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01-22-2010, 09:48 AM   #1
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Only 1 week left with my K-X! My impressions.

My time with my K-x is winding down. I am a K10d owner with aspirations of upgrading, but realistically, with a growing family and wife that doesnít work, I need to be happy with what I have for now. Just before Christmas, Amazon had a great deal on the white K-x kit, so I figured, why not, I could buy it, take it for a test spin, and re-sell it without losing any money. This was especially enticing because I donít think there is any store in the entire state of CT that stocks Pentax DSLRs. So, I went ahead and ordered it.

I have really enjoyed it. Being busy, and winter here, I havenít had as much time as Iíd like to use it, but itís been a learning experience. My quick summary:

ē It sure is small. (More later on this)
ē I do miss the LCD on top, but I could quickly get used to living without it.
ē I love the Info summary showing on the back LCD. Itís very easy to change many settings from there. In future cams, they should take this a step further and allow direct change from the summary, instead of having to hit the info button. Touch screen would be best.
ē I miss the focus point indicator showing. I have grown accustomed to relying on them, but I donít think most newbies to DSLR would miss it.
ē I miss dual wheels
ē I miss the AF-S AF-C switch on the body. I switch between them frequently.
ē The video mode is a lot of fun. The ability to film with shallow DOF really looks good. Iíve been delaying selling it because I want to play around more with this. My main issue with the video mode is that I canít see the screen well enough to do accurate focusing.
ē I like the higher FPS rate.
ē Auto White balance is a big improvement.
ē Overall image quality seems great to me (I havenít ananyzed in detail, but I like what I see)

Most importantly-
ē The hi ISO performance really is amazing. With the K10d, the max I liked to go to was 800. With this K-x, 3200 seems about equivalent.
ē The autofocus performance is greatly improved. Muuuuch faster.

These last two points are crucial for one thing that I enjoy, photographing sports, especially indoors. The K10d and K-x are like night and day in this regard. In using the K-x, I am simply able to get shots I canít get with the K10d. With the K-x, I can use 3200 and get shutter speeds that are fast enough to stop action indoors in gyms. If you can only get 1/90th in a gym, itís useless for basketball. On the other hand, in that same light I can get 1/300th with the K-x. I am also getting many more usable shots because of the improvement in AF. For this reason, it will really hurt to sell this camera.

With all of this positive stuff, why donít I just sell my K10d, and keep the K-x? The biggest reason? Size. This camera is just too small for me. I have big hands. My shooting hand just feels cramped. I love the size of the K10d, and I often use a grip with it. I also do like the extra dials and controls and weather sealing of the K10d. And lastly, white is just not for me. I think it actually looks nice, but not for me.

I think itís a real shame that more people canít go to a store and handle the new Pentax cameras. It seems to me that Pentax has done a great job with the K-7 and the K-x. Iíd love to know if the K-7 fits me better. Doesnít matter much right now anyway because I canít justify the cost anyway, but somedayÖ

01-22-2010, 10:26 AM   #2
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Yeah it is really unfortunate that you can't easily find the KX in stores, I almost bought the Canon T1i but I told myself I should wait until I see the KX and be able to handle it. I actually drove 70 miles just to see this little camera. Although the T1i is a tad bigger, when I held the KX, it felt comfortable in my hands, it fills the gaps in my right hand when I hold the camera.
01-22-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
I miss the AF-S AF-C switch on the body. I switch between them frequently.
So AF-A isn't cutting it?
01-22-2010, 10:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote

I think itís a real shame that more people canít go to a store and handle the new Pentax cameras. It seems to me that Pentax has done a great job with the K-7 and the K-x. Iíd love to know if the K-7 fits me better. Doesnít matter much right now anyway because I canít justify the cost anyway, but somedayÖ
I feel the same way, I went to many camera stores in my area to look for pentax bodies/lenses to get a hands-on feel last year but couldn't find a single one. I think if Pentax cameras were better exposed and advertised and more people get to play with them in person, they'd do very well in sales.

It's too bad that this camera was a bit small for your hands, but I think Pentax will come up w/ larger bodies w/ great auto-focus and high ISO performance in the future

Shawn

01-22-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Graystar Quote
So AF-A isn't cutting it?
It is a good idea, and for a P&S upgrader it might be fine. But no, it tends too much towards AF-C, not -S.

Personally, I rarely use my camera in AF-C, so the lack of switch is not a huge issue. But making a AF-S, AF-C, M switch does not cost a lot more than an AF/M switch.
01-22-2010, 11:17 AM   #6
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Actually, I did not look much into AF-A. I know it exists, and it's supposed to automatically decide somehow which to use, but I'm not sure how well that works, and how I know which one the camera is choosing. I use AF-S mostly, because I like to lock focus and recompose, but in action situations, I switch to AF-C.
01-22-2010, 11:36 AM   #7
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MY K-x is coming next week, but the impression I got from the manual was that it starts out if AF.S...meaning that a full shutter press doesn't activate the shutter until something is in focus. But if you only half-press the shutter, then after focus is acquired the camera shifts to AF.C, which will activate the shutter instantly upon full press. So it's just AF.C with a requirement that an initial focus lock must be achieved before shutter release.

To me it sounds like it will allow you to lock focus on a subject, and if you recompose while keeping the shutter half-pressed then the subject should stay in focus.

Like I said, thatís just the impression I got from the manual. But I'm intrigued by this function, which is why I asked.
01-22-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Camgen Quote
Yeah it is really unfortunate that you can't easily find the KX in stores,
We have several stores here where you can handle the individual colours

It wasn't like that and I think the following has happened here
The official Pentax importer in SA has bought two chains of photo shops(one quite recently) and those shops now prominently park the Pentax equipment on eye-level in the shop window. Somebody on a local forum complained about it in the forum (he/she uses Canon and Canon had the worst spot somewhere at the bottom in the shop's window and far less space).

01-22-2010, 11:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
Actually, I did not look much into AF-A. I know it exists, and it's supposed to automatically decide somehow which to use, but I'm not sure how well that works, and how I know which one the camera is choosing. I use AF-S mostly, because I like to lock focus and recompose, but in action situations, I switch to AF-C.
I owned Pentax K20D and I miss that AF-S and AF-C switch too.

QuoteOriginally posted by Graystar Quote
MY K-x is coming next week, but the impression I got from the manual was that it starts out if AF.S...meaning that a full shutter press doesn't activate the shutter until something is in focus. But if you only half-press the shutter, then after focus is acquired the camera shifts to AF.C, which will activate the shutter instantly upon full press. So it's just AF.C with a requirement that an initial focus lock must be achieved before shutter release.

To me it sounds like it will allow you to lock focus on a subject, and if you recompose while keeping the shutter half-pressed then the subject should stay in focus.

Like I said, that’s just the impression I got from the manual. But I'm intrigued by this function, which is why I asked.
The default in K-x is AF-A and I have been asking around and no response is given on my question if AF-A is smart in choosing between AF-S and AF-C subject to how the user interacts with the half press, shutter and subject. Since I change my AF mode to center point only, the AF-A defaults mostly to AF-S but change when we choose different scene and drive mode as in continuous Hi shooting or the scene mode in running man in the mode dial. There seems no smartness in the AF-A mode. Other K-x users, please correct me if that is not your experience.

Hin

Last edited by hinman; 01-22-2010 at 12:06 PM.
01-22-2010, 11:57 AM   #10
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Our local camera store (the only one for 60 miles in any direction) carries Pentax and Olympus. When I was there buying batteries and filters for the K-x I had bought off Amazon, I noticed they had all four colors of the K-x on display. I did not notice a K-7. I felt a little bad about not being able to buy from the local guy, but my dollars are short just like his, so I need to maximize my value too.
01-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
Most importantly-
• The hi ISO performance really is amazing. With the K10d, the max I liked to go to was 800. With this K-x, 3200 seems about equivalent.
• The autofocus performance is greatly improved. Muuuuch faster.

These last two points are crucial for one thing that I enjoy, photographing sports, especially indoors. …
I share many of your opinion on K-x. It is unfortunate that you need to return your K-x due to size issue. I bought K-x as a backup and travel companion to my K20D and hence all the compromises in missing buttons and few lacking are justified in my purchase. I have small hand and K-x fits me well. K-x purchase can be a dilemma as it is NOT meant to be a replacement of K10D, K20D and K-7 as it is not in the same class.

Hin

Last edited by hinman; 01-22-2010 at 12:54 PM.
01-22-2010, 12:50 PM   #12
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Nice writeup Jake. It sounds like you've hit on all the points that I'm looking for in a camera.

I'm still in the shopping mode. Almost ordered the K-x two lens kit w/ 55-300 from Amazon until the price went back up.

Have you bought a camera yet, Camgen? You mention the two cameras I'm currently looking at.

I've been a Canon user (just P&S) for quite a while and want to jump into the dSLR world. Since my wife has a few vintage m42 lenses, the K-x has floated up high on the list for use of those and the high ISO performance.

On one hand, I'd like to try Pentax, but their customer service and future is unknown to me. They have a relatively small line of cameras but what they do have seem to be good. I read that Samsung might be breaking ties with Pentax and I'm wondering if that might hurt Pentax enough in this economy that they could shut down. Again, I only know what I've read.

It seems like Canon is here to stay and is constantly churning out new models (both good and bad points can be made about that) but when I had the sensor in my old Canon S1 IS fail, it was about 3 years OUT of warranty and Canon still fixed it quickly for free.

Luckily both the Canon T1i and Pentax K-x were in stock at a local store, so I got to try and compare side by side. I took an SD card with me and snapped some pics from each to look at when I got home. Both cameras felt at home in my hands but you can't deny that the LCD screen on the T1i isn't gorgeous compared to the Pentax. I would say picture quality was nearly the same, but the colors seemed more vibrant on the K-x.
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