Digital Filters and Cross Processing

Like its bigger bother K-7 the Pentax K-x comes with a range of built-in effects called Digital Filters. The ability to apply image effects in-camera has traditionally been a domain of the digital compact camera and is still a little uncommon on DSLRs. Nevertheless the feature can be found on an increasing number of cameras, especially in the entry-level segment of the market.

The Digital Filters are set on the INFO screen and applied at the time of exposure (only when shooting JPEG, Digital Filters are deactivated when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG). Alternatively you can apply them in the Image Adjust menu after shooting (This works both on JPEG and RAW images). Exposure modes and all other parameters can still be chosen freely.

The filters offered are (Parameters in brackets):

  • Toy Camera (Shading level, Blur, Tone break)
  • Monochrome (Filter effect, Toning)*
  • Retro (Toning, Frame composite)
  • Color (Color, Color density)*
  • High Contrast (Intensity)
  • Soft (Intensity, Shadow blur)
  • Extract Color (Color, Color Frequency range)
  • Star Burst (Effect density, Size, Angle)
  • Water Color (Intensity, Saturation)*
  • Fish-eye (Intensity)
  • Pastel (Intensity)*
  • Slim (Intensity)*
  • Miniature (Blurred area)*
  • HDR (Intensity)*
  • Base Parameter Adjustment (Brightness, Saturation, Hue, Contrast, Sharpness)
  • Custom Filter (High contrast, Soft focus, Tone break, Shading type and level, Distortion type and level, Color inversion)

* Only available as a post-shot option through the Image Adjust menu

Some of the filters are purely tonal, affecting only the color and contrast of the shot, others are having a more dramatic effect that goes down to a pixel level. All of them have one or more parameters to play with. The Custom Filter allows you to combine elements of the other filters and can, with a bit of experimentation, create some quite interesting results.

Below are samples of the same shot that has each time been re-saved after applying a Digital Filter in the Image Adjust Menu.

Original Toy Camera Monochrome
Retro Color High Contrast
Soft Extract Color Star Burst
Water Color Fish-eye Pastel
Slim Miniature HDR
Custom Filter

In addition to the digital filters the Pentax K-x features a cross processing function. This can be selected via the shooting menu or in the control panel. It only works when the file type is set to JPEG and as you shoot; unlike the digital filters the effect cannot be applied in play mode. In the good old film days cross processing was a procedure of deliberately processing film in a chemical solution that was intended for use with a different type of film. The cross processing function on the K-x simulates just that. Below you can see sample shots for all available settings.

Off Random
Preset 1 Preset 2
Preset 3