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Old January 17th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Posts: 1,155
Pentax K-x First Impressions

After following the HDSLR movement closely for several months I finally sprung and bought myself a Pentax K-x. It's no 5dmkII, but still a nice little camera for stills and the occassional shallow DOF shot. It's also my first DSLR so will be a great learning tool for me.

The first thing that struck me about the K-x is how light it is. It's much lighter than my Sony SR1 which is my current B-cam. Despite its feathery weight it still feels sturdier than most consumer video cams I've owned including the HV20 and GS500.

Unpacking the camera from the box, I was excited by the four AA batteries it had included - for the first time ever I was able to play with a brand new camera straight away without waiting half the day for the battery to charge. It will probably take a few weeks before I decide if the AA's are overall a pro or a con.

As my first DSLR, I imagined I would have some trouble locating controls and getting used to the different ergonomics but it took no time at all - the Menu is simple and intuitive and the button layout equally straightforward.

A slight aside - I was surprised how wide the 18mm lens was. The 35mm equivelant of a 27mm lens, It felt much, much wider than my FX7 (about 40mm in 35mm terms).

The K-x has a dedicated Movie Mode on the dial and once you access it you can start shooting straight away without any hassles. You get control over the aperture as well as the ability to lock the exposure using the AE Lock. I've read that you can get the shutter and ISO exactly where you want it by using Av mode, and pointing the camera at a light source that will allow it to meter at the shutter speed you want. Then you quickly flick to Movie mode and hit the AE Lock. This method was much easier than it sounded when I first read about it, but I'm not sure how effective it really is. The shutterspeed and ISO are not displayed at all in Movie mode so I have no way of knowing for sure whether or not the settings were locked at the point I wanted.

It's nice to have the manual focus ring, something I don't think you'd find on any AUD$750 video cameras. It can't autofocus during recording but that doesn't bother me at all. It's kind of hard to judge focus on the 2.7 inch screen but you can hit the info button to magnify the image 4x, 8x or 10x and inspect the focus.

Two things I disliked about the camera were how noisy it was and the miore. Even in Movie mode, the machanical shutter will go off, often at the end and beginning of the clip. I don't know why but sometimes it will do this and other times it won't, And when it does it is LOUD! While I had to work to make the camera show serious rolling shutter problems, Miore would show up occasionally, univited, and ruin the party. Carpet and flyscreens were the main culprits inside but outside I had no problems.

All up I think it is an excellent value camera. Not so good for pro work but for the price it is amazing. I'll get plety of use out of it for home/personal use and might even call on it for the odd project where I would like shallow DOF shots. It's a great step into the HDSLR world for those who want to test the waters or as a short term solution untill someone releases the real deal HDSLR.

I'll be using it alongside my FX7 at a major surf event in a few weeks so I'll let you know how that goes. I'll use the FX7 to shoot the surfing and keep the K-x close by for lifestly shots.

Hope someone finds this useful.
John Wiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 17th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
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For any folks who don't already know: the Pentax K-x's video is 1280x720 24P Motion-JPEG (precisely 24P, not 23.976) at 35000 kbps. The audio is 32000 16-bit mono with no ext. mic input.
Graham Hickling is offline   Reply

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