Why Did I Choose Pentax K-x Over Canon 500D And Nikon D3100?

I bought my first DSLR 3 weeks back.  And to surprise to a lot of people, it is a Pentax K-x.  I chose to go with Pentax K-x over Nikon D3100 and Canon 500D.  I get asked “WHY Pentax” many times. Well, modern-day cameras are very much advanced and are very capable.  All are so close in terms of IQ that it is difficult to decide on one.  Because of this, we need to consider other aspects of them to come to a conclusion.

So let’s begin –

  • In-body image stabilization – Pentax offers in-body image stabilization that both Canon and Nikon don’t.  Pentax has implemented image stabilization in the camera body by using sensor shift mechanism.  The sensor shifts itself (kind of vibrates) at a very fast rate to compensate with the camera shake induced by shaky hands of the photographer.  Main advantage of in-body image stabilization is – well, it is in body.  So, ANY lens you mount on the camera becomes stabilized by default. In contrast, Canon and Nikon prefer image stabilization in lenses, which makes the lenses bigger and of course expensive.
  • Ergonomics – My Pentax K-x just feels right in my hands.  All the controls are at the right place.  The body is smallest of the lot with just right amount of weight. The Canon was the worst of the lot with the Nikon coming very close to the Pentax.
  • Low light IQ – This is where Pentax scores most.  This has become Pentax’s USP since K-x, K-5 and now K-r.  Pentax takes a conservative approach towards noise reduction to retain details in photos.  This enables us to process the image the way we want. The noise reduction software are getting better and better day by day, so I’d prefer to do it in the computer with all the processing power and intelligence than in camera.
  • Fastest among the lot – The K-x can shoot at 4.7 frames per second.  This is the fastest burst shooting rate among the three cameras.  Though I won’t need such high-speed shooting everyday, it’s a nice to have feature.
  • Backward compatibility with older glass – Pentax has maintained backward compatibility with all old lenses they have ever made.  So I can use ANY Pentax lens EVER made with my K-x.  Some of the prime manual focus lenses are very cheap in second-hand market. Though Canon and Nikon both have a larger set of lenses on offer, Pentax gives me way more choices than I will ever buy.
  • Largest and brightest view-finder
  • Bang for the buck – Have you ever seen a Pentax advertisement on TV or a hoarding on a road?  I haven’t, because Pentax doesn’t spend much on marketing.  They are a very small company focused on R&D behind their products.  This enables them to price their products lower compared to Canon and Nikon.  I bought my K-x along with 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses for USD 629.  In this amount with Canon I would have only got the body, or with Nikon one kit lens with the body.

One negative point for Pentax is their absence in retail outlets.  Not sure why but Pentax don’t stock enough cameras, lenses and accessories in retail electronic stores.  This keeps prospective customers away from trying a Pentax camera in the store.  They don’t have good service network too in most of the countries.  In India, they don’t have any presence at all. So if this matters to you, you may want to be safe and go with either of Canon or Nikon.

The main point going against the Nikon D3100 was the stripped down body.  Nikon has removed the focus motor from the D3100, so the lens has to have a focus motor to auto focus.  It also doesn’t have the bracketing feature, which is considered very basic and very useful for HDR imaging.  Nikon tends to do such things with their entry-level DLSRs.

The main point going against the Canon was the price and how quickly they obsolete camera bodies.  500D is now 2 generations old camera as 550D is in market since few months now and 600D already been announced.

If I had a little more budget, I would have gone for the Pentax K-r.  It is new and improved K-x with things like –

  • Dedicated AF assist lamp.  It helps the camera in focusing in very low light (no entry-level DSLR has this).
  • Visible focus points in view-finder (most K-x reviews rant about this point)
  • 3 inch LCD with 921k pixels
  • Even higher shooting rate of 6 fps

So there I have it, the Pentax K-x.  Here are some of my favorite shots since I have my new toy.

The Ferocious Cheetah…

Flamingo posing for me…

Lion cubs enjoying their childhood…

An abandoned barn…

A seagull in flight…

Don’t forget to take a look at my Photos Page for more examples. Signing off… Tada…

[schema type=”product” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_K-x” name=”K-x” description=”The Pentax K-x is a 12.4 megapixel digital single-lens reflex camera, announced on September 16, 2009. Pentax K-x uses an Exmor, Sony-made sensor (different than the back-lit Exmor-R used in other Sony models). In some cases it even approaches the quality produced by full-frame DSLRs like the Nikon D700 and the Canon 5DMkII, both with larger sensors. The Pentax K-x is suitable for low light conditions for both still and video photography.” brand=”Pentax” manfu=”Pentax Ricoh Imaging” ]

Why Do I Love Macro Photography?

Anyone who has visited my flickr gallery would know that I am an avid fan of Macro Photography (specially insects). Some people find my passion for shooting insects difficult to digest. What is so tempting about photographing insects that I can spend hours together behind a small creature to get that best shot? Well, it’s the beautiful patterns, or I should say the designs that the insects are gifted – and we are not.  These minute details are which I keep trying to capture as I can not admire those with my naked eyes.

Coming to macro photography, it is not as easy as it seems.  First you have to work with not-so-cooperative insects and second you need a powerful lens to capture them.  Also, either you need some sort of support to steady the camera (a tripod or a monopod or something where you can rest your camera) or you got to have very very steady hands.  I don’t have a tripod yet, so I try to utilize my hands as much as possible.

Here are some tips for macro photography –

  • Know limitations of your camera – each camera a minimum distance beyond which it can’t focus.  For example in normal macro mode, my Canon S3 IS can focus at 1 cm but not less than that.  In Super macro mode, it can focus at 0 cm too, nice.
  • Have enough light – for macro photography, you need to zoom a lot to get closer to the subject and hence need much more light than shooting at wide angle.
  • Get a tripod (I need to get it too) – As you are working at far end of telephoto range, a small shake can give you a completely blurred image.
  • Get a good macro lens – Normal point and shoot cameras are generally not equipped with good enough lens for macro photography.  You need a lens which can enlarge the image and still retain the sharpness.  I use Raynox DCR-250 lens on top of my Canon S3 IS.  This lens enlarges the image 8 times and is very good at retaining the sharpness of the subject.
  • Keep away from Bumble bees 🙂

Below are some of my favorite macro shots that I have taken over last 3 years.

 

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis
Dragonfly
Quietly sitting Dragonfly
Flower
Flower - I don't know the name
Butterfly
Butterfly

And finally this video.  It’s much more fun when you can capture such wonderful macro videos. I wish I had a tripod.

You wouldn’t appreciate these lovely creatures unless you bend down on your knees and get to their level to see their world.