Friday, July 9, 2010

Part 2: Camera's for Backroads

Backroads Product:  Pentax k-x

This is my original review of the Pentax k-x camera.   Pentax k-x review 

Here is my hands-on review of the same camera.  First the camera is smaller than the typical DSLR camera.  It is slightly larger than my Olympus OM-1 which I thought was the perfect size.  For backroads and hiking the camera is perfect.  Controls are easily accessible.

I am spoiled with the use of AA batteries.  It is handy to slip in another set of AA batteries and not worry about having recharged batteries or finding plugs to recharge them.  I was using standard alkaline batteries with the Pentax 100d.  The k-x appears to use more power than my old Pentax 100d.  However, the original set of alkalines are still in the camera after several weeks.   For longer lasting batteries you might want to replace the alkalines with lithium batteries.  They are about ten dollars for a set of four at Wal-Mart.  If you are a heavy user of flash you might want to insert a set of the lithium batteries prior to shooting lots of flash pictures.

I was concerned about not having top LCD panel which shows shutter speed and f-stop.  In the k-x model these are shown on the large LCD display on the back of the camera.  This is a nice display.  Pressing menu gives you all the controls and important settings on one screen.  Shutter speed, f-stop, ISO setting, battery charge state, auto focus setting, white balance, picture meg setting, anti-shake setting, exposure compensation setting and number of pictures left on the SD card.  You can then change the setting on that screen.  Simple, and it works well.  It will help make you a better photographer since all the parameters are visible at one time.  I don't miss that LCD panel at all.

Pressing the info button.  Brings up the control panel screen where you can change settings quickly.  There are 19 controls displayed and by clicking on the icon you can change the setting.  No more going to layers and layers of menu's to change settings on the camera.  Great idea. 

Between the INFO and MENU displays you will not have to search to change parameters. 

The link on the left is for the kit with the standard lens and the 55-300mm zoom telephoto.  If you do not have extra lenses this is a great price.  One advantage of a zoom camera is that you can zoom in and crop the image such that it has much more visual appeal.  Probably the one thing that will improve you photographs more than any other technique.  So consider getting the camera with the extra lens. 

There is one issue I did have with the camera.  You can customize the camera is so many ways and so easily that you get carried away.  My recommendation is to stick to the factory defaults and slowly explore the settings. 

A 4GB SD card will take almost 600 photos at the highest JPEG quality setting of 12 megs.  That is a lot of pictures for the money!

The camera also has a auto-picture mode for those without a photography background.  Just point and shoot and the camera will take care of everything.  It also has built-in body anti-shake which means those slow exposures will come out much sharper.  Don't forget high def video!

For the price an amazing camera.  If you have lenses and a photography system from another company stick with their line of camera's.   All DSLR's are good.  But if you are starting out and cannot afford to spend much money take a look at the Pentax k-x. 


Anonymous said...

Ten years into the 21st century, there are very few reasons not to be using rechargeable NiMH AA batteries for all but emergency purposes. I'm talking about the newer "precharged" kind, which don't lose all their power in 30 days, technically known as Low Self Discharge. Invest in them---plus a smart charger that won't fry them---and they should provide years of reliable service.

Vladimir Steblina said...

The Pentax k-x will take Lithium AA's, NiMH AA's, or Alkaline batteries. You can set the type of battery or have the camera auto-detect the battery.

Many photographers recommend the Sanyo eneloop batteries for high drain electronics like camera's.

Rechargeables are fine. The reason I like the Pentax camera's is that AA backup so you can always use the camera by just carrying an extra set of AA's.

Anonymous said...

I agree, electronic devices that take AAs are the most versatile.

Eneloops are regarded as the best of the NiMH rechargeables, but they're often hard to find or they are expensive. Instead, look for Duracell Pre-Charged with the WHITE top (made in Japan)---these are often just rebranded Eneloops.

Try them and you'll never go back to alkalines.