The Pentax Kx – First thoughts…

The Pentax Kx DSLR  – First thoughts…

Many of you have read my Pentax K7 review where I praised the camera for its build, its feel, and mainly for being a massive bang for the buck camera. I still say today that if I were in the market for a DSLR body under $1500 I would most likely buy the Pentax K7 with a couple of the Pentax prime “limited” lenses like this one, or even this one. I really enjoyed the camera and for the $1000 it costs (with the kit lens) it’s one of those cameras that can be considered a deal, and even a future classic for Pentax shooters. Since reviewing the K7 many have asked me to check out the Pentax Kx, the smaller, cheaper, and not as well built little cousin the the K7.

The Pentax Kx Features

12.4-megapixel APS-C Format CMOS Sensor

The K-x incorporates a newly developed CMOS image sensor to assure high-speed image data readout and more flexibility with varying ISO sensitivity levels. With approximately 12.4 effective megapixels, this image sensor accurately reproduces true-to-life images with fine detail and rich color depth. The K-x offers a wide sensitivity range between ISO 200 and ISO 6400 and allows users to expand the sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 via a custom function to offer greater creative freedom to photographers.

Wide Screen HD 1280x720p Video Recording @ 24 Frames-per-Second

The Pentax K-x movie recording function* captures true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Compatible with every Pentax interchangeable lens ever made, the Video Capture mode opens a new world of creativity for Pentax K-x owners.

High-Speed Continuous Shooting at approximately 4.7 Images-per-Second

The K-x’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 17 images (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately 4.7 images per second. This is the fastest of all entry-class models. The K-x also features a more reliable shutter unit, which passed a demanding action test of more than 100,000 shutter releases. The top shutter speed of 1/6000 second allows the photographer to preserve sharp, crisp images of fast-moving subjects.

High-Performance, High-Speed PRIME II Imaging Processor

The K-x features the newly developed PRIME (Pentax Real Image Engine) II, that is an upgrade of the original PRIME imaging engine. This new imaging engine offers greater data processing speed and enhanced capability to produce higher-quality images with richer, more accurate color rendition, as well as faster transmission speed of movie data.

Live View Function with Face Detection of up to 16 Faces

In addition to the camera’s viewfinder, the K-x features a Live View function that allows users to view subjects on the LCD monitor during shooting. The K-x also offers a choice of three different focusing modes in Live View: Contrast Auto Focus, Face Detection Auto Focus, and Phase Difference Auto Focus.

Digital Filters

The K-x’s digital filter function allows users to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways within the camera and produce highly creative visual expressions. With a choice of 16 different filters including Color Extract, Retro, Soft, Starburst, Toy Camera, and more (including a custom filter for building multiple effects), photographers may apply multiple filters to a single image for customized effects.

Cross Process Mode

The K-x features a new Cross Process mode that automatically and randomly adds finishing touches to exposures to create eye-catching images with unique, intriguing colors (just like images treated with Cross Process* in film photography). This mode adds a whimsical element to digital photography since photographers don’t know the results until the captured image is actually displayed on the camera’s LCD monitor.

High-Precision 11-Point AF Sensor

The high-precision, wide-frame SAFOX VIII autofocus system of the K-x features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically capture even off-centered subjects in sharp, crisp focus. Photographers also may select one of the sensors as a focusing point to accommodate specialized applications.

Additional Features Include:

Custom Image modes offer high quality processing for images, a 2.7″ (230,000-dot) high-resolution color LCD, Auto Picture mode for effortless, automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode, even during Live View shooting , a Status screen for easy, at-a-glance confirmation of various settings on the LCD, 10 scene modes, including Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Kids, and Museum available via simple icon selection, and Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, with RAW-data processing and image browser functions.

My First Thoughts on the Kx

I finally was able to get a hold of one and I have shot with it for a few days now. My first impressions are that it’s definitely not as nice as the K7 when it comes to build, feel, and overall use. I really enjoyed the brick-solid K7, the weather sealing and knowing that it could take some abuse if I had to dish some out. I also prefer camera bodies with as many external controls as possible as I hate menu digging.

The Kx is smaller, feels a little more plasticky, and takes AA batteries, which to some are a positive and after thinking about it, I sort of agree. The K7 does require some menu digging but it’s not as bad as my sons Nikon D3000.

I will go over all of the details in my full review coming soon but even while my first impressions are not as enthusiastic as they were with the K7, I can not complain about the image quality of this little guy, or the price. With an 18-55 lens, this camera comes in at $529, which is another great deal for Pentax shooters. This is about the same price as the Olympus E-Pl1 but it has a larger sensor, which should mean better quality pictures. I do know that you have access to MUCH nicer lenses with Pentax, and that is VERY important when it comes to getting great IQ from ANY camera. The lenses are the heart of ANY camera system which is probably why I love Leica so much!

As for Pentax, I have their 200 f/2.8 here and it’s damn good.

So look for my review soon! Until then, here are some shots I took of my Nephew while he was visiting from Chicago. These were converted to B&W and were shot with the kit zoom AND the 200.

In my review I will go over everything with the Kx including ISO testing, RAW vs JPEG, speed (operation and AF), color, and video. It’s so cool that today we have so many options for enjoying photography, and even the lower priced cameras can do a great job it seems. The K7 is double the cost, and I have to admit, worth it but for $500, the Kx seems pretty damn good. I’ll be shooting it for a few more weeks to see how it goes over the long run.

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  1. Nice first look of the K-x, the thing about the Kx vs K7 is that the K7 cost more but have a earlier sensor while the Kx is more for beginners making it a bit difficult to choose the K7. Anyway for the price, I grabbed a Kx.

    Any thoughts on the lenses suggested at the link below?
    I came across the article by accident.

  2. @Michiel: Certainly agree that Pentax is underrated today. I use an Asahi S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 on my GF1 and I love the lens! So much so that I keep using it even after getting the Panasonic Leica ME 45/2.8.

    The Kx has the best high ISO performance in an APS-C sensor at the moment, and is the smallest APS-C DSLR out there. The Pentax FA Limited and DA Limited lenses are real gems. That said, the system is not without its faults. Lack of AF point highlighting on the Kx can be a deal killer for some, and the AF speed in Live View is abysmal. But if you’re looking for an entry level DSLR and are willing to live with its quirks, the Kx is probably my top pick.

    My next lens purchase will be another Pentax, but this time, a 25/1.4 C-mount lens LOL.

  3. My only experience with Pentax dates from the Asahi Pentax, Takumar M42 era. They’re obviously good cameras as Steve demonstrates, but I wonder why (in the dslr field) they generate so little enthousiasm, compared to Nikon, Canon, Olympus.

    Any thoughts anyone?

  4. I like my Nikon D90. That’s small enough a D-SLR for me. I also lIke the Olympus line. The only Pentax I’d want to use would be the K1000. LOL!

  5. The Kx is a awesome little camera, possibly the smallest true DSLR ive seen. Certainly seems smaller but heavier and more solid then the D3000 and XS.

  6. I had the Pentax K10 for a few years, it was a magic camera (is magic, i still have it).
    My quest to find a smaller camera than the K10 began with buying the Kx and i traded in my K10 because i had heard that the sensor was better than the K10’s and the body smaller .Almost straight away i saw a huge difference in iq. I rushed back to the camera shop and they kindly let me swap cameras. Do try the K10, the iso is better than the K7and i read that some people prefer the iq of it to the K7, plus you can pick one up very cheaply. I use mine for macro and sports day shots now, so i don’t use it often often but it is a good partner to the M9. Also, it’s the camera i grab when it’s pooring with rain which is a big plus.

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