Pentax’s K-x is a feature-packed alternative to Nikon and Canon entry-level SLRs. Offering a conventional SLR design and layout, the 12.4-megapixel K-x won’t baffle anyone trading up from a compact camera—point-and-shoot auto picture mode is the most prominent setting among the 14 options on its top-mounted mode dial. The camera includes a standard 18-55mm zoom.
The K-x feels lightweight and plastic, though not in a bad way. With a decent, full-sized grip, its sturdiness is thanks to four AA batteries inserted into the base of the grip, plus a stainless steel inner frame. Pentax claims that rechargeable batteries will give enough power for up to 1900 images; with normal batteries it’s a less impressive 200 shots.
Flick the power switch encircling the K-x’s shutter release button and you’re up and shooting instantly. The rear LCD displays essential information in a clear, colorful format, and a cool blue light illuminates the top plate. A dedicated Live View button makes switching between the optical viewfinder and rear LCD to compose shots easy.
More unusually at this level, you can boost the K-x’s light sensitivity settings to an equivalent ISO 12800 for flash-free photography in near darkness—a setting usually only found on semi-professional SLRs. Add HD video recording (at 1280 by 720 pixels, 24 fps) and in-body stabilization from Pentax’s own sensor-shifting Shake Reduction mechanism, and the K-x is a winning affordable all-in-one device.
Pentax offers a range of digital effects: toy camera, high contrast, soft, starburst, retro, extract color, fish-eye, and a custom setting. Image wise, even exposures are the norm. Colors are a little cool but realistically so with the camera left on its default settings.
Macworld’s buying advice
The K-x is a beginner-friendly SLR featuring most of the latest must-haves (and a very good choice for anyone wanting video too) but the lack of a rechargeable battery is a pain. The camera is available in black, white, red and navy blue.