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Pentax K-x Digital SLR Review

Pentax K-x Digital SLR Review - See the first full review of the K-x, the new DSLR from Pentax.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Pentax K-x
Price : £600
Rating :
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Review by Matt Grayson

On the surface this looks like the Pentax K-m. But is it just that or a new model that looks suspiciously similar? That's what we plan to find out.

Pentax K-x: Specification
    Pentax K-x front view
    The new Pentax K-x builds on the K-m while not being as fast as the K-7.
  • Resolution: 12.4Mp
  • Sensor size:23.6x15.8mm
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • Max. image size: 4288x2428
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Focus system: TTL phase difference detection
  • Focus points: 11
  • Focus types: AF/A (auto), AF/S (single), AF/C (continuous), Manual
  • Crop factor: 1.5x
  • Lens mount: Pentax K-AF2 bayonet
  • File type: RAW (PEF, DNG), JPEG
  • Sensitivity: ISO200-6400 (expandable to ISO100 & ISO12,800)
  • Metering system: TTL open aperture, 16 segment
  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3 or 1/2 step increments
  • Shutter speed: Bulb, 30sec - 1/6000sec
  • Frames per second: 4.7fps (max. (JPEG) 17 frames, (RAW) 5 frames)
  • Flash: Built-in, hotshoe
  • Flash metering: P-TTL, guide no. 12 (ISO100)
  • Flash sync speed: 1/180sec
  • Image stabilisation: Shake reduction (max. 4EV)
  • Integrated cleaning: Image sensor moving mechanism and SP (Super protect) coating
  • Live view: Yes, TTL by image sensor
  • HD Video: Yes
  • Video recording: 1280x720p/24fps
  • Viewfinder: Optical, fixed moulded penta-mirror type
  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD (230,000dot)
  • Media type: SD, SDHC
  • Interface: USB/Video, USB 2.0
  • Power: 4x AA batteries
  • Size: 122.5x91.5x67.5mm
  • Weight: 515g (excl. battery and card)

Pentax Kx DSLR shutter button & command dial
Pentax Kx DSLR side
Pentax K-x: Features

It's been 9 months since the Pentax K-m was tested here at ePHOTOzine towers and I was really impressed with it. It was easy, fun and well built for a camera of that classification. So how does the new Pentax K-x measure up in terms of upgraded features?

Similar features include the chassis, metering and viewfinder. That's it. Pretty much everything else in the camera is new or upgraded, so this could be classed as a new camera over a replacement. With the new release comes a change in the stand point from the manufacturer. Indeed, with the recent release of the Canon Powershot G11 giving a lower resolution than the camera it replaced, it seems that the pixel race could well be over. In fact, Pentax have researched what consumers find the most important features in a camera. In 2007, the five most important things customers looked for were: resolution, price, image quality, functions and brand. Two years shows a distinct shift in what people are looking for with price being the main factor followed by resolution, anti-blur, brand and product size/weight.
Pentax Kx DSLR back view
Good news for Pentax with their down sizing technology as the new camera lacks certain features such as an articulating screen and a HDMI port to keep the size down. But if the research is accurate then why are manufacturers turning their attention to innovative features when functions aren't even in the top five? Why are we also seeing cameras coming out more expensive in this economic climate? Well the Pentax K-x is listed at £599.99 with the 18-55mm DAL lens or £749.99 if you get the new 55-300mm DAL in the twin lens kit.

My first impressions are that the K-x replaces the K-m, but certain factors seem to point to the camera being an addition to the range. Take the sensor, it's a 12.4Mp CMOS which sits in between the K-m at 10.2Mp and the K-7 at 14.6Mp. However, the new PRIME (Pentax Real Image Engine) II processor has been used in the new camera meaning the larger file sizes of the higher resolution can be downloaded quicker. On board 12bit A/D conversion has also been used for speedier transfers.

Expandable ISO is a feature being more commonly seen on DSLRs and Pentax have actually given us a reason why they've done it on the K-x. In a paper from Pentax Japan, they state that “ISO100 limits the dynamic range and therefore increases the likelihood of whitewash.” continuing with “Lower ISO equals lower gain which doesn't necessarily mean higher quality.”

Pentax Kx DSLR menu screen
The new, easier to use menu is accessed by pressing the info button.
As well as the core features having an overhaul, the menu screen has also been revamped. The main menu is the same which is actually not a bad idea as it means that current owners will be using a familiar UI. Pressing the Info button brings up a separate menu system which displays the fun, or some would say “interesting”, features of the camera. It comes up in a similar fashion to the current Olympus UI showing the options in rows. You navigate through the options using the navigation pad on the back.

One of the best features I think this camera has is the newly developed Cross Processing mode. It's an extension to the digital filters that were introduced on the K-m and expanded with the K-7. It gives the simulated effect that cross processing a film gives you and to add even more fun to the mode, there's a “random” option so the camera chooses what filters and patterns to apply to the image. It's certainly hit and miss but that's all part of the fun. It works by applying custom colours to the image and then adds a special pattern which Pentax are keeping close to their chests.

Pentax Kx DSLR HDR effect comparison
In camera HDR has been added which, like the K-7, takes three successive images and merges them together to get the best dynamic range possible. There's also CTE (Colour Temperature Enhancement) which works as a white balance override system. If you take a shot of a lot of grass, for example, and the camera starts to compensate because it thinks there's a cast, you can choose CTE in the white balance menu to correct the picture in playback or use live view to correct it before shooting.

On the subject of live view, it's a similar system to the previous models using multiple focus types including phase difference detection, contrast detection and face detection. HD Video recording is at 1280x720p running at 24fps. Not quite full HD but still HD nonetheless. Any video is recorded in Motion JPEG and the format is AVI.

Pentax K-x: Build and handling
It's an engineered plastic shell covering a K-m chassis. To keep size and weight down (and I think to not tread on the toes of the K-7), weather proofing and dust proofing hasn't been included in the build. That matches the K-m and I actually think it's a shame. Pentax could offer a full line up of cameras that have weather proofing and be one step ahead of their rivals.

Interestingly, the camera is 10g lighter than the K-m yet feels heavy in the hands. It's probably down to the AA batteries as they've been preferred over Lithium-Ion. Pentax say this is because the customer base looking at this model appreciate the availability and flexibility of AA over Li-Ion. It's true that they're more readily available and you can get regular Nickel Cadmium or decide to upgrade to Nickel Metal Hydride which are available as rechargeable. Lithium batteries are now available and as rechargeable and I think the only major concern with this battery format in these modern times is the weight of them. Strange then that Pentax, advocates of lightweight technology, should consider a heavier product.

The buttons are firm and responsive and the menu is easy enough to navigate. The addition of the new menu when pressing the info button is still an easy to use concept.

We've seen the Pansonic Lumix DMC-GH1 in it's dark red colour scheme and opinion over that is divided. Pentax have gone with a similar styling and made the K-x available in bright red, white, navy blue and black. Stephen Sanderson, Product Coordinator for Pentax UK said “Sales of the Pentax K-m in white were sold out in Japan before they'd even hit the shelves. They hope to copy that popularity with the different coloured versions of the K-x.” Releasing the camera in red, white and blue could be a nod towards the UK market, it could be blue, white and red to signify Pentax Europe's HQ move to Paris from Hamburg or it could just all be a happy coincidence. Either way, I reserve my opinion on the coloured cameras until I see them in the flesh.

Pentax K-x: Performance
Pentax Kx DSLR colour test chart
After talking quite positively about AA batteries for what could possibly be the first time in my life, I found the power consumption too much to handle. I used four new AA Lithium batteries and they were dead in 24hrs. I didn't use the camera excessively although I did use live view, so that could be the issue.

For clarification, the batteries were from an unopened packet so I knew they'd not been used previously. From my time in retail, I know that manufacturers can use half charged batteries to give away because they're cheaper but I'd still expect a lot more from this type. I didn't use live-view constantly, but possibly used it more than a photographer would because I was testing it.

It's unfortunate that this is the case with the K-x as the picture performance is very good. The colour chart is punchy in the primary colours and I like the balance of the earth brown and forest green. The skin tone pink could be stronger and there's a distinct lack of colour in the pastel tiles.

Portrait mode looks pretty good although I think it could be warmer. However, this could be down to the white balance interfering with the program as I selected a custom setting. There's plenty of detail in the hair and the exposure is pretty good. Adding flash has filled in the darker areas, added attractive catchlights and balanced out the tone.
Pentax Kx DSLR portrait
The normal portrait mode could be warmer.
Pentax Kx DSLR portrait with flash
Adding flash has filled in the shaded areas and added catchlights.

Pentax Kx DSLR toy camera mode
Toy Camera mode can make even the most tedious of subjects interesting.
Getting on to the fun stuff and the Pentax K-x has had the digital film effects from the K-m added to it. Therefore you can indulge in the cool options such as Toy Camera, Soft and Retro which can be individually tampered with to give an even wider amount of options for you.

The great thing about the Toy camera mode is that if you're using it and make a mistake, it usually doesn't matter because it gives the same effect as an older photograph from a time when technical accuracy of a picture of your house was less sought after. Think of pictures your parents or grandparents took and how badly composed they are, but still look good.

One of the standard scene modes found in the camera is the sunrise/sunset mode and I managed to use this really well when the morning light filtered through the leaves of a tree while I walked through a nature reserve. I took a shot without the mode on to see the differences and you can instantly see it's a lot warmer to accentuate the golden glow of the early sun.
Pentax Kx DSLR sunrise mode
An image of some leaves in the morning sun taken in sunrise mode.
Pentax Kx DSLR sunrise mode off
The same image with the mode turned off looks distinctly cooler.

Pentax Kx DSLR soft tone
Using the soft tone has amplified the softness of the morning sun.
Pentax Kx DSLR detail image
I also got a photograph of a huge wind turbine on the horizon one morning although in the photograph it's hardly noticeable. The morning mist was pretty strong so I put the camera in soft mode to bring out the softness of the mist. It also warmed the image so the morning sun came out a lot warmer.

The picture of the chain is from an unknown disused machine that has nearly rotted away it's so old. I like the level of detail from the chain. You can see the camera opted for a shallow f/3.5 aperture because of the lack of light. It was early morning and only a little filtered light was coming through.

While walking through the nature reserve, I spotted the moon still out, so used the cross processing mode to show what it will do to the different colours of green and blue and how it can affect exposure.

Pentax Kx DSLR Cross processing 1
The first shot using the cross processing mode.
Pentax Kx DSLR Cross processing 2
The second shot taken directly after the first.
Pentax Kx DSLR Cross processing 3
Green is the preferred colour but it's random.

Pentax K-x: Noise test
I was hoping for a good result in the noise test because so far I'm very impressed by how the camera works and the results it's given me.

ISO100 isn't a true setting for the reasons that are explained earlier but it's still a great result. The image is super smooth and this carries on throughout the entire set of photographs. In fact I'm overwhelmed with how good the noise test images are. Noise starts to distort the image at ISO6400 to a point that the detail of the petals is disappearing and small amounts of colour are invading the shadow areas of the grey card. ISO12800 is the same as ISO100 in that it's an equivalent and both have to be activated in the custom menu section. Even at this level, there's still some detail in the petals which is pretty astounding for a camera of this classification.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO100 equivalent test
The ISO100 equivalent test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO200 test
The ISO200 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO400 test
The ISO400 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO800 test
The ISO800 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO1600 test
The ISO1600 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO3200 test
The ISO3200 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO6400 test
The ISO6400 test.
Pentax Kx DSLR ISO12800 equivalent test
The ISO12800 equivalent test.


DxOMark provides objective, independent, RAW-based image quality performance data for lenses and digital cameras to help you select the best equipment to meet your photographic needs.

Visit the DxOMark website for tests performed on the Pentax K-x.

Pentax K-x: Verdict
Initial impressions of the new Pentax DSLR were impressive and I'm glad to say that they still are. It's unfortunate about the battery issue and judging by the comments at the bottom of this review, the K-m has suffered similar problems. Maybe it's time to start using Lithium Ion batteries in all DSLRs from now on because I'm unsure that AA types - even the lithium variety - have the capacity to cope with the new technology that uses so much power.

Still, using the camera was such fun with the HDR and Cross Processing modes, I never knew what I was going to get. Even simple photographs look great when they've been processed with a digital filter. I think if you have a few old Pentax lenses and you're looking to go to digital or feel that your work is stagnating and you need an injection of fun, you need this camera in your life.

Pentax K-x: Plus points
Cool built-in HDR and Cross Process features
CTE control for pin point white balance
Small body
Good price point
Excellent noise performance

Pentax K-x: Minus points
Weather sealing would be nice
Batteries need to be better

FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL


The Pentax K-x misses out on the rare ePHOTOzine Gold Award because of the batteries being used up so quickly.

The Pentax K-x costs around £600 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Pentax K-x & 18-55mm DAL lens

Product Coordinator Stephen Sanderson spoke to ePHOTOzine about the Pentax K-x. See it now on ePHOTOzine.tv. Please note: This is not a final production video. This was shot when ePHOTOzine met with Pentax for an exclusive first look of the Pentax K-x. When we have the review product we will be producing a full, high quality video. We've put this up to give you a first look at the menu system and features.

Explore More

Photographs taken using the Pentax K-x

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Comments


nclark 5 1 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2009 1:53PM
It seems the KX is available in 100 different colour cobinations, at least in Japan.
AA Lithiums are much lighter than normal AAs and probably lighter than any rechargeable battery pack.
Looks like an interesting addition to the Pentax line-up.
Nick

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18 Sep 2009 7:13AM
I think it looks very interesting. I just wish it was weather-sealed to replace my K200D.
23 Sep 2009 4:39PM
re pentax km it's good that it takes batteries BUT it don't like duracell batteries as soon as u put them in the camera displays a message saying batteries depleated. why is this and what can i do about it
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
8 Oct 2009 5:00PM
I've had the same issue with some Lithium batteries that came with it and I'll be putting it in the review. I found that if I used Live View, the battery would go red in seconds but then switching it off and on again refreshed the icon. Maybe it was the opposite of "peaking" which happens during charging where the battery thinks it's full before it really is?

Saying that, the batteries had died in a day which is unfortunate. Sad
12 Oct 2009 2:48AM
i have a k2000 and i used energizers and got about 1100 shots.
now i'm using NiZn's and i get about 800+ shots.

by simply stating that the battery died after 24 hours without andy detail can be detrimental to the K-x as it can bring all sorts misleading conclusions.

As i've said, i have no problems getting 800 to 1100 shots on a lithium or NiZn battery. the K-X should be even better when taking photographs. Not sure how much drain live view is.


what did you do in the 24 hour period? did you leave the camera in live view for 24 hours? please explain.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
12 Oct 2009 9:07AM

Quote:I have a k2000 and i used energizers and got about 1100 shots.
now i'm using NiZn's and i get about 800+ shots.

by simply stating that the battery died after 24 hours without andy detail can be detrimental to the K-x as it can bring all sorts misleading conclusions.

As i've said, i have no problems getting 800 to 1100 shots on a lithium or NiZn battery. the K-X should be even better when taking photographs. Not sure how much drain live view is.


what did you do in the 24 hour period? did you leave the camera in live view for 24 hours? please explain.



Sorry, I thought I was clear when I stated that I didn't use the camera excessively. I didn't use Live-view constantly, but I had to test it in varied conditions so may have used it more than other people may do.

However, in my experience, I think the batteries drained faster than they should've done. I'll add to the part of the review in the interests of fairness but I think it's pretty fair already. Smile
Pantok 5
12 Oct 2009 12:54PM
Hello,
I also think the battery problem should be taken with care. With a k200d, I already had troubles with new batteries acting strangely, like being full out of the box and being depleted very quickly, after like 30 shots. After a few charge cycles, no battery showed any problem, allowing to make far more shots than needed (several hundreds, never counted exactly).
Otherwise, this is a good and informative review, thanks Smile
Mike_P 5
12 Oct 2009 2:01PM
A fair review overall but I wonder why no weather sealing is seen as a negative when no other maker has any on cameras anywhere near the class of user this model is aimed at. As far as I know Pentax is the only maker that has ever offered weather sealing in a mid range body (K200D), the other makers have only offered it in their high end models.

How do you think the high ISO compared with the K-7? I am wondering if Pentax may have shot themselves in the foot with this one if the K-x is better than the high end model.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
12 Oct 2009 4:11PM

Quote:A fair review overall but I wonder why no weather sealing is seen as a negative when no other maker has any on cameras anywhere near the class of user this model is aimed at. As far as I know Pentax is the only maker that has ever offered weather sealing in a mid range body (K200D), the other makers have only offered it in their high end models.

How do you think the high ISO compared with the K-7? I am wondering if Pentax may have shot themselves in the foot with this one if the K-x is better than the high end model.



I did only say it'd be nice, I'm not slating the camera for not having it. I see what you mean, though, and if I could borrow your phrase, I think Pentax have shot themselves in the foot for making well built, weather sealed bodies. I for one now expect it on all, if not most bodies so I'm disappointed to not see it. Especially as the K200D had it. Smile
12 Oct 2009 4:45PM

Quote:Quote:I have a k2000 and i used energizers and got about 1100 shots.
now i'm using NiZn's and i get about 800+ shots.

by simply stating that the battery died after 24 hours without andy detail can be detrimental to the K-x as it can bring all sorts misleading conclusions.

As i've said, i have no problems getting 800 to 1100 shots on a lithium or NiZn battery. the K-X should be even better when taking photographs. Not sure how much drain live view is.


what did you do in the 24 hour period? did you leave the camera in live view for 24 hours? please explain.Sorry, I thought I was clear when I stated that I didn't use the camera excessively. I didn't use Live-view constantly, but I had to test it in varied conditions so may have used it more than other people may do.

However, in my experience, I think the batteries drained faster than they should've done. I'll add to the part of the review in the interests of fairness but I think it's pretty fair already.



thanks for your quick reply.

maybe a comparison with the D5000 or T1i's proprietary Lithium Ion battery would be nice. Similar usage on all 3 cameras. Now this would be a good comparison.

thanks!
12 Oct 2009 6:54PM
Very informative review. I was wondering about the focusing speed, accuracy, which was very mediocre on my K-20.

Also, it would be interesting to try a second set of batteries to rule out the possibility that your batteries were half charged or defective.
12 Oct 2009 10:24PM
Great little camera ... great review ... thanks. I suspect the lack of weatherprooofing is a cost issue . So for me I would not consider the change from the K200D , which I love

HOWEVER ... as regards AA batteries , they are BRILLIANT. I would strongly suggest you never use duracell ordinary batteries, they wont work at all well.

I would buy one of the NEW , non self discharging AA batteries. They come fully charged and after 12 months are only depleted by 20% or so. An example is Sanyo Eneloops ..... The 2000ma last much longer than other typed of 2700ma .....
13 Oct 2009 4:35AM
Is this the camera I have been waiting for?
- lightweight form factor
- in-body stabilization
- Really excellent low light performance (ISO)
- 4.7 FPS
- great lens selection
- cheap price

If the autofocus speed/accuracy is decent, I am getting one!
13 Oct 2009 9:58AM
hi! cool review.

the battery question is pretty much important to me (i know i could always have 2 or 3 battery sets) but can you say us how many pictures did you take with that set? have you tried hybrid or any other than those ones?
i know it is less than you expected from a camera, but "a day" is not very clear... i am not asking for CIPA standard either, just an aprox number of shots. it would be helpful

thanks!
Banerjee 5 6 India
13 Oct 2009 11:56AM
Nice review. Than ks. I am travelling in japan and the Kx is yet to hit stores.
Talking about batteries perhaps it is time camera manufacturers got together and decided on a single battery format (as far as practicable). the same with memeory cards. It does reduce the waste recycling burden on all of us.

Looking forward to checking out the camera when available. The prices here in general however appear way above the prices listed on various sites.
Enche 5
17 Oct 2009 7:20AM
Hi Matt, I agree with most of the comments here about the battery and weather sealing.

It is very unfair for you to state that the battery died within 24 hours because it does not representative of what users will experience. You tested the camera rigorously using live view, processing, flash, etc, while average users will likely to take on average 10-30 shots a day often without live view and other processing. Beside, the problem might lies in the battery itself, not the camera.

Also to put in no weather sealing as a weakness is also misleading, because judging from its price point and camera body. Pentax kx is beginner camera. It is not a k200d replacement. K200d is a mid-range camera like Nikon D90 or Sony A550.

Pentax K7, Kx and Km are designed from scratch. Since kx shares km body like Canon 500d shares canon XS body, they are made for beginners (of varying levels).

That being said, you should compare the feature set with beginner camera not k200d, and in this category, Pentax is no slouch. The body is actually feels more solid and sturdy compares to Canon series.

The problem now is you don't have any weaknesses in the review. But don't worry, I have one idea to put into it.

It is the lack of AF position and confirmation in the viewfinder.

Thank you for reading.
19 Oct 2009 12:45PM
so, you are saying that battery works for 24h. if the camera takes 4,7fps, you can take 24x3600x4,7= 406080.

i personally think battery life is not so bad...
itemu 5
21 Oct 2009 4:23AM
UNFAIR conclusion about weather sealing as negative point.
did you write non weather sealing (as negative point) on EOS 500D and Nikon D3000 review too?

using AA battery is a + point for me.
23 Oct 2009 2:45PM
To those who say AA are a plus point, do you actually own a DSLR which uses AA batteries? I do, and I loathe it. I had batteries (admittedly they weren't in the best condition anymore) die on me after about 2 minutes and 5 shots. I had 3 sets of AAs with me, and got about 20-30 shots in total. Yes, it was cold (Helsinki in winter), but still I expect a bit more than that. I regularly had my camera shut down because it said the battery was dead, after a few seconds I could switch on the camera again and use it for 100 shots and more (and yes, I do sometimes take 500 photos and more a day).
My current batteries (which are in a better condition) perform better, but nowhere near a Lithium Ion battery. Furthermore the AF works in slow motion, I have plugged in my external power supply (from Pentax), and the AF is MUCH faster. A DSLR simply needs more power than NiMH batteries can supply. At least Pentax should make Li Ion batteries optional... I had a Motorola cell phone that had it's proprietary battery, but if I wanted to I could put in regular AAs, as a backup. That's what Pentax should do, the best of both worlds (and yes, there are advantages to AA, like being able to get AAs almost everywhere (though that wouldn't have been necessary would it use Li Ion batteries)). But as it is now (AFAIK) Pentax doesn't even want users to use rechargeable RCR-V3 batteries (Lithium Ion based), because of a slightly too high voltage. At least that should be made possible.
windypics 6 1 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2009 8:58PM
I think many of us Pentax users have experienced the AA battery issue, but like to so many others, I've found that changing to the Eneloop type batteries has removed most of the problems, and I now find battery life just fine. I would like to see these types of batteries used in any future Pentax reviews, I'm sure it will make a big difference to the final results.

I would also recommend that any Pentax user with a camera that takes AA types should switch to these, they really seem to go well with this brand of camera for some reason!
narcotiks 7 1
24 Oct 2009 9:45PM
that is it ive had enough of this mickey mouse company

i for one am severely dissapointed with pentax i am an original K10d owner who has nothing but praise for that body. the K7 on the other hand is totally different. comparing the noise levels at ISO 3200, the K-x beats the K7 hands down. i was one of the fools that got duped into the K7 only to be dissapointed with its ISO performance with images being destroyed at ISO 1600!!, im also extremely dissapointed with the metering system which has been inconsistent 50% of the time ive used it not under exposing, but blowing images beyond repair.

when the heck are pentax going to modernise their external flashes? even small third party manufacturers make constant updates but pentax are still stuck with their horrid unreliable AF540gfz.

another problem i had with the K7 is the autofocus reliabilty. i sent my camera down to pentax which has a service centre in newcastle. firstly their service was questionable, having lost my camera somewhere in their facilities and expecting me to carry out the investigation as to where it may have gone!!!, 5 day return policy my foot i waited 3 weeks for mine not to mention the added headaches.

i honestly feel like ive been taken for a ride

so dissapointed with pentax as a company and regret spending the thousands which i will never get back. I am seriously considering moving to canon and advise anyone thinking of going with this company to do your homework carefully.
29 Oct 2009 10:54PM
I just received a Pentax Kx and put in 4 one month old rechargeable Energizer 2450 mAh batteries that were fully charged about four hours earlier. I began learning how to use the camera. It indicated the battery was dead the first time in about 15 minutes (about 12 photos). I turned the camera off and then back on and continued using the camera for about another 15 minutes (10 or 12 photos) when it died for good. I may have defective batteries or a defective charger. It is 4 or 5 years old. Haven't used the Lithium batteries that came with the camera in case I decide the return it. I thought Pentax would have corrected the battery problem or I guess I was hoping not all of the cameras would have the battery problem. Very gullible!
29 Oct 2009 11:31PM
I just received a Pentax Kx and put in 4 one month old rechargeable Energizer 2450 mAh batteries that were fully charged about four hours earlier. I began learning how to use the camera. It indicated the battery was dead the first time in about 15 minutes (about 12 photos). I turned the camera off and then back on and continued using the camera for about another 15 minutes (10 or 12 photos) when it died for good. I may have defective batteries or a defective charger. It is 4 or 5 years old. Haven't used the Lithium batteries that came with the camera in case I decide the return it. I thought Pentax would have corrected the battery problem or I guess I was hoping not all of the cameras would have the battery problem. Very gullible!
29 Oct 2009 11:57PM
I just received a Pentax Kx and put in 4 one month old rechargeable Energizer 2450 mAh batteries that were fully charged about four hours earlier. I began learning how to use the camera. It indicated the battery was dead the first time in about 15 minutes (about 12 photos). I turned the camera off and then back on and continued using the camera for about another 15 minutes (10 or 12 photos) when it died for good. I may have defective batteries or a defective charger. It is 4 or 5 years old. Haven't used the Lithium batteries that came with the camera in case I decide the return it. I thought Pentax would have corrected the battery problem or I guess I was hoping not all of the cameras would have the battery problem. Very gullible!
30 Oct 2009 4:57PM
After recharging the batteries the battery performance is much better. Each time the batteries are recharged they last longer. Maybe the problem was not with the camera.
Neuman 5
2 Nov 2009 4:46AM
I ordered Mine last month But it still hasn't came ... But i did get the limited edition Red ... But i cant wait ... it seems to be a great camera and pentax has never let me down
8 Nov 2009 9:18AM
I prefer using AA batteries when travelling. I use them for all my gadgets except the phone. Otherwise I need to carry multiple chargers. It is almost impossible to tell how much charge a battery has left and I can only suggest if you buy a new camera for $650 then spend another $30 on some new batteries and carry some spares. If the Pentax specs are correct then I should be able to take enough pics to get by. I am disturbed by the live view power drain so maybe this function has problems. I am replacing my Pentax ist D because the sensor has dust and scratches that will not come off. Dust proofing sounds a good idea for travelling but will not help when changing lenses in a dusty location. The only upside of dust is I am forced to upgrade to the Kx with the groovy new features.
I just hope the microphone is good. I like recording sound and hope there is an "audio only" option as there is on the Pentax Optio 750. Can someone tell me if this is the case? I use 750 as a dictaphone for work and the recording quality is reasonable. A good microphone, preferably stereo and an audio only function would be great. I would like to know how much capacity the SD card can have. My ist D can only handle 2 Mb. This is OK most of the time but if I am travelling I end up taking a small PC for storage. This is a suggestion for Pentax. Have 2 SD slots so I can copy onto a backup SD. To lose some good shots is heartbreaking and to carry a PC + power supply (for backup storage) is backbreaking. To carry a few 8 Gb SD cards would be nice for backup but I need to copy onto them in remote locations, hence 2 SD slots.
12 Nov 2009 3:35PM
Does K-x have dust cleaning capability? Is this an important feature?
14 Nov 2009 1:46AM
Hi, I will try to answer a few question since I actually do own the k-x and dont see too many folks who do. Yes, k-x has dust cleaning. As for batteries, I picked up Rayovak Hybrid's and the work very well. But did notice I needed to charge them up a few times in order to get good battery life. This is the fault of the battery I think and not the camera more than anything. These Hybrid's are a good alternative to Sanyo Eneloop betteries. Someone else also mentinoed 2 SD card slots, do any manufacturers have 2 SD slots? I doublt it! I picked up a 32 GB SD card and no problems at all..

Now for my question to anyone who owns the K-X:
I am unable to record highest level video (3 stars at 16x9) for more than a few seconds. I contacted Pentax and their support was pretty clueless, polite but clueless non the less. If I down grade the quality to 2 stars then records does not stop after a few seconds. I did change back to 3 star quality and 4x3 and that too does not encounter the stop after few seconds of recording bug. Has anyone one else experienced this issue with highest video recording at 16x9 wide screen mode? Please please let me know as I think this is a bug and hopefully can be corrected with firmware updated.
dsims 5 United States
15 Nov 2009 9:57AM
Like tombell1 and others, I have a K200D too, which I think is great. But if you try the K-x, like I did, you might just find you are using it all the time. I put a Pentax O-ME53 Magnifying Eyecup on it and keep it on there all the time. It seems quite helpful on the K-x, but not so much on the K200D. The K200D is still exceptional, but the advantages of the K-x are causing me to leave my K200D sitting while I go shoot with the K-x!

I'm not sure what the point of having weather sealing on the camera is (maybe I'm missing something) since most, if not all of the nice mid-range lenses I use are not weather sealed themselves!

Fortunately I have not had battery issues, except that the camera shut off doing liveview using Energizer Ultimate Lithiums. Of course, this was only after over 2000 shutter actuations on this (my first) set of batteries! I turned the camera off and back on in a few minutes and continued using this same set of batteries until I wanted to take a video. I finally put in my eneloops after about 2300 actuations and they are taking pictures and videos just fine. It appears many (but not all) people having problems are using non-hybrids, which gave me short life even in my K100D Super, so I've never used them since (except as a backup). I think standard NiMH batteries are a poor choice for virtually ANY camera, from what I've read.

In any case, the K-x features like great ISO 1600 and acceptable ISO 3200 performance, along with the often amazingly good Auto White Balance and generally nice sensor color are making me feel like I'm better off than owning any other brand, unless it were at least twice the price (and then I couldn't use all my current lenses I like).
dsims 5 United States
15 Nov 2009 10:52AM
Regarding jackmaddy's question - I have not encountered this problem with the high-quality video mode shutting off, so I can only guess at the cause. This may not be much help, but I think it's worth considering two possibilities:

1) The batteries - I have Rayovac hybrids too, but they don't seem to be as good as my Eneloops. It might be worth seeing if they or the Energizer Lithiums make any difference, if it appears to be a power issue.

2) It is possible the SDHC card is not fast enough. My K-x records about 4.5MB of video data each second, and some memory cards don't live up to their class rating. Even if they did, the K-x is able to take advantage of better cards, such as my 4GB Sandisk Extreme III 30MB/s SDHC card. I compared it against a new 8GB Patriot LX class 10 card, and although they both write at about 16MB/s in my card reader, the Sandisk Extreme III 30MB/s actually accepts continuous writes (RAW+JPEG) from the K-x buffer about twice as quickly as the Patriot LX. In fact, if you're willing to shoot JPEG, the Sandisk can empty the buffer almost as quickly as the K-x can fill it (sometimes pausing, but then going back to the full frame rate)! So I took the Patriot LX back and I am resigned to spending about twice as much for the Sandisk cards.

Perhaps these suggestions will make no difference in the video recording, but I think they're worth looking in to because, if you have not already tried them, they are likely to provide improved performance anyway.
wehn 5
16 Nov 2009 5:55AM
I'll also stress that you must use 'low self dischange' AA's. For example the Eneloop's and Powerex Imedion. While they're absolute capacity is a bit lower, the useful capacity seems almost an order of magnitude higher! A decent multi-channel charger also seems to make a difference. I hope Pentax includes all this advice in the manual!

After using a Canon S45 (proprietary lithium battery) for several years I think the AA battery cameras while be in service much longer. My Lithium pack from this camera barely survives an evening, and its hard to replace now.
26 Nov 2009 10:04PM
I've just purchased a K-x and I like the look and feel of it.

Initially I put brand new (but charged) "low self discharge" (2000mAh) batteries in and couldn't even get it to turn on. After a while it would turn on but only operate for short periods. After recharging the batteries things improved. Think I have worked something out:

After putting the batteries in leave it a few minutes before first turning it on.
Seems to work fine if I do this and so far have taken 70 odd photos with battery indicator still green.

The only thing I am concerned about is my high ISO image quality does not seem to be anywhere near as good as I have seen in this review. My ISO 800 looks more like the ISO 3200 here (which is still not too bad). My 6400 is far noisier.The lighter areas are noise free at 800 but darker areas show quite a bit of noise. Will experiment further. Maybe I am not composing my test shorts with as even lighting as review test shorts or have I got a problem with my Camera?
29 Nov 2009 8:53PM
After doing some more tests, I realised that the review ISO shorts (in the above pate) were reduced shots (not full crops!) - Doh!
However that said, my cameras image quality is still at least a stop more noisier (my 1600 looks like review cameras 3200 and my 3200 looks like reviews 6400). So not performing as well.

Does anyone have experience with these sort of issues? Is Pentax responsive to these sort of issues or am I wasting my time?
30 Nov 2009 11:13AM
Another update (excuse me if this is something that is obvious to experienced DSLR photographers)....
I have found that my image noise is significantly lower when using wider appertures. Smaller appertures are much noisier for same exposure and ISO. Is this normal?

Now getting closer to those sample shots.
3 Dec 2009 7:13PM
Pentax has released V1.01 of the software for the K-x.

Seems to help the battery issue. Will know more soon.
6 Dec 2009 3:40AM
Seems to be a big improvement in battery performance with V1.01 fireware update.

My low leakage NiMH batteries have just shot 400 photos and still going strong. The same batteries were having trouble powering the camera at all previously.
fyo 5 Croatia
7 Dec 2009 1:01PM
Tnx for the info kiwi_jono, I've just updated my firmware and I like the 1.01 version's cross processing presets and more accurate battery indicator.
Btw: I think the K-x high ISO performance is simply great, with only the highest 12800 setting quite unusable while the 6400 can be worked out in Photoshop and 3200 and lower settings are perfectly usable. Best value for money at the moment (IMHO) Regards
fyo 5 Croatia
7 Dec 2009 1:49PM
Tnx for the info kiwi_jono, I've just updated my firmware and I like the 1.01 version's cross processing presets and more accurate battery indicator.
Btw: I think the K-x high ISO performance is simply great, with only the highest 12800 setting quite unusable while the 6400 can be worked out in Photoshop and 3200 and lower settings are perfectly usable. Best value for money at the moment (IMHO) Regards
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
11 Dec 2009 6:02AM
I've read a few other reviews, and I believe the batteries are a non issue. I think rechargeable NI-MH 2900's are the solution. Here's a quote from another reviewer; Using a set of high-powered rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, the Pentax K-x was still going strong after over 2 weeks of intermittent use and 500 test shots - Pentax themselves claim a battery-life of between 1,100 and 1,900 shots, incredible for any DSLR, never mind such an affordable one. This makes the K-x a great choice for long trips away in far-flung climes, as back-up supplies can be easily found and replaced almost anywhere in the world.
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
11 Dec 2009 6:06AM

Quote:Does K-x have dust cleaning capability? Is this an important feature?


Absolutely, yes and yes.
15 Dec 2009 6:52PM
Compliments on an excellent review. Highly motivated to purchase this camera. I've been an enthusiast for years and this will be my first DSLR... yeah I'm behind the times.

A little on batteries... not all batteries have the same operating voltage. Your typical AA alkaline battery actually has a higher voltage than a lot of lithium batteries but a shorter life... has something to do with the chemical reaction that gives the juice. But the point being... as you draw power from the batteries there is a proportional-ish drop in voltage due to internal resistance. So if you are using batteries in your camera that have a voltage near the trip for the low-power warning, as soon as you up the power consumption for the live-view you will see the warning... drop the consumption and the trip resets and the warning goes away. The point I guess is to find a happy medium between A-h rating and operating voltage that fixes the issue. When I get my K-x I'll have to solve it myself.

Happy Holidays to all!
16 Dec 2009 6:49PM

Quote:I am unable to record highest level video (3 stars at 16x9) for more than a few seconds. I contacted Pentax and their support was pretty clueless, polite but clueless non the less. If I down grade the quality to 2 stars then records does not stop after a few seconds. I did change back to 3 star quality and 4x3 and that too does not encounter the stop after few seconds of recording bug. Has anyone one else experienced this issue with highest video recording at 16x9 wide screen mode? Please please let me know as I think this is a bug and hopefully can be corrected with firmware updated.


Has this problem been fixed with firmware? I expect to get my K-x in a couple of days and would be curious if it is a lingering problem. At first glance it sounds like a card speed issue. I sprung for the high speed SD cards (sandisk extreme) so hopefully it won't be an issue for me.
21 Dec 2009 9:21PM

Quote:Has this problem been fixed with firmware? I expect to get my K-x in a couple of days and would be curious if it is a lingering problem. At first glance it sounds like a card speed issue. I sprung for the high speed SD cards (sandisk extreme) so hopefully it won't be an issue for me.

I certainly don't have this problem (even before putting in firmware 1.01) but I do have a class 6 memory card (even though its a cheap one). I think a Sandisk extreme should be good.
22 Dec 2009 2:54PM

Quote:The point I guess is to find a happy medium between A-h rating and operating voltage that fixes the issue. When I get my K-x I'll have to solve it myself.


I've received my K-x and have used it on my first outing. I have noticed a certain instability in the battery indicator. During use the battery showed fully charged then partially depleted then fully charged again. These were the enclosed Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries. I don't recall any changes in settings during this period. I updated the firmware immediately after opening the box, so I don't think it's a firmware issue. I'll continue testing during the holiday season and report back.
24 Dec 2009 10:25PM
Hello All,

Nice review - thanks for posting this. I am looking for to purchase my first DSLR, and have been quite impressed with the Pentax K-x. I am moving up from a Canon S5 IS, which was an upgrade fom an old Fuji point and shoot.

I would like to add to the comments on the "battery life". Battery life is a very important aspect of camera ownership (or any other battery operated device - cell phones, MP3 players etc.) I think a standardized "metric" for measuring battery life maybe better received and understood than just stating that the batteries lasted less than 24 hours with "moderate" usage.

For example, I recently purchased a set of cheap ($7.99 for 4) AA NiMH rechargeables from Wal-Mart. I gave them a full charge, and then tested them in a Canon S5 IS by filming continuous video with live view enabled, till they died (I zoomed in on my television, and filmed the screen while my wife and I watched TV one evening). The S5 is limited to 1 hour, or ~4 GB, of video at a time. I was able to run it for 5x30 minute recording sessions - 2.5 hours - ~19 GB - at which point the batteries were completely depleted and needed to be recharged. I was quite satisfied with that performance, and it is a test I can perform on other batteries (like the Sanyo Eneloops I have) to get a decent comparison.

I realize this could get expensive if you were testing non-rechargable batteries (Lithiums for example). However it would be a valid, real world comparison test for different cameras that you test. For example, if the K-x were to give 2 hours of continuous video performance on a set of NiMH rechargeables, vs. 4 hours for a Canon T1i with it's proprietary battery (completely random numbers - out of my head - not any type of actual test), users could draw conclusions, and make more informed decisions. This would be a more objective measure of battery performance that we could use for comparison.

Just a thought Smile.

JD
stunr 4
5 Jan 2010 9:22PM
Nice review, Currently this Cam is on my short list, trying to decide between this and the Sony 380, ( which I can get for $100 less than the Pentax). If the Pentax had the articulated screen it would be all over, the viewfinder in the Sony is small and dim was wondering how users found the Pentax viewfinder
7 Jan 2010 11:42AM
Do not use non-rechargeables. The current draw on startup will be so high as to deplete them virtually immediately.
And they wonder why consumers don't like rechargeables? Use Eneloops or so and wonder at the weeks of photography you'll get out of them.
Even supplying primary batteries is a stupid piece of "get-them-working" marketing. I remember my Dimage 7 - 2 shots with fresh AAs. 1700mAhs gave me a hundred or so.
1 Feb 2010 6:29AM
Just to help add to the battery issues some are seeing. I just wanted to post that I don't have any battery life issues once I updated the firmware to v1.01. I'm using an old set(4 years old) of Energizer 2500mah batteries. I also have a brand new set of 2700mah bats, but wanted to see what the old set would do. Since the camera is brand new to me I was using the flash a lot, video a little, and just playing around in the menu quite a bit. I have taken 536 pictures before the indicator went from green to orange. So far I am very happy with the Pentax K-x. Fits my hands very well and can operate with only one hand. Great features and camera for the price. I highly recommend!!
mike81 4
1 Feb 2010 5:44PM
I just got the Pentax K-X on the 30/1 which is my first DSLR. I got it for $690 AUD single lens kit. Easy choice over Nikon d5000 which retails for $1400 AUD. Was worried about the battery life. I have taken 650 shots so far, a few videos and constantly playing with filters and menus. No issues at all the batteries are still going just into the orange, these are the lithium bundled with the camera. I havent yet tried my rechargables. I have upgraded the firmware after three days of use to v1.01. Very happy with the images and camera, I think I made the right choice for my first DSLR.
15 Mar 2010 3:34PM
Hi. On the subject of batteries, I think it is a good option. I've been out with a few other friends with Canon and Sony cameras and once they were out of batteries, they couldn't take any more pictures (they didn't have any spares). But with the AA batteries, you could just switch it out and still take pictures. If you are out of power, you can find AA batteries anywhere and it'll get you through. Better that or going through the day missing all the nice shots you "could" have taken. Just get rechargeable batteries to save on cost. I use the Sanyo Eneloop batteries.
12 Apr 2010 5:28AM
I have not even purchased my first DSLR but I am strongly considering the Pentax k-x. I've just recently acquired a Pentax SP1000 with a couple lenses from a relative (it's from the early 1970s). I have been having a lot of fun but film and processing is not cheap, I also want a display screen. Does anyone know if the lenses from the Pentax SP1000 would be compatible with this camera?
I am also nervous about spending the money on batteries all the time...hmmm.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
12 Apr 2010 1:02PM
All references I can find to that camea lens fitting indicate M42 which is a screw thread and so won't fit directly onto the camera. Adapters are available and if I remember back to my Jessops days, they're called T2 adapters though I may be wrong.
AF won't be available and metering may have some problems. Smile
12 Apr 2010 5:31PM
MattGrayson:

Thank you so much for your help, much appreciated!
I just got my Pentax Kx about 4 weeks ago. I bought it based on several factors. A few of which were the reviews on it's ISO performance and image quality, (it was a Consumer Reports "Best Buy",) along with the fact the fact it used AA batteries.

The Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries that came with the camera lasted for about 2 weeks... and I did a LOT of playing!! I must have took more than 1000 pictures and took 30 mins of video, along with played with the menus for hours. (I have 350 new pics on my hard drive, and deleted more than 2/3 of them.) I was VERY impressed with the lithium battery performance!

Then I went to my NiCd bats, which is why I ended up looking at these forums. Fully charged, my Kx would power up, tell me the bats were dead, then power down. I did update the firmware, and that helped a little. I got about 200 pics one day, but two days later it would not power up. I decided to use my "trickle" charger instead of my "fast" charger, and they seemed to last longer. I got over 400 pictures over 2 days. The bat level meter still goes from green to orange, and back, on occasion. Also, keep in mind, I hardly ever use the live view... I prefer the view finder when taking pictures.

Honestly, the battery thing has me torn. Yet, I had the experience once of owning an older camera that was perfectly functional, but it's "custom" battery died. I was unable to locate a new one because the model was discontinued. Now my perfectly good camera is unusable unless I plug it in. With AA bats, I know I'll ALWAYS be able to use this camera. I am a hobbyist, so even if I end up buying the lithiums, I guess it won't kill me. Pros may not want to go this route, for sure!

As for overall performance... so far I really like it. I'm even able to take some nice pictures of the night skies without getting large amounts of noise. The frame rate is great, and the versatility rivals some of the high end models.

I will let you know if I have any more luck getting my NiCd bats to work longer/better.
willbrealey 10 248
3 Aug 2010 2:37PM

Quote:I will let you know if I have any more luck getting my NiCd bats to work longer/better.


Pentax do not recommend NiCd batteries. Use good high-power NiMh batteries (2900mah +) or low discharge brands such as Eneloop or reCycko which last a lot longer. I have 2 sets of reCyckos and a fast charger - one charge lasts me for weeks on my K200d.
8 Sep 2011 7:13PM
Actually, I have that camera and I put the best possible batteries in it. In live view mode the battery indicator has them about half gone within 30 seconds. Yes it can take a lot of pictures but turn on live view mode once and you're dead.

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