Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Pentax K-X, Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR), 12.4 million pixels on CMOS sensor.

Is the Pentax K-X a Classic Camera? Time will tell. But what on earth is this doing in the Living Image. Well, a very large dose of pragmatism! Most of the images of the vintage cameras on this is site were taken with an elderly Casio QV-2300UX, as task for which it's ideal... so I had long ago accepted the advantages of the digital camera for online publishing. Back in 2000, when the LICM was born on the "Web", digital cameras weren't up to standard. I knew the day would come though, when decent resolution would be married to 35mm SLR flexibility.

And there's no point being snobby about it, photography has had several jumps, from Daguerreotype, through Wet Plate Process, The Dry plate, roll film, the Daylight loading Cassette and now arguably the biggest leap of all, digital.

So why did I go for the Pentax K-x? Price played a very large part. The economics of the CMOS sensor cascade down to make what is a reasonably priced instrument. Personally I am of the view that the CMOS sensor is now better than the older CCD technology, so do not regard this as a negative point against it. The camera is considerably smaller than the lumpy Nikons and Canons, again a personal preference of mine. Pentaxes have traditionally been compact, and the museum maintains several in working order, from a Spotmatic to an ME, although Asahi are now gone and this Pentax is from Hoya. Aesthetics played a part, I was very taken with the white version.... but sense prevailed, it's going to get used, and will look grubby pretty soon. It was essential that the camera have a completely manual mode, which it does. It's easily selected and the controls are simple enough after a little practice. You also have the choice of Aperture, Shutter, ASA priority, as well as several other modes.

Pentax K-X, Digital Single Lens Reflex

The next delightful idea was the possibility of using some of my older lenses with it, as the camera uses the well tried K-Mount system. I was surprised to find that the focal point is the same as that used for 35mm format lenses, despite the chip being smaller than a 35mm film frame. I wasted no time in checking that old manual lenses mounted in the camera wouldn't upset it. I've even used a 1968 105mm and period bellows attached to it! Okay, so there's a little chromatic aberration.... it was still fun! All told after a couple of weeks, I'm delighted with it. Every camera ought to have an idiosyncrasy or two, it's what makes them a Classic. The Pentax K-X, has a movement damping system whereby the chip floats on a magnetic field. Owing to the power drain this involves it's only activated during the exposure. Consequently, when turning the camera over in my hand whilst familiarizing myself with it, I... and many others, feel a weighty object clunking about inside. On any other camera this would possibly be symptomatic of an upcoming visit to the workshop, on Pentaxes with this system, it's completely normal... if a little disconcerting. A note in the manual might save them a few returns.

What's it like to use?

Body Serial No. 3780599
Lens #1, SMC Pentax DAL 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 - Serial 5107909
Lens #2, SMC Pentax DAL 50-200mm, f1.4-5.6 - Serial 5106019
Condition ... currently straight out of the box

 

 

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