computer and find it is out of focus. Then, the opportunity may be gone.

It's also nice for zooming in when using manual focus.

Yes, the K-r has a front focus issue which one would assume will be fixed with a firmware update at some point. For me, this has not been a problem since I don't take many photos under tungsten light.

But really, either camera is going to be great. Just get one and enjoy it!

04-05-2011, 05:14 PM   #5
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I used Pentax back in the day, so when I went looking for a DSLR, it was the first brand I looked at. I could not be happier with the K-X. I like the fact that I can use AA batteries, I love the fact that my old glass works on it, and I like the shots I get with it. I think it's a great camera for the price.
04-05-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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I use the K-x a lot - especially for very low/available light -
and I can get away with just the two kit zoom lenses (18-55 and 50-200)
- this was undreamed of only a few years ago -
the K-x's HighISO performance is extraordinary -
and it still ranks among the top HighISO performers today
even in the company of the top APS-C dSLRs like the K-5, K-r, and Nikon D7000.

But one could take it that I'm biased -

Here's something that may be a little more objective:

ConsumerSearch.com reviews the reviews -
ie: survey the available reviews, rate them, then comes to some consensus -
kind of what I would do logically if I had the resources and time -

They have done a survey of dSLRs
the Pentax K-x (link to review) was their pick of the entry level dSLRs
04-05-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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Now that the K-r is available, to me that one is definitely the most cost-efficient and best performing entry-level camera around...
04-05-2011, 08:22 PM   #8
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Just a note that the K-x is now discontinued, so if you want a new one. . .

I have the K-x and would reiterate the points above.

04-09-2011, 05:45 PM   #9
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I love my little K-X, love having the batteries option (use Energizer lithium max 8x batteries, they last forever)
I don't use the LCD screen much unless I occasionally chimp my shots, but I mostly trust my focusing abilities and an usually right.
I have always center focused and recomposed so I really won't even use all those extra goodies that the K-R offers. They are both awesome cameras so either way just get one and enjoy it, the longer you wait to make your decision the more photo opportunities you are missing.
On another note my boss just bought a Nikon 3100 (even after I discussed with him the advantages of going with Pentax) and I got to check it out....it is actually a nice entry level camera to think about, although if I had a choice I would jump on buying a K-X over that Nikon any day. Pentax is an awesome brand, take a look at their impressive history and you will be sold.
04-09-2011, 06:11 PM   #10
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I think it's great. I use it for low light shows and for all sort of photography.
Here it is at ISO 6400

04-11-2011, 12:06 AM   #11
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If saving $ is important to you while getting the best IQ for the $ I cannot think of a better camera than the Kx. It will be the cheapest either new or used and the IQ is on par with cameras 2-3x its price. You also mentioned low light capabilities, again you are requesting something that is a strong point for the Kx. I almost never hesitate to shoot at ISO 6400 with my Kx. The only other camera option I would suggest looking at is the Kr but with the Kx you save a few hundred dollars which you can put towards a new/another lens because I don't believe the upgraded features of the Kr are worth the extra $ (although the Kr is coming down in price and I think it will soon be worth it, but not quite yet). As for the other Pentax cameras, the K7 and K20 were considered semi-pro, are not entry-level and used are still much more than a brand new Kx plus they are sorely lacking in the low light area. You will definitely not be disappointed if you get a Kx.
04-11-2011, 09:28 AM   #12
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I love my kx, it's my first dslr and I think I will never get rid of it. Excellent performer all around, and it's been a joy to use while learning to shoot properly. You absolutely can't go wrong, I think it has the best bang for buck among the entry level bodies. The only thing that makes me yearn for a K5 is the weather proofing, battery grip and external mic jack. I may get one eventually, or more likely its eventual successor, but I will always keep the k-x for its compactness (especially with my primes).
04-11-2011, 10:53 AM   #13
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I have to agree with everything that was said here. Pentax K-x is indeed a great camera. You also can't go wrong with the K-r. But if you don't care about the focus confirmation points (I don't), I suggest you to save some money, get a K-x and buy some older prime lenses.
04-11-2011, 01:57 PM   #14
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I love my KX.

However, if this is your first DSLR camera, then do yourself a favor and look at all of the makers. The Canon T1I and the Nikon 3100 are about the same price as a KX. Make sure you choose the camera that have the features that that you will really need.

BTW. Amazon currently has a Pentax K-x w/ a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens for $612.
04-11-2011, 03:51 PM   #15
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Really easy to use focus point selection, takes all off half an hour of practice to wean yourself of the focus confirmation light. Try it.
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