Pentax K-x Review
Raw and Raw Conversion
The K-x comes with the new PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4, which consolidates the Photo Browser and Photo Laboratory applications provided with previous Pentax DSLRs. Instead of having to use different applications you can now select between the Laboratory and Browser tabs to access the tools previously associated with each package. There is also a custom view which allows you to create your own customized screen with a combination of your most used/favorite functions.
Digital Camera Utility 4 is based on the 3rd-party application Silkypix and as such is one of the most comprehensive bundled image software packages around. Of course you get all the usual parameters in RAW conversion but there are also more advanced tools such as the perspective correction. The browsing element works well too and it even comes with batch processing options. Most photographers, feeling strapped-for-cash after splashing out on their new DSLR won't feel the need to invest even more in a new RAW converter – Pentax's bundled software offers most, if not all, of the capabilities of 3rd-party converters.
Note: With the K-x Digital Camera Utility 4 shows only a very limited set of EXIF data. It appears the current version of the software is not yet fully supporting the camera in this respect.
As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converters. In the case of the Pentax K-x we used the supplied Digital Camera Utility 4, Camera RAW 5.6 Beta and Capture One 5.0.1
- JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
- DCU - Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4
- ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 5.6 Beta
- CAP - Capture One 5.0.1
Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth Color Checker chart produced using each RAW converter. As it is common with bundled software packages Digital Camera Utility 4 produces a color response that is almost identical to the in-camera JPEG. ACR and Capture One both produce more muted output (Capture One more so than ACR).
|Pentax K-x||Compare to:|
Sharpness and Detail
Digital Camera Utility's default sharpening is quite subtle and the Pentax converter's output is virtually indistinguishable form the in-camera JPEG. ACR squeezes marginally more detail out of the RAW file but the sharpest images has been generated by Capture One whose sharpening at default settings is fairly strong (indeed almost too strong).
|JPEG out of camera , High quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
|DCU RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
|Adobe ACR RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
|Capture One RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
Again the DCU results are virtually identical to the in-camera JPEG. In the resolution test all RAW converters produce a higher measured resolution than the in-camera JPEG. ACR and Capture One produce very similar resolutions but the ACR output is cleaner with less Moire.
|JPEG from camera||Digital Camera Utility (RAW)|
|Adobe Camera RAW (RAW)||Capture One (RAW)|
Real world advantages
While we used the converters' default settings for the studio shots above we played with the parameters for optimal results during the conversion of this real life shot. Some careful sharpening in Adobe ACR generates a visible, but tiny, extra amount of detail compared to the in-camera JPEG. The K-x's JPEG engine is doing a pretty decent job and squeezes a lot of the available detail out of the captured RAW data.
|JPEG from Camera
(Sharpening 41, radius 1.0, detail 64)
RAW files for download
Here we provide RAW files, both from the review and the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.
- 16 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 In-camera effects
- 20 Movie Mode
- 21 Compared to
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 27 Compared to (Resolution)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Conclusion
- 30 Samples
|Misty morining by Claudi Lourens|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Jet and Full Moon by dibilio57|
from Aircraft lights
A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, has apologized for his actions, and has deleted some images from his Instagram account while adding credits to others.
Instagram is the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach the coveted 1 billion users mark.
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo has employed a clever solution to the dreaded display 'notch' – a sliding mechanism that houses the device's front and rear-facing cameras.
The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for just $200 – see what it can do on Sony and Fujifilm bodies.
Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is a new app and service from Instagram that puts the focus on video content. You can now follow content creators and watch up to hour-long vertical videos inside the new dedicated IGTV app, as well as directly within Instagram.
Researchers at NVIDIA have used artificial intelligence to train a system that's capable of turning standard 30fps video into 240fps slow-mo video with minimal loss in quality.
Loupedeck has updated its popular Lightroom editing console with a new '+' version featuring improved build quality, more customization and support for some non-Adobe software.
Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X.
Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing, in a single application.
Adobe's quarterly financial report was just published, and the news is good. Q2 2018 saw a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion, and 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment.
Just months after launching its QuartzLine filters for DSLR and mirrorless lenses, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will give you credit towards a PolarPro filter for trading in an old one - even if it isn't theirs.
Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping.
Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
The FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. We've been shooting with one for a few days, and we're impressed. Check out our sample gallery to judge for yourself.
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.