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02-17-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
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KX Advice Sought

I am considering buying a Kx. I currently shoot with the K20d, and love the camera. It serves me especially well with landscape shots. But, for the Kx, I had other plans. I wanted to utilize its high ISO ability, not just for indoor, low light shots, but for subjects outdoors which are moving. And this brings me to my area of concern and purpose for this thread.

In a nutshell, will I be better off with the Kx than with the K20d? Reading throughout the web, I get varied opinions. And, trusting my eyes I do see an advantage for the Kx, over the K20, for higher ISO. But, is it really an advantage? DPreview, as respected as any of these evaluative/comparative camera sites are, points out the K20d's Shake Reduction system returns a full stop of advantage over the Kx: 2 stops for k20 SR; 1 stop for Kx SR. I read their studies and the methodology seems sound--I have to believe their results are valid.

So, back to the original question, is the Kx actually going to give me any advantages over my K20 for the purpose I have in mind? Part of the answer would depend upon just how much better the Kx actually performs @ high ISO, of course. But, even before I begin to compare, I have to literally put the K20d +1 with its better SR system. I have not shot with the Kx, but plenty here have. Even more interesting, I think, will be advice form those shooters who use both cameras.


Last edited by Jewelltrail; 02-19-2010 at 10:59 PM. Reason: correction
02-17-2010, 10:54 PM   #2
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I don't use any of those cameras, but for what it's worth:

For moving subjects that you want to freeze, equal quality at higher iso is the benefit as you can use shorter shutter speeds. And one step higher in ISO will compensate for the shake reduction benefit of the K20D.

So I guess that you can safely invest your time in comparing.
02-18-2010, 12:20 AM   #3
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sterretje I don't use any of those cameras, but for what it's worth:

For moving subjects that you want to freeze, equal quality at higher iso is the benefit as you can use shorter shutter speeds. And one step higher in ISO will compensate for the shake reduction benefit of the K20D.
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are saying. But I do understand that, for example, a shot @ f4, 1/400th, iso 3200 is, for exposure purposes, equal to a shot @ f4, 1/200th, iso 1600. However, for freezing moving action, the first example may be more effective in freezing subject movement because it has a faster shutter speed. So, 1 stop better in iso performance is not necessarily offset by 1 stop better performance in SR. I understand that much for sure. The speed of the subject, as wel as other factors, needs to be taken into account as well.

However, and this is why most of my help is likely to come from operators of both bodies, I have not yet seen a definitive statement on just how much better the ISO is in the Kx--it may be more than a stop. Also, the raw headroom is pretty much maxed out in the Kx due to its excellent processing engine, leaving little room to make up in PPing, whereas the K20d does have headroom in the Raw, leaving more room to makeup in PPing. The noise algorithms in the Kx are clearly better than those in the K20d, but one can seek better noise reduction with a K20d Raw by employing 3rd party noise software. I could go on and on, but it will just confuse things.

My question is, from users of the Kx in general and from those of both cameras in particular, how much better do you think the high iso performance of the Kx actually is when you consider all things. Perhaps, to truly consider all things, you really need to shoot with both cameras, or else be very well read in the subject matter.

I am very interested in hearing opinions, and, especially, facts, from contributors. Thanks
02-18-2010, 01:30 AM   #4
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I have a K20D and K-x. I haven't used the K-x that much, but I think it's reasonable to say it's a stop better than the K20D. I haven't noticed anything with the SR, but I haven't tested. I did notice that the K-x focusses faster in dim light. I haven't noticed any AF difference in good light. I have the impression the K20D makes nicer looking photos, but I need to investigate further. The video thing holds no interest for me. I took a couple of short movies of my grandaughter a few days ago and I don't even want to see what a mess I made.

IMO the K20D + K-x is a killer combo because they have different strengths. I bought the K-x for its small size and leading-edge ISO performance, but I love the feel of the K20D in my hands. It"s a beautifully built camera and extremely well engineered. As nice as the K-x is in some ways, the K20D remains my favourite.

I'll know more about the K-x soon, because I'm going on vacation in the morning and I plan to put some miles on both cameras.

02-18-2010, 03:14 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
So, back to the original question, is the Kx actually going to give me any advantages over my K20 for the purpose I have in mind? Part of the answer would depend upon just how much better the Kx actually performs @ high ISO, of course. But, even before I begin to compare, I have to literally put the K20d +1 with its better SR system. I have not shot with the Kx, but plenty here have. Even more interesting, I think, will be advice form those shooters who use both cameras.
Probably, the K-x is very good at high ISO's. I own the K-x and K20D and since buying the K-x the K20D has pretty much taken second place as my day to day shooter. I won't say that the K-x is a better camera than the K20D (that will p*ss too many people off) but to my mind it's a better photographic tool. I can shoot in more varied light and get more keepers than when shooting with the K20D.

Everyone seems to go on and on about build and WR, ok the build of the K-x might not be as robust as the K20D but it's far cheaper and it's build to do the job, it's a great compromise IMO. WR might be worth its weight in gold for some but for me and where I live it's a non-issue.

If you can borrow a K-x for a day I'm sure you'd be impressed but I doubt many owners would be willing to be without theirs for that long! ;-)
02-18-2010, 03:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are saying. But I do understand that, for example, a shot @ f4, 1/400th, iso 3200 is, for exposure purposes, equal to a shot @ f4, 1/200th, iso 1600. However, for freezing moving action, the first example may be more effective in freezing subject movement because it has a faster shutter speed. So, 1 stop better in iso performance is not necessarily offset by 1 stop better performance in SR. I understand that much for sure. The speed of the subject, as wel as other factors, needs to be taken into account as well.
I think you understand what I was trying to say. Imagine you have a 500mm lens (FF equivalent 750mm). With one stop SR gain (Kx), you can practically take the shot at 1/400s without camera shake causing a blur. With two stops SR gain (K20D) you can practically take the shot at 1/200s without camera shake causing a blur. So both cameras are equal in the example that you gave with regards to blur due to camera shake and the Kx wins with regards to freezing the action.

I think that you have quite some knowledge about the equipment (possibly more than I have), but your statement that you gave the K20D +1 for SR is in this situation incorrect.
02-18-2010, 04:12 AM   #7
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I think the best response for you will come when DXOlabs (eventually, finally, 6 months after the camera was released and still waiting...) get around to assessing the K-x and give it a DXOMark score for it's sensor related performance relative to the K20D, including Low-light ISO. I am expecting that to happen very soon now.

Pentax

But although I don't have a K20D, I do have a K200D, and I find the two cameras very handy to have, but a division of labour has established itself between them.

If I need to do any video, it's the K-x.
If I need to do any indoor, low-light shooting, it's the K-x.
If I need to do any macro shots using liveview, it's the K-x.
If I need to do any telephoto lens shooting where I need to use f8 or f11 etc in order to get a good DOF or maximise the sharpness of the lens, forcing me to also go to higher ISO, it's the K-x.
If I am doing an urban walkaround, it's the K-x.
If the weather is bad or I'm going bush or going somewhere rough, it's the K200D and WR lenses.
If I am doing an important shoot, I bring both K200D and K-x as backups of each other.

Etc.

In general, it's not an either/or response, I think, between the K-x and a camera like the K200D or even the K20D.

But specifically in terms of high-ISO, even just in terms of RAW and especially in terms of it's JPG engine, IMHO the K-x I think has a noticeable advantage over the K20D and K-7, which for sports and indoor low-light work you will notice.
02-18-2010, 05:32 AM   #8
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My KX impression in a nutshell...

If you like using the front and back adjust wheels on the K20, you will miss the front one on the K-x. I have a K100, K-X, K20, and K7. I used the K-X extensively over the Christmas holidays for family type subjects. I found the K-X to be everything I ever wanted in my K100, but it is NOT a K20, or K7. Of the three, I like the K7, the best. It just seems to get better the more I use it.

Cheers...


Last edited by Michaelina2; 02-18-2010 at 10:53 AM.
02-18-2010, 06:52 AM   #9
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If you're shooting action, the K-x has several advantages over the K20D.

The K-x has the extra ISO headroom, which allows you to get higher shutter speeds at the same noise level and aperture
The K-x has higher fps, allowing you to capture more shots of the same sequence
The K-x has somewhat better AF (but the K20D allows you to see which AF point is active)
The K-x has a higher max shutter speed, which can matter in bright light with fast movement.

The biggest advantage to the K20D is that it has a larger buffer at max fps, especially in RAW where the K-x has a mediocre 5 shot buffer, if fps isn't important the K-x has an 11 shot buffer at 2fps though.

There's not many areas where the K-x outdoes the K20D, but they basically come down to speed, high ISO, and responsiveness (the K20D feels slow in comparison to the K-x, especially in the menus or in image review)
02-18-2010, 08:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
In a nutshell, will I be better off with the Kx than with the K20d?
I've just been through the same experience. You may want to read this thread to see what others have said about my very similar question.
02-18-2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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I wouldn't replace the K20D with the K-x, but they do augment each other very well.
02-18-2010, 09:27 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
audiobomber: IMO the K20D + K-x is a killer combo because they have different strengths. I bought the K-x for its small size and leading-edge ISO performance, but I love the feel of the K20D in my hands. It"s a beautifully built camera and extremely well engineered. As nice as the K-x is in some ways, the K20D remains my favourite.
I feel the same magic when I hold the K20d, and holding the Kx, no matter how good it performs @ high ISO, is going to take some therapy to get me through it--for sure. Thanks, audiobomber, and have a fantastic vacation--post some comparative shots in a thread for us.

QuoteQuote:
disstudio: If you can borrow a K-x for a day I'm sure you'd be impressed but I doubt many owners would be willing to be without theirs for that long! ;-)
I may be able to do this, especially now that Pentax is growing its business again. Great idea, thanks.

QuoteQuote:
sterretje: I think that you have quite some knowledge about the equipment (possibly more than I have), but your statement that you gave the K20D +1 for SR is in this situation incorrect.
DPreveiw, a noteworthy reviewer of cameras (Google them) gave the K20d 2 stops of advantage for SR, but gave the Kx only 1 stop of advantage for its SR. You can read their tests at their website if you wish. I did not give the advantage to the K20d.

If you mean to say, the K20d's advantage in SR reduction does not necessarily cancel out the advantage of high ISO in the Kx, then I might agree with you.

QuoteQuote:
rawr: I think the best response for you will come when DXOlabs (eventually, finally, 6 months after the camera was released and still waiting...) get around to assessing the K-x and give it a DXOMark score for it's sensor related performance relative to the K20D, including Low-light ISO. I am expecting that to happen very soon now.
Excellent information--I was not aware of this imminent release of a concretized number to access the KX's high ISO performance. I now await this moment as eagerly as you do. Thanks.

QuoteQuote:
Michaelina2: If you like using the front and back adjust wheels on the K20, you will miss the front one on the K-x.
YES, an astute observation indeed. I shoot almost exclusively in the manual mode, so I'm always spinning those 2 wheels joyfully. Actually, may sound weird, but moving those 2 wheels makes me feel like I'm playing music. Seriously, I think this will be a tough thing for me to get over--thanks for making this clear!

QuoteQuote:
firefly: I've just been through the same experience. You may want to read this thread to see what others have said about my very similar question.
Well, not really. I am actually keeping the K20d, and she'll be buried with me someday. I am truly in love with this camera. Even if I get the Kx, the K20 stays. But, I did learn more from reading through your thread--thank you.

QuoteQuote:
deadwolfbones I wouldn't replace the K20D with the K-x, but they do augment each other very well.
Summed up nicely! I guess this is really what I'm after in this thread--I want to know the Kx is worth adding to my collection. Don't get me wrong, the Kx is amazingly low-priced--exceptional value ( I paid $1200 for the K20 when it came out).

However, I could take that $500 to $600 and put it towards the Sigma f4 100 to 300mm which entertains me in my dreams currently. Or, pick up the Siggy 50mm f1.4, or ..........................................................you all know what I mean.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE111
02-18-2010, 10:30 PM   #13
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if you already have k20d and can live with keeping yourself below iso1600 then there is no point in buying kx.

it would be better to spend money on lense.

you should also keep in mind that cameras are changing very fast and every year you would see a camera that is better than previous one in some way. (kx has better sensor than k7 etc etc).

so it is natural that very soon kx might be replaced by something very new that has better performance than kx.

If i had k20d, i would have never bought kx.
02-18-2010, 11:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by zxaar Quote
if you already have k20d and can live with keeping yourself below iso1600 then there is no point in buying kx.

it would be better to spend money on lense.

you should also keep in mind that cameras are changing very fast and every year you would see a camera that is better than previous one in some way. (kx has better sensor than k7 etc etc).

so it is natural that very soon kx might be replaced by something very new that has better performance than kx.

If i had k20d, i would have never bought kx.
In my opinion, that would have been a mistake... I have the K20 and was ready to sell everything and go to Canikon with a body and a couple of lenses...

Thank goodness for the K-x! It has kept my hope for Hoya-Pentax alive... I could have never afforded the K7, but I needed more out of my camera than the K20 was giving me for my ever faster kids.

You are right, they will improve on the k7/kx in the next few models... And eventually they will get the HD video right and I will get rid of my K20 and k-x and get the new camera. But until then, I am very happy with the Kx and how it works with my bucket full of old mf lenses, and my tamron 28-75 + Da 40... And how much better the Pttl flash meter/timing is for my uses!!!

Let me hear ya say yeah.... All the haters in the house yeah...
02-19-2010, 01:36 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
DPreveiw, a noteworthy reviewer of cameras (Google them) gave the K20d 2 stops of advantage for SR, but gave the Kx only 1 stop of advantage for its SR. You can read their tests at their website if you wish. I did not give the advantage to the K20d.

If you mean to say, the K20d's advantage in SR reduction does not necessarily cancel out the advantage of high ISO in the Kx, then I might agree with you.
That is what I was saying. With the same shutter speed, the K20 has the advantage (e.g. 1/25sec 'feels' like 1/100sec). Being able to increment the ISO one step without quality loss using the Kx will eliminate that advantage (1/50sec 'feels' like 1/100sec as well). So I think the biggest question for you is if the IQ of the Kx @ ISO 200/400/800/etc is equal or better or worse to the IQ of the K20 @ ISO 100/200/400/etc and where you will start having a benefit on the high iso performance of the Kx.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
YES, an astute observation indeed. I shoot almost exclusively in the manual mode, so I'm always spinning those 2 wheels joyfully. Actually, may sound weird, but moving those 2 wheels makes me feel like I'm playing music. Seriously, I think this will be a tough thing for me to get over--thanks for making this clear!
I have a K10D (bought it as one of my requirements was dual dial) and recently bought a refurb'ed K100D. The dual dial is something that I'm not missing that much with my M42 lens. More annoying for me is that some controls (e.g. spot/centerweight/matrix) are hidden in the menu instead of easily accessible. I think it's worth to have a look from that perspective.
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