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Pentax K-x Review

December 2009 | By Lars Rehm

Review based on a production Pentax K-x, firmware V1.01

The Pentax K-x sits in the slot previously occupied by the company's K200D - one of the best-specified entry-level DSLRs on the market in its time - though that position has now been elevated by the arrival of a new breed of simplified models below it. In Pentax's line-up that means the K2000/K-m designed to entice compact camera users into DSLR ownership with its easy-to-use interface and diminutive scale, and it's that camera the K-x is immediately reminiscent of (they share the same body).

Despite its compact size and use of AA batteries, there is more than a hint of the K-7 about the new model's specifications. It gains the K-7's 11-point AF system and PRIME II imaging engine, along with its abilities to correct for chromatic aberration and distortion when using Pentax DA and DFA lenses. It also features an orientation sensor.

While, unlike the K-m, on the K-x you can now at least select the active AF-point, it's still not displayed in the viewfinder. However, despite of all the shared features with the K2000/K-m and K-7 there is still plenty new about the K-x.

The camera is based around a 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with onboard A/D conversion (a system often associated with Sony), with output fast enough not only for the camera to shoot at 4.7 frames per second, but also for capturing 24 frames of 720p HD video per second. Along with the sensor come higher ISOs - now up to 6400, expandable to 12800. Plus there's a revised version of the K-m's shutter mechanism to allow the high continuous shooting speed, which ups the maximum shutter speed to 1/6000 sec. The camera also features a new 'cross-processing' mode on top of an already impressive range of filters and processing options.

Pentax K-x Key Features

  • 12.4 megapixel APS-C-format CMOS sensor (total pixels: 12.9 million)
  • PRIME II imaging engine
  • 1/6000th maximum shutter speed
  • 720p HD video (24 fps)
  • 2.7" LCD monitor (230,000 dots)
  • Image sensor cleaning (sensor shake)
  • 11 selectable AF points
  • IS0 200-6400 range (100-12,800 when expanded)
  • 4.7 frames per second continuous shooting (for 17 frames)

How the Pentax DSLRs compare:

 

K-7

K-x
K-m
Image sensor
14.6Mp CMOS
12.4Mp CMOS
10.2Mp CCD
Imaging engine
Prime II
Prime II
Prime
Sensitivity
100-3200 (6400 with expansion)
200-6400 (100 and 12,800 with expansion)
100-3200
Continuous shooting speed
5.2fps (40 frames)
4.7fps (17 frames)

3.5fps (5 frames)

AF
SAFOX VIII+
with superimposed points
11-points (selectable)
AF-assist lamp
SAFOX VIII
11-points (selectable)
SAFOX VIII
5-points
AE
77-segment
16-segment
16-segment
Viewfinder
Pentaprism
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.95
Pentamirror
Coverage: 96%
Magnification: 0.85
Pentamirror
Coverage: 96%
Magnification: 0.85
Movies
1024p 30fps
720p 24fps
No
Microphone
Mono internal or stereo external
Mono internal
No
HDMI output
Yes
No
No
Lens correction

Yes

Yes
No
HDR mode

Yes

Yes
No
Multiple exposure

Yes

Yes
No
Orientation sensor

Yes

Yes
No
Slow-sync flash

Yes

Yes
No
Weight

670g

515g
525g
Cold resistant to -10deg
Yes
No
No
Weather resistant
Yes
No
No

Foreword / notes

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / recommendation / ratings are based on the opinion of the author, we recommend that you read the entire review before making any decision. Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of them, click to display a larger image in a new window.

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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally also A, B and C.

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