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12-17-2008, 06:13 AM   #1
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Choosing between K200D and K20D

I've been browsing through reviews and forums for some time now trying to decide on a starter DSLR and after narrowing down to the K200D or the 450D I'm leaning towards the Pentax. I was hoping that maybe I'd get some opinions regarding some questions I'm not sure about:

Firstly my Dad used to have film Pentax long time ago and so he still has some lenses lying about and I wanted to know if they will be of any use to me?

Tamron Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5

Hanimex 135mm f/2.8

Tamron Adaptall 2 28mm f/2.5

Yashicon Yashica-DX 300mm f/5.6

They all seem to work fine and I'm sure they would be fun to play with at the very least.

Secondly I was originally planning on buying a K200D with the Pentax 18-55 II DA for $680 (Australian Dollars) with a Pentax smc FA 50mm 1:1.4 for about $340 and hopefully haggle the package down to about $900 or so. However I just came across an online store in Australia flogging the K20D with a 18-55mm Lens ( I presume its a cheaper one than the DA as it doesn't say what it is) for $1350 which really pushes my budget.

The most important use of my camera will be related to my career as a painter. I will need a setup which will allow me to take good shots of very dark still life setups for composition testing plus the ability to take good reference photos for figure and portrait paintings and finally, decent quality photos of my work (though I think this would be within the capabilities of any DSLR). Beyond that I would just be a hobbyist focusing mostly on landscapes and nightscapes and perhaps some macro and wildlife work. Hopefully thats not too vague

Will a K200D be more than enough or is a K20D really worth the extra money given that it limits my ability to purchase extra lenses in the near future, as it will really stretch my budget. I was thinking I should maybe begin with a 200 and then in a few years upgrade to the K30D?

I hope that wasn't too haphazard

12-17-2008, 08:37 AM   #2
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Base on where you gonna use your camera.. I suggest you buy the K200D and then get a good low light lens..

I don't have the 50mm F1.4 but I do have the F1.7 version.. It's a great lens but find it to long..
Try also to consider FA 35mm F2 or DA 35mm F2.8..

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12-17-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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For your studio/still-life work, are you planning on using a tripod? A couple advantages of the K20D are the lower level of noise (grain) at high ISO settings and the ability to grow into it (if you are new to DSLRs or SLRs). However, if your low-light subjects are stationary and you can use a tripod, you won't have to worry about high ISO noise anyway. Assuming your low-light work will be of static scenes, I would recommend the K200D and better lenses.

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12-17-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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I agree with the others that a K200D is an excellent choice for your planned usage. Better spend some of the saved money on lenses or flash equipment.

Regarding lenses:

?Tamron? Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5

I assume it's not a Tamron, but an Asahi/Pentax? These lenses will give you a lot of opportunity to experiment. Another reason to go for the K200, because the 14MP sensor of the K20 will reveal flaws in these lenses sooner.

12-17-2008, 01:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gnaztee Quote
For your studio/still-life work, are you planning on using a tripod? A couple advantages of the K20D are the lower level of noise (grain) at high ISO settings and the ability to grow into it (if you are new to DSLRs or SLRs). However, if your low-light subjects are stationary and you can use a tripod, you won't have to worry about high ISO noise anyway.
And really, the high ISO performance of the K200D isn't bad at all. Seems to be better than the K10D by most accounts. I can't really argue with results like this:


K200D, M100/2.8, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/30"
12-17-2008, 03:20 PM   #6
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Given your requirements, you really need to consider good glass ahead of the body. The K200D is a good alround camera, and given the price difference (AUD$680 vs AUD$1350) you could pick up a good fast prime (or two if your careful). The K200D is after all a K10D with a few extras cut off.

As for noise, it depends. If you consider some good lighting (reflectors etc) then you can shoot at lower ISO as well - but the noise in the image is still very well controlled - even DPreview says so.
12-17-2008, 04:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the quick and useful replies, for my studio work I'll be using a tripod so it doesn't seem like noise will be a huge issue. I think I will just go for the K200D so now I just have to figure out which lens/es are the best option.

tomtor: you're right it is Asahi rather than Tamron
12-17-2008, 09:37 PM   #8
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Thanks for the helpful replies, I think I'll go for the K200 as I will be using a tripod for lowlight work so noise oughtn't be a big problem hopefully. So I just need to decide on a prime which will suit my needs. I might wait till I've had the camera for a while before choosing one though.

12-17-2008, 11:56 PM   #9
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Over the pass few days, I have been taking a low lights to long exposure shots with my K200D, and went along with my friend who has a Nikon D90...
One thing I noticed is that the longer the exposure, the longer it will take to process the photo and save onto the memory card.... while my friends Nikon will take a few secs to save up... (well, his Nikon did cost 3X more than mine though )

using the camera for work purposes... lucky u... can wrtie it off as work related expenses for all the equipment and lenses u buy (Yeah... the accountant in me is talking now)
12-18-2008, 04:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
Over the pass few days, I have been taking a low lights to long exposure shots with my K200D, and went along with my friend who has a Nikon D90...
One thing I noticed is that the longer the exposure, the longer it will take to process the photo and save onto the memory card.... while my friends Nikon will take a few secs to save up... (well, his Nikon did cost 3X more than mine though )
Is that with the same size/speed memory card on both? Both shooting RAW or JPEG? It would be interesting to find out why.
12-18-2008, 04:57 AM   #11
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No, itís most probably the dark frame noise reduction system working, shut it off and you can fire the next frame without any delay at all. (Reservation, you can shut it off on the K10d, but not on the K20, donít know about the K200)
12-18-2008, 05:10 AM   #12
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The lenses you mentioned are of the "M42" screwmount variety and will require a simple adapter to use with either the K20D or the K200D (or practically any K-mount Pentax camera). The adapter is priced around US$30 and well worth it.

Your post indicates that having money left for lenses is a concern. Were that not the case I would say nothing here, but since it is the case I will point out that there are literally millions of used lenses available and that Pentax is pretty much tops for maintaining backwards compatibility. I have the K20D and my normal daily-use lenses are all 35+ years old....same era lenses as the ones your father has. Not only are they still usable with a brand-new Pentax DSLR, a great many of them have fantastic image quality.

The real advantage to this is that they are extremely affordable. I'll give you some indication by giving you the prices I paid for my old lenses, all picked up at auction:

SMC Takumar 55/1.8 ------ $10
S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5 ---- $30
S-M-C Takumar 35/3.5 ---- $50
S-M-C Takumar 135/3.5 -- $30
Super Takumar 200/4 ---- $ 40
S-M-C Takumar 105/2.8 -- $70
S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 ---- $0 (came attached to a fine $50 camera)

Roughly $200 for a very nice collection of very good quality prime lenses. Interested in seeing what such a bunch of suspiciously cheap items can do in conjunction with modern DSLRs? Then take a look at the very active Takumar Club thread.

Then I went hog wild and splurged on a couple of the less common lenses:

Super Takumar 85/1.9 ---- $230
S-M-C Takumar 35/2 ------ $95

Macro? I have a roughly 40 year old bellows unit that I got for $50.

Not very suited for action photography, to be sure, but you don't mention that as an interest.

In addition to the oldest class of lenses I mentioned, there are a couple of generations of more modern type "K-mount" lenses which are also abundant and relatively inexpensive. I don't use them much myself so will refrain from commenting on them specifically. You can see some fine samples of what the "M" series of lenses are capable of in the The M Club! thread.

Point is....Pentax with their great backwards compatibility and millions of great, affordable used lenses floating around is a great choice for those of us who aren't up to our eyeballs in money.
12-18-2008, 08:06 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
No, it’s most probably the dark frame noise reduction system working, shut it off and you can fire the next frame without any delay at all. (Reservation, you can shut it off on the K10d, but not on the K20, don’t know about the K200)
Oh... good pick up ... I had the High-Iso Noise Reduction at strongest at 4 (In Custom Menu #11) so that might have been it...

Not sure where you are CheriPoffs in Oz, but you might like to check out some Pawn shops around for some old lenses... just make sure you bring your camera along to test if they fit; just make sure the lenses are clean and smooth... managed to picked up a few cheap from a Cashy because the guy at the place didnt know much about cameras

Oh, and a quick hint is to go to your custom setting menu under #23, and select option 2 "permitted" for using aperture ring for those older manual lenses... otherwise, you will see F---- flashing on the screen

Another avenue is to keep an eye on Ebay.. kept seing a few nice 50mm going between AU$70-110 that I keep missing by a few dollars at end of bid

hope this helps...

Last edited by okitoki; 12-18-2008 at 08:14 AM.
12-18-2008, 11:09 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
Oh... good pick up ... I had the High-Iso Noise Reduction at strongest at 4 (In Custom Menu #11) so that might have been it...
No, it's not the high ISO NR, but the slow shutter speed NR. High ISO NR comes "for free" in terms of processing time (well, a fraction of a second at most), but the slow shutter speed NR works by taking a second shot with the shutter closed at the same shutter speed as your initial shot - so a 10 second exposure takes an *additional* 10 seconds if you don't turn it off.

And yes, it can be turned off on the K200D - it can be turned off on all pentax cameras except the K20D, I believe.

BTW, for the OP:

If you're serious about using the camera for reference photos, you're probably better off with a good zoom than a prime, because really, for painting reference, getting the right field of view is more important than whatever small difference in IQ you might see.

But for taking pictures *of* your paintings, you want the sharpest lens you can get at a focal length that works well for the size you paint. Unless you tend to work *very* large (bigger than, say, 36x48"), or *very* small (smaller than, say, 5x7") it's pretty hard to beat a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor camera like Pentax DSLR's. They are usually the best IQ for the money, and the focal length allows for a decent working distance from your painting. You don't want to be too close or perspective gets funny, and too far is of course sometimes impractical (although I shoot most of my artwork outdoors, in the shade - that seems to work best in terms of consistent even lighting. Better for me than messing with two high-wattage tungsten bulbs on either side of the painting like most sources seem to recommend, although I'm sure with more patience, I could fine tune that type set up to get great results. But right off the bat, I get too much glare off particularly heavy brushstrokes. I suppose polarizers on the light sources and/or my lens would help, but shade works great.
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