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11-09-2009, 03:04 AM   #1
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K-x niggles

After 48 hours of ownership, I already love my K-x. However, there are some minor issues (niggles) that I feel the need to mention, some more personal, some more general.

First of all, I've been having a lot of trouble getting photos that achieve "critical sharpness," where no motion blur is evident. This actually seems to happen most often between 1/100th of a second and 1/160th of a second, which seems odd to me. A week ago I was shooting a non-stabilized camera with a 135mm equivalent lens at those speeds and getting sharp images. I also got a decent rate of sharp images at speeds between 1/30th and 1/80th, so I can't help but wonder if it's some sort of issue with the shutter mechanism or SR system (or both) that just affects those speeds. On the other hand, it could just be a combination of coincidence and the fact that I was chilly and the camera is lighter than I'm used to. Time will tell, of course.

Compounding that problem is the fact that the preview jpegs you can view on the LCD screen are of a reduced resolution, so you can't reliably use them to check pixel-level sharpness. My E-330 did this, my 40D did this, and it annoyed the hell out of me. The K20D didn't do this, and consequently I loved it. Sadly, the K-x seems to have picked up the bad habit somewhere, but I'll deal with it.

The blue LED behind the shutter button is something I complained about when I originally posted this; jerrymouse pointed out that I can turn it off in the custom menus. I was delighted to find that not only can you turn it "off," there's also a "low" setting. So it can be "on" if you want to use it as a light in the dark, "low" if you want it to remind you that your camera isn't off but not be bright enough to annoy you, and off if you want it off. I fully retract my complaint and in fact I now see it as a nice positive.

I really miss the top LCD. I just really hate using the back LCD for everything, and in the dark it just kills your night vision. I also miss dual control wheels (doesn't everybody say that?) I'm hoping EC can be programmed to the rear dial in P (in place of program shift) but I didn't see it last time I was in the custom settings. It's lacking some of the overall configurability of the K20D, but it still manages to beat the pants of the semi-pro Canon.

The grip is a little too short for me. I could use a tiny little bit more for my little finger. And my hands are small.

The button layout is getting to me, since I'm just so used to having buttons on the left. In my past cameras, the review, menu, and info buttons were usually on the left, never on the right. When I want to hit up the menus or review images, I constantly find myself pressing the only button on the left, which pops up the flash. Not cool. My fault, though, I suppose.

The lack of lit-up AF points doesn't really bother me, I find, since I've always used center point and essentially ignored the little flashing lights in the viewfinder since I always knew exactly where they would be.

Aside from all that, it's a tiny, solid, well-designed camera that operates fast and delivers fantastic images. In my opinion it's the absolute best-overall camera you can currently get for $600 (and it shouldn't take long to drop even lower). I have a personal rule of only buying cameras used, at least a year after they debut, when prices are low and performance is a known quantity. I broke that rule for the K-x, and I couldn't be happier.


Last edited by er1kksen; 11-09-2009 at 03:53 AM.
11-09-2009, 03:22 AM   #2
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You don't have to tape the blue LED. You can turn it off in custom menu.
11-09-2009, 03:51 AM   #3
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hmm... it seems that you can indeed. Thanks for pointing that out, niggle retracted!
11-09-2009, 04:21 AM   #4
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Hi er1kksen,

Can you tell me how you would compare the overall performance and feel of the K-x to your K20D? I recently bought the K-x but am now looking at maybe returning it for the K20D, I found the K20D felt alot more comfortable for me to hold, and I agree about the small grip on the K-x, that was my first reaction on picking it up.

My major concern with the K20D though is the low light AF performance. I found the K-x a revelation after using the K100d for the last few years.

Thanks,

Colin.

11-09-2009, 04:52 AM   #5
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I haven't used the K100D but I wouldn't expect the K20D to be much faster. The K-x's autofocusing is a lot faster and more responsive feeling, and it actually works in low light (in my experience, the K20D often didn't).

That said, it's not like the K20D's AF is actually bad, it's just that the K-x's is better. Not much slower than my 40D, really. It just does its job and lets me shoot, whereas the K20D's AF kept me preoccupied from time to time.
11-09-2009, 08:13 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
I'm hoping EC can be programmed to the rear dial in P (in place of program shift) but I didn't see it last time I was in the custom settings.
I don't have camera with me atm, but try checking "green button settings" in one of the 1-2-3-4 menus. Surprisingly, if you set "green button" to program line (i.e. what green button was always supposed to do), two new options appear - and one is rear wheel setting in P mode! I set it to change Av (so my Program can switch to HyperAV by just a turn of rear wheel). I don't remember what are other choices beside Av - so try, maybe there is exp. comp.
11-09-2009, 08:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pbo Quote
I don't have camera with me atm, but try checking "green button settings" in one of the 1-2-3-4 menus. Surprisingly, if you set "green button" to program line (i.e. what green button was always supposed to do), two new options appear - and one is rear wheel setting in P mode! I set it to change Av (so my Program can switch to HyperAV by just a turn of rear wheel). I don't remember what are other choices beside Av - so try, maybe there is exp. comp.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but having the dial set to Av is the same as what the dial normally does, isn't it? I dial it, it changes the aperture/shutter speed combination - it is not Av or Tv, simply the program dial function, is it not?

Exposure compensation is just a button press/read dial away already as well - I suppose if you use it more often it would be nice to be able to reverse this function, but either way one would have to be sacrificed...and I think on a 'starter' camera (quotes used very loosely!) you give up things like being able to switch those out via custom functions - thats what a K7 would be for! Personally I figure it is just little stuff to get used to on a great little camera half the price of the flagship model.
11-09-2009, 08:34 AM   #8
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Thank you for your opinions and along with other reviews of the good and not so good features of the K-x, I am moving closer to eliminating the K-x from my options for my next digital body.
I think I have all but decided that the next addition to my photography be either a K20 or perhaps K7 and I will just spray paint it blue or red.

11-09-2009, 08:52 AM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
Forgive me if I am wrong, but having the dial set to Av is the same as what the dial normally does, isn't it? I dial it, it changes the aperture/shutter speed combination - it is not Av or Tv, simply the program dial function, is it not?
No, it's a bit different. Program shift just changes your choice of aperture/shutter speed combination. Say, you rotate the rear wheel till you get an aperture/shutter speed combination you want. But once you change the scene, that aperture will shift, with camera calculating new combinations for the new scene.
With HyperAv, you change aperture, and it locks at the value you choose (pretty much like Av mode, inside P mode). It will stay at that aperture, and camera will vary the shutter speed (and ISO if set at autoISO) only, until you press green button to reset.

I thought OP wanted a way to change compensation with only rear wheel turn - but since I don't have my camera with me and can't really check, i just suggested there might be an option at the green button setting menu (since HyperAv enabling option is there)
11-09-2009, 09:01 AM   #10
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That does make sense! I think I will have to change this myself, I would also prefer it to be set this way.

Nowhere Matt - what else is lacking the K-x that you are moving away from getting one? The reason I ask is that despite what the OP called Niggles he has found (which I also agree with), I haven't touched my K20d since I received my K-x. You do have alot more immediate access to functions in the higher end bodies, but the K-x still has alot to offer. Personally, if my k20d didn't have weather sealing though, I would honestly be very hard pressed to hold onto it. I guess as much as I do appreciate the added function, the K-x, hard buttons aside, isn't missing a whole lot of those functions itself.
11-09-2009, 09:40 AM   #11
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Well from what I understand, and I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but one of the features of the K-x seems like a sort of post processing filter you can use to play with the image in camera once the image has been taken. I think it said something like the camera's software will add an effect to the image at random once you choose that option. That seems really interesting to me. Like a fun little surpise image much like our film days when we are not sure how the image turned out.
But I admit that I still have not held a K-x. I think that compared with using my K10, I am just not sure if I want to get use to a camera that has less accessable controls. Sure I get use to driving a different car every ten years and a camera is much less demanding than obstacles like that...
The fun features, arguable small improvements from the K10 and let's face it all while terrifically priced make the camera attractive. I really became seduced by the thought of having a blue or red slr. Just crazy in my mind. Especially if the camera is this good. I don't care one bit about how others would perceive the use of a colored slr; you just do not get options like this.
Truth be told, if I had $300 free money, I still have very little idea which camera I would add: Another K10, a blue K-x, K20 or K7. Just another reason why I come to this site most every damn day. Information to hopefully help me if I get to make that decision.
11-09-2009, 09:55 AM   #12
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Well, the post-processing filters exist in the K20d and K7 as well. I think they are more fleshed out in the K7 and Kx than the K20, but it does have some fun things to play with (like drawing out a specific color in the image (red, blue, green, etc) and making the rest black and white), or making the photo into a pastel or water color painting. There are definitely more options for this in the Kx though. The changes you make can then be saved as a new image file in this case.

The Kx also has a mode called cross process. As far as I can tell, this mimmicks an old film processing technique, which changes the colors in the photo. In this mode, only the cross process file is saved. I find this interesting, but not as practical since I don't think it saves a proper image along side (whereas with the post processing tools you save as a new image).

As I said before, I would be hard pressed to hold onto my K20d if not for weather sealing. Smaller things like multi-exposure are now available in the Kx as well (I find this very useful for waterfalls in the daytime). The build quality is still Pentax - that is to say, excellent.

While Tav mode is missing from the Kx, I think Sv has become infinitely more valuable, simply because higher ISOs are a viable option! I do find myself in M quite alot, and pressing the EVcomp button to toggle the single dial doesn't bother me at all. I have big hands too, the K20/grip is ideal to me. Honestly the K7 felt too small when I held it! But, the Kx is so compact it feels as though it is attaching to your lenses, rather than vice-versa. I like it most with my largest lens the 50-135, it is very easy to cradle the kx and lens under my left palm - this bears almost all of the weight leaving my right hand more free to make those small secondary adjustments that are necessary without having a 2nd dail and other direct access button functions.

With that said, when I upgraded from my k10 to k20, that felt great too - everything was instantly familiar, and yet it all felt improved in this kind of intangible way. Good luck with your decision, it is a tough one!
11-09-2009, 11:26 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by er1kksen Quote
hmm... it seems that you can indeed. Thanks for pointing that out, niggle retracted!
Also, if you want to go further, you can make the camera completely dark almost all the time.

That was one of my initial K-x niggles - the tendency of the camera to flash displays and lights at me all the time, which was annoying and obtrusive sometimes when shooting in low light in some venues.

It took me a while to figure this all out, but now the camera is completely dark until I want it to show something.

When I now start the K-x up, I get a blank screen at the back by default. When I shoot an image, no annoying instant review image comes up, nor anything else either. The power on LED on top of the camera is also off all the time, and there is also nothing displayed when I change mode dial settings. Here are the settings to do that, FWIW:

To turn off the back display status screen under capture mode, press the INFO button until you get a blank screen. It will stay blank until you turn the camera off or press another button.

To have the camera start up with a blank status screen, make the screen blank by pressing the INFO button until the screen is blank, then go into the Menu, page 4, and under 'Memory', go to p2 and make sure the 'Shooting Info Display' item is ticked. Then exit the Menu and restart the camera. You will then always start up to a blank status screen.

To turn off the Instant Review, goto Menu, p3 and turn off 'Instant Review'.

To turn off the top LED, go to the Custom Menu, Item 20, and set the 'Power lamp' to off.

To turn off the Mode Dial guide display as you change shooting modes, go into Menu > Settings > Guide Display, and set it to Off.
11-09-2009, 11:46 AM   #14
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Great points Rawr - hey, we have a 'firmware requests' thread for the Kx, how about a 'can I change this' thread? I suppose the first response would then be, read the manual!
11-09-2009, 12:53 PM   #15
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Is there a USER mode on the K-x? This is one of the "must have" options on my K20D and I wish I had three USERs not one.

Jack
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