Pros Well built, Good low light performance, starts up fast, shots fast!, loads of in-camera features, kit lens are decent, low price, in-camera image stabilization that works, works on AA batteries, decent 720p HD video, can use old pentax lens (K-mount)
Cons 50-200mm lens not sharp (300mm said to be better), viewfinder does not show AF points, low light AF not great, HD video encoder is inefficient, in-body stabilization works but don't see a 4-stop advantage
Summary I was intially set on the Nikon D5000, as it was more a cut down D90 with the same sensor, and the articulating screen was useful. The fact that only a limited set of Nikon lens supported the D5000 (and D3000) due to the lack of an AF motor in the body was not a concern for me just stepping into a DSLR. However the technical issue with the D5000 with the on-off button put me off, as i would be getting the camera from overseas and hence warranty was out of the question.
The canon T1i/D500 was an option but the price seems to be higher just because its a canon, and though it offered better video the sensor was not that great for low light (seems like the T2i has fixed that now).
I had used an Olympus E420 borrowed from my mate and was also thinking of the Olympus E620, but the more i checked the option, the more the Pentax K-x came up, and was a camera that had the same sensor as the D90/D5000 and hence similar quality (actually the low light performance was better than the nikon's!). The inferior AF of the SAVOX and the lack of the AF points in the viewfinder was an issue, but i was willing to live with it when you considered that the Pentax with two lens was still cheaper than the Nikon and Canon with only a 18-55mm lens.
Been using the camera for a few months now, and you can see how much better the pictures were compared to my past point and shoot cameras!, and the fact that you can fire way and still get a lot of decent shots worked with my primary need of getting shots of my 1-year old on the move (something that the Point and shoots could not do). The camera also does some amazing low light photos, though you have to opt for manual focus as the auto focus tends to not lock on in low light.
While a lot of people criticize the use of AA batteries, i find that an advantate as in hurry you can find AA or AA-lithiums very easily. I use the sanyo enelope batteries and i easily do over 400+ shots!, and since my camera came with the newer firmware i did not have the problem of recharages not being detected properly or draining quickly (something most of the reviews would warn, nobody has updated the reviews it seems after the fix!).
The camera has loads of in-camera features such as the ability to customize the amount of shadows, HDR capture, camera effects (such as fisheye, flare, etc). The pentax lens also have inbuilt capability of correcting CA and lens distortion.
Overall I am happy with the camera, though you constantly hear the Nikon and Canon users (many of them) asking why i am using a Pentax, guess Pentax just don't have a great marketing team to answer this folks!
Pros * Price
* Small Size
* Kit lens image quality
* Really good glass for budget prices
* Community support
* If I decide to change to another camera, all the major brands make bayonet adapters
* Nice, usable pictures up to ISO 6400 (using fast lens)
Cons * Lack of USB Remote control
* 11 pf AF not much use in viewfinder (no indicators)
Summary I picked up my Pentax K-x with the standard kit and 55-300mm lens for ~$650. Added a 50mm f/1.7 for $100 and I have a complete starter system. I looked at the Canon T1i and the Nikon d5000, but neither felt as solid as my Pentax.
It took me 4 months of research to come to my selection (I was coming from a Minolta Z1). All the other cameras at this price point feel like toys - and at 12.4 MP, the pictures are outstanding.
Lens are not as readily available at the corner shop - all the good stuff is online.
If Canon is like Windows, and Nikon is like Apple, then Pentax would be Linux. It's that cool!
Pros This is a great first camera / upgrade from an entry level dslr. The video quality is better than both the d5000 and t1i. The picture quality is also on par with both. The k-x steps outside the box and is offered in different colors. Very easy to use
Cons Auto focus in live veiw is just plain sloooow.
noisy kit lense
Summary This camera is great for those looking for an alternative to the mainstream. It has the same great quality pentax has always had. The pics look great with good detail and great photos through out the iso range. In body image stablization allows you to use any old pentax lense and still get stable photos. The k-x is much smaller than the t1i and d5000 but feels real sturdy in you hand. I bought an eight pack of sanyo eneloop rechargeable double aa and have not taken them out the package yet. The battery life is outstanding with the lithiums are quoted to last 1900 pics. i have taken 400 photos and 20 minutes of video and they are still 100% green. Needless to say i love this camera.
nikon d40 and d3000
canon rebel eos
Pros Full featured camera, manual and automatic shooting, user friendly buttons and menus, crisp sharp photos full of great detail, low noise during low light/high ISO shooting, 12,800 ISO as a last resort when shooting in poor lighting.
Cons Loud shake reduction causes a lot of noise during video recording.
Summary Contrary to what the woman in this review says, this camera DOES have anti-shake during video mode, but you have to turn it on in the menu. It would be nice if they included the autofocus point overlays in the viewfinder, but I've found that I really don't miss them. I always set my autofocus point to center, and then recompose anyway. It does beep when the picture is in focus, and a little icon shows up at the bottom.
Again, contrary to this review video... I found the image stabilization to work very well. Shooting at 1/25 shutter speed in a dimly lit room at 1600ISO, I was able to take very crisp shots that had little or no blur at all.
As far as the batteries, it does indeed use 4 AA batteries. However, I have two sets of rechargeable NiMh batteries, and they seem to do just fine. I always carry an extra set, and I never have to worry about it.
The video unfortunately does suffer from 'shutter rolling' issues during panning movements. However, it doesn't seem to be any worse than the video from it's competitors. There are also video editing plugins (for After Effects and Nuke) created by Foundry that minimize/fix the shutter rolling problem.
Again, I disagree with this review video. I was happy to see how quickly the camera responded to changes in lighting. I didn't find it jarring at all. I can't stand a video camera that is laggy when it comes to correcting exposure when moving from one type of lighting to another (say, when moving from a shot of buildings to a shot of the sky, it promptly and smoothly adjusts exposure to suit the lighting change).
I replaced my Canon XSI with this Pentax KX, and I think it was a good move. The KX is much better in low light, produces much less noise at high ISO's, and can produce a usable photo even at 6400 or 12,800 ISO, depending on the shooting conditions.
The KX has a programmable 'green button' which can actually be used as a DOF preview button, something that my Canon XSI (which cost twice as much) didn't even offer. The only thing I would ask of Pentax is to allow that green button to be linked to the anti-shake feature, so that I can turn the stabilization on and off on the fly.
Pros I've had it a month, taken a few hundred photos. Good performance, mix of automated/manual controls. Surprisingly good kit lenses. Firmware update easy, included a Mac version. Body with 18-55mm is lightweight for a DSLR, but construction is solid.
Cons Stabilization and focus become tricky in lower light, for example macro shots in the shade--be sure to have a tripod along if you like to shoot nature closeup.
Summary I was originally looking at the micro 4/3 products, because I didn't want the bulk of a DSLR. The reviews of the K-x, along with the performance/price comparisons make the under $700 kit a no-brainer. After-market lenses are not as plentiful, so if you're considering this camera and don't already have Pentax lenses, the kits offer the most bang for the buck.
I learned from early buyers and updated the firmware immediately (v1.01) and use the Sanyo Eneloops; so far haven't needed to charge them!