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04-05-2013, 08:34 PM   #1
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"Upgrading" to an older model from the K2000/Km?

K20d? K200d? Kr? ? Others?

All of the above can be found used for very low prices compared to any new models. Since the K2000 was Pentax's bare bones entry level camera in it's time I figure one of the higher end cameras of that era, or close to it, would be an inexpensive upgrade from the K2000. I shoot mostly outdoor; volunteers doing conservation work in the mountains, camping and hiking trips, magic hour, etc. I only shoot RAW.


Last edited by MD Optofonik; 04-05-2013 at 09:11 PM.
04-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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If you're mostly shooting in good light the K200D has a wonderful CCD sensor. I kept mine to use alongside my K-5/IIs. Otherwise a K-r or K-x is a good choice.
04-05-2013, 09:50 PM   #3
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While the Kr isn't going to be weathersealed (just like what you have now isn't) it will completely blow away your Km. Of course I would try to save a bit more and get a used K5 for the weathersealing. I have seen them dip into the 500 range on here at times.
04-05-2013, 09:59 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure the K2000 has the sensor of the K200D, fwiw.
Otherwise, I had the K-x and the K20D together
at one point, and I liked the output and controls of the K20D - and I'm still using it to this day. It's a good camera with weather sealing.

04-05-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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I didn't upgrade my Km until I bought a K-7, and then I kept it as a back-up body. That let me buy the K-7 as "body only" and save a few bucks over the kit. I sold the Km with kit lens when I bought my K-5 and kept the K-7 body for back-up. I haven't bought a full "kit" since the original Km nor owned a kit lens since then.

Best advice - get the best body your budget can handle but save your biggest purchase for the best glass you can afford.
04-06-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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I intend on keeping the Km so I'm looking to compliment it rather than replace it.

I just finished reading an interesting thread from a few years ago (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/129094-pentax-k7-vs-pentax-kr-4.html) regarding NR being applied to RAW files at different ISO levels amongst different models. The Kr was getting a lot of praise. There was some implication that the K20d was as very good body even when compared to the K7. That thread led me to the DxO site and their graph of where all the Pentax sensors they've tested stand relative to each other which seemed to confirm the K20d being comparable to the K7 (slightly better, actually).

My inclination, at the moment, is toward the Kr which was a step up from the Kx; subject to change, of course.

As for the K5, it's currently about 200 more than a Kx, and using the comparison tool at dpreview.com I can't see an appreciable difference between it and the Kr. When the Kx is added to the mix the only difference seems to be that it has a bit more contrast at it's highest ISO setting.

All in all, one of the main things I've gleaned from all of this is that it appears to be a great time to be in the market for a used Pentax body. There are enough people who have owned these various models over a long period of time to have formed solid opinions and preferences.
04-06-2013, 12:31 AM   #7
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Why not the K-30? But if the K-m does the job, why pay more since the bodies depreciate so fast? Personally I don't recommend anything before the K-m due to poor AF performance.
04-06-2013, 03:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
As for the K5, it's currently about 200 more than a Kx, and using the comparison tool at dpreview.com I can't see an appreciable difference between it and the Kr. When the Kx is added to the mix the only difference seems to be that it has a bit more contrast at it's highest ISO setting.
Kx will merely an upgrade in sensor over your Km, K5 however you get tool that can be much better and easier to control.
There is a lot between them

04-06-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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The K-m has the same sensor as the K-10 and K200 for practical purposes.

For your upgrade paths, you have in rough order (imho):
- better sensor route K20/K-7 K-x/K-r K-5/K-01/K-30
- better body quality K-200/K10 K20/K-7 K-30 K-5
- better everything K-5/K-30
- best K-5ii
Just my 5-cents worth

If you have the means, go for the 16Mpixel CMOS sensor (K-5/K-30/K-01) if you can. It is simply stunning
04-06-2013, 01:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
The K-m has the same sensor as the K-10 and K200 for practical purposes.

For your upgrade paths, you have in rough order (imho):
- better sensor route K20/K-7 K-x/K-r K-5/K-01/K-30
- better body quality K-200/K10 K20/K-7 K-30 K-5
- better everything K-5/K-30
- best K-5ii
Just my 5-cents worth

If you have the means, go for the 16Mpixel CMOS sensor (K-5/K-30/K-01) if you can. It is simply stunning
Nice way of looking at it. The "better body quality" is something I haven't really considered. I could get a K20 body from B&H (30 day warranty & great return policy) for $350.00US and see what all the fuss is about. Using B&H again as a price point indicator, I could also get a K7 body for about $80.00 more than the K20 (which by some accounts is as good as the K7). The Kr body, however, is the same price as the K7.

If I could find a low shutter click, gently used, K5 for $450 or less I would probably go for it but I don't see that happening for another couple of years.

I forgot that the K2000 uses a CCD, same as the K10. That would indicate the K10 was a more "professional" featured K2000.

I really appreciate the opportunity to bounce ideas of everyone here. Spending hard earned cash is always a lengthy process. Thanks.

Last edited by MD Optofonik; 04-06-2013 at 07:52 PM.
04-07-2013, 06:04 AM   #11
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I would encourage you to buy the K-7 as it gives you a terrific upgrade without breaking the bank. Especially if there are bonus features like a grip, extra battery, and remote. While I might be accused of shameless promotion (because it's true), it really is a great camera. I couldn't afford the K-5 which is originally what I wanted, but the K-7 was a great tool. Going now to the K-5 is an easy transition as they are very similar in handling. I had a little financial luck this year which is why I could do it. I even bought my first new lens in 40 years!. You are being very thoughtful and thorough and I know you will come to the right decision for you whatever you end up doing.
04-07-2013, 06:15 AM   #12
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Just get a K-5. You won't regret it...
04-07-2013, 06:23 AM   #13
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If you can afford the K5 - then get it. No question there.
If not - the K20D/K7 will still blow your mind. Ive gone thru 3 cameras while OzAdrian is only now looking to replace his K20D.
Theyre a damn good camera. In fact there are a few things (depending on your view point) the K20D is better than the K7. When I went from my GX20 (Samsung K20D clone) to my K7, I wish I hadnt.
04-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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After doing some exhaustive spec comparisons between the K2000 and pretty much most of the dSLR cameras Pentax has made over the past few years, looking at hundreds of sample pictures online, evaluating the bulk of my photos' subject matter and considering what is the area I feel most lacking in them, I realized that I should focus on getting the best DR bang for the buck and better ISO performance across the range. Since the CCD in the K2000 has been said to provide great low ISO performance even when compared to successive generations of CMOS I feel I will have the low ISO performance more than covered in any case.

So we begin.

I use the K5IIs as the yardstick by which to judge at first. For comparing camera specs I use Snapsort's comparison page, DxO’s ratings graph, and the “Pentax DSLR Comparison” feature on this site. Comparing the K5IIs and K2000 may seem ludicrous to some but I want to know what degree of compromise I am making with my decision. In the end, I'm afraid, my conclusion won't surprise you but if you're interested in an overview of the process and my findings read on.

The K5 and K5IIs specs on Snapsort are so similar as to be a none-issue. Real world tests found on the web seem to indicate otherwise due to the removal of the AA filter in the IIs so I add a grain of salt at the get go to everything that follows. The K5 is still considered one of the premier cameras in its class, second only to the IIs. The IIs, however, is way beyond what I want to spend. With this in mind, I begin in earnest, using the K5 as my yardstick.

So we begin (for real this time).

The DR difference between the K2000 and K5 are vast. DR is well over two and a half stops better for the K5. The K5's overall ISO sensitivity is 2 stops better and image quality at high ISO is 1.2 stops better. DxO scores the K2000 at 64 and the K5 at 82; “around 30% better image quality.” for the K5.

I’ll go ahead and mention the 62 percent more resolution of the K5 without taking into account the different sensor technology. The K5’s fits 16.08 MP onto it’s 23.6x15.7mm CMOS sensor and the K2000 fits a meager 10.19 MP into it’s nominally larger 23.5x15.7mm CCD sensor. I have read in the past that more MP aren’t necessarily a friend to DR. I haven’t visited the DR/MP debate in awhile though so technology advances may have changed enough for the correlation to be moot. The photos I’ve seen on the web appear to indicate this is true.

Moving on to the K7 I am a little surprised when comparing it to the K2000. The difference in DR between the two is slightly less than a full stop at 0.8, but this is in the K2000's favor. Highest native ISO is the same but DxO, again, gives the edge, slight as it is, to the K2000 for image quality. The K7’s 23.4x15.6mm sensor delivers 40% more resolution but is also the smallest of the the three cameras compared up to this point in my research. As interesting as it may be I don’t want to get distracted by sensor size so I move on, perplexed, but mindful of that grain of salt mentioned earlier.

Since the K7 is considered the successor to the K20d I figure I’ll give it a look-see as well. More surprises. The K2000 and K20d were introduced only eight months apart so they should be considered somewhat contemporary although the K10d is probably more akin the the K2000 than the K20d is due to the difference in sensors. That makes the results I found even more surprising. The K2000 has about a third of an f-stop more DR than the K20d but the exact opposite is true for high ISO performance; the K20d has a third of a stop better performance here. Resolution is the same as the the K7, 40% more than the K2000.

That brings me to the another surprise when I compare the K20d to the K7, a model that was released 17 months later. Long story short, the K20d had a half stop more DR, a third stop better high ISO performance, and had a marginally better DxO rating than its younger sibling, the K7.

Now I’m at a point where I feel the need to move on a bit from the k2000’s (relatively) similar era siblings. That brings me roughly full circle, back the the K5 era; the K5 being bookmarked by the Kx and Kr. So, off I go, back to the web.

Since the Kr seems so similar to the Kx I sort of gloss over the latter; they both receive the exact same DxO score and ISO performance is only 0.1 stop better on the Kx so I use the Kr for comparison. Released over two years after the K2000, this is where I start to think differences between models will start to, well, make a difference. The Kr has a full stop more DR, just over a half stop better high ISO performance, 0.6, and 2 stops higher sensitivity overall than the K2000. The Kr offers 20% higher resolution.

So, where am I at after all this? I’m looking at buying a second body and want there to be a significant difference in IQ, DR and overall ISO performance when compared to my K2000. I don’t, however, want to spend over a thousand dollars on a new body to get these improvements so it looks like used is still the way to go. This is where I’m at so far:

K5 (benchmark) compared to the K2000

DR: 2.7 stops more
ISO perfomance:1.2 stops more
Overall ISO sensitivity: 2 stops more
Resolution: 62% more
DxO: +18


K7 compared to the K2000

DR: 0.8 f-stops less
ISO perfomance:0.4 stops better
Overall ISO sensitivity: same (native)
Resolution: 40% more
DxO: -3


K20d compared to the K2000

DR: 0.3 stop less
ISO perfomance:0.3 stop more
Overall ISO sensitivity: same (native)
Resolution: 40% more
DxO: +1


Kr compared to the K2000

DR:1 stop more
ISO perfomance: 0.6 stop more
Overall ISO sensitivity: 2 stops more
Resolution: 20% more
DxO: +8


It looks like the Kr is, not surprisingly, the winner. But by how much? The differences are there but on paper they don’t look overwhelmingly significant, certainly not in the same league as the differences between the K5 and K2000.

Off I go to the web again to research current used prices. When starting to compare the price/performance increase ratio, a used K5 begins to looks like something worth saving for. It’s twice the price of a Kr but more than twice the camera, so to speak..The best Kr price so far: $300.00US, best K5 price so far: $600.00. The K5 prices are unlikely to come down anytime soon, certainly not until new K5IIs models start going down significantly in price so the waiting game seems to offer diminishing returns. It’s here where things change, significantly, all around.

Yep.., cue Mr. Cleese please.


And now for something completely different - YouTube





A new, under warranty, K30 has 1.6 stops of extra DR, offers 1.1 stop better ISO performance with an overall range that is 2 stops more than the K2000 in addition to 60% higher resolution. The cost is the same as a used K5 and $250 more than a used Kr.


K30 compared to the K2000

DR: 1.6 stops more
ISO perfomance: 1.1 stops more
Overall ISO sensitivity: 2 stops more
Resolution: 60% more
DxO: +15


K30 compared to the Kr

DR: 0.6 stop more
ISO perfomance: 0.6 f-stop more
Overall ISO sensitivity: same
Resolution: 30% more
DxO: +7
Cost: +260.00


K30 compared to the K5

DR: 1.1 f-stops less
ISO perfomance: nominal
Overall ISO sensitivity: same (native)
Resolution: same
DxO: -3
Cost: -40.00 (used K5) -190 (new K5)

Used prices don't take into account extra included items like memory cards or accessories


I initially started out ignoring convenience features and concentrating primarily on DR and overall ISO performance with some consideration for resolution. As I did more research, however, one feature kept drawing my attention and, in the end, front and back focus correction for individual lenses tipped the scale against the Kr: That left the K5 and K30 as the only candidates for me. The scale tipped against a used K5 due to the potential difficulty in finding a used sample of a particular serial number to mitigate getting a lemon.

At the time of this writing, a new K5 is $190 more than the K30. While that may not seem like much more for the extra features of the K5 I don’t want to lose site of the fact that I’m comparing my choices against a K2000. With that in mind, what I’ve learned so far is that improvements of various models over the past few years have been very incremental. Most of the improvements have to do with ergonomics, menu design, physical aesthetics, and other features that don’t necessarily have a one-to-one relationship to IQ as it relates to my interests.

If I do want to change focus for a moment, however, the question then comes down to this. Is the increase in DR, 1.1 stop, from the K30 to K5, a whopping 2.7 stops increase from the K2000, worth a $190.00 premium? Sooner or later the K5IIs, my original benchmark, will come down to current K5 prices, perhaps even plummeting with the introduction of the long awaited Pentax FF. In the end it’s the same old story, the same dilemma, the same speculations, finding that sweet spot between performance, price, and purchase timing.

I hope this helps anyone considering a used Pentax. As for me, time is ticking, prices are falling, and new availability is dwindling, but I’m darn well informed and ready to make a darn well informed purchase.

Last edited by MD Optofonik; 04-16-2013 at 11:03 PM.
04-07-2013, 03:54 PM   #15
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About the image quality, you make it sound so black and white but i can name a few including myself that actually prefer the 10mp CCD sensor in the K10D, K200D and the Km over the 16mp CMOS in the K5 version and the K30 when it comes to low ISO shots.

So if you not tend to shoot high ISO you might not see huge difference.
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