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Pentax announces K-x entry level DSLR

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2009 at 04:00 GMT

Pentax has announced an upper-entry level DSLR, the K-x. Based on the K2000 (K-m) body, the K-x adds a number of features including a 12.4 Mp CMOS sensor, 11-point autofocus, Live View and HD video mode. It will be available in a choice of colors - black, white, and limited editions of red and navy - from October 2009 at a price of $649.95 with the 18-55mm DA-L kit lens. To accompany the K-x Pentax has also released a budget 'L' version of its 55-300mm F4-5.8 telephoto zoom lens.

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Press Release:

PENTAX ANNOUNCES AFFORDABLE, NEW PENTAX K-x
WITH HIGH-END FEATURES INCLUDING HD VIDEO AND LIVE VIEW

GOLDEN, CO (September 16, 2009) : PENTAX Imaging Company redefines the entry-level digital SLR category with the introduction of the K-x digital SLR.  This latest PENTAX camera offers high-end features including Live View and HD video.  And, since there’s no rule that SLR cameras must come in black only, the K-x will be available in a choice of white or black, as well as special, limited edition red and navy.

Priced at $649.95 USD (for body with DA L 18-55mm lens), the extremely compact and lightweight PENTAX K-x forges ahead on the trail initiated by the popular PENTAX K2000.   With a one-handed shooting design and simple, easy-to-use operation, the K-x is perfect for users stepping up from a point and shoot digital camera to their first digital SLR.

The PENTAX K-x offers photographic performance that challenges higher class DSLR models and offers several features that set this camera apart in the entry-level category:

  • High resolution 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor features sensor-shift Shake Reduction for stabilized image and video capture up to 4 stops max.
  • Large 2.7 inch LCD features Live View with contrast, phase difference, and Face Detection autofocus (up to 16 faces).
  • Widescreen HD video capture in full 720p resolution (1280x720) at 24 FPS cinematic framerate, using any PENTAX 35mm lens.
  • Creative processing and filter modes produce high quality finished images, while offering the ability to explore artistic freedom through unique special effects.
  • True High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture blends 3 bracketed images into a single picture with outstanding shadow, highlight, and midrange detail.
  • Fast 4.7 FPS capture speed and 1/6000 second maximum shutter speeds are possible with the PENTAX PRIME II image processing engine.
  • Powerful automatic modes, including PENTAX Auto Picture and scene modes, ensure the perfect shot in any situation, while helping new photographers learn DSLR photography.
  • Responsive 11 point wide angle SAFOX VIII autofocus system focuses quickly and accurately, and can easily track moving subjects.
  • Captures up to 1900 shots with universally available, easy-to-find AA lithium batteries (also compatible with AA NiMH rechargeable and alkaline batteries).

All combined, the PENTAX K-x is the perfect camera for new digital SLR camera users as well as an ideal backup camera for more experienced photographers.

Along with the K-x, PENTAX announced the smc PENTAX DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED super-telephoto zoom lens.  This lens will be exclusive to a K-x Twin Lens Kit package consisting of a K-x body, this new lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens.  The lightweight design of this zoom lens offers the exceptional optical performance found in all PENTAX lenses for super-telephoto photography with the K-x and other PENTAX digital SLR camera bodies.

The PENTAX K-x is now available for pre-order in black or white.  Limited edition colors of red and navy will become available at select locations to be announced. 

The PENTAX  K-x (in black and white) will ship in October 2009 in three configurations: options: 

  • K-x single lens kit with body and an smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens for USD $649.95
  • K-x twin lens kit for $749.95 including a K-x body, the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 50-200mm zoom lens.
  • K-x twin lens kit for $849.95 including a K-x body, the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 55-300mm zoom lens

PENTAX K-x FACT SHEET

12.4 effective megapixels
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.

Compact, lightweight body
The PENTAX K-x is one of the most compact, lightweight digital SLR cameras in its class. The   stainless-steel chassis and overall design offer a space-efficient layout.

Widescreen HD movie recording at 1280x720 pixels at a cinematic 24 frames per second (720p24)
The PENTAX K-x movie recording function*1 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 PENTA K-x owners. 

PENTAX-original SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The K-x features the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction mechanism that effectively compensates for the adverse effects of camera shake by as much as four shutter steps. This innovative mechanism extends its benefits to all PENTAX interchangeable lenses — even those designed for film-format cameras.*2  With this SR mechanism, the K-x produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions such as telephoto lens photography, shooting in dark or low-light setting without a flash illumination, and sunset scenes.

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 engine
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 optimizes the focus based on the subject’s contrast.
  • Face Detection Auto Focus automatically detects up to 16 faces, then selects the main subject’s face from multiple faces, and captures it in sharp focus.
  • Phase Difference Auto Focus accesses the AF sensor positioned in the camera body to optimize focus on the subject.

Innovative Image Processing Functions

Digital Filter function
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*3 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

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

*1 When the PENTAX K-x’s AV output terminal is used, movie clips are viewed at normal resolution. The data must be transferred to a PC for the playback of movie clips at high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels).
*2 Lenses compatible with this mechanism: PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mounted lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.
*3 A film development technique that takes advantage of unconventional film developers to create a distinctive finishing touch with intriguing colors.

KEY FEATURES

  • High resolution 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor features sensor-shift Shake Reduction for stabilized image and video capture up to 4 stops max.
  • Large 2.7 inch LCD features Live View with contrast, phase difference, and Face Detection autofocus (up to 16 faces).
  • Capture widescreen HD video in full 720p resolution (1280x720) at 24 FPS cinematic framerate, using any PENTAX 35mm lens.
  • Highly compact DSLR body design allows for 1 handed operation and comfort when travelling.
  • Powerful automatic modes, including PENTAX Auto Picture and scene modes, ensure the perfect shot in any situation, while helping new photographers learn DSLR photography.
  • Creative processing and filter modes produce high quality finished images, while offering the ability to explore artistic freedom through unique special effects.
  • True HDR image capture blends 3 bracketed images into a single picture with outstanding shadow, highlight, and midrange detail.
  • Fast 4.7 FPS capture speed and 1/6000 second maximum shutter speeds are possible with the PENTAX PRIME II image processing engine.
  • Responsive 11 point wide angle SAFOX VIII autofocus system focuses quickly and accurately, and can easily track moving subjects.
  • Capture up to 1900 shots with universally available, easy-to-find AA lithium batteries (also compatible with AA NiMH rechargeable and alkaline batteries).
  • Expanded ISO range covers sensitivities from 100-12800 for extreme low light photography.

PENTAX K-x specifications

Price

US:
$649.95 (with 18-55mm DA L lens)
$749.95 (with 18-55mm + 50-200mm DA L lenses)
$849.95 (with 18-55mm + 55-300mm DA L lenses)
UK:
£599.99 (with 18-55mm DA L lens)
£749.99 (with 18-55mm + 55-300mm DA L lenses)
Europe:
€599.99 (with 18-55mm DA L lens)

Body material Plastic on stainless steel chassis
Sensor* • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor
• Primary color filter
• 12.4 million total pixels
• 12.9 million effective pixels
Shake Reduction Sensor-Shift type
Dust reduction • Image sensor moving mechanism and SP coating
Image sizes *

• [12M] 4288 x 2848 pixels
• [10M] 3936 x 2624 pixels
• [6M] 3072 x 2048 pixels
• [2M] 1728 x 1152 pixels

Image formats

• JPEG (Conforms to Exif 2.21), (Best, Better, Good)
• Compressed RAW ( PEF )
• Non-compressed RAW ( DNG )

Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Lenses PENTAX K, KA, KAF, KAF2 and KAF3 mount lenses
FOV crop 1.5x
Focusing • 11-point wide autofocus system (SAFOX VIII)*
• TTL Phase matching
• Focus point selectable
Focus modes • AF-Auto
• AF-Single
• AF-Continuous
• Manual focus
AF assist Built-in flash
Shooting modes

• Auto Picture mode
• Picture mode
• Scene mode
• Program AE
• Sensitivity-Priority AE
• Shutter-Priority AE
• Aperture-Priority AE
• Metered Manual
• Bulb

Picture modes • Portrait
• Landscape
• Macro
• Action
• Night scene portrait
• Standard Flash-Off
Scene modes

• Night Scene
• Surf & Snow
• Food
• Sunset
• Kids
• Pet
• Candlelight
• Museum
• Stage Lighting
• Night Snap

Metering modes • Multi-segment metering
• Center-weighted metering
• Spot metering
Metering • TTL open-aperture 16-segment metering
• Exposure range: EV 1-21.5(Standard Output Sensitivity 200 50mm F1.4)
AE Lock Can be allocated to AF button by Menu.
AE Bracketing • ±0.5EV to ±1.5EV (1/2 EV steps)
• ±0.3EV to ±1.0EV (1/3 EV steps)
• ±0.7EV to ± 1.0EV (1/3 EV steps)*
Exposure compen. ±3 EV (1/2 EV or 1/3 EV steps)*
Exposure steps • 1/2 EV
• 1/3 EV
Sensitivity

• Auto (selectable range)
• Manual : 200-6400*
• Bulb Mode: up to ISO 1600
• Expandable ISO 100 - 12800
• 1EV, 1/2EV or 1/3EV steps

Shutter Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/6000 sec*
• Bulb
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade
• Cloudy
• Tungsten Light
• Fluorescent Light (W, D, N, L (Light Bulb*))
• Flash
• CTE
• Manual setting with WB fine adjustment

Image parameters • Saturation (-4 to +4)
• Hue (-4 to +4)
• Sharpness (-4 to +4) (two types)
• Contrast (-4 to +4)
Viewfinder

• Fixed molded penta-mirror type
• Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen
• Field of view approx. 96%
• Magnification approx. 0.85X (with 50mm F1.4 lens, infinity, -1m)
• Diopter adjustment approx. -2.5 - +1.5m

LCD monitor • TFT color LCD monitor
• Brightness adjustable
• Wide angle view
• 2.7 inch
• Approx. 230,000 pixels
Live View • TTL by Image sensor
• Enlargement (2X, 4X, 6X in case of AF mode, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x in case of MF mode)
• Grid pattern, white/black out warning display, Histogram
display
• AF: Contrast detection + Face detection / Contrast detection /
Phase difference detection
Flash

• Built-in retractable P-TTL pop-up flash
• Guide number: approx. 16* (Standard Output Sensitivity 200/m)
• Angle of view coverage: 28mm wide-angle (35mm equivalent)
• Flash Exposure Compensation: -2 EV - +1EV (1/2EV steps)
• P-TTL
• 1/180 sec flash-sync

External Flash • Hot shoe, sync-speed: 1/180 sec.
• Wireless-sync with PENTAX dedicated flash
Flash compensation -2.0 to +1.0 EV
Drive modes • Single-frame
• Continuous (Hi, Lo)
• Self-timer (12s, 2s)
• Remote control (0s, 3s)
• Auto bracket
Self-timer • 12 sec
• 2 sec
Continuous shooting • 4.7 fps - 17 JPEG, 5 RAW*
• 2 fps - until card is full or 11 RAW*
Remote release • InfraRed remote (optional)
• Instant or with 3 sec delay
Custom functions 22 custom-programmable functions available*
Preview Optical / Digital preview
Playback mode • One Image
• Index (4 or 9 or 16 or 36* thumbnails)
• Enlargement (up to 16X, scroll available)
• Image Rotation
• Folder view
• Slideshow
• Histogram
• Bright/Dark area
• Calender
• Resize
• Trimming
• Index
Digital filter
(Rec Mode)

Toy Camera
High Contrast
Soft
Star Burst
Retro
Extract Color
Custom*
Fish Eye*

Digital filter
(Playback)

• B&W
• Sepia
• Color (18 type)
• Soft (three-level amount adjustable)
• Illustration (Pastel/Watercolor)
• HDR (3 type)
• Slim (+/- 8 level amount adjustable)
• Brightness (+/- 8 level amount adjustable)
• Toy Camera
• High Contrast
• Soft
• Star Burst
• Retro
• Miniature*
• Fish Eye*
• Extract Colour
• Base Tweaking*
• Custom*

Menu languages • English
• French
• Germany
• Spanish
• Swedish
• Dutch
• Italian
• Russian
• Portuguese
• Danish
• Finnish
• Polish
• Czech
• Hungarian
• Turkey
• Japanese Korean
• Traditional Chinese
• Simplified Chinese
• Greek
Connectivity • USB/Video
• USB 2.0 (HI-SPEED)
• Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats
Storage SD or SDHC card
Power • Four AA (lithium, alkaline, and rechargeable Ni-MH) batteries
• Optional AC adapter
Dimensions 122.5mm x 91.5mm x 67.5mm (4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
Weight (no batt/lens) 515g (18.2 oz.)*
Weight (no lens) With lithium batteries and SD card: 580g (20.5 oz.)*

smc PENTAX-DA L 55-300mmF4-5.8ED Lens specifications

A lightweight super-telephoto zoom lens for focal lengths between 84.5mm and 460mm (in the 35mm format). ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical elements to assure true-to-life image descriptions and faithful color renditions through effective compensation of chromatic aberrations over the entire zoom range.

Maximum format size APS-C
Focal length 55-300mm
35mm equivalent focal length 84.5-460mm
Diagonal angle of view (APS-C) 29°- 5.4 °
Maximum aperture F3.5-5.6
Minimum aperture F22-32
Lens Construction

• 12 elements/ 8 groups

Number of diaphragm blades

6

Minimum focus 1.4m
Maximum magnification

0.28x

Image stabilisation

No

Filter thread 58mm
Weight 425 g (15 oz)
Dimensions 71mm diameter x112mm length
(2.8 x 4.4 in)

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