Pentax K-x – taking shots at Nikon and Canon

Pentax K-x – taking shots at Nikon and Canon


Pentax K-x: Background

I’d really looked forward to getting my hands on this camera. The reviews had been tantalising. Imaging Resource said: ‘the Pentax Kx has enormous value, thanks to its remarkable image and print quality, fine build, and class-leading burst speed, all combining to make one impressive digital SLR camera.’ .

The boys at DP Review were no less effusive: ‘Pentax has managed to squeeze what is … an impressive feature set … image quality, especially in low light, is the best we have seen so far in the entry-level bracket of the DSLR market … compared to the closest rivals, [the K-x sells at a] very attractive price point.’

So it was a genuine surprise when the first test camera fell short on these fronts:

  1. Exposure was wayward (often too dark) in AV and P modes.
  2. Highlights blew out too easily, while shadows were impenetrable
  3. Sharpness in middle to long distance shots was absent
  4. There was considerable noise in poor light shots

I had no idea what the problem was, but suspected the lens’s AF function. When even manual focusing didn’t improve things, I asked the distributor for another camera.

K-x red, white and blue

Value Proposition

Before we get into the hands-on part of the second test, let’s recap what the K-x has going for it. The Pentax website tells to ‘BREAK ALL THE RULES. Choose a camera that redefines the entry-level digital SLR category. The PENTAX K-x offers high-end features including Live View, HD video and photographic performance that challenges higher class models.

One thing is clear: for an asking price of just US$650 for the basic kit, the Pentax delivers plenty of features, including

  • High-precision 5 or 11-point AF sensor
  • Live View mode
  • In-body sensor-shift image stabilisation
  • Fast 4.7 frames/ second burst mode
  • Dust Removal for image sensor
  • High dynamic range function for creating composite images
  • Automatic compensation of lens distortion and lateral chromatic aberration
  • Video recording at 1280 x 720 at 24 frames a second with mono sound, for up to 11 minutes at the HQ setting. For still photography
  • A shutter rated for 100,000 actuations (uncommon for cameras at this price)
  • Optional wireless flash, using built in flash as master
  • Depth-of-field preview
  • Support for all Pentax K-mount lenses plus older lens via adaptor

A key part of the value proposition is the new sensor Pentax has endowed the K-x with. Here is a DxOMark comparison that makes the point more succinctly than any number of mouthwatering technical specs.

DxOMark comparison

On this objective RAW sensor evaluation , the K-x is clearly up there with the Nikon D5000/D90 sensor – the current class leader – and ahead of the Canon 550D by a fair margin.

Pentax K-x Build Quality & Handling

It’s a solid, well-built camera of about the same size as a Nikon D40. It’s a little heavier with 4 AA NMH rechargeable batteries tucked up in it’s handgrip, but that’s a minor grumble. Materials are of good quality, with no sign of skimping to keep the cost down. My only aesthetic quibble is a line of chrome around the body, which looks a bit old-fashioned in contrats to the fashion colours the K-x comes in.

The viewfinder retains the K2000’s penta-mirror, with 96% coverage and 0.85x magnification. It’s not especially bright and the numbers on the bottom row could be a little clearer for shooting in daylight. Missing are the autofocus points, which is a real puzzle. The screen on the back is not up there with the latest offerings at 2.7 in and 230,000 pixels, but it’s perfectly adequate for most situations. These are about the only signs of Pentax cost paring.

More importantly, all the buttons are where they should be, big enough and clearly marked, including a button that pops up the flash. The four-way control wheel on the back provides quick access to White Balance, Shooting mode and ISO – the operation of the camera is well-thought-out.

Menus and Modes

Navigation is just as easy: hit the info button and all the major settings are accessible via a single panel which you can navigate using the 4-way control wheel. The menu button opens up a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of treasures for control freaks, with granular settings that provide control over every aspect of shooting and image quality. Again, the menus are logically laid out and easy to navigate.

For my test, I turned every setting to normal, neutral, standard, natural or off in order to get shots out of the K-x with a minimum of manipulation. I didn’t shoot RAW this time as I suspect most buyers of this camera will be shooting JPEGs.

I said in my first review that the K-x manual impressed me, and I want to make that point again after receiving a Canon EOS 550D for review yesterday. The 550D’s manual is one of those small, cramped, thin-paged things with writing that brings tears to the eyes of anyone older than 29. It’s very similar to my Canon SD 960 manual, and not at all fitting for a $1,000 DSLR.

Pentax K-x Performance

The K-x is a responsive camera with no delays in normal operation. The autofocus is snappy if a bit noisy, and response to the trigger is immediate. The K-x’s burst mode really lets fly with almost 5 frames/sec. It will do that for five RAW or 17 JPEG frames before running out of buffer space.

The range of shutter speeds, from 1/6,000 to 30 seconds, is just as impressive for an entry-level DSLR, and a shutter durability rating is unheard of. In terms of speed and handling, the K-x punches about its weight.

It’s a different story Live View mode, with the autofocus doing a lot of hunting in less than optimal light, but the same applies to the Nikon D5000 and Canon EOS 550D. They all have a way to go on this front.

Much the same applies to video. Starting a video recording is fiddly, you can’t autofocus while shooting video, you can’t set the aperture or shutter speed from the camera once the video is rolling, and you can’t take a still shot. Nikon’s D90 doesn’t do it any better, but Canon has upped the ante with the new EOS 550D.

Still Image Quality

With this new K-x, sharp shots came out of the camera with no effort at all, which is what we’ve come to expect from today’s DSLRs. This is a 100% crop, unedited.

K-x 100% crop

The noise in low light shots turned out to be a result of the camera’s tendency to underexpose. Once I worked out the right degree of exposure compensation needed, the K-x’s low light performance was impressive for a camera in this price range.

K-x Low-light test

The left shot was taken at ISO 3200, the right one at 6400. These are not 100% crops but even at that rate, there’s not a lot of noise visible at 3200 and not much more at 6400. On the higher setting, real life shots take on a slightly manipulated look and I found ISO 3200 a better working limit.

K-x test 3

With this K-x sample, the transitions in high contrast scenes were much improved. And this time around, the colours were spot on too, rich and warm without over-saturation.

The kit lens turns out sharp photos in most situations, but landscape shots tend to go soft away from the centre. The K-x still had a tendency to underexpose in AV-mode, my favourite shooting mode, especially in early or late daylight which are the best times for landscape photography. Dialling in some exposure compensation took care of that most of the time.

In terms of detail, the K-x delivers more than enough as this shot shows.

K-x close-up


Pentax makes bold claims for the K-x but does it deliver on the promises? On the whole, the answer is YES. The K-x is a well-built camera loaded with features. Despite the long feature list, the K-x is as simple to use as you want while offering a host of fine settings for control freaks.

Overall, the camera works well and fast and fuss-free. It’s sensor is up there with the best in class, despite the sharp $650 price tag. The Nikon D5000 costs around $800 and the Canon EOS 550D $900. So yes, Pentax has broken the rules and thrown out a serious challenge to the Canikon camp with a strong value proposition.

There are some gripes, but the list is not a long one:

  • No autofocus points in viewfinder, probably the most serious omission
  • Auto-exposure tends to the dark side in low light settings
  • The shutter is quite noisy, not suitable for candid shots
  • The LED could be a little bigger and sharper
  • Autofocus is slow in Live View
  • There are serious limitations in video mode
  • Auto-ISO doesn’t work in manual mode
  • K-x uses 4 AA batteries

The last point means more weight to carry. The upside is that, when travelling overseas to countries with different power arrangements, you can take or buy disposable batteries.

A word on my methodology

I don’t test or review cameras the way DP Review or Steve’s Digicams do. I test cameras as a user, and that means I look for good design, ease of use and logical operation and navigation. Good design is about a great user experience, something very few companies are good at. Here’s a piece of my mind on the subject

Additional Resources

I’ve posted more shots from this round of testing on my blog in a Pentax K-x gallery

Get a Price on the Pentax K-x on Amazon

A very detailed review of the setting options the K-x offers

Very comprehensive review of all types of Pentax lenses

List of Pentax lenses on the company’s website

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Pentax K-x
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Kim Brebach is a marketing professional whose experience spans over 3 decades in the IT industry. His interests include photography, cool technology, great music, theatre and books, wine and food, tennis and chess. You can find his photo blog at Get the Picture.

Some Older Comments

  • veryhappy:) December 21, 2011 01:46 pm

    I quite like my purchase of the Pentax K-x, I am not a professional photographer and I cant see find any problems with this camera at all. I was pretty dirty that I had to have it repaired a few months after buying it though.

    I have an old MZ-50 film camera, and to take 25 shots in film in one click at times :) woops.. or leaving the lens cap on to end up with many wasted films.

    The digital way is so much fun to try numerous different ways to take the shot and to see your results intantly. I think we have all been blessed buy the upgrade in technology, and to have the computer showing your ISO and shutter speed etc I love this idea also.

    if anything I want to get outside and take more snaps :)
    ..and looking into how to take super macro shots next with the backward macro I have seen all over the web.

    its easy to use, and almost the same as the old film, and the lenses fit the new.. which was my selling point.

  • audiobomber October 27, 2010 01:20 pm

    Jigalow, I think maybe we agree, but are wording it differently. With a manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), you have to select the aperture on the lens with the aperture ring. In M-mode on the camera, pressing the Green button stops the lens down for metering (camera automatically selects the appropriate shutter speed for the selected aperture). In Av mode with a manual lens, the Green Button is inoperative. Tthe camera will auto meter and take the photo with the aperture wide open, regardless of the aperture ring setting.

  • Phil October 27, 2010 09:15 am

    As a Pentax user for over 20 years (sfx film slr, K100d, and now k-x) I dont see the advantage of using a camera where you have to buy all new lenses and spend extreme amounts of money for a battery you cant buy in any store when it leaves you high and dry. I dont understand the bad rap that Pentax receives when it keeps making common sense cameras that are 100% backwards compatable and user friendly. If you bought a car that you could only buy fuel and tires from the manufacturer they wouldnt last long at all, but camera manufacturers do that all the time with batteries and lenses.

  • Chris Russell August 30, 2010 09:24 pm

    You couldn't be more wrong in your opinion about the Kx using 4 AA batteries as a disadvantage.

    It's in fact a strong advantage. I can use rechargeable and pick up AA batteries anywhere in the world (pretty much) if I run out of juice and have no power points to charge.

    Canon and Nikon rake it in with users buying extra custom rechargeable batteries to go into their cameras.

  • Jeff L. August 4, 2010 12:20 am

    I own (and love) a white Pentax K-X and want to offer one quick suggestion. If battery life is a concern, you may wish to try: Energizer Ultimate L91BP-4 Lithium AA Batteries. These things last a really LONG time, and the added expense is (for me) well worth it. You can find them on Amazon, and elsewhere, for about $8 bucks for four.

    And I don't work for Pentax, Energizer, or Amazon. :-)

  • jigelow July 24, 2010 05:39 am

    Audiobomber, the K-x cannot stop down the aperture on those lenses, as they are manual aperture. It does provide the beep, but there is no way for it to adjust aperture. In fact, to use those lenses, you must activate "Allow manual aperture" in the settings. But these lenses do work.

    Ibrahim, if you ever want to sell those primes, let me know. I love those small, old primes. They're a lot of fun.

  • Craig May 13, 2010 11:44 pm

    "Auto-ISO doesn’t work in manual mode"


    Of course auto ISO doesn't work in manual mode

    It's "MANUAL" mode

    It's "AUTO" ISO

    Who the he11 would want AUTO ISO in MANUAL mode ? That's the whole point of MANUAL mode, no auto anything.

    Manual mode on any camera is supposed to be like using a Pentax K1000 :) So says I

    No auto ISO in manual mode is not a CON, it's a PRO

    Now go exposure 20 rolls of film with a Pentax K1000 and learn what manual mode is supposed to be like !!!

    And read Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure, that book is 100% manual mode with no Auto ISO.

  • Ibrahim Ismail May 10, 2010 06:07 am

    thanks alot for the help ... :D:D:D thanks

  • audiobomber May 10, 2010 05:40 am

    Hi Ibrahim. The Green button is a feature on the K-x and other Pentax cameras that allows the camera to meter by stopping down the aperture, even with a manual lens like the ones you have. In effect the camera goes into auto mode, even with a manual lens. You will also have a focus confirmation beep when the lens is focussed on a target, which will help with manual focus.

    There are some very old screw-mount lenses that require an adaptor to mount, but your lenses are K-mount bayonet therefore will mount directly on any Pentax dslr. I suggest you go over to the Pentax Forums website where you will be able to read more on compatibility and even some reviews of your lenses.

  • Ibrahim Ismail May 10, 2010 03:45 am

    Thanks audiobomber for replying ... but can u plz tell me what do u mean by a press of the green button ??
    and I have another question ... I see in reviews that lenses will mount with restrictions and may be with adapter ... what do u think these restrictions are ??

  • audiobomber May 10, 2010 02:09 am

    Ibrahim, all four of your lenses will mount directly on any Pentax DSLR and will be metered properly by the camera with a press of the Green button.

  • Ibrahim Ismail May 9, 2010 10:10 pm

    I have a problem here, I have a SLR film camera PENTAX ASAHI ME - which is technical details are below - and I'm looking for an upgrading and I'm actually thinking about DSLR PENTAX K-x. The problem is that I have 4 lenses for my old pentax and I don't know if there mount will bw suitable for the PENTAX K-x or not, I mean the question is : IF I GET DSLR PENTAX K-x, WOULD IT POSSIBLE TO USE MY OLD LENSES ??!! ( The technical details of the lenses are below )
    The other problem is if the mount is not suitable so what do you suggest for me in a budget of 700 $ : Nikon D5000, Nikon D3000, Nikon D60, Nikon D40, Pentax K-x ( which is most reasonable for me and Nikon D5000 !! ) ???
    Please find the technical details of the camera and lenses below .

    SLR Film camera PENTAX ASAHI ME
    - Camera Name Pentax ME
    - Manufacturer Asahi Optical
    - Place of Japan
    - Date of 1977~1981
    - Focusing System Single-lens reflex with pentaprism eye-level
    viewfinder 0.97x magnification; 92% coverage
    - Lens mount K-mount (bayonet)
    - Shutter Focal plane shutter 8 sec ~ 1/1000 sec X-sync @ 1/100 B +
    - Metering System Through-the-lens (TTL) CdS cell - centerweighted Aperture
    priority metering with ±2 exposure compensation
    - Flash Standard hot-shoe and PC sync connector
    - Film type / speeds 135 type (35mm standard film)
    - Battery type 2 x LR44/S44 (standard watch batteries)

    - MC SOLIGOR zoom macro 85-205 mm c/d f:3.8 D62 (No. 3810349)
    - VIVITAR MC tele converter 2x-22
    - SMC PENTAX 1:2.8 24mm (No. 6888060) ASAHI OPT. Co., JAPAN
    - SMC PENTAX 1:1.2 50mm (No. 1454700) ASAHI OPT. Co., JAPAN
    - SMC PENTAX-M 1:3.5 135mm (No. 6717988) ASAHI OPT. Co., JAPAN

  • Jess May 4, 2010 08:10 pm

    Thanks for having another crack at the review after getting a replacement model.

    I got my K-x about a week and a half ago and its a vast improvement on my K-100D.

    I have child-sized hands so I find the smaller size of the camera body perfect. I was on a travel photography class over the weekend and the results were as good as any photos coming from Canons or Nikons.

    And I'd have to agree with Ged, I saw the AA batteries as a bonus. I will be travelling for 10 week, some of those without a guaranteed power supply. It's a better solution for me to have more AA batteries than a flat lithium.

  • Ged Carroll May 3, 2010 06:15 am


    Really interesting review. One thing I would point out is that for many users like myself the AA cells are an advantage. I frequently am in parts of the world where the only power available is buying the best AAs that I can from a street vendor. The minor weight sacrifice is a small price to play which is the reason why I have been using Pentax digital SLRs since the K100D.

    Its a matter of what you need and where you are.



  • jose tiscornia April 24, 2010 10:53 am


  • Karen Stuebing April 24, 2010 01:55 am

    I have a K10D which was my first DSLR. I love it. And I have Pentax lenses. To upgrade or not upgrade that is the question? :) I would enjoy losing the CA and barrel distortion.

  • GJL April 24, 2010 01:07 am

    Thanks, Kim. You stepped up in a tough situation and did the right thing. It's one distinction between "journalist" and "blogger".

    I have and use the K-X and will second two points, one with amplification:

    * I don't often misfocus. The K-X is capable of doing the right thing almost all the time. And no camera is flawless here. However, the inability to see the specific AF point in use, and the size of the area covered, is annoying and costs me shots unless I use center and recompose. Which I do. Always. Regardless of the camera. Even then, the AF sensor may pick a point that's not quite centered but still in the AF area covered by the cross points. I'd prefer to see both the selected AF spot and the exact portion of the image falling in that spot.

    * "Auto-ISO in manual" is helpful but we end up arguing semantics. My K10D and K-7 have a TAv mode that's the equivalent of manual in Canon/Nikon. Set shutter speed and aperture and the camera finds ISO. That's quite valuable given that modern systems can provide quite usable images over a wide range of ISOs. And the K-X shines in that respect. I agree that manual should be manual but would add TAv back to the next iteration of this camera.

    But the other strong points of this camera easily outweigh the two above. I'm getting the shots I want - quickly, without significant manual intervention, and more often than one would think for a camera in this price range. The overall performance is better than I expected - and I expected a great deal.

    Thanks again for the second effort. While you have made a lot of Pentaxians happy, the real point is that prospective new DSLR users are now well-served. There's a lot more value in the latter than the former.

    PS: If I want to think and fiddle, fiddle and think - I've a K-7. Lots of options there. But I continue to be surprised at how often I pick up the K-X and leave the K-7 in the bag.

  • Bill Merritt April 23, 2010 10:32 pm

    Thanks Kim. , I may have an hour or less later today to get a few test shots to see if that will do it. Have to tell you I think I am really going to enjoy this camera. With the ability to use almost all of the old K-mount lenses, it should prove interesting. I guess I can finally put away my K1000 and enjoy the lenses on modern day technology.
    Maybe one day we can have a discussion here about those combinations from viewers.
    Have a great day.

  • Dorothy April 23, 2010 07:22 pm

    Folks, I am buying this beauty this weekend. And yes, in white! I can't wait to hold it, learn it, use it, I am so freankin' excited...

  • Kim Brebach April 23, 2010 12:32 pm

    Bill, I suggest you dial in one or two notches of exposure compensation. The other folks here might have more suggestions - they know the K-x better than me.

  • Bill Merritt April 23, 2010 12:17 pm

    Kim, can you offer some advice for underexposure issue? I just received my K-x and will be using it day after tomorrow to photograph a family reunion outdoors in what will probably be a combination of strong sunlight and a shade structure of some type. I also like Av mode, but will not have a chance to make myself as familiar with the new addition as I would prefer. Based on what you have experienced, do you think I would be better to let it rip in full auto for first outing or maybe go full manual for total control? My concern is using Av with EC without being able to check results on a computer is making me a bit nervous based on your opinions regarding exposure. I know it is best to experiment with this for myself, but time is not available to do that before the event.
    For those who have later DSLR models, you may not understand. For those like myself who has been using a 300D (or similar technology) since 2004, you may agree the K-x feature set on the K-x is a bit overwhelming. I am trying to dig though the 300 page manual. It is a steep learning curve for this old-timer.
    PS - great review, super comments. Thanks all.

  • David April 23, 2010 11:59 am

    I lust for one of these and now my new nikon D90 is with nikon ços I think it over exposes in bright sun light but recovers even in part sunlight and shade especially versus the D40 its supposed to up grade want one of these in white or red! I saw a K10 in use the other day and thought it was every bit as nice a camera as a Nikon and the image quality looked excellent.

    Auto ISO in manual seemed to be about the only way I could set the D90 up to take pictures at f11 and 1/125th otherwise in A mode it set shutter to a too low 1/60th so like everyone else i think it depends on what the camera does in Aperture mode as to whether full manual by default is good or not. With the D90 you have to turn auto SIO off but since the program modes don't seem to give you the wide choice they did in the D40 then....

    One thing I am coming to think I'd like before buying another camera is try before you buy. As unless Nikon fix the sunlight issue to my satisfaction then I wouldn't fully endorse the D90, as the only thing the D40 missed out on is a motor for non AFS lenses and a bit more resolution for when I can't get close enough and want a tight crop.

    If only Pentax or someone else made a camera to take other mount lenses and autofocus etc with them then they'd have a real winner.

  • Kim Brebach April 23, 2010 09:34 am

    Thanks for the positive responses, people.
    The going got a bit hard there for a while but we all learn from constructive criticism.

  • Lon April 23, 2010 03:22 am

    Kim, thanks for staying with it and redoing this review with the replacement camera body. This time around the results make reasonable sense which makes your opinions about them a lot more valid. Upon reading your first review of the K-x I wasn't sure what to think about it - the results appeared horrible despite the rave reviews. That uncertainty can drive a serious buyer away from the pentax which is why the article spurred so much controversy. I'm surprised you didn't initially pick up on the dismal image quality and realize that it was due to hardware defect, especially since it was a well-used demo unit you were testing. That fact my affect your credibility to some readers here, however I think going through this process has given you the time to do a commendable review of this camera this time, and will improve your product reviews in the future. So I look forward to reading your next article here on DPS.

  • Josh April 23, 2010 01:02 am

    Thank you for redoing this review. I am so happy to see that you didn't let the unnecessarily harsh comments on the last get the best of you. (some people just don't know how to give constructive critisism). Well done!

  • audiobomber April 23, 2010 12:17 am

    Kevin wrote: "Maybe they thought most entry level users were center focus and recompose".

    IMO entry level users should use center focus and recompose. Relying on the camera to guess the intended target is a very bad idea given the shallow depth of field on a DSLR. I read a poll in a forum that showed 80% of DSLR users relied on center focus almost exclusively, and these people were not novices.

    Kim, nice follow-up. Your preferences don't exactly match up with mine, but I think this review demonstrates the kind of value the K-x provides.

    Regarding manual exposure, I don't believe you mentioned the unique Pentax "Green Button", which resets the aperture and shutter to the Program values while in Manual mode. The user is then free to manipulate the settings or use the suggested settings. This feature also works with manual lenses, and along with focus confirmation makes legacy glass easy to handle even for novices.

  • Andrewdt April 23, 2010 12:10 am

    Thanks Kim for re-doing the write-up. Made for good reading and very objective in the areas that were grey from last time round. Good one.

  • Kim Brebach April 22, 2010 11:22 pm

    Brooke, I mostly agree with you. I shoot manual on my Nikon all the time, and I don't think these DSLRs are all that good for video. A $250 Flip camcorder will do it better.

  • Kim Brebach April 22, 2010 11:16 pm

    Off topic is fine by me, Louise. If you know the rotunda, you know it's down at Balmoral (in Sydney) near the water. I live in the neighbourhood and like coming here,

  • Tyler April 22, 2010 10:26 pm

    so the canon has better video modes and that's about it. these new cameras look pretty good at higher iso settings, photography is changing.

  • Louise April 22, 2010 06:10 pm

    This is completely off topic - but I know the rotunda that you shot!

  • Kim Brebach April 22, 2010 05:37 pm

    Thanks for the detailed reply, Rob. I missed flash/delete combo - I guess because I used neither.
    I shoot RAW + JPEG as a rule and use ACDSee Pro 3 which is makes easy work of it, but my PC is pretty slow processing 15 - 20mb RAW files, so I took a shortcut.
    Yes, Batteries come down to individual preference.
    Focus-hunting was not a problem I had, but I didn't make a note of the 18-55 kit lens that was attached to the camera. So I can't answer your question. Sorry, mate.

  • Rob April 22, 2010 05:27 pm

    Mr. Brebach,

    Thank you for an excellent review with objective facts and subjective assessments.

    The lack of focus points is a deal breaker for me. I have no idea why Pentax only half way corrected the mistake of the k-m having no focus point selection at all. I also dont understand why Pentax moved away from the excellent weather seals of the K7/10/20/200. I actually find the k-x too small and I miss the extra space a battery pack provides. Finally, I think combining the flash button and delete button is insane. Delete should never be combined with anything else.

    I understand not shooting RAW but you might look at RAW in the future. I think the biggest issue with RAW has been how difficult RAW converters were until recently. I didnt start shooting RAW until Adobe released the beta of Lightroom 3. I did not click with earlier versions of Lightroom or Aperture and RAW in iPhoto is worthless (IMO). I think Lightroom (and Bridge CS4) change that and more people will be shooting RAW in the future. I havent shot a single JPEG since I started using Lightroom.

    When I was comparing the K200 to the D60 and EOS 450 I put AA batteries in the negative column. Now I would be reluctant to buy a camera that didnt use them. My K200D, battery pack and 4 strobes all use the exact same batteries. I have 48 AA Sanyo Eneloops that cost me a total of $72 - a little more than the cost of one extra K7 battery. Those 48 batteries can be primary and backups for my camera and every strobe or give me primary and five backups for just my camera/battery grip (plus countless combinations in between). My 3 chargers mean I can power up 12 batteries at a time but if I am traveling, I can have just one charger for everything. As you pointed out, AA batteries are everywhere. I stopped at a ranger stations two days into a hike and they had AA batteries. Nothing but trees for 50KM in any direction but they had batteries.

    I hope that because you didnt mention it Pentax has fixed some of the focus hunting the K200 and k-m suffred from.

    One question - what lens did you end up testing this with? All the retail kits I have seen have the 18-55 AL but as far as I can tell, Pentax has stopped producing the AL. Did they send you an AL II?

    I am glad they finally got you a working camera.

  • Jonathan April 22, 2010 04:43 pm

    Ah good review! And it comes in red! i do want one :P

  • Kim Brebach April 22, 2010 04:10 pm

    Thanks Andy. For reasons too complicated to list here, it took until last Friday to get a different K-x for testing. As soon as started shooting, it was night and day. Got this review done as fast as I could an up on DPS.

  • Andy April 22, 2010 03:44 pm

    I remember the first version of this review; I'm glad you put up the updated one after switching cameras. This sounds a lot more on par with most users' experiences. Thanks!

  • Brooke Meyer April 22, 2010 12:41 pm

    "Auto-ISO doesn’t work in manual mode"? Not to pile on but manual mode is manual mode. I get to select aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And of course the meter works in manual, its a meter. I certainly believe you when you say Canon and Nikon default to Auto ISO in manual but that is sort of an exposure oxymoron. Extraordinary! How on earth can set you set manual exposure when the the camera is deciding the sensitivity, overriding your exposure decisions? I have to 'fess up to owning a Pentax K10d and two K20D bodies. I do have some ISO envy and the K-X would fill the bill, it's the same Sony sensor used the Nikon D90. As for live View and Video, video cameras do that really well.

    When I went back to the future and started shooting manual exposure 99% of the time, my work improved a lot. I think that would be true of any brand camera.

  • Kamera gue April 22, 2010 12:17 pm

    "Auto-ISO doesn’t work in manual mode"

    I think this is not a cons, auto-ISO indeed should not working in manual mode, instead you should set all setting manually.

    I own D40 and auto-ISO can be used in manual mode. Guess what, when I use manual, I must digg deep onto menu to turn off auto-ISO first (so the camera will use ISO value as I want it to).

  • Szetoo April 22, 2010 12:05 pm

    I got this camera along with four lenses from Pentax a couple of days ago to test it and it's a great camera really! Never really liked it before but it's undeniably the best entry level camera out in the market. Not to mention the filters!

  • Craig April 22, 2010 11:56 am

    Thank you so much for redoing this review! This seems much more in line with the K-x that came out of my box. Well written review.

  • adam April 22, 2010 11:38 am

    I have the KX and wow its great! the color is awesome the camera has so many options that you dont see on others for the price.... the only valid complaint is slow AF in live view... and if you use the mirror lock up AF its just as fast as if you werent in live view... RTFM ... seriously? how can you work the camera properly if you know nothing about how it works.... I dont have exposure issues because .... I read the manual....

    kit lens is sharpish except when its out at 18mm its soft ... not great for wideangle but pretty decent for anything else

    rechargeable batteries are handy but have an extra set cause the rechargeables dont last well

    digital filters are fun but kinda pointless if you have editing software.... i use an old Ricoh 50mm most the time...its great images are sharp and colorful...

    love it, would buy a k-7 if i had the change but i have 0 complaints :)

  • Kim Brebach April 22, 2010 08:51 am

    Michael, Manual mode isn't fully manual on todays' cameras - metering is still working in mode for example, I'm used to suto0ISO doing the same - it does on Canons and Nikons. I admit it's no big deal as long as you know whether it's on or off.

  • michael April 22, 2010 08:18 am

    You make the camera sound interesting, very. I do wonder why you consider the lack of auto-ISO in Manual mode a negative. Doesn't manual mean manual?

  • Lenard April 22, 2010 07:29 am

    >> the red and white ones looke like toys rather then cameras

    That's a bonus. Less likely of them being ripped off! :)

  • Alex April 22, 2010 07:09 am

    the red and white ones looke like toys rather then cameras

  • Ross Loades April 22, 2010 07:02 am

    I was looking at getting this camera, after reading the rave review online, and this has just sealed the deal for me. I looking to get something that will use the lenses i have, (pk mounts), and doesn't use film, and this will work perfectly. Its brilliant! It looks perfect for a 15 year old amateur, looking to improve his photographic skills!
    i could even use it at a-level.

  • Kevin April 22, 2010 06:11 am

    I have a k-x and love it. It was right for the price point. I've also snagged a few $20 lenses off craigslist.

    Mine also tends to underexpose, and I often set the exposure compensation up nearly a stop. Shutter is noisy.

    I'm okay with the limitations in video mode. The DSLRs that do autofocus pickup the autofocus noise in the audio pretty bad. Of course, we'd like the option of deciding that ourselves. The problem is, the autofocus mechanism would be the same or similar to that in liveview (contrast af?), which would make it too slow to work in video.

    I read that they eliminated the autofocus points in viewfinder bc of prism size and cost. Maybe they thought most entry level users were center focus and recompose, or didn't fire enough shots to need this in the viewfinder.

    Anyhow, I love the camera, and for what it's missing, I can't justify spending $150 or more to get.