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10-19-2012, 07:16 AM   #1
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Trying to decide KX, KR, K7?

Hello fellow Pentax users. It seems that every time I'm just about to pull the trigger on a Pentax DSLR Pentax discontinues the camera and something new comes out. I really had my heart set on a KX, but now I'm unsure as the KR and K7 came out in addition to the newer models.

I've have a handful of Pentax lens, the ones I'll probably be using on the DSLR will most likely be one 135mm screw mount my father used on his Spotmatic, and my K-mount 40-80mm zoom and my K-mount 80-200mm zoom.

I would like to stay around $500 for the body, maybe go up to $700.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

10-19-2012, 07:59 AM   #2
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K30 (new-ish replacement for the K-r) or K-5 (just superceded by the K-5 II, so could be available at 'end-of-line' price if you're lucky), plus a k-mount/m42 adapter (plenty of copies available, but original Pentax is regarded as the best).

No idea of prices in the US I'm afraid.
10-19-2012, 08:11 AM   #3
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If you 'do' video a k-01 or k30 would be worth seeking, though the k30 will be above your $ limit. Of the 3 on your list the k-x would be my choice, as I found the 12mpix sensor to be nearly as good as the sweet-16 for recovering low exposures. The k-r did not fit my hand quite the same as the k+x.
10-19-2012, 09:52 AM   #4
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For that budget, you could easily get a good used K-x or K-r including a (decent, not spectacular) 18-55 kit zoom. Wal-Mart online still has new K-r available for US$600 in various colors (but not black). KEH shows a couple "Like New" K-xes and a white K-r for around US$400 today. The going rate on eBay is US$300-400, but you don't really know what you are getting there.

The performance and IQ between the K-x and K-r is almost identical (I've owned both). The biggest complaint most people have about the K-x is the lack of autofocus points in the viewfinder, which would be moot with old M42 or K-glass (I replaced the focusing screen in mine to make focusing easier with my old lenses). The K-r has AF points, faster LiveView autofocus, higher frames per second, and a slightly larger LCD panel. It's a hair bigger on the grip side to accomodate a Lithium battery (the clip to use AA batteries is easy to get cheap). Most of the people who complain about low-light autofocus problems on the K-r are just repeating what they've heard and have never used one. I noticed some issues with one Tamron lens in low light, and changing autofocus modes solved that. Again, this is a moot point if you are going to use old glass.

A new K-01 could be in your budget, but it's no replacement for a dSLR (it is a fun camera, tho'). I haven't used a K-7, but it's a big step up from the K-x or K-r. The K-x was considered better in low light when they came out, so I went that way. If you've had your heart set on the K-x, I say do it, get out and shoot, and don't worry about the what-ifs.


Last edited by THoog; 10-19-2012 at 08:10 PM.
10-19-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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As a longtime K-7 fanboy...I guess you already know what I'm going to say. It doesn't have quite the low-light performance of the newer sensors, but other than that it delivers superb results and is bombproof-built. And it is a complete joy in the hand. Dual control wheels doesn't sound like a big thing, but it lets you adjust settings (you can choose which ones) without having to stop and futz, take your eye off the viewfinder, or interrupt your flow. I too mostly work with old manual glass; it's dead-nuts simple to hit the green button, then adjust shutter speed or ISO with the wheels, or aperture with the lens ring.

Mine has been used hard in weeklong backpack and canoe trips, skiing, rain, rides around in a bike pannier, and is still delivering flawless images. (Well, their artistic merit could be argued, but that's hardly the camera's fault!) I have not used a K-5 but from everything I've read, they broke nothing and improved some important things from the K-7; if your budget could stretch to $800, you will never be sorry. K-7s will be harder to find, but if you're mindful of the high-ISO noise, that will serve you admirably.
10-19-2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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At the risk of a 'me-too' response. I have owned the K-r for ten months. I sold my film Pentax and my weaker MF glass, kept my excellent K-A series primes (and have acquired a few AF lens). I have played with a cousin's K-x. Either camera will likely work well for you. If you insist on new, you are more likely to find a K-r than a K-x, a K-7 may be even more rare. Go for the best deal you can find. You will of course drool over the idea of the new K-5 cameras, but budgets are budgets.
10-19-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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Kx has served me 2 years, it is quite good at recording the image,

as cameras are updated every year, the lens always stays.

so, I recommend Kx, and use the rest cash to get some good cheap manual primes like 28mm and 50mm.

here is my manual lens with my kx, I have changed the focus screen, without focusing screen, get 200mm manually in focus is quite difficult in viewfinder,

also because kx has lower resolution LCD, it is tricky to check in focus with live view in bright sunlight as well.

K3 split screen review - compared with Super Big Split screen at 600mm birding

10-21-2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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Wow! You guys are FULL of great and helpful information. It's always really GREAT to join a Forum that has helpful and informative members. Also, I feel that I should have maybe prefaced that I'm NOT a professional photographer (I'm sure you figured that out though) but I've been blessed with friend who are, so I sort of know what I want and what to look for but there's NOTHING like getting information on a product from actual users. So far you guys have given me a wealth of info to mull over, and it actually looks like I'm down to the KX, KR or K30 providing I can fork out more cash.

Also, the comments about "Video" on the cameras was a great help as I had totally forgotten to ask about it. Sunnycamera, I actually have ALL Pentax lenses, including a standard 50mm & 135mm screw mount and K-mount 50mm, 40-80mm zoom and a 80-200mm zoom, with the exception of a 28mm K Mount Sigma lens. In addition, I have the old K Mount Pentax 2X converter that you can remove the lens out of and use it as an extension tube for close up photography.

What ever camera I choose, I'm pretty confident I should get GREAT results with it and it should work well with the lenses I have.

Should I even worry about getting the new type lenses for the newer cameras? If I don't have to worry about lenses, I can put that cash towards the "body". What advantage would the newer lenses have other than the "Auto" capabilities and lighter weight?

Thanks again for ALL your help.

10-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #9
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The K-r has a number of improvements over the K-x that make it a lot more pleasant to use, notably a much higher res screen, a useful AF-assist lamp and focus point confirmation in the viewfinder. Price difference between the two models should be minimal by now, so the K-r would be the one to go for. Don't know whether it matters to you, but the coloured models (red, white, etc.) seem to hold their resale value much better than sober black.

Not handled a K-30 but it seems to have pretty much all of the features of a K-5, only cheaper (and, IMO, a wee bit uglier).
10-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #10
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Just about forgot...... I've noticed that a LOT of used K series list the "Shutter Count", is this something to be concerned with purchasing a used Kr or Kx? Obviously a new camera is ideal, but is there some maintenance or life expectancy based on "Shutter Counts"?

Thanks
10-21-2012, 09:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by guitardude Quote
Just about forgot...... I've noticed that a LOT of used K series list the "Shutter Count", is this something to be concerned with purchasing a used Kr or Kx? Obviously a new camera is ideal, but is there some maintenance or life expectancy based on "Shutter Counts"?
Not really something to worry about - it's just a sign of how much use the camera has seen. The shutter in the K-x and K-r should be good for at least 100,000 actuations.
10-22-2012, 08:33 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by guitardude Quote
...Should I even worry about getting the new type lenses for the newer cameras? If I don't have to worry about lenses, I can put that cash towards the "body". What advantage would the newer lenses have other than the "Auto" capabilities and lighter weight?

Thanks again for ALL your help.
You probably should get a version of the kit lens (DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6) with any model. It's the most cost-effective way to get wide-angle coverage. There are a few versions. Most of them won't add much to the cost of the camera. The WR version is weather resistant and may come with the K-7, and the seller will expect to get more for that version.

Shutter count is just one way to show how much a camera was used, but maybe not a great one. I just bought a K-r for my brother with ~10,000, and it looks a lot better than my K-7 with 12,000.
10-22-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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K-x & K-r are both better than K-7 in low light high ISO situations.

K-7 has much nicer viewfinder and much more external controls for direct access to functions, as opposed to some menu-diving on the K-x & K-r.

I had a K-x but upgraded to a K-r because I couldn't stand not seeing the active AF point in the K-x's viewfinder. The K-r has the same basic finder but shows the AF points. It also has a much nicer (higher resolution & bigger) screen compared to the K-x.
10-22-2012, 02:20 PM   #14
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K-7 is amazing. I have it and absolutely love it. Complete set of features and METAL body. My friend has a K-x. Not a fan of the plasticky build, features or overall menu organization. Everything is 100 times more convenient with the K-7. The only three things i HATE are:

1) noise. 1600 is possibly acceptable if there aren't too many shadows in the picture (noise is worse there) but iso 3200 is absolutely useless. kind of limiting in this respect
2) long exposure pictures (those 30sec+) produce significant amount of noise in the shadows even at iso200. Again, not a huge problem in pictures with low dynamic range, but makes night photography a bit challenging sometimes
3) dark frame subtraction cannot be turned off. One of the problems that I only occasionally run into, but every single time it has been nothing but irritating.

Other than that phenomenal camera! If you are okay with those, I would pick that over any entry level model (K-30 would be a bit tempting as it closes the ground in built vs performance with the semi-pro models)

I wouldnt worry about shutter count. It is just a proxy for how much the camera has been used. Low shutter count all else equal would mean smaller likelyhood of a need for some kind of repair soon. I use my K-7 all the time and I am still below 25,000 acturations and the life is an averge of 100,000. I will most likely replace the camera before something even happens to it. If you are buying second hand look for cosmetic damage as this may indicate that it might have been hit or dropped.

Cheers

Last edited by oxidized; 10-22-2012 at 02:25 PM.
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