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12-25-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
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K-x or K-r Noise vs. K20D

I'm toying with the idea of getting my wife a K-r or K-x as a possible upgrade to her Sony A100. Do either one of those two bodies handle noise as well as a K-5? (Noise is terrible with the K20D.)

(Note: I do not want to hear about any other cameras besides the K-r or the K-x. I have already whittled the choices down to those two, so you need not bother talking about the K30, K50, etc..)

12-25-2013, 05:56 PM   #2
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I use the K-x and K20d for theatre photography and I find the K20D to be fine at iso 1600 and the K-x about same at iso 800. Not a 1:1 comparison--just using each camera.

But I am using the K20d more w/ 35mm fixed FL, and 70-200 mm zoom, versus mostly 21 mm on the K-x. So they are being used quite differently.

Finally everyone has a different perception of acceptable noise--I find the noise on the K20d to be more film like and thus acceptable, and somewhat less so on the K-x, but in theatre photography (for me) other areas than noise are most important.

Except for theatre photography I hardly use the K-x, preferring the K20d and a film camera. The k-x is much smaller and the viewfinder also much smaller. I have a detailed comparison under camera reviews (under k-x).
12-25-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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I owned the Kx, and while it doesn't handle noise quite as well as the K5 does it still handles it nicely to me.
12-25-2013, 06:35 PM   #4
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The K-x handles low light extremely well, not like a K-5 but close enough. It's a very nice little camera. We still have ours, but seldom use it because we prefer the K-5 DR, and 4 more Mp, but apart from that we have no issues with it. I have no experience with a K-r.

12-29-2013, 11:35 PM   #5
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based on my observations, the Kr is useable to 3200 and pleasant at 1600. I cannot comment on K5 as I haven't used one.
12-31-2013, 11:11 PM   #6
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Kx and Kr share the same 12mp Sony sensor. Shooting raw will give you very similar performance. The Kr has improved autofocus which comes in handy considering both use pentamirror viewfinders.

The K20D uses a Samsung sensor and is a bit different. Its a much heavier pro grade camera with a pentaprism viewfinder.

As for low light high iso I tend to favor the 12mp Sony sensor. For bright light high IQ I would chose the K20D.
01-01-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
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I have and use both the K20D and the K-5, and the high ISO noise performance of the K20D is probably as poor as an A100, and it sure is a lot uglier. The noise produced by the K20D, besides the usual blotchiness, looks like someone sprinkled pepper on the images. No other digital camera that I have used (Minolta, Sony, Nikon, nor Olympus) ever had noise that looked like that.

With that said, the noise produced from the K-5 is leaps and bounds better than the K20D. It does not have the sprinkled with pepper look at all and, in my opinion, is the only digital camera with noise that even begins to approximate film grain in appearance.

I have to admit though, that at high ISO's if you have regions of a solid bright color the K-5 will produce some really bad funky halo and moire' effects. That came as a nasty surprise, but knowing what it will do and being attentive should help me to minimize those effects in the future.

I was just wondering that since the K-x, and probably more the K-r, were contemporary to the K-5, whether their noise performance would be the same as the 5. I'm thinking it would come down to less of a sensor used issue and more of a light processing issue.
01-02-2014, 06:01 AM   #8
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I shot these with my K-r @ ISO 6400, raw, with noise reduction in PSP X4.







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01-02-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
based on my observations, the Kr is useable to 3200 and pleasant at 1600. I cannot comment on K5 as I haven't used one.
That sounds about right for the K-x as well.
01-05-2014, 06:56 PM   #10
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The K-X and K-R use the same sensor, and they were developed after the K20D (although the K-R was introduced later, of course), but they came before the K5. Being less than flagship, they were on a different product cycle.

No doubt, the K-X/K-R are situated between the two flagships in terms of overall quality at high ISO. I think the K20D sensor can get closer to the quality of the K-X/K-R in RAW because it is relatively easy to remove the purple banding problem in deep shadows in processing. In other words, if you aren't shooting JPEGs the K20D isn't all that bad - even up to ISO 3200 with a good RAW converter and good technique for processing banding noise. From an overall feature, performance, handling perspective, the K-30/K-50 is upper-middle level, and the K-X/K-R is closer to entry level - so that's a consideration.

And to correct an earlier claim, the K20D is substantially superior in low light performance (and superior pretty much every other way imaginable) to the Sony A100. The Dxomark score is more than 150 points higher favoring the K20D - which is a very large margin.

Last edited by ScooterMaxi Jim; 01-05-2014 at 08:28 PM.
01-06-2014, 01:13 PM   #11
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Look at reviews like dpreview with noise performance charts. The K20D's issue is chroma noise. It starts to climb at 400 while the K-x doesn't take off like that until 3200. (If you can get high-ISO RAW files from the K-x or K-r, you can see they need very different settings in noise processing. I help out my brother with his K-r shots, totally different than my K-7.) The K-5 charts look more like the K-x charts. My guess is they are close.
01-06-2014, 03:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
And to correct an earlier claim, the K20D is substantially superior in low light performance (and superior pretty much every other way imaginable) to the Sony A100. The Dxomark score is more than 150 points higher favoring the K20D - which is a very large margin.
I'm the one who made the comment about the K20D vs. the A100. I don't care what the Dxomark score is. I have and use both cameras, and I can tell you from first-hand use experience that the K20D is not appreciably any better than the A100 at the higher ISO settings with quantity of noise. The -appearance- of the noise from the K20D is definately uglier too.

The K-5 on the other hand...
01-06-2014, 04:44 PM   #13
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I'm suspecting that we are having a disagreement about two differences regarding perceptions, and what output is being compared.

Most folks perceive the chroma noise as more film-like - and find it far more acceptable than luminosity noise. Of course, that's a personal choice (although you see a lot of folks say they prefer the noise look of the K20D - when consistent and not banding). Another aspect is that the K20D does somewhat less smoothing overall than the Sony-based sensors - and many of us would rather work that noise out on our own rather than have the camera do the smoothing.

Second, it also seems that some folks are comparing based on JPEG output from the camera. No doubt, chroma noise a lot more difficult to correct in a processed image. With a good RAW converter, it is pretty easy to eliminate without losing much detail.

To my eye, and based on all the comparisons, and pretty much every thread I've read prior to this one, it is pretty clear that the 10 mp Sony CCD sensors (A100/K10D) - which are very good at base ISO, are a long ways short of the Samsung sensor (K20D) from ISO 800 upwards. The Sony 12 mp CMOS sensors (K-X/K-R) are a step up from there, but well short of any of the more-current 16 mp Sony sensors. The testing indicates the same.
01-11-2014, 10:25 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jkomp316 Quote
Kx and Kr share the same 12mp Sony sensor.


QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
The K-X and K-R use the same sensor,


Technically they are not the same sensor. The K-r featured an "upgraded" version of the Sony IMX021 12.4 MP sensor, with reported improved high ISO capabilities. After comparing the two, the conclusion seemed to suggest the newer version on the K-r handled noise in a smoother way, but the K-x retained more detail. The DXO marks seemed to confirm this in their testing.

I own both cameras and notice the slight detail difference in the K-x......though in most cases it is quite negligible.
01-12-2014, 11:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Most folks perceive the chroma noise as more film-like - and find it far more acceptable than luminosity noise. Of course, that's a personal choice (although you see a lot of folks say they prefer the noise look of the K20D - when consistent and not banding.
When I was talking about how ugly the noise is produced by the K20D, I was not thinking so much about the chroma noise as the sprinkled with pepper appearance the K20D images have. I also shoot with Sony, Minolta, Olympus, and Nikon; and I have never seen any of their cameras produce anything like that.

The K-5's noise is probably the most film grain appearing of all the digital cameras I have. I was pleasantly surprised. But boy, if you shoot at high ISO's and have large fields of a uniform color, then the K-5 can sure produce some funky effects with those fields that are not appealing. One just has to recognize what can happen when photographing and work around it.
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