CNET First Look
Pentax K-xThe Pentax K-x is a fast, inexpensive dSLR with better-than-average low-light quality, despite flaws such as unreliable image stabilization.
>> Lori Grunin: Hi I'm Lori Grunin Senior Editor for CNET and this is the Pentax KX. Aside from the fact that it comes in too many colors to count, at least overseas, there's a lot to like about the Pentax KX. It's an entry priced DSLR with some sophisticated features you don't normally see in that price class, including video capture support and a kit that costs less than $650. It's fast with good photo quality and an excellent noise profile. And while there are a few things about it that really disappointed me, overall I think most shooters will like it for what it is, a flexible budget DSLR that delivers. The camera body feels solid and well made and it's a bit more compact than most of its competitors. However, like its predecessors the KX runs off 4 AA batteries, which make it heavier than the competition, and you've also got a choice between disposable and rechargeables. One of the cameras highlights as well as its frustrations is the view finder. On one hand it's bigger than most consumer models, with slightly better coverage of 96%, and more magnification, but while it has basic framing lines in a bewildering move the camera doesn't display the autofocus areas. Some aspects make a lot more sense than other implementations I've seen. For instance, the ISO sensitivity screen lets you chose auto or a fixed value as well as the auto range to chose from. Though there's a lot on it, the status screen provides an easy to scan display of most of your current settings. An info button pulls up an interactive control panel that provides access to almost all of them. Though it's a pretty packed display it's easy to navigate, nothing is hidden in a place that you'll have trouble remembering. The KX includes a couple of interesting features, some unique to Pentax, and some just new to the company. In addition to the traditional semi manual exposure modes Pentax in a lot of its cameras including this one offers a sensitivity priority option which automatically adjusts shutter speed and aperture as you scroll through a user determined range of ISO sensitivity values. Even at a fast shutter speed, there's significant camera shake, so you really can only use it on a tri pod. For shooting the KX is pretty fast with zippy auto focus that we come to expect from Pentax, but as I just said the image stabilization disappointed me. I had a lot more photos with camera shake than I'm used to seeing these days, even at high shutter speeds and modest focal lengths. It has a very good noise profile for its class including well balanced noise reduction in the JPEG files and the video is only so so. It's 24 frames per second and there's no shake reduction and it's just quite prone to the sensor wobblies that you see a lot in SLR video. The exposure also adjusts jarringly and too frequently, but it's the cheapest SLR you can get that has it, and it's fine in a pinch. [ Background music ] I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Pentax KX.