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05-04-2009, 04:53 AM   #1
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Prospective K200D owner questions

I am considering a K200D as my first DSLR. I do own a manual 35mm Vivitar with two Vivitar PK-A/R MF lenses, but I haven't used film in several years.

I want to get back into SLR photography, primarily for my kids' sports (soccer, diving, basketball) and music (orchestra, choir), so I need more than my P&S can do.

I've looked carefully at the options, and like the K200D for several reasons: price, build quality, and in-body image stabilization. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find one placce that carries Pentax in my area so I can actually hold the camera.

So here's my questions...

1) From a feel perspective, how would you compare it to the Canon XSi or Nikon D90 (my two other possibilities)?

2) Are accessories hard to get?

3) I understand image stabilization doesn't work well with non-Pentax zooms because the camera doesn't know the focal length. Are there any fast tele-zooms (f2.8) available that automatically tell the camera where it's set?

4) Any concerns on warranty service if I'm not dealing with a local shop and only buying over the internet?

5) I've read about the Vivitar PK-A/R having problems with a pin sticking into Pentax DSLRs. My old lenses have a small ball instead of a pin in that location. Any issues with that? (I'm not too bothered if I have to ditch them, but it would be nice to be able to use them until I can save up for a new AF lens).

That's it for the moment. Thank you.

Kevin

05-04-2009, 05:50 AM   #2
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The camera canīt read focal length from older lenses (Pentax or otherwise) so this needs to be inputed manually. If you canīt be bothered (& 35mm is not long so wobble should be negligible except on longer exposures) then you can turn the stabilisation off.

What accessories are you hoping for?

If youīre considering the D90 (& have the money for it) perhaps the K20D would be better, it costs about the same, or less.
05-04-2009, 06:18 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
The camera canīt read focal length from older lenses (Pentax or otherwise) so this needs to be inputed manually. If you canīt be bothered (& 35mm is not long so wobble should be negligible except on longer exposures) then you can turn the stabilisation off.
Sorry, I meant the camera was a 35mm film camera. The two manual-focus lenses I own are a 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 and a 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 (with an auto aperture setting).


QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
What accessories are you hoping for?
I hope to buy things such as a few different lenses, filters, battery grip, flashes. It just seems that there is not much available for Pentax except over the internet.


QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
If youīre considering the D90 (& have the money for it) perhaps the K20D would be better, it costs about the same, or less.
Actually I would rather not spend the money on the D90. The K200D looks like it does all I need. If I found a great deal on a K20D, I would consider it.
05-04-2009, 07:07 AM   #4
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Just recently in Perth Western Australia this deal was going which tempted me to upgrade from my K200d (which I still have as a backup camera) to the K20D.

Camera Solutions in Perth have this special on the Pentax K20D:

Pentax K20D plus 18-50mm Lens
Full Size Tripod
Black Twin Lens Bag
4 GBt Extreme 3 memory card

All for $1249.00


So I would guess that there would be Pentax deals going on everywhere. And I have never had any problems getting Pentax accessories for either of my cameras.

05-04-2009, 07:45 AM   #5
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I can try to answer two of your questions:

1) K200d feels MUCH better than Canon XSI. D90 is nice, but with most serious (and heavier) lenses there will be some imbalance. K200d feels right with my pentax 18-250 and vivitar series 1 28-105. It may be a matter of preference, but I still prefer K200d's feel to Nikon D90. For what is worth, I think it also looks a bit 'more professional' than the Nikon. (I purchased the latter for a friend in Europe, and know how it feels.)

2) I don't think accessories are hard to get, at least not in the US.
05-04-2009, 07:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
So here's my questions...

1) From a feel perspective, how would you compare it to the Canon XSi or Nikon D90 (my two other possibilities)?
(I own a K200D & D80 - only handled XSi in stores)

The K200D fits my large-sized hand much better than the D80. I like the button layout and menu structure on the K200D much better than the D80. Build quality feels similar, though the K200D is weather sealed. The D80/D90 won't even meter with older lenses - the K200D does.

The Canon XSi feels like a Fisher-Price toy in comparison.

QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
2) Are accessories hard to get?
For me, locally, yes. On the Internet? No.

QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
3) I understand image stabilization doesn't work well with non-Pentax zooms because the camera doesn't know the focal length. Are there any fast tele-zooms (f2.8) available that automatically tell the camera where it's set?
Shake reduction works with ALL lenses. If a lens has no electrical contacts to transmit focal length to the body, you need to tell the body what the focal length is. This is true of Pentax and non-Pentax lenses. You can also just turn SR off. And yes, there are fast zooms from Pentax and 3rd parties that transmit focal length.

QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
4) Any concerns on warranty service if I'm not dealing with a local shop and only buying over the internet?
I've never had to use Pentax warranty service. For Nikon, you have to make sure the equipment is serviced in the same country from which it was sold.

QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
5) I've read about the Vivitar PK-A/R having problems with a pin sticking into Pentax DSLRs. My old lenses have a small ball instead of a pin in that location. Any issues with that? (I'm not too bothered if I have to ditch them, but it would be nice to be able to use them until I can save up for a new AF lens).
The "R" in PK-A/R means it's a Ricoh-compatible mount. The pin in question can potentially cause problems with unmounting the lens. I've mounted a Vivitar and a Sears lens on my K200D with no problem (both have the R pin), though I removed the pins later just to make sure. It's easy to do. Worst case, you might have to slip a feeler gauge between lens mount and lens to pop the pin.
05-04-2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
1) From a feel perspective, how would you compare it to the Canon XSi or Nikon D90 (my two other possibilities)?
I handled an XSi and a D40 in a store before I ordered my K200D. From memory, I'd call the XSi irritating cheap plastic. Honestly, the ergonomics of that thing turned me off to Canon's entire entry-level line. I have no idea what they're thinking...

I'd say it's roughly on par with the D40 body (I believe the D90 is nearly identical) in terms of general feel. The K200D is probably heavier, but I'd have to actually handle the D40 again to be more specific. I'm quite happy with the K200D, and I remember the D40 feeling fine to me as well.

QuoteQuote:
3) I understand image stabilization doesn't work well with non-Pentax zooms because the camera doesn't know the focal length. Are there any fast tele-zooms (f2.8) available that automatically tell the camera where it's set?
There are many lenses by manufacturers other than Pentax that work just as well as the Pentax-made ones. If you have specific ones in mind, mention those so the people familiar with them can chime in.

QuoteQuote:
4) Any concerns on warranty service if I'm not dealing with a local shop and only buying over the internet?
You need to at least buy within the same country; Pentax will not honor the warranty on imports. You will need a receipt.
05-04-2009, 09:05 AM   #8
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Great responses, great forum.

I'm glad to hear that the feel is more similar to the Nikon D80/D90 as I much preferred them over the Canon XSi. The D40/D60 also felt too small and light.

So how do I know if a lens will send the focal length data to the camera so the shake reduction can function properly? For example...

http://www.adorama.com/PX50135AFD.html

Will that lens work without manually inputting a focal length?


Last edited by klh; 05-04-2009 at 09:54 AM.
05-04-2009, 09:13 AM   #9
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It most definitely will work with any DA lens.
In general, any AF lens will transmit focal length to camera. If it does not, when you power on the camera with SR on, it will prompt you for focal length. This is helpful because it puts the focal length in the EXIF, which makes for remembering what lens you used a lot easier in post processing.
05-04-2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by southy Quote
It most definitely will work with any DA lens.
In general, any AF lens will transmit focal length to camera. If it does not, when you power on the camera with SR on, it will prompt you for focal length. This is helpful because it puts the focal length in the EXIF, which makes for remembering what lens you used a lot easier in post processing.
So this one (a Sigma AF lens for Pentax) should work as well? This looks like a good price compared to other fast 70-200 lenses. What am I missing?

579109 Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG Macro HSM II Auto Focus Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax AF
05-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
Sorry, I meant the camera was a 35mm film camera. The two manual-focus lenses I own are a 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 and a 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 (with an auto aperture setting).
The only drag is that because focal length changes on a zoom, you would ideally have to keep re-entering focal length every time you zoomed in or out. Hardly anyone does that - just enter a focal length something clsoer to the bottom end of the range than the top and it will be OK. might not get maximum efficiency, but much better than nothing. For this reason, though, I do tend to avoid older zooms. Plus they usually aren't very good - zoom technology has come a long ways in the last 20-30 years. And modern replacements for the lenses you mention would cost only around $100-$200 each. Whereas older primes are much more interesting - no SR-focal-length-changing issues, much higher quality, and often much cheaper!

QuoteQuote:
I hope to buy things such as a few different lenses, filters, battery grip, flashes. It just seems that there is not much available for Pentax except over the internet.
I'm pretty sure this internet thingy is going to catch on. I wouldn't worry if that were your only source for accessories.
05-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
For this reason, though, I do tend to avoid older zooms. Plus they usually aren't very good - zoom technology has come a long ways in the last 20-30 years. And modern replacements for the lenses you mention would cost only around $100-$200 each.
That makes sense, and I really doubt I would use them anyway (they are about 22 years old) since they are manual focus and slow.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I'm pretty sure this internet thingy is going to catch on. I wouldn't worry if that were your only source for accessories.
You think?

Seriously though, my biggest concern is buying something like this without holding it in person. I usually go to the big box stores and look, then buy the same thing cheaper over the internet.

So any recommendations on which internet supplier to use?
05-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
my biggest concern is buying something like this without holding it in person. I usually go to the big box stores and look, then buy the same thing cheaper over the internet.
I would be uncomfortable buying a camera I hadn't held in person, but so far at least, that hasn't been a problem - *someone* has always had Pentax cameras in stock near me. For lenses, holding it my hands isn't such a big deal deal; sample images (both *by* and *of* the lens) tell pretty much the whole story. Most other brand-specific accessories (eg, flash, batteries) I can't see that it would really matter much.
05-04-2009, 03:34 PM   #14
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I would say best bet is to buy from an internet retailer with a good return policy, such as Amazon, if you can.

I have the K200D, and considered the Nikon D90 briefly before buying. My K200D plus Tamron 18-250 lens together cost about what the D90 body alone was priced at the time. I love my camera but quickly came to wish I had paid a few hundred more for the K20D. I do not use the many program modes, moved into manual mode or AV and now wish I had the higher ISO that the K20D provides.

A 2.8 telezoom would be definitely be nice but the price puts that out of my reach. After getting into this (too late, 20/20 hindsight) I realized that actually one should maybe figure out which lenses one needs to acquire and then purchase a body to fit, not the other way round.
05-04-2009, 05:30 PM   #15
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Interesting, I hadn't really thought about moving up to the K20D. Besides live view, what features does it have that would be useful for an amateur?

One lens I definitely want is a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom. Given that the Nikon/Canon models are a lot more for image stabilization, the Pentax appears to be the best package deal.

I've called every store I can find in the central Indiana area and none carry Pentax K200D (except special orders). Maybe I'll head up to Chicago sometime.
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