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01-19-2010, 03:48 AM   #1
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New here...advice, comments on KX and 50/200 lens...

Hi Folks,
Short version. Hope to order a KX today. At first was going to buy with 18/55 though I can get the 50/200 for only $80 additional. Yes, I do occasionally have a use for longer lens as every year or so take snaps at SCCA races.
Also, would like some guidance on in camera settings, especially sharpness. I use JPG and ideally like to only do cropping and resizing. Though I am far from a great photographer, like many of you, have far too many cameras. Twenty plus film cameras. Have been using a Ricoh GR II for most everything over past couple of years though do own an EP1 and several other digital cameras.
Why do I want a KX? Hmmmm. Good question. It just seems like such a neat camera and the low light capabilities (I haven't used a flash in well....I don't remember the last time) seem fantastic. Also interested in the video. And the size seems perfect.
I have Leica, Olympus, Contax, and Canon lens and had thought about buying a GH1. But, for some reason the KX is calling to me, if you will.
Any comments, suggestions or thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
George

01-19-2010, 05:25 AM   #2
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The K-x is a fine camera and regardless of which lens you decide on, it will be an excellent choice. That being said, If I was in your shoes, I would think more seriously about the K-x with the 55-300 instead of the 50-200 setup. The 55-300 is a far superior lens, not just the extra reach, but the results with that lens have been consistently wonderful. I think the kit with the 18-55 and the 55-300 with the k-x is around $625-650. What a deal.

Jason
01-19-2010, 12:19 PM   #3
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Where?

QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
The K-x is a fine camera and regardless of which lens you decide on, it will be an excellent choice. That being said, If I was in your shoes, I would think more seriously about the K-x with the 55-300 instead of the 50-200 setup. The 55-300 is a far superior lens, not just the extra reach, but the results with that lens have been consistently wonderful. I think the kit with the 18-55 and the 55-300 with the k-x is around $625-650. What a deal.

Jason

Jason -

Where have you seen the K-x w/55-300 for $650 if I may ask?
The best I have found is $750 (with free shipping) for the dual lens kit (w/55-300)

Thanks,
-Brian
01-19-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
The K-x is a fine camera and regardless of which lens you decide on, it will be an excellent choice. That being said, If I was in your shoes, I would think more seriously about the K-x with the 55-300 instead of the 50-200 setup. The 55-300 is a far superior lens, not just the extra reach, but the results with that lens have been consistently wonderful. I think the kit with the 18-55 and the 55-300 with the k-x is around $625-650. What a deal.

Jason
The $650 deal on Amazon for the K-x kit with 55-300 seems to be over. I went to pull the trigger on that last night and it's now showing $810

01-19-2010, 12:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
If I was in your shoes, I would think more seriously about the K-x with the 55-300 instead of the 50-200 setup. The 55-300 is a far superior lens, not just the extra reach, but the results with that lens have been consistently wonderful.
Not to take anything away from those comments or the quality of the 55-300 zoom -
BUT the 50-200 Zoom actually is of quite outstanding quality.

This is confirmed by reviews eg: PopPhoto review of the 50-200 as the Samsung clone -
the 50-200 SQF chart compare to the 55-300 test and SQF


So unless one really needs the reach between 200-300mm (35mm equiv to 301-450mm) then the 50-200 Zoom is more than just a match -
and there is a savings of about $100........
just another small point is that the 50-200 is slightly wider at 50mm compared to 55mm - this may not seem much until one has the longer zoom lens on the K-x and wished the wider 18-55 kit lens was on....
then 50 compared to 55 makes a LOT of difference
01-19-2010, 01:08 PM   #6
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I have the 50-200 lens ever since I bought my k200d but I have to admit it came to a new life on my K-x. The improved AF, the confidence to use higher iso values just makes this lens a favourite one. But I think the 55-300 would be even better.

Andras
01-19-2010, 01:14 PM   #7
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Am I reading those charts right? Both lenses are actually better wide open at full telephoto than stopping down to f/8?? or does "subjective quality factor" take into account the aestetics of a shallower DoF?

The chart doesn't make sense to me - why the trends between apertures don't exactly match as you go up in size...
01-19-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
Am I reading those charts right? Both lenses are actually better wide open at full telephoto than stopping down to f/8?? or does "subjective quality factor" take into account the aestetics of a shallower DoF?

The chart doesn't make sense to me - why the trends between apertures don't exactly match as you go up in size...
Hmm... I don't see that....

The apertures at each tested focal length runs down the left column, and the SQF ratings go across from there by size of enlargement (along top row of each focal length).

So 50-200 at 50mm for a 14x11 print
f/4 (max aperture) scores 93.6 in Orange (A rating)
f/8 scores 94.4 in Red (A+rating) as one would expect.....

for a 20x24 print - the gap widens
f/4 = 83.3 in Yellow (B rating)
f/8 = 86.2 in Violet (B+rating)

However I do see in the intermediate focal lengths some minor improvement of the max aperture over f/8 - however the points spread is so minor that anyone would probably be hard to see any actual difference in quality -
that sometimes is the real problem with numbers, where we may quibble over minor absolute numeric differences when we might not be able to see the difference in actual usage/print.

To be honest I tend to just look at the colors for the SQF charts - that seems to give me a quick overview of how the lens performs.

However I will say that I have found the kit zooms (50-200 and 18-55 mk 1) seem to perform really well at wide open - since those are mainly the apertures I shoot at.

01-19-2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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Try Adorama, they have the dual lens kit (18-55 and 55-300) listed for $719. It was actually in stock as of yesterday, even though it doesn't show it.

15801 Pentax K-x Digital SLR Black Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm & 55-300mm Lenses
01-20-2010, 12:53 AM   #10
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Hi Folks. Thanks for all of your replies and thanks VT for posting the charts. Ordered the two lens (50/200) from Adorama Tuesday afternoon; the delivered price is $639. When I got home tonight UPS tracking shows I'll have my camera the 21st. Can't beat that kind of service.
Also, as mentioned in my post, would greatly appreciate some guidance on in camera settings, especially for sharpness.
Thanks,
George
01-20-2010, 03:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by george c Quote
Ordered the two lens (50/200) from Adorama Tuesday afternoon; the delivered price is $639. When I got home tonight UPS tracking shows I'll have my camera the 21st. ...
Also, as mentioned in my post, would greatly appreciate some guidance on in camera settings, especially for sharpness.
Congrats on your soon to be new camera and lenses.
Hope you'll enjoy them as much I am mine.

Check your Firmware version, and if necessary upgrade to FW 1.01.
see K-x 1.01 firmware now available

As for settings - I suggest starting with the default "Bright" color setting -
and then try out the "Fine Sharpness" setting (page 194 and 196 of the K-x manual).

Might also want to check out:

K-x Sharpness Vs Fine Sharpness - Different Settings
01-20-2010, 08:01 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone!

I also took the plunge on the K-x with 50-200 from Adorama.

Same $638 incl free shipping. Going for the 55-300 instead would be $95 more and I don't think I'll use the extra zoom right now.

This is my first digital SLR. And first Pentax.

I come from Nikon 35mm and 120 but sold all of it some time ago when I lost my darkroom space (and time).
01-20-2010, 08:11 AM   #13
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I went for the Adorama package with the 55-300 because I already had the 50-200. It arrived this week. The camera bag they threw it was actually more substantial than I expected, but I don't know that I really needed it.

The 55-300 DA-L does seem like a bit of a step down from other DA Pentax lenses--starting with the cheesy rear lens cap. On the camera, it is large but seems light for its size. We'll see how it shoots.
01-20-2010, 08:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Not to take anything away from those comments or the quality of the 55-300 zoom -
BUT the 50-200 Zoom actually is of quite outstanding quality.


So unless one really needs the reach between 200-300mm (35mm equiv to 301-450mm) then the 50-200 Zoom is more than just a match -
and there is a savings of about $100........
just another small point is that the 50-200 is slightly wider at 50mm compared to 55mm - this may not seem much until one has the longer zoom lens on the K-x and wished the wider 18-55 kit lens was on....
then 50 compared to 55 makes a LOT of difference

I am SO happy to see this post! I ordered the double kit with the 200 lens for a great price a couple of weeks ago, and then in my extensive reading here saw how everyone recommended the 300 kit lens by far. I am on a tight budget and I do prefer smaller and lighter so that was my only consolation until now. Thanks!
01-20-2010, 10:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by george c Quote
\and thanks VT for posting the charts. Ordered the two lens (50/200)
QuoteOriginally posted by clarkebd Quote
I also took the plunge on the K-x with 50-200 from Adorama.
QuoteOriginally posted by efg Quote
I am SO happy to see this post! I ordered the double kit with the 200 lens for a great price a couple of weeks ago, and then in my extensive reading here saw how everyone recommended the 300 kit lens by far. I am on a tight budget and I do prefer smaller and lighter so that was my only consolation until now. Thanks!
Gosh, never thought my comments would have been useful to so many -
thank you all for your feedback, and kind words.

Just in case this was missed from the PopPhoto review of the
50-200 as the Samsung clone
" IN THE LAB
SQF results topped out in the Excellent range at all three tested focal lengths, an above-average performance by kit lens standards. (Even pro-caliber lenses in this focal-length range tend to dip into the Very Good SQF zone at 200mm.)

CONCLUSIONS
Optically, the best digitally-dedicated tele kit zoom that we've tested so far, this Samsung lens produced the sharpness and distortion numbers of a much more expensive, pro-caliber zoom.
"
(remember PopPhoto tested the 50-200 Samsung clone)

50-200 Zoom -
Dimensions: 2.6 x 3.1 inches (66.5 x 78.5mm)
Weight: 9.2 oz.

To be fair the 55-300 is also very good -
from PopPhoto 55-300 test
" IN THE LAB
Sharpness and contrast were in the Excellent SQF range at all tested focal lengths -- quite surprising for a lens this inexpensive and this long. (We would have expected a drop into the Very Good, even Good, ranges.)

CONCLUSIONS
If you can take the sluggish AF, this lens will reward you with unusually reach, excellent optics, and favorable pricing. Yes, you could go to a 14X super zoom like the Pentax 18-250mm, but you may not like the image quality or the higher price tag!
"

BUT the 55-300 Zoom is about 50% longer and 70% heavier-
Dimensions: 2.8 x 4.4" (71.0 x 111.5mm)
Weight: 15.5 oz. (440g)
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