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12-08-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
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Pentax K-x,K-r,K-5 screen resolution...TOP SECRET

In another recent thread, I was speculating about an upgrade to the K-r from my K-x, since the K-r has a 921,000 "dot" screen, pretty much equal to the number of pixels in 720p video (1280x720=921,600), while the K-x only has a 230,000 "dot" screen. I find that it's difficult to judge perfect focus on my K-x while shooting video, so I thought that the K-r would be much better in this regard since it is able to display all, or nearly all, of the resolution of 720p video.

But then a helpful user came along and burst my bubble by informing me that the "dots" listed in the specifications includes each of the red, green, and blue pixel elements. So the true resolution would be 1/3 of 921,000, or only 307,000 pixels. And this means that the true resolution of the K-x is actually only 76,666 pixels (230,000 / 3). So while the resolution on the K-r/K-5 is definitely a huge upgrade from the K-x, it's still nowhere near the 921,600 pixels of 720p video.

I don't usually think of video resolution in terms of numbers of pixels, but rather, in terms of vertical lines x horizontal lines. For example, 1920x1080 or 1280x720. I sent an email to Pentax technical support asking for the horizontal x vertical resolution of the LCD screens on the K-x and K-r/K-5 to make it easier for me to compare that particular feature.

Here's is the response I got back from Pentax a couple days later (emphasis added):
Hello:

On the K-r, as you can with the K-x, you can zoom in on the subject when using the camera in live view and as in movie mode the camera is always in live view also in movie mode by pressing the Info button.

When the focus is set to Auto Focus the magnification is 1x, 2x, 4x,6x then back to 1x as you press the Info button. When in Manual Focus the magnification is 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x,10x then back to 1x.

This allows the focus to be checked easily. On the K-r/K-5 the LCD is noticeably sharper than the K-x LCD both at 1x and up to 10x.

The description of LCD screen resolution is always given as the total number of dots on the LCD. This is the same for all manufacturers. We do not publish the horizontal or vertical resolution of the screen, again like the other manufacturers.

Best regards

CSR2
The Pentax CSR Team
So while I certainly appreciate the response, and the attempt to help me out by pointing out the zoom feature, I find it humorous that the true resolution of the LCD screens is supposed to be some kind of secret. And the reason given for all the shenanigans, is that "everybody else is doing it". That excuse certainly never worked with my parents, so it would be nice if Pentax (or somebody) would stand up and start publishing the honest figure. Even if it was just in parenthesis after the super-duper-marketing-figure. For example 921,000 dot screen!!! (640x480x3). Maybe eventually, other manufacturers would start to follow suit and the silliness could end.

I know that pretty much all of the camera manufacturer's play this game, but it's rather absurd. As if people are going to be impressed by an artificially inflated (and confusing) screen resolution, and then decide to buy a camera that they would otherwise not have bought. And when all of the manufacturers are playing the same game, then nobody is really gaining an advantage anyway.

It kind of reminds me of the bad 'ol days when a 15" computer monitor was actually a 13-some-inch monitor, because the manufacturers all absurdly included the area of screen glass that was not even view-able. Who knows how that practice started, but I don't think it went away until the age of LCD monitors.

Anyway, here's the true vertical x horizontal resolution according to forum user "drougge" (Thanks drougge, and I've rep'd you!)

K-r: 640x480x3 = 921k
K-x: 320x240x3 = 230k

Just please use caution when sharing this extremely sensitive information...we wouldn't want it falling into the wrong hands.

12-08-2011, 04:18 PM   #2
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The new ones are VGA, the old ones are half VGA - the dots make it sound better that than, though! Not really a secret

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12-08-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
As if people are going to be impressed by an artificially inflated (and confusing) screen resolution, and then decide to buy a camera that they would otherwise not have bought.
Are you kidding???
12-08-2011, 04:44 PM   #4
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Damn marketers. They are also why my 1Tb drive doesn't actually store a terabyte of data....

12-08-2011, 04:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
They are also why my 1Tb drive doesn't actually store a terabyte of data....
That's not as much marketing at least, that's more a physical limitation, because disks need some extra space in order to compensate for sectors breaking from time to time. There's also the whole 1024x1024 vs 1000x1024 thing (terabyte vs tibibyte) etc

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12-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Are you kidding???
About what? Do you figure that screen resolution is often the deciding factor in whether somebody buys the Canon, Nikon, Pentax, or Sony DSLR?

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 12-08-2011 at 05:45 PM.
12-08-2011, 05:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
That's not as much marketing at least, that's more a physical limitation, because disks need some extra space in order to compensate for sectors breaking from time to time. There's also the whole 1024x1024 vs 1000x1024 thing (terabyte vs tibibyte) etc
Your talking about hard drive overhead reserved for file system information including remapping of bad sectors. That's fundamental to hard drive operation so I'm ok with that.

I'm talking about something else entirely. Marketers starting rounding off years ago, counting a megabyte as a "million bytes" instead of "a kilobyte of kilobytes" or "a kilobyte to the power of two". The numbers would be equal if not for the inconvenient fact that a kilobyte is actually 1024 bytes.

Thus, a megabyte should be 1,048,576 bytes, not 1,000,000 bytes as marketers state it. Thus, when marketers calculate the capacity of a hard drive in Marketer's Gigabytes, they end up with a bigger number (because they use a smaller denominator) than if you calculate it using Real Gigabytes.

Sleight of hand, and I hate it. And for the record, I'm a marketer...

(Reference: http://www.coolnerds.com/Newbies/kBmBgB/SizeAndSpeed.htm)
12-08-2011, 10:52 PM   #8
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I'm 61 and wear trifocals. While the K5 screen appears a little crisper than my K10D, I can't see it any better. I really don't have a decent handle on what my shots are really going to look like until I get them on my computer screen. To me, the LCD resolution really doesn't mean much.

12-09-2011, 05:51 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I'm 61 and wear trifocals. While the K5 screen appears a little crisper than my K10D, I can't see it any better. I really don't have a decent handle on what my shots are really going to look like until I get them on my computer screen. To me, the LCD resolution really doesn't mean much.
I use the zoom function quite a bit to review pictures and make sure focus was correct. With a higher resolution screen, I wouldn't have to zoom in as much.

But where the screen is really vital is shooting video. That's where a sharper screen will be more useful for judging focus.
12-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The new ones are VGA, the old ones are half VGA - the dots make it sound better that than, though! Not really a secret
I think you meant Quarter VGA (QVGA)
12-09-2011, 09:11 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I use the zoom function quite a bit to review pictures and make sure focus was correct. With a higher resolution screen, I wouldn't have to zoom in as much.

But where the screen is really vital is shooting video. That's where a sharper screen will be more useful for judging focus.
I do use the zoom to check focus also and my histogram. I just fine it difficult to see. The majority of my shots are with wide angle lenses. I don't always have time to spend pouring all over ever bit of a shot while zoomed and often DOF issues aren't immediately noticed on the back of the camera. I run across a lot of shots that look ok on the LCD but end up getting deleted. For that reason, I place little value on the screen resolution of the LCD. Yes, the K5 is a little bigger and brighter but in real world use, I find little difference from the K10D to the K5. The marketing people carry on like the difference from a 2.7 in screen and 3 in screen is a big deal. It isn't. The jump from the cameras of a few years ago, with the 1.8 in screens like my daughters Nikon D100, is significant. I haven't shot video yet and I used live view once just to see how it worked. I'm not likely to use it often.
12-09-2011, 05:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
About what? Do you figure that screen resolution is often the deciding factor in whether somebody buys the Canon, Nikon, Pentax, or Sony DSLR?
Not at all. I would never choose a camera based on how many pixels the back screen has. Is that how you chose?
12-09-2011, 06:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
About what? Do you figure that screen resolution is often the deciding factor in whether somebody buys the Canon, Nikon, Pentax, or Sony DSLR?
Camera makers are no different from anyone else is what I was trying to say. People will choose a 240hz tv over a 120 hz one without knowing what it means. Numbers do count for some people and every manufacturer plays the game. I would not expect Pentax to break that mold.

I have personally seen people buy cameras by looking at one of those tables where they list the specs one by one and choosing the one with the higher specs. Granted this was not a dslr but a higher end compact. Iknow this guy that I had recommended the canon g12 but he went out and bought the nikon p7000. It had a "better screen and a zoom". But he wound up disliking it in the end and is now thinking of trying to sell it and get the canon with the inferior screen and smaller zoom....
12-09-2011, 07:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Not at all. I would never choose a camera based on how many pixels the back screen has. Is that how you chose?
No, I was actually saying quite the opposite. But it could be part of my decision, which is why it would be nice if the manufacturers posted screen resolution in a more useful and realistic manner. You might want to read my original post and all the follow-ups before jumping in and getting everything confused.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 12-10-2011 at 12:31 PM.
12-09-2011, 08:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Camera makers are no different from anyone else is what I was trying to say. People will choose a 240hz tv over a 120 hz one without knowing what it means.

Are the 240Hz TVs out already? I hear that they are twice as good as the 120Hz TVs!



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