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03-16-2012, 11:10 AM   #1
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K-x upgrade?

Lately I've been running into some of the limitations of the Kx, especially since I started getting into macro photography. I'm still strictly an amateur though, and will probably not be trying to make money from my hobby any time soon.

So I've been pondering picking an "old" K-7 used from Craigslist or KEH. I've seen them floating around for around $650 lately. I've also seen some decent deals on the K-5 (a little over $800 used).

Is the upgrade worth it? Should I hold off until I feel like I'm actually getting pretty decent with the medium? Does anyone have any experience with buying used DSLRs, or would it be better to just save up a bit (a large bit, granted) more to get them new? How substantially different (from the prospective of a serious amateur) is the K-x from the K-7 or K-5?

Yes, its a flurry of questions. Yes, they've all been answered somewhere else, probably, but sadly my search-fu is weak today, so bear with me.

03-16-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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I would either go to the K-r or the K-5; you won't be that happy with the K-7's IQ, I don't think. If you do go for the K-5, then yes, the upgrade is definitely worth it. You'll enjoy the 2 e-dials and the wider dynamic range

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03-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #3
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For macro there isn't anything special that a pro body would add that the K-x can't do. Perhaps you can elaborate?

One thing I noted when I bought a K-7 as an upgrade from my K-x, was that the K-7 IQ was nowhere near that of the K-x.

Only the K-5 K-r K-01 have image quality equal or better than the K-x in my opinion.
03-16-2012, 11:31 AM   #4
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See this video for inspiration


03-16-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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I own the K-x (my first dSLR) and a K-5, and I used to own the K-r. If you are going to upgrade go to the K-5, the jump from K-x to K-r is not much IMHO but to the K-5 its a WORLD of difference. I just couldn't see enough improvement from x to r to justify it so I sold the r and used that toward my 5. The differences from K-x to K-5 are many with overall performance, tools available in camera, flexibility, access to external hardwired remote, two receivers for IR remotes, etc.
03-16-2012, 11:59 AM   #6
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What limitations are you running into?

IMO, the only Pentax worth "upgrading" to is the K-5.

The entry-level DSLRs of today are sometimes better than the "pro" DSLRs of yesteryear. For the most part, your images are all about vision, technique, and glass.
03-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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Whats wrong with the K-7s IQ?

@Crewl1: I feel like I'm beginning to feel the resolution of the k-x's sensor hitting me in the face, and it seems hard to get things to be quite as crisp and sharp as I like (shooting with a F100 2.8 Macro). I know I have a couple non-camera limitations; skill, bad tripod, SR when handheld. But it still seems, when digging down a bit that I'm not getting the nice crispness I see in the images of other, such as the guy in the video you linked.

Not related to the macro issues, I'm beginning to really miss having focal points in the viewfinder. At a recent party I got to shoot with a relatives Nikon (D5100, I think), and the ability to see my focal points while framing was amazing. The top screen is also something I would find pretty handy. I don't know the money price I'd attach to these features though, probably not terribly high, and not worth buying a fully new camera for, but they would be nice.

Further, at the moment I have a bit of free cash to spend, and my LBA has been satiated, and I've been pondering upgrading my equipment for the day when I feel I've earned it (or can fully utilize it) while I have the chance to do so with minimal pain (some pain, granted, but not as bad as it could be).

If I spring for a K-5 used (new is a bit more than my wallet I can bare), what should I look for, and what price range is fair?
03-16-2012, 12:07 PM   #8
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As for price range, I'd do a search of the Marketplace Archives to see what they have gone for here in the past. All the comments I have read indicate that the price of new ones will go up once they announce either its discontinuation or its replacement.

03-16-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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The K-7 gets pretty noisy for a modern DSLR once you hit ISO 800 or so. It was actually a regression from the model it replaced, the K20D.

Can you post a sample of a pic that you are not pleased with? The "non-camera limitations" you list are conducive to the lack of crispness you are seeing in your images. Also, some careful PP goes a long way.

Last edited by luftfluss; 06-08-2016 at 08:24 AM.
03-16-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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Omestes - the K-7 sensor is a generation prior to the K-x, so shadow noise and moderate high ISO compared to the K-x which you are used to will leave you dissatisfied.

The guy in the video is using an older camera than your K-x, with a reversed lens on extension tubes. The success of his shots are due to perseverance, experience and special techniques such as focus stacking.

A pro body wouldn't give him any advantage for the macro shooting he shows in the video.

If you just want a pro body for the other reasons you mention then I don't think you will be happy with anything but the K-5. Used ones are going for around $900, but you can get a new one for a couple of hundred more that will have a warranty.

If you just want the best value in a used pro body you should consider a k20D - it has the same sensor as the K-7 and can be had for around $300-400.

Again if you are like me and have become accustomed to the images produced by your K-x you will not be happy unless you get a K-5.
03-16-2012, 12:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
If you just want the best value in a used pro body you should consider a k20D - it has the same sensor as the K-7 and can be had for around $300-400.
Actually, the K-7 and K20D have somewhat different sensors, just the same resolution.

DxOMark - Compare cameras side by side
03-16-2012, 12:33 PM   #12
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^^ Even better ^^
03-16-2012, 12:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
^^ Even better ^^
I agree, unless I needed video I'd go with the K20D. OTOH, the K-x's sensor is even better, and only slightly lower resolution. Unless he needed the better body and larger, brighter OVF of the K20D, it's still not an upgrade over the K-x. I agree with you that the only real upgrade would be the K-5.
03-16-2012, 01:42 PM   #14
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Sadly, both of these were shot to jpeg. I'm still not terribly comfortable with RAW and Lightroom, so i find myself taking the lazy route and shooting RAW+, and storing the RAWs until I'm not lazy (that day hasn't come), or just shooting jpeg. The Buddha was without SR, and was a bit ghetto using an old IKEA desk lamp and a crappy tripod that a friend from college gave me, hence the exposure bias. The second was shot with SR, and might be a bit oof, since I spending more time being sneaky than paying attention to my camera. Also I haven't been able to really get much beyond plants, I've entered tripod hell, and have been waiting since Feb 2nd for Adorama to actually get and ship the one I ordered.

@luftfluss: Gorgeous! How did you get that? I don't know how I feel about stitching... I might try it once I get a tripod that will actually hold still for over a single shot, and doesn't take ten minutes of fuss to compensate for its droop.




Hm... the pics aren't showing up. I put them in my albums. They are the only two there, so they shouldn't be hard to find. :/
03-16-2012, 02:42 PM   #15
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On the Buddha, did you use the camera's self timer? If you didn't, even the action of pressing the shutter button can introduce vibration, particularly with a crummy tripod. Also, looks like it was slightly front focused (?)

The hummer looks OK, just the lighting is flat. I think it's cool that you were able to get so close with a 100mm lens.

My dragonfly shot was taken a few years ago with my old K2000 (10 mp) with a Tamron 70-300 lens and Raynox DCR-150 macro adapter, which is a fairly cheap, very easy way to get pretty high-magnification macros. No tripod.

Here's a quick-n-dirty edit of your hummingbird, I increased contrast and adjusted lighting a bit:

Last edited by luftfluss; 06-08-2016 at 08:24 AM.
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