Pentax K-x review

Price when reviewed

At just £326 exc VAT, the Pentax K-x is about as cheap as DSLRs get. That means we know what to expect: a cheap and cheerful camera that lacks features but atones in terms of value. Right?

Wrong. The K-x is in fact one of our favourite amateur DSLRs. Not only is it superbly built, but it has one of the best kit lenses around, as well as decent HD video. Full HD is off the menu, but the 720p Motion JPEG mode is extremely good.

Pentax K-x

The controls fall to hand easily and the direction pad on the back allows you to quickly zip to settings such as ISO, white balance or drive. The menu system looks a little rough compared to the refined efforts of recent Canon and Nikon cameras, but it’s fast and easy to use.

The build quality extends to the 18-55mm stock lens too. While its f/3.5-5.6 specification doesn’t mark it out, the smoothness of both the zoom and focus rings make it a pleasure to use. It proved sharp, particularly in our outdoors tests. The K-x also shone in the ISO tests. It was very good at its maximum ISO 12800 setting, and although photos weren’t usable at these limits, we were satisfied with our test images up to ISO 3200.

Note the lack of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Pentax instead opts for AAs. While this has obvious disadvantages, you can take 1,100 shots if you use lithium AAs, and then replace them with a new pair when finished: no recharge necessary. If you’re out for a weekend’s shooting, that could be the difference between capturing a shot and not.

Pentax K-x

If you want a DSLR and have little ambition to upgrade, the K-x is as good as you’ll find. It takes great images even with the kit lens. However, the more advanced you get, the more lenses you’ll want, and Nikon and Canon have Pentax trumped on this front.

There’s also less scope for moving upwards in Pentax’s range – the K-5 simply isn’t as good as the Canon or Nikon equivalents. But for those who want a decent performer for the here and now, the K-x is a bargain.

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating12.4mp
Camera screen size2.7in
Camera optical zoom range3x
Camera maximum resolution4,288 x 2,428

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions123 x 68 x 92mm (WDH)


Battery type includedAlkaline AA
Battery life (CIPA standard)130 shots
Charger included?no

Other specifications

Built-in flash?yes
Aperture rangef3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance25.00m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)27
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)83
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/6,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed30s
Bulb exposure mode?yes
RAW recording mode?yes
Exposure compensation range+/- 3EV
ISO range100 - 12,800
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Manual/user preset white balane?yes
Progam auto mode?yes
Shutter priority mode?yes
Aperture priority mode?yes
Fully auto mode?yes
Burst frame rate3.0fps
Exposure bracketing?yes
White-balance bracketing?no
Memory-card typeSDHC
LCD resolution230k
Secondary LCD display?no
Video/TV output?yes
Body constructionPlastic
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typeMicro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual?yes
Accessories suppliedUSB cable, video cable, shoulder strap

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