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Thread: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

  1. #1
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    I have done a good deal of research, and ultimately decided upon the Pentax K-X. However I've gotten recommendations from friends and family to buy Nikon instead because of build quality and flexibility to upgrade (e.g. wider variety of lenses than pentax). As a result I have turned to CiC for further assistance.

    I was looking for a body with three lenses: wide zoom, telephoto zoom, and fast prime. Here is what I was looking at:

    Nikon D40
    Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX

    Nikon 55mm-200mm f/4-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR
    Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
    $770

    vs.

    Pentax K-X
    Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
    Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6

    Pentax SMCP-A 50mm f/2.0
    $710

    The only advantage of the D40 set that I see is a non-used lens and the camera function of "highest ISO" and "lowest shutter speed." Otherwise, the Pentax K-X has:
    -HD video recording
    -image stabilization for all lenses (D40 has VR only for the telephoto in my set),
    -4.7 fps (~4.9 in practice) rather than 2.5
    -41% larger image (2x megapixels)
    -usable up to ISO 6400
    -sensor cleaning
    -cheaper by over $50

    So CiC, is the Pentax option as obvious as it seems to me? I haven't handled a pentax, only a nikon at Bestbuy.

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Troy,

    Take the video recording out of the equation unless you are in the market for a digital camera/video recorder. I wouldn't let video recording be the deciding factor for your opportunity to hone your photography skills. I don't have any knowledge of either camera but I do own the Nikon D60, which is an updated version of the D40. Camera experts will tell you that for an entry level camera the D40 would be the better choice of the two (D40 vs D60).

    Instead of us telling you which camera is better, could you tell us what you want to achieve with photography. Your choice of subject matter (figurative, landscape, still life, etc.) should be the deciding factor in what type of camera is best for you. Remember, as you grow as a photographer, the camera you use will be important in aiding your growth only if it is compatible with the accessories needed.

  3. #3
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    I'm looking for a fast prime for indoor parties and all-around low light situations. I've done some indoor/outdoor portrait photography with my current olympus telephoto; outdoors I just couldn't get the background to blur-out enough (problem fixed with larger pentax/nikon sensor) and indoors I needed all the available light I could fathom (my intentions with the prime). With the telephoto I also capture smaller fast-moving RC robotics - creations of mine.

    The wide zoom is what I use least. When I am using it, i'm taking pictures of things outdoors - landscapes, architecture, etc. - nothing specific. At the moment it's more of an added bonus, but I would like to have one as I begin to take more pictures and bring my camera places.

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Troy, consider Nikon D3000, as well. It is an upgrade of D40. It has Image cleaning sensor and 18-55mm lens (kit lens) also has VR.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    I'm looking for a fast prime for indoor parties and all-around low light situations. I've done some indoor/outdoor portrait photography with my current olympus telephoto; outdoors I just couldn't get the background to blur-out enough (problem fixed with larger pentax/nikon sensor) and indoors I needed all the available light I could fathom (my intentions with the prime). With the telephoto I also capture smaller fast-moving RC robotics - creations of mine.

    The wide zoom is what I use least. When I am using it, i'm taking pictures of things outdoors - landscapes, architecture, etc. - nothing specific. At the moment it's more of an added bonus, but I would like to have one as I begin to take more pictures and bring my camera places.
    Troy,

    If your current camera is capable, try a shallower depth of field (aperture around 2.8) and you will get the blurred background you want to achieve. For your low-light projects, the lenses you are looking at (specifically the 18-55mm) will work well for both low-light and indoor settings. Check to see if the Pentax has a vibration reduction or motion detection sensor that will assist your efforts when hand holding heavier lenses.
    Last edited by Shadowman; 14th February 2010 at 05:05 PM. Reason: wording

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    The primary advantage with the D40 is the faster flash sync speed and the larger pixels. I admit to being a fan of the D40 and am biased in that sense. Below is a bit from Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com) concerning the D40 vs the D40x and D60:

    Personally I prefer Nikon's least expensive D40 over the D60 or D40x. The D60, D40x and D40 are actually exactly the same cameras, differering only slightly in their internal electronics, but differing greatly in their prices.

    The D60 is actually a D40 body with a few more card-clogging pixels, a VR lens and adaptive dynamic range, but a slower maximum shutter speed with flash.

    The D60 is less sensitive to light then the D40 (its default ISO is only ISO 100 compared to the D40's default ISO of 200). Its less sensitive to light because the pixels have to be made smaller to cram more of them into the same-sized sensor. Smaller pixels collect fewer photons than larger pixels. Since the D60 is half as light sensitive, the D60 has to use twice as long a shutter speed or a larger aperture, which makes it more likely to make a blurry picture than the D40. OOPS!

    Save your money and get the D40 instead. The D40's faster sync speed is invaluable for use with flash outdoors, and the extra light sensitivity in normal use will help make sharper pictures. These three cameras (D40, D40x, D60) otherwise, for most users, are identical. Compare them in person and you'll see. Megapixels don't matter.
    One disadvantage to the D40 is that it won't AF with the mechanical lenses. Make sure your fast prime is compatible with the focusing controls on the D40.

    I can't comment on the Pentax as I haven't used one since the mid 70s.

    Pops

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    I have a problem with this ...

    The D60 is less sensitive to light then the D40 (its default ISO is only ISO 100 compared to the D40's default ISO of 200). Its less sensitive to light because the pixels have to be made smaller to cram more of them into the same-sized sensor. Smaller pixels collect fewer photons than larger pixels. Since the D60 is half as light sensitive, the D60 has to use twice as long a shutter speed or a larger aperture, which makes it more likely to make a blurry picture than the D40. OOPS!
    To me it just reads as a confusing mess and says little of any help. At ISO 200, both the D40 and D60 should produce an identically exposed picture, only people that stick rigidly to the mantra of 'leave the camera on the lowest ISO setting' will notice a difference and then it'll be so small as to be insignificant

    If people can't choose a correct combination of shutter speed, ISO and aperture dependent upon the conditions in front of the lens to avoid "blurry pictures", then Ken's opinions, or the use of a D40 over a D60, isn't going to make a difference.

    The 'trouble' with Ken's site is too many people don't observe the 'health warning' and believe what they read verbatim, and while much is valid and true, there are spikes of humour and, dare I say it, mumbo-jumbo/mis-information, that can catch out the newbies to photography.

    Extract from Ken's "health warning":
    While often inspired by actual products and events, just like any other good news organization, I like to make things up and stretch the truth if they make an article more fun. In the case of new products, rumors and just plain silly stuff, it's all pretend. If you lack a good BS detector or sense of humor, please treat this entire site as the work of fiction. This site it is the product of my own imagination, not fact.

    This site is provided only for the entertainment of my personal friends, dogs, family and myself. I've never promoted this site. If you're reading this, you got here on your own.

    Read this site at your own risk. I make a lot of mistakes. I have no proof-reader and there are plenty of pages, like this one, which have been around since the 1990s and may no longer apply or be correct. I'm just one guy. No matter how stupid something may be, if I don't catch it, it gets out there anyway and stays wrong for years until someone points it out. I can't track everything; I've written thousand of pages and write a few more every day.
    My bold above.

    Pops, I hope you don't mind me raising this.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    That's fine, Dave. However, I have found that he has, over time, turned more to the reporting of what he has found is true for him and the way he shoots, without as much humor and stretching as when he first started his site. Note the date on that initial comment and compare it to his later reports.

    Smaller pixels do have an impact on quality, as do smaller sensors vs larger ones. The background handling software has an impact, also. I agree with much of what he reports, using my own experience and preferences to flavor his opinions toward what I prefer to shoot and see in MY pictures. I do the same with the information contained here and on all the other photography sites I peruse.

    I have seen results from both the D40 and the D3000 at ISO 200. The D40 usually takes less PP to get what I like than the D3000 results. Unfortunately, I don't have access to as many different cameras as does Ken, so I can't report on MY experiences with all of them

    Pops

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Dave,

    For some reason I overlooked the humor insert from Ken Rockwell's site. Thanks for pointing out his disclaimer.

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    I have actually gone through that exact article from Ken Rockwell. This is why I began to consider the d40 rather than the d60.

    However, I would like to point out another reason why I want a new camera. My current olympus e-410 has an auto-ISO range of 100-400. Does the auto-ISO in the d40 (or k-x for that matter) span across it's whole range? In the following article, the nikon d300 is shown to have such a range:

    http://sportsphotoguy.com/secret-d30...uto-iso-trick/

    What about your experiences with Canon and Sony DSLRs. I find that the ability to set the aperture, minimum shutter speed, and auto ISO (given full range) is ideal in many situations.

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Hi Troy,

    My previous camera had auto-iso over the full range (100-1600) and although it had its uses, these days I far prefer to remain in control.

    I think my D5000 has auto-iso, and I believe it even allows the maximum iso to be set, but I have never felt the need to use it. maybe I will one day

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 14th February 2010 at 10:31 PM.

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    The D40 automatically steps through all of its ISOs except for the very highest one. You can set limits on that, however. I usually use the auto ISO, but I have the minimum shutter speed set pretty low, as I know what I can get away with. Well, what I can often get away with.

    Pops

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    Go on, have a stab at it.

    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Troy,

    No doubt this has all been resolved by now and you have bought your camera and are happy with your choice. My experience was that I bought a used Pentax K100D Super (without much prior research) and am quite happy with it. The good points, as I see them, are that Pentax DSLR cameras are 100% compatible with any Pentax lens - digital or 35mm. This means that you can pick up bargain used lenses on Ebay, etc. Also, the shake reduction mechanism is in-camera meaning that you get the benefit of that regardless of the lens. So you can put together a functional set of lenses for not too much.

    I am still very much an amateur in photography - so listen to the experts above for the technical info. Good luck and I hope that you get much enjoyment from your hobby.

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    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Actually Andrew, I haven't yet bought it! This surprises me too. My plan was to sell my first camera before buying a new one, and I just made a sale and will be shipping the camera soon. In the meanwhile I have been researching and have decided on a used D-80 body with the same nikon lenses in my first post. This will give me autofocus capabilities with af-d lenses, and other d80 features such as easy-access buttons, larger viewfinder, more pixels, etc.

    I decided to go with nikon rather than pentax because with a D80 I get autofocus on the fast prime, and the the prime is new (new pentax FA 50mm f1.4 over $300)

    Needless to say I'm anxious and itching I've been shopping around for a cheap flash ( < $50 ) and stumbled upon this manual slave.
    http://www.adorama.com/DC418AF.html
    definitaly suitable for satisfying my craving for DIY flash diffusers:
    http://i49.tinypic.com/rvdkkz.jpg
    http://i50.tinypic.com/rvjdxx.jpg
    http://i48.tinypic.com/fllilv.jpg

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Hi Troy

    A fellow student has a D80, & I have watched over the results for over a year. I know you will be happy with one. Very nice textures to the photos (skin, leaves, water), nice bright colours, or subtle ones if you like. Very good in both low-light & bright. Nice with fast-moving subjects (like her partner's big Holden). My friend has just bought a D300 after 2 1/2 years with the D80 although she thought there wouldn't be much advantage in it. There is.

    Have fun.
    Nihia

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Despite the title of this thread, I have gone and bought myself a used Nikon d80 from adorama, along with an 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR, and 50mm f1.8D. Everything about this whole camera kit is absolutely spectacular except for one small thing: the 55-200, and especially the 50mm at first didn't seem to twist all the way in. Eventually I brought up the courage to jar it in with brute force and it twisted/clicked allowing for correct alignment of the CPU terminals. All three lenses work perfectly fine, but for the telephoto and prime I just really have to force it in. I hope this doesn't all go down the drain soon However, I notice it loosening now that I've done it a couple times.

    I'm visiting UCLA tomorrow and may have some shots up.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Hi Troy,

    I don't know how strong your wrists are but that doesn't sound right to me, I have about four old s/h Nikon lenses plus my "bought with camera 18-200" and they all mount on my Nikon with the same amount of effort and in a sastisfying manner.

    I'd suspect that camera body had been dropped at some point in its life and landed 'lens first' which has damaged the mount a little.

    As you say, hope it doesn't get worse - or return for an alternative?

    Regards,

  18. #18
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Seems like it's getting better. Anyway, I didn't have a chance to bring my camera with me to UCLA, but I was able to take a couple test shots around the pool at the hotel I'm staying at. Obviously these pictures are indicative of the camera's seemingly good condition, and all include embedded EXIF data. Processed in ACR and noise reduction in cs4.
    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    This is my Canon camera bag for my nikon kit. It was $15 cheaper than the Nikon bag!
    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Bel Air
    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    my mom, and my beloved lenses on the mattress:
    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    my mom outside in front of a very dim fire:
    Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

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    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Troy,

    I don't know how strong your wrists are but that doesn't sound right to me, I have about four old s/h Nikon lenses plus my "bought with camera 18-200" and they all mount on my Nikon with the same amount of effort and in a sastisfying manner.

    I'd suspect that camera body had been dropped at some point in its life and landed 'lens first' which has damaged the mount a little.

    As you say, hope it doesn't get worse - or return for an alternative?

    Regards,
    Dave for some reason the 50mm 1.8D is usually a tight fit, mine is and there are many posts on the net regarding this.

  20. #20

    Re: Pentax K-X or Nikon D40

    Hi all, this is an old thread so I am unsure if any comments I offer will matter, undaunted, I post. ;-)

    I am a little disappointed in the amount of data presented toward the Nikon. From the OP question I found this thread as I am interested in a new camera, Pentax is the current value leader. Now value leader does not necessarily mean a good camera, you generally get what you pay for. And I am not knocking Nikon. However, I am a bit disappointed that the thread kept getting posts that .. I have no experience with that Pentax but here is why Nikon is so great...

    Meaning, I respect that the Nikon data suggests it to be a good camera but what I came to this thread for is essentially unanswered. Which camera is in fact a better choice? I have no lenses laying about and I am not going to grab Nikon because it is popular or eschew Pentax because it is an up and comer. Of course if Nikon is truly better then I Want to know that as well.

    Pentax reviews suggest it is singularly best in its category at low light situations. And it certainly seems a good deal now with two kit lenses. And it has a very good build quality. And Pentax recently released a mid frame camera which would suggest to me that Pentax is serious about regaining its market position pre digital age.

    Therefore, I am still interested in feedback, if anyone has any, as to the quality of the Pentax vs Nikon re the OP question.

    Thanks

    David Groover

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