Pentax Puzzler: Colored Cameras

February 1, 2010

And now for something completely trivial.

Pentax’s recent “upper entry-level” DSLR, the K-x, has been getting favorable reviews lately. Within its circa-$550 price bracket, it offers a lot of value; in particular, “its high ISO JPEGs are possibly the best of all current DSLRs with an APS-C size sensor” (making it an intriguing model for me).

But marketing being what it is, the K-x is equally well known as the DSLR you can get in different colors. Woowoo!

In fact, within Japan, you can use an online configurator to choose between dozens of different finish options.

Yes, some of the colors, like pink, attain frightening Hello Kitty levels of awfulness. But once you open your mind to the possibility of colored cameras, some of the choices are rather handsome.

Which makes Pentax’s meager color choices for those who live elsewhere rather disappointing.

There’s basic black, of course. But the “colorful” versions in my part of the world are limited to red, white, and blue. (Is this on purpose?)

I won’t be too hard on the white version:

Pentax K-x, White

Clinical, But Not Ugly

To my tastes, this look is a bit too “dental office.” But there’s a practical argument in favor of it.

A light-colored body won’t heat up as much in sunlight. This is probably healthier for the electronics; and it may even reduce image noise, in a few situations.

Buyers of the white K-x enjoy calling it the “Imperial Stormtrooper” edition.

The navy blue variant seems to be aiming for a metallic auto-body style:

Pentax K-x, Metallic Navy

A Touch of Buick

Okay, that’s a very sober, masculine, and tasteful color. Great if you’re a silver-haired attorney, buying a luxury sedan.

But it’s not very, you know… colorful. And painting plastics in metallic finishes just makes them look more plasticky, not less, if you ask me.

As an alternative, what about this?

K-x Tan Rendering

Go All-Terrain Instead

Now, that ought to be a hit among the outdoors crowd. It works for both tree-hugging birdwatchers and camo-wearing deer hunters. Olive isn’t bad either.

Tan has the same advantage of being a lighter color, but without showing dirt quite as quickly as white. And it gives the nice bonus of reducing the visual “weight” of the camera—making it less intimidating for people photos.

The most questionable K-x color option is the screaming fire-engine red:

Pentax K-x, Red Kit

Danger! Danger!

Ouch. Okay, that is colorful. But it’s rather garish and conspicuous. And red+black feels very dated to me. Is this some ironic 1980s reference I’m not getting?

Anyway, let’s assume red was supposed to be the “fun & playful” option. How about acid green instead:

K-x, Acid Green Rendering

A Bit of Zing

Again, it lightens the camera (literally and figuratively), while adding a bit of cheerfulness.

In the end it’s all a matter of taste of course.

But still—if Pentax is already producing so many different colors, who picked out such unimaginative ones?


2 Responses to “Pentax Puzzler: Colored Cameras”

  1. petavoxel Says:

    Francois M alerts me that in Europe, Pentax will sell several new color choices, including the tan shown above, and paramilitary olive.

    In my part of the world, there’s been a promotion (ending 15 Feb) that has effectively taken $80 off the price of the K-x.

    Is this intended to clear the shelves, before new colors are introduced here as well?

  2. petavoxel Says:

    Update, April 2010: More color choices are coming to the USA.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: