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Old Sep 26, 2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Default Who at Pentax tested the prototype Kx???

Yeah I know, I know, this issue has been beaten up to death but since I did not have the Kx, I could not express my personal opinion about it. Now I can...I received my Kx last Friday. The issue I'm referring to is the lack of focus point. As I said, it has been extensively discussed, so I was not caught by surprise by any means. I just need to get it out of my chest. For some, this is not a biggy. For others, aggravating enough to making them return the unit. I'm somewhat in the middle but tending toward the latter. As the title of this post suggests, either no one at Pentax tested the Kx prototype or their QA department is the most pathetic in the world or worse yet, the QA folks flagged the issue but the execs decided not to invest a single penny fixing it up. The engineers who developed the camera thought about providing an AF system comprised of many options (5-point/11-point auto, single point and 11-point manual). Now how can all these options (but one, the center single point) be of any use at all? The two AUTO options are absolutely pointless. No one (and I really mean NO ONE) can possibly choose these AF options. That would be shooting in the dark, not knowing what the camera is focusing on ever. Then there is the manual mode....how retarded is it that you kinda have to guess where the subject you wish to focus on is on the frame and hope you pick the right focus point? Not to mention that every time you want to change it you need to go through the LCD, so you can't simply turn the wheel and change the focus point from the first to the second position on the right, for instance. And even if you could, would wouldn't know for sure that you moved the AF point to the location you really want it to be because....there is no confirmation light. So, how could Pentax release the camera with such a design flaw? Who at Pentax made the call to simply ignore the problem and carry on with full blown production? Yes, it bugs me. Sure I can (and I have done so) set the AF point to the center and assume that the camera is doing its bit correctly and that I never change that by mistake because if I do, it will be difficult to catch until you come back home with hundreds of OOF pictures. Shame on Pentax, really. But, that's not the point. The point is, I have a camera with nice features I can't use. It's ridiculous!
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 11:50 AM   #2
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hmmmmm not sure what the problem is really - use centre point and recompose for normal shooting for critical focusing with non moving targets use live view - as for auto seeing the point it has selected is somewhat irrelevant since without changing mode you cant select a different one so just let it get on with it (only use auto for very specific casesanyway)

and if you dont want to use contrast detect in liveview which is now pretty good after some firmware updates (at least on the k7) then you can check which focus point is being used on the rear lcd screen

i know its nicer having it - just gone back to my old film slr camera and it doesn't have it (heh only has one autofocus point anyway) and though i miss the red flash to confirm focus has been achieved the beep and in the case of the kx green hexagon lets you know its focused

the choice of pentax not to put it in? well i think it was a msitake as it was the one critisism people had of the camera and would have done better in sales if it was there - but its afew etc 's saved on cost and its in no way critical to the operation of the camera
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 3:39 PM   #3
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well I believe that in situations like this you need to follow the money. If they had given us the focal point indicators on the Kx then the appeal of moving "up" to the Kr would have been diminished. The "flaw" was not a design error but was rather by design. We all have seen in the past that when two versions of something comes out like say software, the cheaper version is simply the expensive version with certain features blocked! I believe that the Kx is simply the Kr with certain options blocked. The upgrades of the Kr are so minor that its obvious to me that the "new" features were simply held back when the Kx came out. Now we are all excited and "relieved" by the new features! Remember , you would not order desert if it were included with the meal!
I agree the focus markers should have already been there along with the battery options and new autofocus engine!
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 3:47 PM   #4
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block - yeah the autofocus points could have been included but - the battery options are a brand new idea never seen before in any dslr - the new autofocus system is again new - it didn't exist last year so again couldn't have been included

the kr's main new features which might induce people to upgrade would be

better autofocus
higher iso
faster continous shooting

the autofocus indicators additions are more of a correction of a mistake in the kx than a being billed as a new feature
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 3:54 PM   #5
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Hi Tullio,

Please don't do this here. This has been the one Pentax forum that hasn't had the constant crabbing about cameras that the other fora are plagued with.

We like our Pentaxes, post pics, share tips, and have fun with each other. This is a very positive forum. . . I'm not telling you what to do, I'm asking -- nicely.

You knew what you were buying. As you said, the subject's been beaten to death. If you can't deal with it, then return it and get a Kr. Or give it a fair trial and see if you can work around it -- there are a lot of very advanced photographers who are very happy with this model.

I assume that you have a return period and maximum number of exposures for the trial period. If you don't know, find out for sure. Try shooting the camera every way that you can imagine using it with a positive attitude that you can make this camera work for you. Carefully examine the shots you take. If you get to the end of the return period, or reach the near the max exposure count, and find the lack of indicators is not a deal breaker, then keep it and use it well -- it's a great camera. If you find that it doesn't work for you, then return the camera and get something that has the features you can work with. . . and move on. Treat it as a positive experience with minimum loss -- you learned something about how you want to use a camera.

If you choose to give it a fair trial, here are some tips to use when testing the camera out to see if you can use it:

The green button can be reprogrammed to return the focus point to center, so you always can start at the center point if you want to manually change the focus point for every shot. After that, it's a maximum of 3 button presses to get to any point on the grid. This can be done easily while still looking through the VF, and can be confirmed by looking at the LCD. Try working with it before you need it in a shoot so you can be confident it works.

Probably 99% of the advanced photographers I know use the center point and recompose because that's the way they did it with film. The only time it's not at least adequate is with very fast sharp lenses, shooting wide open, at short distances where the DOF is very thin, and focus and recompose is just not quite accurate enough because of angular displacement. If you don't have lenses that are faster than f2.8, it's probably not an issue.

I only let the camera choose the focus point when I'm shooting quickly moving objects with AF C (birds in flight). In this case, I usually turn the focus point indicators off because it doesn't help to know which one it chose, and the LEDs are actually distracting. The birds move fast, are hard to keep in the VF with it blacking out as the mirror flips up and down, and I couldn't do anything about it if it chose to focus on the wrong thing anyway since I can't outreact 5 FPS anyway.

I think that most shooters who choose Auto Multipoint Focusing don't really confirm the focus visually anyway. They just want the camera to do the focus, and press the shutter button down and take the shot. Ask yourself: Would I really have been able to stop from taking the shot if a little red square would have lit up at the wrong place in the viewfinder? . . . or had I committed to take the shot anyway. . . If the camera consistently chooses wrong, then you have to take over and make the choices manually. There is no AF system that can read your mind. DSLRs can be more demanding. They can ultimately get you better images, but they require that you do your part.

I use center point, where the AF sensor area is very well defined, half press to focus, confirm the focus visually, then take the shot. This has to happen quickly because the birds I shoot won't wait, but it's still very deliberate. You have to do this anyway to ensure that SR has time to actuate fully. Realize that even with focus point indicators, you still have to estimate the area of the AF sensor anyway, since it's much larger than the focus indicator that lights up, so you really have to get to know your viewfinder and the positions and areas of the AF sensor points if you're going to use the AF system to gain critical focus.

Look at it this way: the central rectangular area has 9 focus areas (3 rows of 3) that cover the whole rectangle. The two remaining sensors cover the extreme left and right up to the lines to the sides of the rectangle. The central point is about the size and area of the central circular area, and each of the nine central points are about the same size. Each of the AF sensor areas will try to find a contrast border in its area and will focus on it. If your subject doesn't cover the entire area, anything else in the area might get picked -- the camera can't read your mind. When you AF, make sure that the camera picks the right thing to focus on by visually confirming. If it looks right, then take the shot.

IMO, this is largely a problem that isn't really a problem, but people think it should be a problem because the reviews say it is, so it then becomes a problem. . . . but it doesn't have to be. . .

Remember that you made the decision to buy this model with your eyes open. The omission of the focus indicators is well documented for this model and its predecessor, the K2000. It's not Pentax's fault, they didn't hide the omission, and and obviously didn't think it a critical omission, and I tend to agree. Don't accept a new camera that you feel negatively about -- it'll ultimately hurt your photography by giving you a negative attitude while using it. I always shoot better knowing that my gear is working for me, not against me.

Scott
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 5:47 PM   #6
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Ditto. Don't do this here. The fact that you knew when you bought it and then complain is a waste of time.
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 6:21 PM   #7
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I agree with Scott. The issue is not a real issue. Shooting slr for 30 years the red led are way over rated. As long as I can pick my point, and my memory is still good enough to remember which one I pick. I will be able to get a good shot.

So if you are not happy with the k-x I would serious consider returning it. It sounds like it is not the right camera for you just like the epl-1 does not seem to be the right camera for you with it's quirks.

Both camera are excellent camera system, and was awarded top honors. But they are still just a camera system and they are not perfect. So if neither system works for you just return them. Other shooters, these issues are not a big deal and do not even bother some. But if it bothers you so that much, then they are not the right camera for you.

As scott said, all the quirks of the k-x were documented from the very beginning, just like the the ones with the epl-1. They have been sorted among the ones that can and not not live with them. Not really doing any one any good just to rehashed them.
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 6:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bock1965 View Post
well I believe that in situations like this you need to follow the money. If they had given us the focal point indicators on the Kx then the appeal of moving "up" to the Kr would have been diminished. The "flaw" was not a design error but was rather by design. We all have seen in the past that when two versions of something comes out like say software, the cheaper version is simply the expensive version with certain features blocked! I believe that the Kx is simply the Kr with certain options blocked. The upgrades of the Kr are so minor that its obvious to me that the "new" features were simply held back when the Kx came out. Now we are all excited and "relieved" by the new features! Remember , you would not order desert if it were included with the meal!
I agree the focus markers should have already been there along with the battery options and new autofocus engine!
Hi bock,

It's not always about the money. . . especially with Pentax. They're the only one who continues to make a AA battery compatible body -- and they don't market their own brand of AAs. Wnen they went with a proprietary battery in the K10, it wasn't a unique battery to Pentax, it was a higher capacity version of an existing Minolta battery (IIRC for the 7D and 5D) which was orphaned when Sony bought K-M, and there were a bunch that were closed out by dealers at $10 just after the K10 was introduced.

They're the only one that offers nearly complete backwards compatibility with full original lens functionality in all of their bodies. This has cost them millions over the past two decades in new lens sales, and this has made more money for ebay than Pentax. It would be cheaper for them to omit the screwdrive motor from the body in new models, forcing SDM lens sales, but they keep putting it in.

They have continued the same body for the K10 and K20, so the grip is the same. This is also true of the K-7 and K-5.

Pentax hasn't been a perfect company, and still makes mistakes, but out of all the major camera mfgs, I think they are the least money grubbing. A company doesn't get known for offering the best bang for the buck when profit margin is their only goal.

The features left off of the Km and Kx were hardware items, and less mfg cost was reflected in lower price. Focus indicators don't offer better performance (except in the minds of some users), but leaving the LED overlays and their control circuits out of a camera's pentamirror assy and eliminating the labor involved with installing and aligning them lowers the cost. The Kr includes these missing hardware items, but also costs more at introduction. I think that they did the right thing as many potential entry level users buy on price alone, and by establishing the Kx as a great performer at a great price, they set the table for the "improved" but more expensive Kr. Some will justify the price increase with the new AF sensor and algorithms since AF performance should be noticeably improved, and there might be some improvement in IQ, but this will probably not be as great, but somewhere in there is a line item for the LED overlay and control circuits, and their installation that has been added.

Canon apparently "dumbed down" a number of their models by disabling features via firmware omissions. Firmware hackers exposed this by making the features available with their hacks. This hasn't happened with Pentax, though some have tried. The only firware hack that I know of exposed the "debug menu" on the K10 and allowed global AF point adjustment. This was not a dumbed down feature, but a factory adjustment procedure that all cameras have that was not meant to be a user feature, though it's become one with the Kr.

It would have been a mistake to include SAFOX IX in the Kx, even if it was ready to go. AF had already been improved significantly, and it's more appropriate to offer a new major performance component in the flagship model and follow up in a season later in the entry level. If it indeed is a significant improvement (and it looks like it will be) it would have really made the K-7 look bad if the new entry level body not only smoked it in high ISO performance, but also in AF performance. THAT would have been a major marketing mistake. The fact that Pentax didn't save it for the next entry level model and give the Kr SAFOX VIII + goes against the "dumbed down" theory. . .

I'm sure that if you look hard enough, you can find "bean counter" conspiracies in just about any company and any product's perceived faults. I have always perceived Pentax as one of the good guys in this respect, and cut them some slack. Of course, Hoya could have a negative influence here, and things might have changed -- they did increase the lens prices -- but I think they've only really brought MSRP in line with what they're really worth on the market. . .

Decide for yourself, but consider other possible perspectives before thinking that everything is always totally profit driven.

Then again, maybe I'm just a Pollyanna. . .

Scott
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 6:55 PM   #9
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this thread is upsetting the mojo of the forum - is nice to come here and not get all the negativity you find elsewhere
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 10:27 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=John.Pattullo;1146932]hmmmmm not sure what the problem is really ...[QUOTE]

The problem is, the camera has capabilities we can't take advantage of.

Quote:
...and if you dont want to use contrast detect in liveview which is now pretty good after some firmware updates (at least on the k7) then you can check which focus point is being used on the rear lcd screen...
I've already upset some people here discussing one negative point of the Kx. Let's not get into the LV debate, shall we? Or I may end up being banned from this forum.

Quote:
...i know its nicer having it - just gone back to my old film slr camera and it doesn't have it (heh only has one autofocus point anyway)...
I never had a film AF camera, so I can't say much about it. But, I can go further back when cameras only offered manual focus. The concept of focus/re-compose/shoot is ancient. But, that does not mean we should continue that way. Shut the electricity down for one day and it will drive you insane. Well, in the old old days, there was no electricity, right? But, that does not mean it is OK to be without today.

I'm not here to bash Pentax. I have no brand loyalty what-so-ever, so as shoturtle suggested, "if not happy, send it back" and believe me, I do that a lot, which does not mean I can't be pleased. I have an old Sony R1, which I love, a Sony H1 which is one of the best P&S I've ever had, a Panasonic G1 which is a very good camera and I have a blast shooting with old vintage lenses, a Pana FZ28 and even an older Kodak DX6440 which is way too outdated so I gave it to my son to take on field trips. I've had Nikon, Olympus (I'm still playing with an EPL1) and even Pentax DSLRs. I like to check them out. Some are keepers others are not. I just don't stick my head in the sand and ignore the negatives of any camera simply because it's this or that brand. I'm also not a professional photographer (and don't pretend to be one) and don't do reviews. What I share is personal feelings. Some very positive, others not as positive. Sometimes people need a bit of encouragement or see things from a different perspective. I've read tons of great stuff about the Kx and am hoping the lack of focus light indicator will not weight heavily on my decision to keep it or not.
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