Pentax K-X vs Competitors

by Enche Tjin on September 17, 2009

K-x adds an interesting camera in entry level camera line up in 2009. It comes with small package (smaller than Canon or Nikon beginner DSLR cameras), but with competitive set of features.

Unlike popular brand such as Canon and Nikon, Pentax DSLR cameras has built-in body stabilization. This could be money safer in the long run. But Pentax’s lens collection is not as wide as Canon or Nikon. However, it is best to research on lenses if you plan to be in DSLR world for a long run.

Pentax Kx

Pentax kx comes with three additional colors (blue, white, red). In Japan you can choose up to 100 colors and 5 grip color in combination.

Because K-x can record video, it puts k-x face to faces with other beginner cameras that can record video. Here they are:

Pentax kx vs Canon EOS T1i / Canon 500D

At a glance, each camera has its strengths and weaknesses, both cameras has video recording capabilities but it is not so practical in use (because there is no auto focus in video mode). T1i have a slightly bigger screen and more megapixel, but KX has faster continuous shooting.If you concern about size, KX is a bit shorter and smaller than T1i.

The main difference would be the price. T1i is more expensive. It is sold at approximately $825, while KX is sold at only $650. There is also more optional bundle kit in KX, you can buy telephoto zoom lens by just adding $100 or $200.

Pentax k-x Canon T1i / 500D
12,3 mp image resolution 15 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 ISO 100-3200 expandable to 6400 and 12800
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 3 inches LCD / 920k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 95% coverage / .87 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 3.5 continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus, mono audio video mode 1080p at 20 fps, 720p at 30 fps, VGA at 30 fps, mono audio
11 AF points 9 AF points

Pentax kx vs Nikon D5000

There are many similarities between D5000 and kx, but there is one notable differences. D5000 has a swivel LCD screen but a smaller viewfinder. If you love to use LCD screen to compose picture, you might like D5000 more. On the other hand, if you use viewfinder and want more compact body, then Pentax kx is a better camera.

Like Canon T1i, Nikon D5000 is a more expensive camera, it is sold around $750. KX is sold at $650 with several telephoto zoom option. Clearly, KX is a better deal for the money.

Pentax k-x Nikon D5000
12,3 mp image resolution 12.3 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 ISO 200-3200 expandable to 100 -6400
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 2.7 inches swivel LCD / 230k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 95% coverage / .78 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 4 continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus, mono audio video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus.mono audio
11 AF points 11 AF points

Pentax k-x also competes with other beginner DSLR cameras such as:

Pentax k-x vs Pentax k-m / k2000

The older k-m does not have video recording, and more sophisticated 11 AF system and live view. But it shares similar size and almost similar in weight. Both cameras use AA batteries instead of rechargeable lithium batteries.

From features comparison, k-x is basically a better camera in almost as aspects, including image resolution and ISO range, but it boils down to how desperate you need the new features and how much you want to pay for it. The kx is around $200 more expensive than k-m.

Pentax k-x Pentax k-m / k2000
12.3 mp image resolution 10 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 ISO 100-3200
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 2.7 inches LCD / 230k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 96% coverage / .78 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 3.5 fps continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps,
manual focus, mono audio
no video, no live view
11 AF points 5 AF points

Pentax k-x vs Olympus E-620

The only significant advantage of E-620 is the swivel LCD screen. Ironically, E-620 does not have video mode to take advantage of the flexible LCD. Olympus is also considered as one of the smallest DSLR on the market right now that employs built-in stabilization just like Pentax k-x.

Olympus is selling at $699, $50 more expensive than the Pentax.

Pentax k-x Olympus E-620
12.3 mp image resolution 12 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 ISO 100-3200
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 2.7 inches swivel  LCD / 230k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 95% coverage / .96 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 4 fps continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus, mono audio no video, but there is live view
11 AF points 7 AF points

Pentax k-x vs Canon EOS Rebel XSi

Canon XSi is selling at approximately $635 right now, so it is the closest in term of price. But if we look at the specifications, Canon XSi is way inferior than Pentax k-x in many aspects.

Pentax k-x Canon XSi / 450D
12.3 mp image resolution 12.2 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 ISO 100-1600
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 3 inches LCD / 230k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 95% coverage / .87 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 3.5 fps continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus, mono audio no video, but there is live view
11 AF points 9 AF points

Pentax k-x vs Sony A500

Pentax k-x use Sony EXMOR sensor, so the image quality will be pretty much the same. Sony A500, like all Sony DSLR, does not record video. Sony has additional dedicated sensor for fast AF in live view mode. So for people who loves to use live view mode to compose picture like in compact camera, A500 is more suitable.

But the additional sensor add the bulk to this camera, so if you love smaller camera, then k-x is a better option. Sony A500 is $100 more expensive.

Pentax k-x Sony A500
12.3 mp image resolution 12.3 mp image resolution
ISO 200-6400 expandable to 100-12800 Auto ISO 200-1600, Manual 200-12800
2.7 inches LCD / 230k 3 inches LCD / 230k
viewfinder 96% coverage / .85 magnification 95% coverage / .80 magnification
4.7 fps continuous shooting 5 fps continuous shooting
video mode: 720p at 24 fps, manual focus, mono audio no video, but there is fast AF live view
11 AF points 9 AF points

To sum up, Pentax k-x, like k-m offers a great value for your money. It is significantly cheaper than its competitors with similar feature set.

Related post: Pentax kx specs and price

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

pentaxuser September 20, 2009 at 6:27 am

“Pentax k-x use Sony EXMOR sensor” Unproven and unlikely. Based on the actual resolution (no just the megapixel count) it is more likely to be the sensor from the Nikon D90 / D5000. Presumably left over when Nikon brought sensor production in house.

admin September 20, 2009 at 6:36 am

But Nikon D90/D5000 sensor only up to 6400?

pentaxuser September 23, 2009 at 2:49 am

True, also the Nikon is not mounted in a shake reduction mechanism. ISO is down to the in camera gain and processing, so could be adjusted. I cannot see Sony shooting their new model in the foot by selling the prized EXMOOR to a rival. But perhaps their is room in rumourland for a Sony/Pentax alliance to do away with Nikon and Canon? Whatever the truth turns out to be, I am hoping that it is an improvement for long exposures and noise as this is my current gripe with my current K100D. I would even make do without a wired remote shutter release if this is improved.

King-RJ September 27, 2009 at 1:23 am

But Pentax’s lens collection is not as wide as Canon or Nikon??
What wide collection ?… Is that about single camera can use ? Or the SAME Focal Length with IS and other one is NON-IS …they are just the same or just only 1 or Are you talking about canon lenses that cant be use in the other cropped sensor models, Or maybe is that other lenses that when you use to your camera that is resulting to 2 – Stop Down. Do You Really Know Pentax? .. Or Ever Use a Pentax ? Even Use Film On Pentax … If Not BETTER DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

admin September 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm

wide collection means it has most of the lenses from prime to zoom, from telephoto to ultra wide, from professional grade to consumer grade etc.
check out http://www.radiantlite.com/2008/12/pentax-lenses-vs-canon-lenses.html for direct comparison.

ipattt October 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Very Interesting Spec,
In term of GEEK i need Pentax K-x
It can use with 645 Lens too.

luke floyd November 1, 2009 at 11:01 am

I think that the pentax kx does have the exmor sensor. I had a d90 and it does not compare in low light to the pentax kx. If you consider that you can get a pentax kx bundle of 18-55 and 55-300 lens for $750.00 I think that it is probably the best deal anywhere in the united states. Also the batteries are wonderful and the autofocus and speed are great too. I just cannot say enough good things about this camera. Luke

Grog November 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

me like kamersa k-x, good , take good pikshurs, me like.

chendoj November 29, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I recently got into the DSLR. After much research, I decided on Pentax for quality, NOT quantity, and best performance to price ratio. The images produced our stunning. The bodies are solid and feature-packed. The jewel-like FA Limited 31mm, 43mm and 77mm lenses are second to none. The 43mm is so good, it’s even offered in Leica mount. The ability to use old Pentax lenses are a bonus, plus they benefit from in-body stabilization.
The DA * lenses are weather sealed, and the DA Limiteds offer outstanding images and portability. With the addition of the 55-300mm zoom, the collection is versatile enough for nearly every situation.
You will have to spend thousands in Canon/Nikon equipment to match the Pentax.
They don’t even offer prime lenses that come close to the FA Limiteds.

Ak December 17, 2009 at 1:27 am

Nikon D90/D5000/D300/D300s/ Sony A700 ALL have the same sensor that Sony calls exmor (note that it’s not exmor-r (back lit) that is in new Sony p&s).

Kx/A500 probaby have exactly same same sensor, with slight update so that now it’s rated 200–6400 with 12800 expanded (previously it was 200-3200 with 6400 expanded). But IQ looks about the same.

And IQ doesn’t depend on sensor only. There are many other factors to it. However, all these cameras have similar Sony sensor and Sony is making money on all of them.

A550 has 14 MP version, and that will probably start showing up in future nikon bodies too.

admin December 17, 2009 at 1:32 am

@Ak : Thanks for the comment. 14mp might be a new standard in 2010.

Bharris100 January 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

One feature no one metioned is the 3 multiple frames when in the HDR Image Capture Mode. Currently I use Photoshop Pro CS4 for this added feature.
Yes, I will need a tripod…..but, the landscapes I take will be improved from the begining. And is really great for mixed situations: Indoors with a window!
Now all areas will come into clear improved satuation for each area.

LowThudd January 23, 2010 at 8:03 am

Lens selection is hands down Pentax, when you consider the fact that any K lens from the late 60s to current lenses can be used. I have alot of Pentax glass, and sometimes the older lenses are of better construction than all but pro quality lenses today. I have a 28-200 macro SMC Pentax lens that takes incredible pictures, and I plan to use it on my upcoming purchase of the K-x. You should really take a look at the current lens selection: http://www.pentaximaging.com/camera-lenses/
I think you will find it is superior to the other manufacturers.

LowThudd January 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

Correction, my mistake the K mount came out in 75. For more insight on the vast array of lenses aplicable to the K mount see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_K_mount

tonyhawklookalike August 10, 2010 at 12:25 am

The KX is a really nice camera loaded with features. I feel the creative options and ability to edit pictures from the camera make it slightly better than the Xsi. However I will give kudos to Canon for the following points: focusing and focus points, simplicity of menus, action shots (even though it is a tad slower than the KX the AI Servo feature in the XSi really excels for high speed action photograhy), and great imaging including contrast and gamma. I love both cameras. As far lenses I think this is not an issue, you can get a wide variety of lenses including stunning primes for either camera.

saeed October 8, 2010 at 3:55 am

I don’t have pentax kx, but I read so much about it. The comparisons as mentioned above could not give a true judgment. Pentax could weight out nikon d5000 in High ISO Performance, in-body auto focus motor, more sharp pictures, more features (highlight correction, shadow correction, HDR mode, cross processing VS D-lighting for D5000). In addition Image Stabilization and slightly lighter and cheaper are attention-worthy issues. By the way D5000 own (slightly) better image quality and sales services, which are important.

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