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09-17-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
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Pentax K-x

The Pentax K-x is an excellent entry-level DSLR which in 2009 revolutionized the market for beginner cameras. With a kit price of below $700, the K-x offers amazing performance at an extremely affordable price. Its highlights include a 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with excellent low-light performance, Pentax's shake-reduction and dust removal systems, full-auto "green" mode, a use-friendly menu, and a very large LCD screen.

You can support us by buying a new K-x kit at a great price from our partner, Adorama Camera!

Pentax K-x
Year introduced
KAF2 (without coupling for aperture ring)
Meter range
1 to 21.5 EV
Meter pattern
m (16 segments) c s
ISO range (expanded)
200 - 6400 (100 - 12800)
Expanded dynamic range
Yes, highlight and shadow
Exposure modes
AutoPict, SCN, P, Sv, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M
Program modes
Normal, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night-scene Portrait, Flash Off. In live view also: Blue Sky, Sunset
Scene Modes
10: Night Scene, Surf and Snow, Food, Sunset, Stage Lighting, Night Snap, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, Museum
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30s - 1/6000s (stepless)
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 30s - 1/6000s
Mirror lock-up
Shutter life
Shutter life: At least 100,000 actuations
Self timer / Interval shooting
Yes / No
Continuous shooting
Hi: 4.7 fps to 17 frames (JPG), 5 frames (RAW)
Lo: 2 fps until card is full (JPG), up to 11 frames (RAW)
Shake reduction
Auto bracketing
Yes (3 frames)
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 12 (ISO 100), 16 (ISO 200)
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Extra external flash functions
Wireless, High-speed, Contrast control
Yes (SAFOX VIII, 11 focus points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 to 18 EV
Autofocus with SDM
AF Assist
Front/Back focus corr
Power zoom
Lens correction
0.85x, 96%
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live view
Video/Movie Mode
1280x720 (16:9) at 24 fps
640x416 (3:2) at 24 fps
Composite video out (no HDMI out)
Movie mode restrictions
The aperture is fixed during recording. Autofocus is not available during recording.
Sound in Movie mode
Mono (built-in mic)
No provision for external mic
Camera controls
1 control wheel. Most functions accessed through info screen or menus
Custom Functions
12.4 MP CMOS with SP coating
Image size
15.8 x 23.6 mm
Color Depth
3 x 12 bit (RAW)
Dust removal / alert
Yes / Yes
Pixel mapping
File format
Memory card type
SD, SDHC (max. 32GB), SDXC via firmware update
Back LCD
2.7 in. 230,000 pix
Weather resistant
4 x AA
Battery grip
Size (W x H x D)
122.5 x 91.5 x 67.5 mm
515 g (580 g with lithium batteries and SD card)
Latest firmware
Version 1.02

In-camera RAW development

Attached Images

Last edited by Ole; 01-18-2011 at 07:40 PM.
11-07-2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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Pentax K-x Maintains Tradition of Excellence and Ease of Use

I am just starting to familiarize myself with the K-x. My thoughts in this review are preliminary. I will compare the K-x to the Pentax *istDL, which I purchased in February 2006 and use regularly for my job (photo journalist). I have not used other Pentax digital cameras, nor have I owned other brands of digital SLRs, although I have looked them over.

The K-x and *istDL are remarkably similar in size, shape, feel in the hand, and weight (K-x is 45 grams heavier). I consider the *istDL a great entry-level digital camera. The K-x is more sophisticated and has many refinements compared to the *istDL, but still can be considered entry-level. Technology does not stand still and in four years we’re going to see changes in just about any electronic device, usually for the better.

The most obvious difference in the exterior is the lack of a liquid crystal display on the right top of the K-x. The information displayed here (battery life, shutter speed, aperture, image capacity, flash setting, has been moved to the rear display. All it takes to preview the information is a light tap on the shutter trigger. I don’t mind this change. The new display uses color to highlight; overall, losing the display is no big deal. Another item that has changed is the AE-L button. It now has four possible settings, which are accessible in the Menu, C Section, #10. I prefer to just use it for AE-L and nothing more, so I changed it to setup 4.

The Mode dial on the K-x is like the *istDL with one important exception. The K-x has Scene mode (SCN), with settings for night, surf & snow, food, sunset, stage lighting, kids, pets, candlelight, museum, and night snap. Settings are tweaked to the anticipated situation. For example, food photos will have increased color saturation.

Shutter sound
While I don’t know that it makes much difference, the shutter sound is about the same for both cameras. If that’s all you care about in a camera, I recommend a Nikon. They’re quieter, in my opinion.

Both cameras use 4 AA batteries. I have had good results with quality lithium ion batteries. You can always find AA batteries in a pinch and that’s why I like to see cameras made this way. However, my *istDL has refused to work with some rechargeable batteries, even when they’re fully charged.

The K-x has a mysterious green button. It is supposed to allow you to switch between two different settings, for example, JPEG to RAW. There are other settings you can have. My issue is, how do you remember which setting it’s on? I prefer to leave it in the default mode. I don’t see much use for the green button right now.

Menu buttons
Overall, the menu and rear buttons are the same for both cameras, although the K-x now has LV, Live View. A nice feature of Live View is the real-time histogram. Otherwise, I will continue using the viewfinder. Note that Live View can make the camera hot, so it’s probably a good not to use it in most situations.

The K-x has shake reduction, which the *istDL lacks. Pentax explains how it works by moving the sensor, rather than compensating ISO, from what I can understand. (I withdraw my previous comment, referenced by hspatz below)

An interesting feature for the K-x is Dynamic Range. On this setting the camera basically take three photos in quick succession at different aperture settings to compensate for dark and light areas. It’s great for scenery shots where there is no movement.

The K-x is the first Pentax camera in this price range offering video. I have used it a few times sparingly and the results have been OK, but this is not going to be a feature you should come to rely on. You will get equally good results and more utility using a less expensive camera, such as the fixed-lens Canon SX10 or Canon SD850 IS. Note that these are not digital SLR cameras.

That’s not to say the Pentax video is broken. A digital SLR is not the ideal platform for video. The most disturbing aspect is the sound of lens movement when zooming, which obviously requires manually turning the lens. The video itself is fine. In order to reduce file size, be sure to change the default setting. I recommend 630x416 with two stars.

Camera requirements
Everyone comes at photography from a different perspective, so the camera that’s right for you may not be right for someone else. As a photojournalist, I need a camera that works well in low light and has a basic menu. I don’t want to be fiddling with the menu when I’m under pressure trying to take photos in a business setting. That’s why I find the Pentax brand so satisfying. Their menus are far and away more intuitive and less cluttered than Nikon and Canon.

The K-x retains fundamentally the same button arrangement as the *istDL. It has more features, but those don’t get in the way of the most important buttons I use all the time – lighting, ISO, and flash.

That said, I took some photos in low light and compared them. I noticed markedly better results with the K-x body and lens. Most importantly, the K-x easily beats the *istDL for noise at high ISO. This is critical because in a business setting the flash should be used sparingly.

I noticed that the new kit lens 18-55 shows better results than the older 18-55, which surprised me. I didn’t expect to see a difference there.

The *istDL is still a viable camera for a photojournalist, especially for someone who is new to digital SLRs. It’s still available. In comparison, the K-x has many refinements and improvements, including better results in low light, a 2X higher frame rate, higher low-noise ISO, and video that could be useful in some situations. I would recommend the K-x to any photojournalist who is interested a newer camera with more refinements.

UPDATE (12/24/2009): I have used the camera at work and where it shines is in low light. I can shoot at 6400 ISO and use those images on the Web with outstanding results. The camera's visual menu on the large back end LCD is fantastic. I like to use M and make adjustments for lighting on the fly.

Last edited by rayhosler; 12-12-2010 at 07:36 PM.
12-29-2009, 12:54 PM   #3
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It's my K-x #99 (silver body+brown grip).
The grip color is lighter than as shown.

1. extremely low noise at high sensitivities. (that's why I chose it.)
2. 4.7 fps continuos shooting.
3. AF speed is faster than the other old models.
4. even though it has Live-view and 720p HDmovie, still reasonable price! (price is the most important )

1. no red marks on viewfinder.
2. low quality back LCD.
3. no wired release shutter socket. (works with remote control only. It could be a problem for someone who takes a astronomy photo.)
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
FinePix F72EXR  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
FinePix F72EXR  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
FinePix F72EXR  Photo 

Last edited by INTEL; 12-30-2009 at 04:09 PM.
01-18-2010, 12:48 AM   #4
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My New KX

hi everyone
i'm new here,
i just bought a KX after hankering after a DSLR for a while
i would call myself fairly experienced, having a few years ago used a Minolta Dynax 35mm SLR, and then moving to a canon powershot superzoom. I've also had a friends old Canon 10D for the past month.
anyway, i was debating between this and a Nikon D5000, and after exhaustive research, i plumped for this one, mainly because of its superior high-ISO performance, and being on a budget mean that lenses would be cheaper as they would not have to have AF motors and IS/SR built-in.
also in its favour, was that it was a little smaller, yet more comfortable to hold, and more direct-access buttons.
So, after a few days and around a thousand photos later, here are my thoughts;
first of all; build quality. its pretty good, but i've been playing with that 10D, and you just cant compare...this feels like a toy. but i guess thats what comes with the budget price tag. I've got pretty big hands, but the KX handles pretty well, and is certainly light enought for one-handed shooting.
(I got a fancy KATA strap, which is a joy, its comfortable to sling over your shoulder, and is slightly elasticated so the camera doesnt feel heavy at all. its even got tiny zipped pockets at each end of the strap with room for 4 AA batteries...)
the screen is very good too, with a wide angle of view - you can put it in live view and hold it above you head at a very slight angle and still see the screen enough to be able to frame your shot. speaking of live-view, it is very slow - easily 3 seconds even in good light, and it makes a strange hollow whirring sound the whole time it running - almost like there's something broken in it. (anyone else go that too?)
the autofocus is very fast at wider angles, but at the long end of my 300mm lens, slows down a little and tends to cycle through the whole focusing range - which is quite long- till it finds focus. the upside of this long focus travel isthat when focusing manully, you can get it quite excact. a solution to the above problem i found is to zoom halfway, focus (which it does uite quickly) then zoom in the whole way, so that its much nearer to the correct focus, and then refocus and take the picture. one thing i noticed about the autofocus is that its NOISY - it sounds like a small drill! and the shutter noise is a little coarse, a bit like a knife being sharpened.
another point about the AF is the famous lack of AF point markers - you have no idea (beside peeping through the viewfinder to see what "looks" sharp, or by assuming it is focusing on the nearest object - but that's just it - you can never be sure what its focused on. this makes the "great" 11-point autofocus with all 11 cross-type sensors, a little useless. but i dont really care because i always just use the central point. i guess when tracking birds across the sky i could rely on the 11 point autofocus, since there's nothing else for the AF to get confused with.
metering is generally good, but i did find that with brightly backlit subject it did underexpose a little - even with spot-metering - that neccesitated a 2/3 stop exposure adjustment.
picture quality seems very good, with excellent noise control, at normal printing sizes/viewing on-screen without pixel-peeping, you can almost tell no difference between ISO 200 and 1600, and even 3200 is pretty good - which is outstanding performance for a budget SLR. (the aforementioned 10D started getting unacceptably noisy at ISO800).this capability is extremely useful in almost any situation you dont use a flash/low light/fast moving subjects etc...
i havent really used video, i imagine i will just use it very rarely, but that one time that i do use it, i will be very glad its there.
battery life is good, i have gotten around 600 pics from some Energizer 2450mAH slow discharge batteries - and thats real - life use, meaning reviewing shots, autofocusing and re-autofocusing, live-view, mucking about in menus (i just got it) etc. i will keep the lithium batteries it came with for emergencies.
all in all i'm pretty happy with it, main gripes being noisy AF motor, painfully slow live-view (although i expected it).

01-18-2010, 02:08 PM   #5
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I have not experienced too much hassle with the LV. However, I want to mention that the auto focus is a little sluggish when shooting using LV. The internal computer is quick enough to "remember" where a good focus spot might have been while it racks through the barrel and whips back once it has determined there is no better focusing option. I like the speed of that.

Metering flaws are mentioned in the manual when shooting against a bright backlight. Possibly also with a background of continuous patterns (i.e. repeating vertical lines.

Video is phenomenal for the price. I've been shooting DV single CCD video for over 5 years! It’s not true hi def, but I'm happy I have clear images on my 42" plasma, finally. I really dig the motion blur achieved by the 24fps shutter.

My question is this:
I've dl the new 4.11 update for DCU, but have found a bug when trying to preview folders containing both .DNG and .JGP files. Any advice? If I move the RAW to its own folder, no more crashing.
03-06-2010, 11:40 AM   #6
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I have been using my new KX for about a month now and i must say i really love this camera. I bought the kit with 55-300 and 18-55 black. I have been happy with everything and have enjoyed learning all the settings. Although some day i hope to buy some more high quality lenses to see how much of a difference they make. Not that the kit lenses are all that bad but i do believe i have been a little limited by the performance of the lenses. I would also like to now if anybody has some advice on a good macro lens. I have posted a few pics in my album but have not found a really good program to resize the pics.
03-22-2010, 06:58 AM   #7
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Review: Pentax K-X
03-24-2010, 05:18 PM   #8
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Loving it.

Now getting some great results from the K-x. I used to shoot quite a bit on film SLR and this is my first DLSR, so a bit of a learning curve. To start with had a few issues getting consistent exposure and focus but more on that later...

  • Nice size and great feel (also tried D5000 and Canon 450 / 500 - like the K-x much better)
  • Great all round performance. Can't fault it for the money
  • Video is pretty good, especially compare to the compact cameras I have
  • Support for old lenses. Pentax rocks in this area! Smart move to keep compatibility, which both give the photographer more lense options and also the confidence to buy new lenses (can generally expect them to be compatible with future models)

  • No self timer in HDR mode (hopefully to be fixed in a firmware update?)
  • No HDMI support - but then what do you expect for the money

No major problems once upgraded firmware to V1.01. However there was a bit of a learning curve and seems to me like some of the defaults could have been a bit better. For me to get more consistent shots I needed to:
  1. Set focus point to single point (focus and recompose). Don't care about not having auto focus points indicated in viewfinder.
  2. Set exposure to center weighted. Sometime use spot too. This certainly helped me with getting better subject exposures
  3. Increase sharpness setting.

Overall very pleased with my purchase!

05-07-2010, 01:50 PM   #9
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Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros Powerhouse on the cheap
Cons No AF Point Indicators, Low LCD Res
Rating 10
Price 500
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
See my main review!

Camera Review
This is my Pentax K-x Review and Use comments. I am posting nothing more then a simple (but long-winded) overview of my opinion about this camera; I suspect there are others considering a decision about this camera and this information may be useful. Don't consider it as anything more... (e.g. I'm no expert)

The K-x is one of those cameras I ended up with by chance, but now its become a part of me. I've been using the camera for over a month and have had time to contrast it with a few other cameras, namely the Canon EOS T1i (500D) and the Nikon D5000. The interesting thing is both of those cameras are priced above the class the K-x is in. At the time of this writing, the T1i Kit was selling for $750 (after instant discounts), the D5000 Kit for $650 (after instant discounts), while the K-x Kit was $500 (after instant discounts).

For reference I work primarily as a consultant but also provide photography services and training to my employer and our clients. I have (extensive) experience working with the vast majority of Major-Name DSLRs going back nearly 10 years, including the Canon T1i & XTi, the Nikon D5000, D3000, and D90, the Sony a700, and the Pentax K20D. Although I'm not comparing it to all of these cameras at least it provides you with my perspective. While I've used many of them through my employment, I can only own the more affordable model(s).

There are no sample images in my review, primarily because they never satisfy readers to some extent. There are many, many samples on the internet already and more importantly if you are considering these cameras yourself, take a memory card down to your camera store and shoot some samples from the camera to review prior to your decision making.

The K-x seemed to come in under the radar. By that I mean when it was released as Pentax's budget offering it looked like nothing more than another low-budget DSLR, something to let Pentax compete with the Nikon D3000 and Canon XSi and Sony's Lemming-like stable of DSLRs.

I didn't pay too much attention to Pentax news at the time, as my only experience with Pentax was the K20D (which was a good experience). I had owned a DSLR system previously but due to economic realities had to liquidate everything. Fortunes changed and recently I had considered buying a new DSLR and I made sure to at least include the K-x on my list to review as a possibility.

Exterior & Handling
The K-x seems very well made, on par with, if not better than its rivals. At first inspection it looks a little 'plasticy' but through handling it becomes obvious that tolerances are tight and it is well built.

The front acutally has a nice rubber grib, something extremely rare at this price point that is comfortable for my small fingers, but is easily too small for average users, it is something you would have to try and be willing to accept. The rear is sculpted in a simple but highly accurate way, it curves outwards along the right side following your palm and providing a natural place to create grip leverage with your thumb, without it sliding off (or cramping up). The left side has no sharp corners so two-handed holding is still comfortable.

The SD card door is secure and does not creak or groan under use, however the battery door on the bottom does have small amount of side-to-side play (around 1mm), but is still secure and locked thanks to its locking mechanism. The camera itself has no squeaks or groans from use or heavy handling.

All of the buttons and dials have a solid operational click or press. The mode dial on top spins easily, but not 'too easily' for me. I actually prefer it because I can switch modes using only my thumb rather quickly. The mutli-function pad buttons on the back are a little undersized and can be a tad difficult in a rush (I have missed-pressed trying to hit the ISO button in a rush) but nothing too concerning.

The 'green-dot' button while nice that it has the ability to change its function, has seen limited use. I can rarely find a reason to use it, primarily I use it to set the 'Program Line' exposure when I'm Manual mode. Its useful, but I could probably find a better use for it.

On the back there is an AF/AE-L button that I program to act only as an AF-ON button. I also remove AF functionality from the shutter button. I use AF.C only - this configuration allows me to focus once by pressing the AF button and then releasing and it automatically holds my focus, or I can keep the button held down in case I need to track something. This is how I've had my DSLRs configured for a long time and its a personal requirement that a camera can be configured this way. The only downside to this configuration is that I cannot use AE-L. Normally I would set the shutter button first-step to act as AE-L, so I can perform my focus first, then compose the scene as I wish it to be metered and lock exposure with single press. The K-x has the option to lock exposure with focus, but this only works if you're NOT using AF.C - besides locking exposure when I focus doesn't always account for additional changes in scene brightness after I recompose after focusing - thus I just live without AE-L for the time being and can revert to Manual if it is that important.

The camera is small, smaller then it leads you to believe, it is smaller then both of its rivals. However it is not so small to be along the lines of the Panasonic micro four-thirds G1/GH1 series (which feel a bit like a toy at times). I considered its smaller size to be an advantage, the less bulk hanging from my neck the better.

The LCD is a slightly smaller size and resolution then its rivals, at 320x240 and 2.7" compared to others at 3" and 640x480, however it is still quite useable to me. Being that the camera itself is a little smaller, the 2.7" sized LCD looks right at home. I am pleased with the ability to control its brightness and also fine tune its color temperature, something rarely found on others. I mainly use the LCD to check composition and make an attempt to check on the focus using the zooming.

The viewfinder is relatively large and bright for a camera in this class, I have no problems with composition, however judging focus is quite difficult. Additionally, as mentioned in many other places there are no AF point indicators in the viewfinder, the 11 points are described in the manual so you have an idea where they are, but when you are using anything other than single point AF you have no idea which AF point is being used. This is not a problem for me, because I always use single point AF, but its worth mentioning. I do consider this a flaw in the design, it takes away too much functionality for my tastes, but it is not a significant issue in my decision making.

The popup flash is a little closer to the lens axis than I prefer, making red eye more common, but with the use of a Puffer diffuser or other means of diffusion the flash works quite well. In addition to a diffuser I use a small white card to bounce light upwards for bounce flash in small rooms, and I have also placed a piece of Rosco Cinegel 3411 (3/4 CTO) over the flash to balance the flash closer to tungsten lighting, as I use it to supplement tungsten lighting about 95% of the time. This is a small trick that can make a big difference when you use PUF lighting, normally the PUF light appears much cooler then ambient light and it makes it very obvious, by warming the light and dialing it down and/or diffusing it, you get very acceptable results.

The camera has two indicator LEDs. A completely unnecessary (but cool) blue power LED on top, and a card-writing indicator on the back.

Image Quality
This subject is covered in lots of detail elsewhere on the internet, alas:

(These opinions are strictly in regards to the RAW captures, and do not apply to the in-camera JPG captures.)

This camera is simply amazing to me. It terms of APS-C sized image sensors it meets or exceeds all of my expectations with regards to dynamic range, color, and noise. In a way, I am not too surprised as I always got the best images from the Nikon D300 and D90 cameras, the understanding is that the K-x sensor is a modified version of that sensor.

In fact, most of the data on DXOMark show the K-x sensor output as nearly identical to the Nikon D90 for example. (Many people tend to dislike or discredit the information put forth by DXOMark but I have always found it to be very telling and relational with what I find in my own use. Additionally, many forget that when comparing cameras of different resolutions on DXOmark you have to be sure to switch to the 'print' comparison which equalizes the data based on viewing them at equal print sizes.)

As a whole, my images have an exceptional amount of dynamic range, however they always tend to be exposed a bit to the right. This leaves me little room for error on overexposure. Thus while outdoors I almost always start with -1/3 or -2/3EV (sometimes much more), where for indoors I'm comfortable with 0 EV adjustment. This has the side effect that even the RAW image doesn't have alot of room to pull down the highlights, unless of course I planned for it and adjusted EC. The method of metering is somewhat similar to how other Nikon cameras have tended to meter, but quite different from Canon (and Sony). Its never really been a problem for me, but it is something you must be conscious of when you're out and about. If you're not shooting at high-ISOs, you should almost default to using -2/3EV just to be on the safe side.

I'm using Adobe Lightroom 3 beta 2 for all my post processing, mainly because of the amazing noise reduction algorithms introduced in LR3. I own other noise reduction software such as Dfine, etc. and nothing can come close to the ability to reduce noise while retaining detail that I have found in LR3. To put this into perspective, I was able to print a photograph of my son playing with his toys in dim tungsten lighting taken at ISO 12800, post processed in LR3, and printed as an 8x10 - and it looks excellent. There is some grain in the dimmer areas, but no color smearing or blotching. All that said, I don't think that image could stand up to an 11x14 print size - but for a casual user like myself who primarily prints 5x7s and 8x10s its amazing.

Lens choice for a camera is as much a personal preference as (if not more) choice of camera body. I purchased the two lens kit that contained the DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and the DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED. Initially I saw some mention that its a worth while upgrade to goto the 18-55mm ALII version which has a metal mount and slightly modified optical formula, however I found that my kit lens reports itself on EXIF info as an AL II version of the lens, I believe Pentax replaced or updated the kit version's optical formula to match that of the AL II (which makes sense considering cost savings for production of the elements, etc.).

The 18-55 is far and away the best 'kit' lens I have ever used, almost incredibly sharp wide open and at f/5.6 its at its peak. I don't have a single complaint about the lens. The build quality is better than the 18-55 kit zooms I have used from Canon and Nikon (including their IS variants).

The 50-200mm seemed to have a somewhat bad reputation from what I found online with everyone recommending the 55-300 version instead, I decided I would give the 50-200 a try and exchange if needed. It wasn't needed, the 50-200 was as sharp, if not more, than the 18-55. I don't know if my copy is above-par, or I have just very low expectations, but compared to similar lenses with Can/Nikon I felt the Pentax was better! I am extremely happy with this lens.

This is leaving the scope of this review, but as much as I liked the 18-55 I wanted something with a bit more range, and faster. I had considered the Pentax 17-70, Tamron 17-50/2.8, and the new Sigma 17-70/2.8-4. I had used the Tamron on another mount and while it was good it didn't really give me more reach, and I didn't feel it had the contrast I wanted wide open. So then it came down to the Pentax 17-70 and Sigma 17-70, nothing else I could do but examine in person and use them both, they were both excellent but the Sigma was better for me. While it wasn't as sharp wide open, if I stopped it down to match the f/4 on the Pentax is was - plus the Optical Stabilization on the Sigma was way more useable than the AntiShake on the K-x. Focusing speed and accuracy was a draw on both, they both use an ultrasonic ring type design that was very fast and nearly silent. Build quality on both was excellent, I'm surprised the Sigma wasn't designated an EX model. I will now need to start looking for some fast prime lenses!

(I'm sure there many other excellent lenses out there, I just wanted to share my experiences, partially because the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 is so new.)

Image Stabilization
Well, it works, but I wasn't impressed. When I've used cameras with in-body stabilization like the Olympus E-P2 and the Sony a700 I usually can get around 2 'stops' of slower shutter speed reliably. For example, if shooting a 50mm lens (75mm equiv) I would normally use a minimum of 1/80s with no stabilization, 1 stop advantage would let me use 1/40s, 2 stops 1/20s. On the K-x I could only 'reliably' get about 1 to 1.3 stops. 1 stop is better than nothing, but it ranks lower that other in-body stabilization I have used.

(To put it into perspective, using the Optical Stabilization on the Sigma 17-70 I can just as 'reliably' get a 2 to 3 stop advantage.)

Auto Focus
Quite simply I thought autofocus was excellent. Being a budget camera I expected less, but AF is fast and relatively accurate. Both drop a bit in low light.

One of my complaints with all cameras in this class is the lack of any type of AutoFocus fine tuning adjustment. I have some lenses with a little bit of front focus, some spot on, and some with some back focus. All of them are within a degree that I'm comfortable with but at large viewing size and large aperture it is noticeable. It would be nice to give users the option to dial in a little bit of adjustment if they wanted it.

Auto Exposure
As I mentioned before, the camera tends to expose to the right and if I'm not indoors or in a situation using high-ISO I will use a -2/3EV as a starting point for exposure compensation just to protect the highlights. Multisegment metering works well for me except in backlit situations to which I switch to spot metering.

I love the video from this camera, it doesn't take long to get the feel for manually focusing on the fly and the quality of the video is great. Its not a substitute for the family video camera, but I use it often and I'm glad to have it.

The 'jello' effect from rolling shutter seems less pronounced than the Nikon D90 for example, but I never really though it was a problem for my uses anyways.

Battery Life
One of my favorite things about the K-x is its use of AA sized batteries. I dislike spending $50-80 each for a LiIon battery that has to be replaced after about 2 or 3 years regardless of use. On a $500 camera, I don't want to spend $150-200 just for a few sets of batteries, period.

I see lots of arguments about the superiority of LiIon batteries, that they have very low self discharge, high energy capacity, and no memory problems. But I never see the negatives, which are the fact that LiIon batteries typically die due to age, regardless of use. I have lightly used LiIon batteries die at the same time as heavily used ones (by die, I mean the hold 60% of the capacity of the originals or less).

My problem was solved with a $35 investment in 3 sets of eneloop LSD (low self discharge) NiMH batteries and a charger. I get between 600 and 900 shots depending on how much video and fiddling I do with the camera, also get less using the Sigma lens (around 500) due to the OS, per a set of AA batteries. I have no problem keeping a fully charged set with me as a spare, and on trips or long outings I keep a pack of energizer Lithium's for emergency backups.

If I need a new set of eneloops, they can be had for about $10. Sure beats paying $50-80 for a manufacturer's overpriced LiIon battery.

I will admit that the menu system is bit less user friendly compared to other offerings, it takes some getting used to. There is also no 'My Menu' function for placing commonly used items. But as a whole, it works.

Final Thoughts
At the beginning of this review I mentioned I ended up with it by chance. The reason was helping someone learn the use of their new K-x and I was impressed with the camera's qualities and its output. The camera brings as much to the table as some of the cameras costing twice as much.

If you're in the market for a new DSLR and you are on a tight budget, I honestly do not believe you can get a better complete package for your money than the K-x!

I would be interested to hear of others thoughts on the K-x as well...
05-09-2010, 04:50 AM   #10
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k54's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Manila
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I am very happy with my K-x. I usually shoot in low light no flash condition and I am very impressed with the results in High ISO settings as compared with what I used to do with my Nikon D-80.

I only used the built-in flash of the K-x in case it is needed and I don't find there is a need for me on an external flash as I am satisfied with my low light or night shots with the K-x.

The lack of Focus Point LED indicator as what the D-80 have is not an issue to me as I am a K-1000 film SLR user since 1977 and I am on manual mode on the K-x most of the time to simulate how I use the K-1000 in the past. However, other users will surely need this.

Image quality is very sharp. My Nikon user friends were impressed by the sharpness of the shots. However, I always use +0.3, +0.7, or +1.0 EV to make my images to be more lively. Using 0.0 EV appear some kind flat or the color tone is not satisfactory for me.

I used my old 1977 SMC Pentax-M lens on my K-x and it worked and I am happy with the results that I get from it as it it very unique with different effects as compared when using the new DA lens.

I am impressed with it's SR as I seldom use a tripod. Try to imagine using it in a graduation ceremony, the light's were just the stage lights and not very bright, NO FLASH, I am very far and using the 55-300 DAL, all manual mode, and continuous shooting mode while my daughter was marching on the stage. I am impressed with the result. I'm sure I can't do it in my D-80. I do similar shooting modes in my D-80 in the past and I am not happy with it's VR.

The SR is built-in the camera body so lenses will not be very expensive as compared to Nikons and Canons and you can use your old Pentax K mount lenses and benefit on the SR.

My K-x firmware is the latest version already and I do not have any issue on battery life as compared to what I read in many reviews on the K-x.

What I missed on the K-x is the lack of Computer Remote Camera Control capability that I can do with the Nikon's using the Breeze Systems DSLR Remote Pro.

I do hope that Pentax will release a firmware for the K-x to enable this PTP feature like the Pentax *ist D, K-10, and K-20. This feature is available on Nikons and Canons.

This feature is very important to me as I use it for special applications. If Pentax will not revive this feature, I will replace my K-x to a Nikon D-90 by December and just give my K-x to my son who is just beginning to learn the basics of DSLR photography.

Overall, the K-x is a good buy in terms of image quality, features, and price.
05-14-2010, 05:06 AM   #11
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yyyzzz's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 509
Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros Fast AF, High ISO image quality, light weight, more responsive, and quieter shutter
Cons A bit flimsy
Rating 9
Price $470 with kit lens from amazon
Years Owned 2 days

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Described before

Camera Review
As a K10D owner, I feel K-x is a big step forward. It has a quieter shutter, faster AF, much better low light image quality, less AF hunting, and more responsive. The video function does not hurt.

I wish there is a dial wheel in the front even though it is only half as useful as the rear dial wheel. Wish there is soft material as K10D at where fingers touch the body. It would be better to have a metal bottom plate and use a shutter with longer lifespan. I would not mind to have a slightly advanced version called K-x limited, targeting a special market and limited lens users. Certainly wish there are illuminated AF points.

All in all, a great camera. No complaint so far.

Last edited by yyyzzz; 05-14-2010 at 05:41 AM.
05-19-2010, 07:55 PM   #12
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Aristophanes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,945
Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros Small, super-sensor
Cons No AF indicators, missing some manual controls
Rating 8
Price Free (to shut me up)
Years Owned .5

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Awesome sensor and truly the best of the year for APS-C ISO range.
Handles exceptionally well.
Balances perfectly with the Pentax primes (couldn't say that with the older, bigger models).

Camera Review
Overall a very good camera but missing some components that would have made it sell better and really blown the competition away. A switch for SR is really needed, and the lack of AF illumination points is almost unforgivable in this range now. It's like a step backwards to cut a bit of size and cost. Not worth the bad press.

But the sensor continues to amaze. It's ISO range with little noise is a standout.
07-05-2010, 04:30 AM   #13
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Tord's Avatar

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Location: Gothenburg, aka Göteborg
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Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros High ISO performance
Cons Not WR, a bit small VF (not ideal for glasses)
Rating 9
Price around 800 US dollars
Years Owned Since new year's eve, 2009

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
A lot for a few hundred bucks! Just the right size for my hands, and not overly heavy, and perfect with the Tamron 70-200/2.8. Excellent ISO range, world class compared to the other Pentax DSLRs, including the K-7. Decent kit lens, too!

Camera Review
This was my first DSLR (has now been joined by a K-7), and an amazing improvement of everything I had owned before: Better ISO range, more options, better dust control, better pixel mapping, and so on.

Together with the Tamron 70-200/2.8 it thrives, so much so that it seldom is used with anything else! Occasionally I use it with my DA21, DA40, the FA50, or the kit lens from the K-7 (same optics but better mechanics). A nice Sigma 120-400 has also been added to make the kit even more appetizing!

In sharp contrast to the K-7 the shutter & mirror mechanism is a bit noisy, if not overly so.

As usual, setting the camera to spot metering (or center-weighed), both for EF, and AF, seems to give more reliable results than other settings.

On the whole, a lot of excellent camera for very little money (no Japanese assembly here, of course)!


Addendum, about a year later:

By now I have the K-5, which combines the best of the K-7 (like almost silent shutter) with the best of the K-x, plus adds a few more features, but I am in no way willing to part with my K-x - the K-7 is now entirely superseeded, but having its uses in good lighting!
Attached Images

Last edited by Tord; 01-02-2011 at 09:56 AM. Reason: More lenses! K-5
08-25-2010, 01:24 PM   #14
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Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros Size, comfort, ISO capabilites, HD Movie, $
Cons AF is not so good (Probably the only set back imo)
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) 488
Years Owned 6 Months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
12MP, APS-C Sensor, 720P HD Video, ISO Range 100-12800, uses 4 AA battereis.

Camera Review
This is a great all around entry level camera. It is very easy to use. This is my first ever DSLR or SLR and right out of the box (with some research online and on here) I was able to take some good pictures. Now 5 Months later I feel like my pictures have gotten much much better.

The overall IQ is very good. Now this depends a lot on the lens you are using but the Kx with the kit lens produces some very nice pictures.

The semi-pro quality ISO capabilities, which is great for indoor shooting, is probably the best for any camera in this class and maybe even a class higher. Shooting at 6400 is a little grainy but definitely usable and even at 12800 the pics can be turned into "artistic" photos. **Or if you use Noise Ninja on any 12800 photos you can remove a lot of the noise.

The size, weight and grip of this camera is very comfortable. I can shoot for hours without hurting my hands.

The 720P HD video is a bonus to me. I barely use this feature but it is very nice to know that I can shoot a video whenever I need.

The fact that you can use all past and present Pentax lenses on the Kx is a big positive. You can find some really good old lenses out there for really cheap.

The Kx uses 4 AA batteries, I think this is a positive because you can always pick up a pack pretty much anywhere so you will never be caught with dead batteries and nowhere to charge them.

The Kx has no AF feedback lighting system in the viewfinder. I do not care about this feature since I use center focus and recompose. Others miss the lights.

The shutter is very loud and at first I did not care about this but the more I shoot in public the more I feel people are looking at me because my camera is so loud.

The same can be said for the AF system. It is very loud and pretty slow. It hunts a lot in low light.

All in all the Kx offers what I believe is the best entry level camera currently on the market. It is generally less $ than any other camera in its class. Besides the loud shutter, crappy AF system and no AF indicator lights, there tons more positives to this camera and would highly recommend it to anyone that is new to photography or to anyone that just needs a back up camera.
08-30-2010, 07:42 PM   #15
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EvilPentaxUser's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: kentucky
Posts: 71
Pentax K-x Camera Review

Pros easy to use. works with older non-pentax lens
Cons white kit lens does not work with black hood from K100d kit lens - white lens wider, causes viggetting.
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) $508 plus shipping
Years Owned less than 1 year

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
I love the green button, as I can change programming. can do semi-pro pictures. third camera bod compatible with wireless release. lighter even with Ni-Mh AA batteries. extremely fast with FPS.

Camera Review
was extremely happy to with camera, sort of sad to hear that a K-R coming out soon in October 2010. But... it is same basic camera settings with slight improvements, happy to know that it costs a lot more to do same job. a good work horse camera, loves to work with 16 GB SD card.. can do 720p video, works great. does very well with fireworks and can almost keep up with saving pictures. lots to like, an ISO setting in the camera manual to go from 200~6400 to 100~12800. K-R will do what no other DSLr can do ISO 33800.. but at this time, the K-X is still beats even the most high end camera can only go as high ISO 6400. a camera with at least 8 color choices for the body.
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