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11-13-2010, 01:38 AM   #1
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K200D Noise

Hi all,
I bought a K200D a couple of years ago and I'm pretty happy with it all in all. Most of the reviews I read before I bought it praised the low (or at least reasonable) noise up to ISO 800, but I find noise at 400 to be very high (at least when shooting jpg--raw is definitely better but when I'm in snapshot mode I tend to use jpg). Every now and then when I'm looking at a particularly noisy 400 shot I wonder if something is up with the camera or if it's just a subjective issue and my tolerance threshold is lower. Any thoughts? I'm in Korea and it's not very easy to take the camera to my local shop for an opinion...

11-13-2010, 04:50 AM   #2
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I've had the K200D for a couple of years as well, and generally keep my Auto ISO at 200-800. I've never noticed bad noise up to 800 ISO. Above that, it can get pretty noticeable. Bottom line though, the K200D, despite being an outstanding total package, is behind the game as far as high ISO shooting, AF speed, and some other areas.
11-13-2010, 05:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by nosliwmit Quote
I find noise at 400 to be very high
Do you have an example noisy 400 ISO image?
Generally the K200D is pretty clean at 400 ISO.
11-13-2010, 07:42 AM   #4
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My K200d (now sold) was noisy at ISO 400. I found Noiseware really good at removing the noise and preserving detail.

11-13-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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I also see a lot of noise at iso 400, and even at 200. Especially in blue skies. I'm going to compare similar shots to the K5 when my rental comes in next week. I'll try to post a comparison between the 200d and k5, as no one has done that yet.
11-13-2010, 09:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by qtopplings Quote
I also see a lot of noise at iso 400, and even at 200. Especially in blue skies. I'm going to compare similar shots to the K5 when my rental comes in next week. I'll try to post a comparison between the 200d and k5, as no one has done that yet.
Obviously, any comparison can be interesting and helpful, but seriously, I suspect a comparison between the K-5 and K200D will be "no comparison". I just put in my order yesterday with B&H to replace my K200D with a K-5, and I think it's going to be a huge difference. Again, the K200D is great for low ISO shots, but beyond that, it is definitely lacking compared to the K-x, K-7, and now the K-r and K-5. I can't wait to finally have some zippy AF, let alone all the other improvements of the K-5.
11-13-2010, 10:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
Obviously, any comparison can be interesting and helpful, but seriously, I suspect a comparison between the K-5 and K200D will be "no comparison". I just put in my order yesterday with B&H to replace my K200D with a K-5, and I think it's going to be a huge difference. Again, the K200D is great for low ISO shots, but beyond that, it is definitely lacking compared to the K-x, K-7, and now the K-r and K-5. I can't wait to finally have some zippy AF, let alone all the other improvements of the K-5.
Well, obviously the K-5 is going to blow away the 200D. But I think it would be helpful for other K200D owners to look at comparison shots on both cameras, and make up their minds if its worth paying the substantial amount of money it will cost to upgrade. I'm renting the K-5 so I can make that determination. Do I REALLY need to upgrade? If after using the K-5 for a week, can I live without it? Or can I continue to get good shots with what I have?
11-13-2010, 10:25 AM   #8
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Yeah, the high ISO performance of the K200d is simply lacking in comparison with more modern bodies.
That being said, at low ISO's, it is remarkable. The colors from that CCD are breathtaking!

11-13-2010, 10:54 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by qtopplings Quote
Well, obviously the K-5 is going to blow away the 200D. But I think it would be helpful for other K200D owners to look at comparison shots on both cameras, and make up their minds if its worth paying the substantial amount of money it will cost to upgrade. I'm renting the K-5 so I can make that determination. Do I REALLY need to upgrade? If after using the K-5 for a week, can I live without it? Or can I continue to get good shots with what I have?
I hear ya. I didn't mean to imply that your exercise was not worthwhile (both for you and others).

I know that when my K200D gets the shot, with a low enough ISO, the IQ can match cameras many times its price. Simply outstanding. The problem for me is, all of the shots I miss (especially with 2 young kids under 6) due to the weak AF, and due to the inability to get usable high ISO. The K-7 and K-x were tempting to me, but never compelling enough to upgrade from the K200D. But the K-5 made that leap for me, and I am uber excited to receive mine.
11-13-2010, 10:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by nosliwmit Quote
Hi all,
I bought a K200D a couple of years ago and I'm pretty happy with it all in all. Most of the reviews I read before I bought it praised the low (or at least reasonable) noise up to ISO 800, but I find noise at 400 to be very high (at least when shooting jpg--raw is definitely better but when I'm in snapshot mode I tend to use jpg). Every now and then when I'm looking at a particularly noisy 400 shot I wonder if something is up with the camera or if it's just a subjective issue and my tolerance threshold is lower. Any thoughts? I'm in Korea and it's not very easy to take the camera to my local shop for an opinion...
The amount of noise is influenced by the sharpness setting and possibly contrast, so if you have sharpness cranked all the way up in jpg mode you will get more noise.
11-13-2010, 11:24 AM   #11
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My K200D was noisy at 400 and unbearable at 800. That was about my only complaint on the K200, horrible noise. Other than that it was a pretty great camera. IQ was fantastic.
11-13-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
The problem for me is, all of the shots I miss (especially with 2 young kids under 6) due to the weak AF, and due to the inability to get usable high ISO.
What lens do you use and at what aperture?

Without flash, I usually shoot f/1.4 at ISO 800. Sometimes I go to 1600. Precise focusing is critical here - if you miss focus at such aperture, the eyes will be a blur and then noise will look bad too - it pops out more in out of focus areas than it does in the in focus ones. I also usually expose +1Ev in such conditions, so I'm close to clipping highlights. I use manual focus - AF is competent, but I just don't enjoy wasting time to select the proper AF point and then trying to keep that point positioned over the area I want to focus on.
11-13-2010, 02:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
What lens do you use and at what aperture?

Without flash, I usually shoot f/1.4 at ISO 800. Sometimes I go to 1600. Precise focusing is critical here - if you miss focus at such aperture, the eyes will be a blur and then noise will look bad too - it pops out more in out of focus areas than it does in the in focus ones. I also usually expose +1Ev in such conditions, so I'm close to clipping highlights. I use manual focus - AF is competent, but I just don't enjoy wasting time to select the proper AF point and then trying to keep that point positioned over the area I want to focus on.
That's way to much work when trying to take pictures of your kids. I totally see how just being able to take a candid snapshot of your kids would be difficult without going to ISO 1600 or more, and on the K200D, I wouldn't do that. Plus, I'd want to shoot at higher than 1.4, and get more in focus. Fast, consistent AF and AFC is key, and that's the main reason for me to upgrade (I do a lot of bird/wildlife photography as well).
11-14-2010, 02:47 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the good conversation. There are enough folks who have experienced high noise that I'm confident it's just one of those "it is what it is" things... I'm still using my 18-55 kit lens most of the time (thinking about the 35mm f2.8 macro Ltd). I have a 55-300 f4 DA that gives me much sharper images than the 18-55, but of course it has its limits.
11-14-2010, 05:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
What lens do you use and at what aperture?

Without flash, I usually shoot f/1.4 at ISO 800. Sometimes I go to 1600. Precise focusing is critical here - if you miss focus at such aperture, the eyes will be a blur and then noise will look bad too - it pops out more in out of focus areas than it does in the in focus ones. I also usually expose +1Ev in such conditions, so I'm close to clipping highlights. I use manual focus - AF is competent, but I just don't enjoy wasting time to select the proper AF point and then trying to keep that point positioned over the area I want to focus on.
As of late, I've been using my Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Tamron 28-75/2.8 the most. Let's put it this way. I just shot my kid's second birthday party, so lots of kids running around a little play gym, aged about 2-5. Lighting was not particularly great, but was certainly not dark.

I had ISO set to 200-800, and generally set the camera to P mode. When I'd want a good action shot and wanted to be sure I'd have a fast enough shutter speed, I'd use TV mode. Without flash, it was just a tough proposition. And since I didn't want to be lugging around my Sigma 500 flash, I just used my built-in flash.

Bottom line, no matter what settings I used, the K200D struggled a bit. A couple of seconds to lock focus, and I'd often lose the shot. All in all, since I know by now how to get the best of the K200D, my shots on the day ended up fine. But I knew there was better out there by now.

When I compare my shots to my Canikon friends' shots (I'm the only Pentax guy of course), my shots are often better. Whether it's the camera, or because most of them simply use the kit lens, and I'm either using one of the Tamrons, or say a DA 40 or DA 70, I don't know--but my final product is usually better than theirs. But their AF is much better, and they are able to get shots I can't. Now, with the K-5, I think that disadvantage will be gone, and I am really looking forward to it.
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