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10-30-2009, 08:34 AM   #1
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Is the K-x right for me?

Hi everyone,

I used to participate here quite a bit but I've taken a break from photography for the past 12-18 months or so for various reasons. Right now the only camera I own is an iPhone!

I'm getting ready to buy a camera, and I'm a bit overwhelmed with all of the new gear that has been introduced during my "absence". I'm just now getting up to speed.

Here's the basics of I want:
- good high ISO performance
- video
- fairly compact
- less than $1,000 for body
- fast lenses in the "normal" and "portrait" EFL range (40-50mm & 75-95mm)

I've had my eye on the Panasonic GF1 with the 20/1.7 pancake. But I just learned about the K-x and it looks fantastic. I'm also considering the D90 or the D5000.

How does IQ compare with these cameras? What about video? I read a review of the K-x on Photography Blog that suggests the video is hard to use on the K-x.

I really love the 20/1.7 with the Panasonic. Perfect "normal" focal length for me, and nice and fast. I wish there was something similar for Pentax mount within that same price range. On the other hand, there is no fast, portrait-length prime for the Panasonic other than the 45/2.8 OIS which is too expensive for me.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

10-30-2009, 09:13 AM   #2
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KX in it's price range (~600USD) is the best in the class.

The D90 has more advanced features, and has access to a full line up of FF Nikkor lenses. If you decide to ever upgrade to full frame and do not want to rebuy lenses one of the Nikons might be a better choice.

IQ is subjective, it would be best for you to test each of them your self, and then compare the images and decide for your self which one looks better to you.

IMO none of the cameras are really suited to video work, I'd rather purchase a HD compact SD Cam, because it has a sensor designed to well be used for long periods of time in that manner.
10-30-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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No way will the high ISO performance of the Panasonic compete with the APS-C cameras, and while the 20/1.7 will help get faster shutter speeds and thus avoiding the need for as high an ISO, at best that puts you at parity with an f/2.8 lens for APS-C. It's not in any way going to provide an advantage.

I think the IQ of the others would be comparable. The Nikons, of course, lack stabilization, so those fast primes you get had better be a couple stops faster - or high ISO performance a couple of stops better - in order to equal the results you'd get with the K-x. If you get the 35/1.8 for Nikon, that would give you something more or less similar to a 35/2.8 or so on the K-x in terms of low light shooting ability.

So with an f/2.8 lens on the K-x versus the faster lenses on the others, it's about a wash. Get a faster lens for the K-x and it wins. Th 35/2 - discontinued but still available - would be the natural choice here; or you could consider the Sigma 28 or 30. Or, for well under $100, a manual focus 28/2.8 - which wouldn't be an improvement over the faster lenses form the others, but would be about the same in practice, and cheaper. Other MF options exist, too.
10-30-2009, 09:20 AM   #4
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Thanks to you both. You've just made the choice a lot more clear. I am buying this camera primarily for taking pics of my kid (who moves a lot!), so fast lenses and high ISO performance are more important than IS. A Pentax K-x with Sigma 30/1.4 and/or 50/1.4 sounds pretty ideal.

Re: Pentax 35/2 - where can I still find that? I used to have that lens when I had a K10D, and I loved it.

10-30-2009, 09:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
Re: Pentax 35/2 - where can I still find that? I used to have that lens when I had a K10D, and I loved it.
I just checked ebay and it seems to be available on sellers there.
10-30-2009, 09:27 AM   #6
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Depends on what kind of videos you will want to take. If you want DoF control, a DSLR excels there. If you want long videos with wider DoF and autofocus instead of manual, a dedicated cam is better. Also, I have heard there is a bit of a rolling shutter effect with DSLRs right now, though IS helps a bit. here is a first time user's video:



There is one person that claimed you can use AF in video here:
Pentax K-x Review - Comments | PhotographyBLOG

What is he talking about?

My white K-x has been delayed till next weds due to UPS routing error :\
10-30-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
My white K-x has been delayed till next weds due to UPS routing error :\
=( I've had so many crazy things happen with UPS I some times wonder if I am the only one to experience random delays for the silliest reasons.
10-30-2009, 09:41 AM   #8
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ups also charges ridiculous handling and custom charges for canadian shippings. >.>

10-30-2009, 09:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by blu3ness Quote
ups also charges ridiculous handling and custom charges for canadian shippings. >.>
Oh yes they do. That is mostly the brokerage fee, the duties and taxes are normal. I don't mind the brokerage fee because you can always self broker the package in with UPS (provided you have a UPS depot that does international brokerage in your city).

USPS/Canada post is the best as they only charge like $5.00 flat rate, and fed-ex at least in my city, does not have a brokerage center set up, and last time I asked, wanted me to fly down to the mid-west states to do the brokerage on the package my self...
11-01-2009, 07:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daemos Quote
=( I've had so many crazy things happen with UPS I some times wonder if I am the only one to experience random delays for the silliest reasons.
I has similar experience with them as well.
The tracking status came up with exception, which indicate the address I gave them were wrong. Then I have to call them up to double check and reconfirm the delivery address. Lost 2 days.

Then when I got the package, the original address was correct. The delivery guy just cross out the original correct address, then attach an delivery exception note, with the same address. Go figure
11-01-2009, 07:56 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
Thanks to you both. You've just made the choice a lot more clear. I am buying this camera primarily for taking pics of my kid (who moves a lot!), so fast lenses and high ISO performance are more important than IS. A Pentax K-x with Sigma 30/1.4 and/or 50/1.4 sounds pretty ideal.

Re: Pentax 35/2 - where can I still find that? I used to have that lens when I had a K10D, and I loved it.
Get the 30/1.4. It will work in door better to capture moving kids. With Kx, you have usable ISO upto 6400, which not many camera from Nikon or Canon can do that.

I've used my friend's D90 recently in dark restuarant, and the ISO 1600 photo looks noisier than the ISO 3200 KX photo.
11-01-2009, 08:37 AM   #12
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I do not recommend 30/1.4. AA's cannot provide enought power for AF to move that bucket of glass. The camera "thinks" a lot during AF (lags befor AF action after half press and between each AF movement) with this lens aswell, probably because of the severe aberrations and distortions when wide open.

35/2 is light and has "zippy" AF.
11-01-2009, 01:43 PM   #13
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If you are taking pictures of kids, you need to freeze their action indoors.

The only way t really do that is with a flash. Fast glass will give DOF problems (unless your kids line up straight across for every shot), so the advantage there is minimized if they are moving. Shallow DOF plus movement don't equate. With motion, you need higher shutter speeds, so to get that, you should, at a minimum, invest your $$ and buy the AF-360FGZ flash and bounce it off the ceiling. This is the best solution for what you are describing. Higher ISO helps, but can be overly grainy, especially with skin tones.
11-01-2009, 01:52 PM   #14
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Not yet mentioned is the reasonably cheap yet versatile FA 50 f/1.4.
Some people dislike it for being too long, but for shooting children, it is actually a great FL -and is very fast, both in AF and optically. I have used to capture children even at f/1.4 and the images are acceptably sharp (if focused correctly).

Used at f/2, there is sufficient DoF for a child portrait and will allow for a fast shutter speed with high ISO from the K-x under almost any lighting conditions! And the lens is very sharp at f/2!
11-01-2009, 03:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Not yet mentioned is the reasonably cheap yet versatile FA 50 f/1.4.
Some people dislike it for being too long, but for shooting children, it is actually a great FL -and is very fast, both in AF and optically. I have used to capture children even at f/1.4 and the images are acceptably sharp (if focused correctly).

Used at f/2, there is sufficient DoF for a child portrait and will allow for a fast shutter speed with high ISO from the K-x under almost any lighting conditions! And the lens is very sharp at f/2!
I agree to some extent. This is my non-flash lens. However, at 2.8 down to 1.4, the DOF is really a stationary portrait shot; not suitable for moving kids or 2 objects in the same FOV.

Also, it's a little slow with AF-C, because of the glass, I guess. Since you emphasized children moving, you are best advised to freeze them with lighting and not aperture.
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