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12-27-2009, 03:55 PM   #91
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Kostarae,

As someone that switched from a Nikon D70 to a Pentax K20d and was slightly disappointed when the Pentax didn't instantly make me a better photographer , I want to make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Focus issues aside, the K-x is not going to take vastly better photos than the D40. You want it to because you just bought it and it's supposed to have the latest and greatest technology. But the latest and greatest technology is going to really help in challenging situations - low light, high contrast, pixel-peeping contests, etc... - not in normal everyday snapshot use and not in the first photos that you posted. There will be subtle differences, like how in the first photo the Pentax is more contrasty, but not much beyond that. Where the K-x should pull ahead of the D40 is in low light, when you're trying to catch the photo of your wife and child beside a reading lamp and the rest of the lights are off, and you're at ISO3200 and able to handhold a 50mm shot @ 1/25 because of SR. That's when you know the difference.

Regarding focusing and the kit lens...it's a little slow but certainly capable of good photographs - better than the ones you have posted. In addition to the test that others have recommended, set it on a tripod or flat surface in front of a complex scene like a bookcase. Set the timer to 2 seconds to lock up the mirror and turn off SR, set the aperture to F8, and let us know what you get. You should get a sharp shot. If not, maybe there is something wrong.

Sorry that the K-x wasn't a home-run out of the box for you, but I hope you figure it out soon...

12-27-2009, 04:32 PM   #92
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Just a word of support for kit lenses. All the pictures (except for the horse) on my gallery were taken with the 18-55 DA, hand held with no SR on a 6MP ist, the snowman when printed is pretty much '3D' so let's not knock them too much.

We all want a new camera to be streets ahead of the one it displaced if only to justify the the expenditure but sometimes it does take time to adjust to a new model and appreciate how to get the best from it. I'd do the various focussing tests as suggested and if still unhappy take it back to the dealers. If you've prepared your case then there shouldn't be too much hassle if they are a reputable shop.

Justin.
12-27-2009, 07:03 PM   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raptorman Quote
The one I have is the 35-80 F series lens. I
Wel it's not 'THE' kit lens is it then.

I mean really.
12-27-2009, 08:36 PM   #94
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Honestly, for what I'm seeing and reading, there's no way one can tell if the camera is at fault. Neither pictures (Nikon or Pentax) are sharp. First Pentax images had 1/2 as much light available according to data (800 ISO 1/60 compared to 220ISO 1/30, huge difference). Don't know if these were taken in RAW or JPEGs. If JPEGs, well, we need to know the camera setting for JPEG generation. 800 ISO images are always softer than 220 ISO due to noise reduction. The subject may have been moving in either images, etc. etc. You need to take more controlled pictures to draw conclusion.

12-28-2009, 12:52 AM   #95
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QuoteOriginally posted by kostarae Quote
...the pictures that are coming out of my K-X are looking like trash compared to the D40 lacking the 3D feel that the D40 brought to me .... The pictures also look very soft.

What is wrong here?

Not to mention the K-x files are approx. 4 times the size. Where is the data going?

HELP me get this thing right.
Whoa! Hold up there buttercup...

There are a hole bunch of points to make here.

1. The D40 has higher per-pixel IQ than the K-x. D40 is a 6MP CCD, and it cleans house in this metric up to at least ISO800. But to make it "fair" you should change the output of the K-x to 6MP before comparing noise and sharpness. Or for fun and games upscale the D40 to 12MP (youch!) However your samples are both resized down to comparatively tiny resolutions, so this isn't the main issue obviously.

2. Bring the cameras outside. Low light or not, lets get shutter speeds up above 1/125 before drawing any king of conclusions about sharpness. AS others have pointed out, SR needs some time and and is somewhat limited compared to the OS in the Nikkor lens.

3. However, based on my experience with both cameras, and as someone who has used a D40 for over two years: on average the D40 takes better/nicer photos unless you are over ISO800. The K-x jpegs ARE soft, and get softer as you turn up the ISO, and the output IS flat, lacking that 3D look. Softness though is inconsistent and rather difficult to pin down in testing. Ditto the "3D" look, which I put down to the relative lack of noise of the D40 low ISO images vs. the K-x. As far as I can make out, it's what you pay for in return for the clean high ISO images the K-x does so well.

The K-x is a bit of a Faustian bargain, not one that I was willing to make. However if ISO1600+ is a requirement, it's the only option short of a D700...

I was actually quite shocked when, after using the K-x for a couple of weeks, I went back and looked at my old D40 archive.
12-28-2009, 11:51 AM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by rjm Quote
1. The D40 has higher per-pixel IQ than the K-x. D40 is a 6MP CCD, and it cleans house in this metric up to at least ISO800.

3. However, based on my experience with both cameras, and as someone who has used a D40 for over two years: on average the D40 takes better/nicer photos unless you are over ISO800. The K-x jpegs ARE soft, and get softer as you turn up the ISO, and the output IS flat, lacking that 3D look. Softness though is inconsistent and rather difficult to pin down in testing. Ditto the "3D" look, which I put down to the relative lack of noise of the D40 low ISO images vs. the K-x. As far as I can make out, it's what you pay for in return for the clean high ISO images the K-x does so well.
It's not the Nikon D40 - but I have a Pentax K100D which is every bit as sharp and good in IQ as the Nikon D40 (there are plenty of comparisons out on the web including dpReview)

A 6Mp dSLR of the D40 and K100D class do give very good IQ - but to say the K-x is soft is a bit of an over-exaggeration -

100% actual pixel crops from Imaging-Resource test samples
for the K-x from: Pentax K-x Digital Camera Samples - Hands-On Preview - The Imaging Resource!
- for interest I also include the K-x images downsized to 6Mp so one can compare directly size-for-size with the 6mp dSLRs.
all at ISO200 (EXIF still attached) -








It is TRUE that the new K-x default color setting of "Bright" is a lot more muted than the earlier traditional Pentax color of over-saturation and a tendency toward warm/yellow or the Nikon D40 "consumer friendly over-saturated colors" both the latter may seem "punchier"-

The K-x is now much more in line with other competing dSLRs -
which to me is a good thing.....

from: Pentax K-x Review: 18. Photographic tests: Digital Photography Review
" The K-x produces an almost identical color response to its bigger brother, the K-7. As we've seen in other reviews the standard hues are also very similar to most other SLRs in this class, with minor saturation and brightness differences but essentially the same color response. "

compared to the K100D -
from: Pentax K100D Review: 16. Photographic tests: Digital Photography Review
" The K100D's color response was quite similar to that of previous Pentax digital SLR's, that is quite highly saturated (vivid) in the default 'Bright' image tone, as can also be seen earlier in this review, it can lead to color clipping in certain situations (such as red flowers in direct sunlight). Switching to the Natural tone calms color saturation to more typical levels (compared to other digital SLRs). "

and the Nikon D40 -
from: Nikon D40 Review: 19. Photographic tests: Digital Photography Review
" The D40's default color reproduction can be described kindly as 'consumer friendly', it's certainly highly saturated with a particularly strong response to blues and greens, this is because by default the D40 uses color mode IIIa (intended for landscapes). Those who prefer a more neutral color balance can of course create a custom preset and select color mode Ia. "

I would say that the K-x has IQ that's every bit as good as the K100D or Nikon D40 at any ISO including the base ISO200 (possibly superior) -
and certainly in these standardized test shots the K-x does not betray any "softness" even at its full 12Mp.
12-29-2009, 11:33 AM   #97
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OP did you get this figured out? there is a way to adjust BF or FF in the debug menu i believe, if that is the problem
12-29-2009, 01:46 PM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by kostarae Quote
I was excited to receive my K-X after using a Nikon D40 for about a year as I am a low-light shooting freak and loved the fact I could use primes with stabilization and high ISO capabilities, but the pictures that are coming out of my K-X are looking like trash compared to the D40 lacking the 3D feel that the D40 brought to me when first purchasing a DSLR. The pictures also look very soft.

What is wrong here?
I know EXACTLY what you mean, I had the same feeling when I was comparing a friend's Canon T1i with my Pentax K-x head to head. Kx images looked terrible enough to make my heart sink .

So we sat down at the local bar with a difficult bright lights + dark seating and I started experimenting with both cameras for a few hours and now I have a work-around : Bottomline is, Pentax AF and AE metering algorithms are really dumb compared to Canons / Nikons in a snapshot situation. Hate to say it, but it's true. I feel that Pentax algorithms act like an engineer, trying to get the best image parameters, while Canons and Nikons act like marketing guys who make people in your snapshots look good.

Here is my workaround for snapshots: Switch the AF to 5-point instead of 11-point and keep the subjects close to the center. Now experiment with AE metering mode, till you find the right "look". For me it is usually center-weighted metering in challenging direct sunlight or dark areas. As a downside you lose freedom in framing your subject, but you can crop the photo later to your liking thanks to the 12MP resolution.


Try these two settings out, let me know what you think.

12-29-2009, 01:55 PM   #99
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What I'm getting from this, is this camera is a great one to shoot in RAW and PP. That's fair enough!
12-29-2009, 02:18 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by KayMan Quote
I know EXACTLY what you mean, I had the same feeling when I was comparing a friend's Canon T1i with my Pentax K-x head to head. Kx images looked terrible enough to make my heart sink
Well this can happen with any new camera which is unfamiliar to you.

QuoteOriginally posted by KayMan Quote
Bottomline is, Pentax AF and AE metering algorithms are really dumb compared to Canons / Nikons in a snapshot situation
Feel free to change the (metering) settings-even though it doesn't have dedicated switch it's still very easy to do via the info button.

QuoteOriginally posted by KayMan Quote
As a downside you lose freedom in framing your subject, but you can crop the photo later to your liking thanks to the 12MP resolution
Connect AF with AE in the menu-you can focus and recompose-and use center point AF-it makes easier to understand what's going on.

Andras
12-29-2009, 03:04 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by planedriver Quote
Well this can happen with any new camera which is unfamiliar to you.



Feel free to change the (metering) settings-even though it doesn't have dedicated switch it's still very easy to do via the info button.



Connect AF with AE in the menu-you can focus and recompose-and use center point AF-it makes easier to understand what's going on.

Andras
Andras, thank you for the pointers. Both cameras were unfamiliar to me the first time I tried them out. Now I am using the AE workaround fairly regularly. Not so with the AE-AF linking though, becaues it gave me bad exposure far too often. I had to delink them.

Anyway, here is a fantastic explanation of why Nikon D40 with its 420-pixel RGB AE metering gives way way better photographs of people: (I don't know how to link URLs, so here is a quote from Imaging Resource D90 review - D40 uses same AE metering):

********
Face Detection in Phase-Detect AF?

Here's a new wrinkle we were frankly a little surprised to hear about: The Nikon D90 can actually use face detection when in normal auto-area phase-detect AF mode. At first, this sounds like an impossibility, and it would be for a purely conventional phase-detect AF system. After all, how could the AF sensors tell whether they were focusing on a face or any other object? All they see is a signal that indicates how far in or out of focus their part of the subject is: There's nothing that would indicate what type of subject they're looking at.

This is where the 420-pixel RGB sensor comes into play again. It obviously doesn't have anywhere near the resolution of the main image sensor, but there's probably enough to give at least some idea of where a face might be in the image. We don't know the details of how the 420 pixels are arranged, but if they were in an array with a 3:2 aspect ratio to match the overall frame dimensions, that would be an array on the order of 25 x 17 pixels in size. Pretty paltry by camera image sensor resolution, but perhaps enough to detect a skin-colored blob against a differently-colored background. In closeup portraits, this is also probably enough resolution to figure out what part of the subject corresponds to an eye vs. a nose.

Of course, as noted before, the RGB sensor itself doesn't collect any distance information, and as such, can't directly control focus operation. In other words, you're still only going to be able to set focus based on areas covered by the AF points themselves. But what the RGB sensor data can do is to help the AF system decide which of the AF points to pay attention to.

Playing with a prototype of the Nikon D90, we found this to work surprisingly well. In auto-area AF mode, if we arranged objects to have several both covered by AF points and at equal distances from the camera, the camera pretty reliably chose the AF point lying over a face. Even more impressive, if we composed a portrait shot with several AF points on the subject's face, but only one over an eye, the camera picked the eye more times than not. (It seemed pretty accurate, but we'll have to spend more time with a production sample before we can give any idea of how reliable this AF system feature is. Nonetheless, what we saw struck us as both impressive and useful in actual shooting situations.
********

Hope this technical explanation clarifies what I mean by my layman's description "Pentax AE+AF is dumb comapred to Nikons and Canons when taking snapshots of people".
12-30-2009, 02:03 AM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by KayMan Quote
Switch the AF to 5-point instead of 11-point
No. Switch it to 1 point select and then select whichever focus point you want to use. Auto focus point selection (5 or 11, doesn't matter) is pretty much useless and is asking for trouble (you have no idea on what the cam will lock focus).
12-30-2009, 02:07 AM   #103
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This thread is going nowhere.
01-11-2010, 03:56 PM   #104
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¿Something new? ?Is the problem solved?
01-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raptorman Quote
This thread is going nowhere.
Well the OP has moved on to searching for primes and posting pics so we'll have to assume he's warming to the K-x.
It's up to the rest of us in this thread to move on as well I guess.
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