Pentax K-x Live View

Like the K-7, the Pentax K-x has a Live View mode for framing subjects on the LCD instead of using the optical viewfinder. The Pentax K-x's Live View mode is almost identical to that of the K-7, with the only real differences coming down to features that one or other camera lacks in certain areas. For example, the K-x's doesn't offer Electronic Level, Extended Bracketing or Interval Shooting functions, so the Live View display doesn't indicate these. Instead, it adds indications for Cross Processing mode and Scene modes, features which the K-7 lacks. (Curiously, the K-x's Live View mode also adds two further Scene Modes which can't be accessed outside of Live View mode. These are the Blue Sky and Sunset scene modes, neither of which can be directly selected, but instead are available for automatic selection by the Auto Picture mode.)

Live View mode is toggled by pressing the LV button. When activated, the K-x raises its mirror, and displays the Live View feed on its LCD panel. Pressing LV again disables Live View. The K-x automatically shuts Live View off after five minutes, to prevent the sensor from overheating. If the sensor warms up too much before the five minute limit is reached, the K-x will display a temperature warning icon, and can potentially terminate Live View even before the five minute limit is reached if the temperature becomes critical. Like the K-7, the K-x won't let you resume Live View mode until the internal temperature has reached an acceptable level.

You can magnify the image shown on the LCD display during Live View by a factor of 2x, 4x, or 6x by pressing the INFO button. The four-way controller can be used to move the magnified area around the frame, and the green button is used to return to the center. When manual focus is used, magnification can be up to 10x, as an aid to focusing. Options are available in the Record menu to toggle information overlay on or off, or to add a grid display and live histogram, and to blink clipped highlights or lost shadows.

The Pentax K-x offers three different autofocus modes in Live View. The choices are to use the regular Phase Detection AF sensor, perform Contrast Detection AF, or Face Detection AF. For the first option, the mirror must be dropped briefly to allow light to reach the AF sensor, which means the Live View feed is briefly interrupted during focusing. The advantage of this option is that the actual focus option is much swifter. Both remaining options use Contrast Detection performed on data streamed from the image sensor, which means that the Live View feed isn't interrupted while focusing. The actual AF operation is much slower, though, making these modes unsuitable for handheld shooting or moving subjects. The difference between Contrast Detection and Face Detection AF is that the former allows an AF point to be placed anywhere in the frame, while the latter automatically detects faces in the scene, selects one as the dominant face, and performs the AF operation on this point. Up to 16 faces can be detected in the frame at any one time, and are indicated with a frame around each one - yellow for the dominant face, and white for the remainder.

The illustration below (courtesy of Pentax) shows what info is available on the Pentax K-x in Live View mode.

Exposure Mode
Phase Difference AF Frame
Flash Mode
AF Point
Drive Mode
EV Compensation
White Balance
Custom Image
AE Lock
Multi-exposure / Digital Filter / HDR Capture / Cross Processing
Shutter Speed
Number of shots using Multi-exposure
Aperture Value
Battery Level
EV Bar
Temperature Warning
Change AF Point
Remaining Image Storage Capacity
Contrast AF Frame
Main Face Detection Frame (Face Detection AF)
Main Face Detection Frame (Face Detection AF)


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