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09-11-2008, 05:58 PM   #1
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K200D- how good a camera is it?

I've got a buddy, who wants to go beyond point and shoot. He would like to shoot birds, landscapes, cars, street scenes, etc.

To start with he is looking for a lens that does it all, before he decides if he is going to get other lenses. A good idea I think.

I have recommended the Pentax (Tamron) 18-250 as I think this is quite a useful range, if you just have one lens. Moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto and everything in between.

He will start off, just letting the camera do the shutter/aperture setting, but would like to eventually, as he learns, develop his skills and then set his own shutter, aperture, metering etc.

I don't have any experience with the K200D or the 18-250 zoom. I do have the K10D and the 55-300 zoom. Is the 19-250 capable of the same quality of picture as the 55-300. I'm very happy with the 55-300.

Any comments on quality pictures with this equipment (k200D, 18-250) or any alternate equipment, please respond.

What do you think , what are your experience, is this a good plan for an enthusiastic, intelligent beginner ?

09-11-2008, 06:30 PM   #2
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I bought the k200d and 18-250mm less than 3 months ago and I LOVE it. Moving up from a megazoom P&S the image quality of the 18-250mm makes me more than happy. This is a great quality and very versatile combo. If anytime I want to keep a light load and take only one lens with me that's the one.

Your friend has the same thought as I did; wanting to have an all-in-one lens first to see which focal length works best. This way I know what to buy and how to plan my future setup.

The 18-250mm aperture range is 3.5-6.3 which I found somewhat lacking to shoot indoor/night time unless using flash. So your friend may want to get a constant f2.8 soon.

Can't comment or compare the 55-300mm as I don't own one. From what I heard the 55-300 beats the 18-250 starting at 200mm. So if your friend shoots birds mostly then getting the 55-300 can be the better choice IMHO since that would need 200mm and over.
09-11-2008, 09:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I've got a buddy, who wants to go beyond point and shoot. He would like to shoot birds, landscapes, cars, street scenes, etc.

To start with he is looking for a lens that does it all, before he decides if he is going to get other lenses. A good idea I think.

I have recommended the Pentax (Tamron) 18-250 as I think this is quite a useful range, if you just have one lens. Moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto and everything in between.

He will start off, just letting the camera do the shutter/aperture setting, but would like to eventually, as he learns, develop his skills and then set his own shutter, aperture, metering etc.

I don't have any experience with the K200D or the 18-250 zoom. I do have the K10D and the 55-300 zoom. Is the 19-250 capable of the same quality of picture as the 55-300. I'm very happy with the 55-300.

Any comments on quality pictures with this equipment (k200D, 18-250) or any alternate equipment, please respond.

What do you think , what are your experience, is this a good plan for an enthusiastic, intelligent beginner ?
I can't speak about the 18-250, as I haven't that lens. What I can tell you is that the K200D is a great camera for the price, and is suitable for both beginners and advanced users. The camera is more than capable of growing with the skills of your friend.

Of course, that's also the same with other brands, and I would suggest he/she try out every competing model first before deciding.

Personally, why I went for the K200D:

*Build

Weather-sealing really works. I live in a tropical country and we're in the midst of our storm season. I still got to shoot in the rain.

Of course, there's the usual caveat that one should provide cover for the lens unless it's one of those DA*s, which are sealed. But the body itself can stand against the rain.

*Ergonomics

The camera feels good in my hand, at least, and not much need for button pressing to change settings. As well, it's not that much heavy, too, at least for me.

*AA batteries

There's a heated thread going on in DPR about the merits of proprietary batteries and AAs. I won't get into that and definitively say AA is better (because it isn't in some respects), but personally, weighing pros and cons, I'm going with AA for easy availability in dire situations. Just make sure to stick with Eneloops and the like for everyday use.

*In-body Stabilization

Really, I'd rather not pay for stabilization in every lens. With Pentax (as well as Olympus and Sony), you can have *any* AF lens stabilized, and (with Pentax and Olympus) really old MF lenses stabilized.

*K-mount

Really, a DSLR is only as good as the lens system. Sure, there are tremendous offerings in other systems (I like Canon's 85 1.4, Nikon's 70-200 2.8, Sony's 24-70 2.8, and Oly's 35-100 2 to pick from different systems), but Pentax also has their own line of great lenses (their limiteds and DA*/FA*s are top-notch). You'll notice though, that Pentax's offerings are generally priced lower, or at least competitively, to other brands.

But the really strong point in going with Pentax is the availability of those old lenses, some of which sell for really cheap and are hidden treasures. You could take a look at the "club" threads in the lens forum for samples taken from old glass. And the really good thing about this is that the K200D allows full metering with those lenses (unlike Nikon which only enables that with their Dxxx series and up) and as mentioned in the previous point, also allows stabilization with those lenses. I would reckon that someone willing to learn like your friend would appreciate learning to focus manually and the lesser cost to try out different lenses.

In this day and age, you can't really go wrong with any DSLR. They're all good enough to produce fine images. I wish your friend all the best in his/her purchase.
09-11-2008, 10:16 PM   #4
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The Penron 18-250 is a really good lens. It's an "f/8 and be there" lens in that it has a huge range and performs quite well especially in outdoor daylight conditions. I have the DA version and love it.

However, I am not too sure I would recommend it, or any other variable aperture zoom, as a "trainer" lens to bring someone from P&S into SLR photography. Mastering the fundamentals of the exposure triangle and controlling DOF, while not as daunting as rocket surgery, does take time. Having your aperture change on you as you zoom in/out for composition complicates things. If it were me bringing a friend into SLRs I would probably recommend them start out with a fast-50.
The FA50/1.4 is relatively inexpensive ($200 vs $400+ for the 18-250) and a fantastic lens. It's a solid everyday focal length for learning the basics and once he's got them down he's still going to love this lens.

09-11-2008, 10:34 PM   #5
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After having owned both the K200d and the K20d (which I have at the moment) I am of the opinion that the K200d is simply *amazing* value for the money. Can't say anything about the 18-250 lens, obviously some trade-offs will be there, if it can produce images of quality similar to the 55-300 (with which I have personal experience and I like - though not *love*) than it's a pretty good lens.

For the record, my friends have Canon XTis, 40Ds, 5Ds and Nikon D200 and except for the Canon 5D there was not one camera there that I would have swapped for the K200d. I simply loved the quality of the images of the K200d, the images stabilizer, the other nice properties of the Pentax system such as high quality not too expensive lenses, etc. It would be heresy to say so, but I loved the IQ of the K200d maybe better than that of the K20d *when pixel peeping at 100%.*
09-11-2008, 11:38 PM   #6
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Having had the K100D, and now a K20D, and having spent lots of time on a K200D, I can definitely tell you that it's a solid little fella. It performs well, feels damn good in my hands, and it's robust!
It is indeed a damn hit for the price, and I agree with letomuaddib, won't switch it for any of my friend's cams
09-12-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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It's a great P&S There is a learning curve though; well for me, i'm still trying to get the optimum setup for the kit lenses.
09-12-2008, 03:55 PM   #8
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My only concern is that the 18-250 costs enough that it may be a while before he feels like getting another lens. What was the zoom range of his P&S? If it was a superzoom, then I could see why he might not want to step down in focal length range. But if he's used to your basic 3X zoom, I'd seriously consider starting with the 18-55, and then he can apply the $300-$400 he just saved toward some other lenses.

09-12-2008, 04:40 PM   #9
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After being with the system for a few months some people would likely be happier to have spent the same amount of money on a K20D+18-55 rather than a K200D on an 18-250.

I have the K200D and think it is pretty good. I bought it without knowing whether I should really spend money on a DSLR. Since then I've decided that it's the best thing ever and sortof wish I had splurged on a K20D, but hindsight is 20/20 and I'm pretty happy with my purchase (even though I bought just before the price drops).
09-12-2008, 07:37 PM   #10
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'm thinking of recommending he go with the kit 18-55 lens and get a 55-300 Pentax lens.
09-12-2008, 08:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
'm thinking of recommending he go with the kit 18-55 lens and get a 55-300 Pentax lens.
That sounds reasonable, as long as you know he will want to shoot telephoto. I don't have any lens longer than 55 mm and don't really mind...
09-12-2008, 10:06 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
That sounds reasonable, as long as you know he will want to shoot telephoto. I don't have any lens longer than 55 mm and don't really mind...
He wants to take pictures of wild birds. I've just started to use my 55-300 Pentax lens for wild bird pix (mostly Pelicans-starting big to learn how to track birds in flight) and I've been happy with this lensin this and other areas.

I think he might also find this lens useful.

As an aside, one lens I would like for portraits is the 50mm F1.4 Pentax for portraits.
09-12-2008, 11:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
He wants to take pictures of wild birds. I've just started to use my 55-300 Pentax lens for wild bird pix (mostly Pelicans-starting big to learn how to track birds in flight) and I've been happy with this lensin this and other areas.

I think he might also find this lens useful.

As an aside, one lens I would like for portraits is the 50mm F1.4 Pentax for portraits.
Oops, yeah, birds, 300mm yes
09-13-2008, 08:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by marlon Quote
Having had the K100D, and now a K20D, and having spent lots of time on a K200D, I can definitely tell you that it's a solid little fella. It performs well, feels damn good in my hands, and it's robust!
It is indeed a damn hit for the price, and I agree with letomuaddib, won't switch it for any of my friend's cams
I'm glad you have both the K200 and K20 because that makes you just the person to ask. I have the K200 and have been having lots of fun with it, but now I'm being drawn to the K20. What are the advantages of the K20 besides the megapixels and the live view? Thanks in advance!
09-13-2008, 09:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TYOsborn Quote
I'm glad you have both the K200 and K20 because that makes you just the person to ask. I have the K200 and have been having lots of fun with it, but now I'm being drawn to the K20. What are the advantages of the K20 besides the megapixels and the live view? Thanks in advance!
I know you didn't ask me but I'll chime in anyway as I had the K200d and sold it to buy the K20d. To be honest I'm not extremely impressed by the megapixels and the live view, myself. The live view is not bad and I don't think it's the implementation that doesn't impress me, just the feature itself.

As for the megapixels, uhm, dunno what to think. Maybe it's just me but I was far more impressed with the K200d+50-135 DA* combo than I am with the K20d+50-135 DA*. It just seems to me that the images had such an amazing sharpness with the K200d and *some* of that magic seems gone with the K20d at 14MP. So now I long for primes that would restore the magic+add some more ;-p

Other than that you have the controls on the body, and that's a nice plus if your're taking many pictures. There are also more advanced modes although I don't think they're a deal maker/breaker. Google should tell you the other differences but I think the previous ones are the main ones.

All in all, with Photokina being just around the corner I would suggest you wait for what Pentax has to offer (if anything.) Maybe a more impressive update than the K20d will appear.

Anyway, there's no question the K20d is a great camera and the price is not bad. It's just that in terms of value per dollar I think K200d is a just terrific.
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