Pentax K-x White in Disneyland

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

I own both Pentax K20D and Pentax K-x. I am one of the many who enjoys the K-x very much. But in my view, K-x is never a replacement for K-7 or K20D as it is in a different class of camera. If one holds that view and open minded to it as a back-up and fun and light camera packed with features, one will appreciate K-x for it is good for. I am of course biased for Pentax but I will recommend K-x highly to anyone who are in the market for their 1st digital SLR as an upgrade from p&s, or take K-x as a back-up, traveling buddy along with K10D, K20D or K-7. It excels in high ISO as anyone has noted. It ain't perfect when you compare it to the higher class in K-7 or K20D. No matter how wrong that I do in relying on the red focal point for reference of focus, the missing of it in K-x is the darn-est thing I miss in K-x and it supersedes all the inconveniences that I can do with buttons found in K-7/K20D/K10D and not in K-x.

I didn't hesitate for the decision to take it for my recent visit to Disneyland and SeaWorld in southern California. And the K-x is a real kicker in the dark with low ambient light. I took along my usual traveling 1-lens do-it-most lens with Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and the high ISO in K-x upped a notch for the zoom

1/40 sec, f/2.8, iso 1600 , 0 Ev,
jpg, default NR medium, no pp
pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/80 sec, f/4.0, 40mm, iso 4000 , 0 Ev
jpg, default NR, no pp, no flash
parade at nightpentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/125 sec, f/4.0, 63mm, iso 5000 , 0 Ev
jpg, default NR, no pp, no flash

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/100 sec, f/4.0, 45mm, iso 2500 , 0 Ev
jpg, default NR, no pp, no flash

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/30 sec, f/3.5, 35mm, iso 12800 , 0 Ev
jpg, default NR, pp with NR in iPhoto

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/10 sec, f/2.8, 17mm, iso 12800 , 0 Ev
jpg, default NR, no pp, no flash,
on a moving boat, cropped center

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/250 sec, f/5.6, 34mm, iso 100 , 0 Ev

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

1/125 sec, f/4.0, 63mm, iso 200, 0 Ev

pentax k-x white in disneyland and sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

The real kicker in shooting the parade in Disneyland was standing next to a professional-like with a Nikon D3 or some related model. My rig is probably 1/2 the size and I certainly don't feel half the man in the shooting though my rig and I are half the size of the dude and his Nikon. The K-x empowered me to make a shot in very low ambient light. I should have shot in raw for #5 and pp with something better as in Noise Ninja or Neat Image. But you see, I am pretty much a p&s amateur not caring much to win the shot for competition but to keep the memory sake of a boy holding a lighted toy in motion in an otherwise very dark corridor waiting to see Mickey in Toon Town at night.

I will show more on the shots taken in the Private of Caribbean boat ride which was even darker and many of the shots in 6400 to 12800 come out reasonable except some with very odd WB from the tricky lighting.

Impressions & Notes

  • Sharpness
    I tune the sharpness setting in my K-x from default to Fine sharpness and +1 from the normal setting. I would imagine some impact to the high iso shots but I want to gain the sharpness by a bit in normal shooting as I do find sharpness in default setting a bit soft compared to my K20D and hence the tuning. More of the my family vacation with Pentax K-x white and Sigma zoom can be seen in this Flickr photo set

  • Missing the red focal point
    Missing the red dot is almost a non-issue in good daytime shooting as I can rely on the lines and circle imprinted guides on the default focusing screen to roughly center the spot to work with center AF. But that is not easy to do in the low light shooting especially when I have a bi-focal glass and I can hardly see the guiding lines and circle imprinted on the focusing screen when I make shot in the dark. MF is both a non-issue to some but it is a gripe for me as I do rely on the precision of the center point for flower pedals and the precise spot that I want to tell the AF to lock on. I have adapted to consciously looking at the bottom for the green hex but that is NOT my preference in shooting as I move my attention from center to bottom and it is more prone to missing the spot that I am interested in. My Bi-focal glass adds a factor in the negative direction. In the Pirate of Caribbean boat ride, I could hardly hear the AF confirmation beep due to the water fall and the cheers of the boat riders.

  • Program Mode
    I use Program mode in the trip mostly and I switch to Tv for shots with body movement with faster shutter in 1/80 to 1/125 when body movements are in the shots. The program always swing back to f/2.8 and I have to hyper adjust it smaller aperture to avoid wide open shots but I let it do its thing when it is really dark.

  • Auto Focus
    The AF in dim light and under tungsten lighting is quite responsive.

  • SR unstabilized
    One other caveat that seems to happen more with K-x is the slower activation of SR hand signal for readiness of SR. I have SR on all time and yet I find quite a number of my shots with SRResult=Unstabilized in exif. There is a gap of 0.6+ second between the AF hexagon and the coming of SR ready hand signal. One has to pay attention to the SR status in the shooting.

  • Auto WB
    Auto WB is reasonable though I find tendency of warm and orange type of WB when shooting in the dark with red color. The preset for tungsten lighting seem to elevate the problems a bit; otherwise, the auto WB is quite dependable.

  • Matrix Metering
    I am not sure if it is improved like the K-7 over the K20D, maybe it does but I can't tell easily, but one thing that I am sure is the tendency of a bit overexposure. It is very unlike K20D that it underexposes by 1/3 to 1/2 stop. I find it accurate for most counts but I also find it varies with lens and the subject to lighting in the background, I have highlight clipped when I use DA 35mm f/2.8 limited on seemingly normal and not harsh lighting. I sometime dial it with -1/3 Ev and pp it similar to K20D. Dpreview does note the clipping on highlight in the "cons" section.



msatlas said...

Hin, I also have a K-x and find the lack of red dots a bit annoying. I find that setting the green button to center af point makes selecting a specific af point easier. Just click green button and then any af point is 1-2 arrow button presses away. For moving subjects I set to AF.C and Auto 5 point selection and the camera usually focuses fine, especially if you have a fast lens.

Rastislav Stanik said...

lovely shots, you should really give raw a try..
I shoot basically just in that and then use Lightroom 2 which, after I got the new laptop, works pretty fast :)
the Adobe guys are doing very good job
you then always have the raw files for archive and no headache about WB, can tune finely exposure and so on...perfect for nightshots of stars, I usually have EV on +3 or 4 and then play with "blacks" adjustment to bring out as many stars as is desired (very important is the amount of light pollution)

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