Thursday, September 17, 2009

Red. White. Blue. Black. Take your pic with the new Pentax K-x

K-x Kit 1: $649.95 MSRP for the single lens kit (w. 18-55mm DA L "light" zoom lens)

K-x Kit 2: $749.95 MSRP for the twin lens kit (w. 18-55mm and 50-200mm DA L "light" zoom lenses)

K-x Kit 3: $849.95 MSRP for the premium twin lens kit (w. 18-55mm and 55-300mm DA L "light" zoom lenses)

For fall 2009, Pentax has a new DSLR. The K-x is a new iteration of consumer-sized DSLR based on Pentax's acclaimed digital "k" series (going back to the digital *ist cameras, really), available in 4 different colors, and for sale in special kits with bundled zoom lenses (and yes, the white and red kits come bundled with color matching 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses, but the blue and black share basic black lenses). Black and White ship in October, with Red and Blue to follow in November. I expect those last 2 colors to be back ordered frequently.

The K-x is similar to last year's K-m (aka. K2000) DSLR, but adds a host of new features such as a 12.4 MP CMOS sensor, ISO 100-12800, Live View, improved focusing and face detection, widescreen 720p HD video capture, HDR bracketing, faster FPS (4.7) and faster curtain speed (1/6000). In many ways, this brings a bit more parity with its weather resistant big brother, the K-7. But just like Pentax's previous small DSLRs, it's a more friendly camera for casual users. Expect it to be easy to use, even with one hand. And new digital filters, like Cross Processing, introduce some fun ways for casual users to do more in-camera than ever before. Also, the K-x is still powered by AA batteries, and is compatible with most older Pentax lens systems (some with typical limitations—see the usual specs).

Michelle Martin from Pentax is handing out these links to everyone, so make good use of them:
Above, the navy model K-x. Ahoy!

(From Pentax)
12.4 effective megapixels: The K-x incorporates a newly developed CMOS image sensor to assure high-speed image data readout and more flexibility with varying ISO sensitivity levels. With approximately 12.4 effective megapixels, this image sensor accurately reproduces true-to-life images with fine detail and rich color depth. The K-x offers a wide sensitivity range between ISO 200 and ISO 6400 and allows users to expand the sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 via a custom function to offer greater creative freedom to photographers.

Compact, lightweight body: The PENTAX K-x is one of the most compact, lightweight digital SLR cameras in its class. The stainless-steel chassis and overall design offer a space-efficient layout.

Widescreen HD movie recording at 1280x720 pixels at a cinematic 24 frames per second (720p24): The PENTAX K-x movie recording function* captures true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Compatible with every PENTAX interchangeable lens ever made, the Video Capture mode opens a new world of creativity for PENTA K-x owners.
* When the PENTAX K-x’s AV output terminal is used, movie clips are viewed at normal resolution. The data must be transferred to a PC for the playback of movie clips at high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels).

PENTAX-original SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images: The K-x features the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction mechanism that effectively compensates for the adverse effects of camera shake by as much as four shutter steps. This innovative mechanism extends its benefits to all PENTAX interchangeable lenses — even those designed for film-format cameras.* With this SR mechanism, the K-x produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions such as telephoto lens photography, shooting in dark or low-light setting without a flash illumination, and sunset scenes. *Lenses compatible with this mechanism: PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mounted lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.

High-speed continuous shooting at approximately 4.7 images per second: The K-x’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 17 images (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately 4.7 images per second. This is the fastest of all entry-class models. The K-x also features a more reliable shutter unit, which passed a demanding action test of more than 100,000 shutter releases. The top shutter speed of 1/6000 second allows the photographer to preserve sharp, crisp images of fast-moving subjects.

High-performance, high-speed PRIME II imaging engine: The K-x features the newly developed PRIME (PENTAX Real IMage Engine) II, that is an upgrade of the original PRIME imaging engine. This new imaging engine offers greater data processing speed and enhanced capability to produce higher-quality images with richer, more accurate color rendition, as well as faster transmission speed of movie data.

Live View function with Face detection of up to 16 faces: In addition to the camera’s viewfinder, the K-x features a Live View function that allows users to view subjects on the LCD monitor during shooting. The K-x also offers a choice of three different focusing modes in Live View:
  • Contrast Auto Focus optimizes the focus based on the subject’s contrast.
  • Face Detection Auto Focus automatically detects up to 16 faces, then selects the main subject’s face from multiple faces, and captures it in sharp focus.
  • Phase Difference Auto Focus accesses the AF sensor positioned in the camera body to optimize focus on the subject.
Innovative Image Processing Functions

Digital Filter function: The K-x’s digital filter function allows users to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways within the camera and produce highly creative visual expressions. With a choice of 16 different filters including Color Extract, Retro, Soft, Starburst, Toy Camera, and more (including a custom filter for building multiple effects), photographers may apply multiple filters to a single image for customized effects.

Cross Process mode: The K-x features a new Cross Process mode that automatically and randomly adds finishing touches to exposures to create eye-catching images with unique, intriguing colors (just like images treated with Cross Process* in film photography). This mode adds a whimsical element to digital photography since photographers don’t know the results until the captured image is actually displayed on the camera’s LCD monitor.
* A film development technique that takes advantage of unconventional film developers to create a distinctive finishing touch with intriguing colors.

High-precision 11-point AF sensor: The high-precision, wide-frame SAFOX VIII autofocus system of the K-x features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically capture even off-centered subjects in sharp, crisp focus. Photographers also may select one of the sensors as a focusing point to accommodate specialized applications.

Additional Features
  • Custom Image modes offer high quality processing for images
  • 2.7 inch, high-resolution color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots of resolution
  • Auto Picture mode for effortless, automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode, even during Live View shooting
  • Status screen for easy, at-a-glance confirmation of various settings on the LCD monitor
  • Ten scene modes, including Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Kids, Museum, and more, available via simple icon selection
  • PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, with RAW-data processing and image browser functions

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