Thursday, September 17, 2009

The K-x and My First Opinions

After all the rumours in these recent days about the upcoming new Pentax DSLRs and the K-m replacement, the K-x is announced today.

Before starting to say what my brief impressions about the new camera, I would like to mention that I was the one who previously suggested this name for a new Pentax DSLR, back to April. Well, Hoya, thanks for at least taking one of my suggestions, finally! ;-)

The K-x is actually a "me too" product, just like the D5000 and the 500D, with similar features and similar price (but maybe just a little bit cheaper at this moment - but C and N will cut their prices anyway - they always excel to cut throat!). Despite this, I think Pentax/Hoya has done the right thing actually - in order to compete and survive.

As for the special edition colours, I think the red is just too sharp to my eyes (maybe some girls and ladies would like it) and it is a little bit more close to orange, but not in pure red. The navy blue is more "normal", it just like what the Panas look like in some of their cams, as one of the standard colour options.

In fact, the K-x is a K-m body housed with an updated Sony sensor and associated AD converter and circuitry. It yet has some improved specifications over the D5000 on the effective pixel (0.1MP more) and the frame rate (0.7 fps more).

But first of all, there is one very worrisome thing. Still, this new camera is powered by AA batteries! What? My pardon?? A LiveView sensor (so does movie recording) consumes a lot of *power* (yes, instantaneous high *power* demand and a lot of *energy*), AA rechargeables with the ancient NiMH technology simply cannot help and it will fail to get the job done. Such a design is totally non-sense at all, technically. In fact, my plain old vanilla K-m is still suffered from the classic old Pentax DSLR AA battery issue and symptoms and so did my *ist Dxs and K100D - this has been a persistent problem for 6 years now since the original *ist D. How dare and "brave" Pentax/Hoya are for such a move (or actually no movement!), of which such a stupid and problematic "design" must be adopted! They are really so stubborn and plain stupid after all! :-(

In addition, what I would tell is that the K-x is now (about two weeks ago) only under Alpha testing, for what I have learnt (That's also why what you can see in the "brief hands-on" at the DPR is so "brief"). Those Alpha units are not yet be capable of making any still pictures! Yes, just still pictures, not movie clips! As such, I am afraid that Pentax/Hoya actually has made the announcement too early in advance than the product is mature and ready, especially consider that this time they have used a "new" sensor - at least it is new for them and there would be a lot of the "new" development works to be involved, done and completed.

As for the K-m, I think any interested user can still get it within 2009, as long as stocks last. Well, Nikon has yet just marketed the D3000, which is similar in specs and design concept as the K-m, as the lowest end and cheapest DSLR product in the line. So, it would do no harm to keep K-m in production actually, as it is still selling well in the Japanese home market and far better than the K-7 (See the Japanese BCN sales ranking here and verify yourself). But then Pentax/Hoya is not Nikon, in view of their limited production capability and resources.

Btw and anyway, I do have more faith and confidence on the K-x as it now uses a Sony sensor (which is for sure better and less problematic than the Samsung's ones, that used in the K20D and the K-7). But on the other hand, the AA battery "solution" will be the biggest evil in the K-x, I'm sure, especially when the user uses LiveView or Movie mode(s) for a little bit longer time. The chance for the K-x to use most of the infrastructure of the K-m is very high. Since K-m is still suffered seriously by the AA battery issue, what could I expect for the K-x??

Last but not least, I do believe the *only* rechargeable battery solution for *modern* DSLRs is a Lithium solution (no matter Li-ion or Li-Ploymer). And with such AA battery DSLRs, I guess most of the people cannot tackle the problem by themselves if they want to have a reliable and stable *rechargeable* power source, as they are not engineers nor technical persons in the field. Even they are, they have to do some kinds of (or even a lot of) hacking and sourcing of materials before the problem can be resolved, like what I had successfully overcome the problem somehow previously (but I believe it is still not as good as a *total* lithium solution!).

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