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01-27-2009, 05:30 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Underexposure: the Pentax cameras absolutely refuse to blow out highlights in multi-segment mode, and they are also stickler for produces ISO standard exposures - a little darker than an 18% gray card on average. Switch to center-weighted metering and suddenly the camera will not be able to try to protect highlights, crating brighter pictures with blown highlights by default just like Canon, if that's what you want.
This is worth restating. I almost always shoot multi for this reason. I find it much easier to pull detail out of shadows in post rather than fixing blown highlights. But it also depends on the look that you're going for.

01-27-2009, 06:26 PM   #17
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A couple more thoughts to add to the confusion

Jpegs: Any dslr will allow you to set up jpegs in any way you want to, and they all have to choose a "default setting"...and they all choose something different. I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Nikon & Canon shooters shooting the same scene, some of these guys had cameras worth many thousands $$$ more than my humble *ist DS (which was ridiculed by some for having poor jpegs)....my canon & nikon friends were very impressed.

I now have a K20 & K200 and I can assure you it is all about how you want to set up your camera up.

Batteries: Eneloops. Eneloops. Eneloops......oh did I mention Eneloops? with a pack of lithiums in your bag for emergencies.

I, too have never handled a Canon ( I have played with Nikons) and I am sure they are very good cameras, in fact I dont think there is a 'bad' dslr made.....they are all just different.

Get the one that makes you happy, learn how to use it proficiently and have fun.

Cheers
Grant
01-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #18
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Oh, yeah - about lenses: there are cheap and expensive lenses available for both Canon and Pentax. for every lens you can point to that's cheaper in a Canon version, there's another that's cheaper in a Pentax version. This becomes especially true - HUGELY true - if you consider the issue of stablization. Canon has a very cheap 50/1.8; Pentax doesn't. But Pentax's 50/1.4 is cheaper than Canon's, and - like all lenses - it is stabilized on the K200D. A lens like the pentax 50-135 is available, courtesy of Tokina, for the Canon at roughly the same price. But with Pentax, you get it stablized. And so on.
01-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #19
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Edwards,

QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote
I'm glad I found this site. I've browsed the forums these last few days and have found some very good information and opinions on Pentax cameras. In fact, I registered just so I could make this post asking for opinions on my first digital SLR purchase.
First able, you came to a Pentax forums, I don't expect you will get many responses in favor of the Canon. That said, I'm a K200D owner for about 9 months, and I will respond to your concern.

QuoteQuote:
- AA batteries. Again, this is a personal thing, but I like the idea that I can pick up some Energizers if I get desperate. Also, from what I've read, you can get very good performance out of rechargeable Eneloops around 500 shots or so? As long as that's the case, I'm good. Now, if you can only get 200-300 shots out of rechargeables then I'd have to put the power source in the negative.
You can easily get 500 shots with Eneloops, 600 is more typical for me. The AA support is definitely a pro on the K200D.

Now, on your other concerns :

QuoteQuote:
Cons:
- Picture quality. Now, I wasn't able to test this camera out very long, so much of this is heresay. That said, I have read the following about the Pentax.
1) JPG quality is no where near as good as on the XSi. This is a problem because, although I plan on learning to shoot RAW, I will use JPG quite a bit at family events, etc.
2) ISO performance is not as good XSi. I've read this all over the Internet and seen pictures. What threw me is that the salesman told me he thinks the Pentax actually has better performance in this regard than the XSi. Now, the guys at this place work on commission, so if anything I'd expect him to try to sell me on the more expensive XSi.
Personally, I love the JPG quality on the K200D, and have never shot RAW, but I never got a chance to look at a Canon directly. I looked at reviews online, such as on steve's digicams, dp reviews.

And the ISO performance on the K200D is most excellent.

QuoteQuote:
3) Constant underexposure. I read about this, and did notice it while taking pictures at the store. The XSi's pics came out a lot brighter than the Pentax. I know that you can change the camera's default JPG settings, but can you change the exposure settings in the default as well?
Yes, unfortunately that much is true. You can adjust the exposure value up to +2 EV . Sometimes, it's bad enough that I want to do more than that. When that happens, it's time to put the camera in manual.

QuoteQuote:
- Auto Focus and FPS. The frames per second doesn't concern me that much. I shot high school sports constantly, and I never fired off more than one shot at a time. Granted, maybe I should have, but I was always happy with the result of firing off one shot at a time. I'm guessing the Pentax will be able to accomodate this just fine. What does concern me is the auto focus, however. I've read that it performs very poorly under low light and that even under optimal lighting it is just plain slower than the XSi. Again, I didn't get the chance to test this out in the store.
The auto focus is just fine. And the 2.8 fps in JPG mode are not all that slow if you need continuous shooting, though surely slower than many Canon and Nikon. Just make sure to use a fast enough SDHC card so you are not limited by the card.

QuoteQuote:
- Metering and No Dedicated ISO button. Alone, these would be minor issues, but together they're a little annoying. First, the XSi metering in the viewfinder presents you with a bar much like a ruler where you can see exactly how far on the recommended exposure you are. The Pentax, unless I'm missing something, only displays a number. Like 0 for correct exposure, -1 for underexposed, etc. The bar is just a lot easier for me to look at and determine what I want to do. I know Pentax has a dedicated RAW button, but to me the ISO button on the XSi is a lot more useful. If I'm shooting RAW, then I don't see the need to change back to JPG or vice versa. I can see myself changing the ISO if, for instance, I have to move from an outdoor location to an indoor, etc.
I have to say that it sounds useful, I would definitely use an ISO button if I had one on the K200D. I sometimes forget to set the ISO. The thing is ... You hardly ever notice.

One day I shot the moon at 800 ISO. The next day I showed the camera to a coworker and we shot our work campus in bright sun ...
I looked at the pics. They were completely fine. It was only when I looked at the EXIF that I noticed that they were taken at 800 ISO. I didn't tell my coworker about it until after he looked at them. He thought they looked just fine. He shoots with a Nikon D200, and his camera has a fair bit more noise than the K200D - older generation. After that, he said the K200D was a nice camera The 800 ISO test pictures in question are at madbrain's Beomsuk channel on Share on Ovi .
You can click on them to see the original 10 mpix JPEGs size.

01-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote

Yes, unfortunately that much is true. You can adjust the exposure value up to +2 EV . Sometimes, it's bad enough that I want to do more than that. When that happens, it's time to put the camera in manual.
.
Does this happen with all lenses? I rarely have to tweak exposure value on my K20d. I do notice that the 35ltd tends to shoot a bit darker than my FA limiteds. But the slowest lens I have is the 16-45/4 (which I rarely shoot) so maybe that is part of it.
01-27-2009, 08:41 PM   #21
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I haven't looked at the price of an XSi lately, but really, you should be comparing what you get for the money, ...which in current circumstances could mean either a K20d or a K200 with some darn nice glass.

And that's not anything against Canon, (Or the K200) mind you: it's just that comparing the previous-generation Pentax entry level with Canon's newest entry level is kind of moot when the price difference could put you a step up and in something more serious for the same kind of money.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 01-27-2009 at 08:53 PM.
01-27-2009, 08:58 PM   #22
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For the price of an XSi you can get a K20D off ebay brand new....
01-27-2009, 09:18 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
Yes, unfortunately that much is true. You can adjust the exposure value up to +2 EV . Sometimes, it's bad enough that I want to do more than that. When that happens, it's time to put the camera in manual.
But there's no way this is ever happening due to the camera "underexposing" in the sense of doing anything that other cameras wouldn't do too. Not two stops worth. If you meter off a white object and want it to look white, of course you need to apply a couple of stops worth of compensation - that's how it's *supposed* to work. Or, if you shoot a scene containing, say, the sun, then *of course* you'll need to apply some *major* compensation - again, that's how it's *supposed* to work.

QuoteQuote:
I have to say that it sounds useful, I would definitely use an ISO button if I had one on the K200D.
Me too. For people who otherwise use P mode, Sv mode provides a simple alternative that gives you instant control over ISO. But for those of us who prefer M mode, or any other less automatic mode, changing ISO does require use of the Fn menu. It's a very simple operation - it's not like it's buried in a menu somewhere or anything like that - but you do have to take your eye off the viewfinder. This is my #1 gripe about the camera. #2 would be that I wish the viewfinder were bigger - but attaching the O-ME53 eyepiece magnifier *does* help.

01-27-2009, 09:25 PM   #24
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Well, I can't help but get involved here.

I gave up on Canon due to the XSi. I can't think of a less reasonable example of a prosumer or enthusiast DSLR. I'm sorry that I ever ordered one and used it. Let me explain...

The XSi, and most under $1,000 Canon cameras I have found, shoot very soft photos. I find them so soft that my stomach turns. I have had several Canon models, starting with the S3IS and I couldn't believe that the problem was the camera. I felt that it had to be my technique. I no longer feel that way. Either it is the in camera processing, or the glass, or cosmic rays, or a combination of all three. But, I have yet to find a Canon that shot an image as clear and crisp as my eye has seen it (and I'm not talking about 100% crop either).

Next, the XSi feels like a toy to me. The overall weight, balance and durability of the XSi is poor t best.

Canon and Nikon have a real racket going on with image stabilization. Give it to me in camera, let's let a lens be known for its glass/optical performance not their electronic gizmos.

In summary... I see the argument as this. If you want a camera that will allow you to be a photographer, ready to handle almost any photographic equipment with intelligence and ease, work with a Pentax DSLR (such as the K10, K20 or K200). If you want to be able to take pictures a bit better than the P &S examples out there, the XSi may help you get to that point.

I'm one of those weird shooters who likes to know that they composed a great photo using their own technique while also using equipment that allowed them to capture life/art. I take pride when I carry my equipment because it works for me and not because of the brand name. I don't mind setting manual white balance or knowing what aperture or ISO I intend to use 2 seconds before I bring the viewfinder up to my eye (you guys remember back when we had to decide on what ISO film to use before we even closed the back of the body? Can you believe we can change that on the fly now?).

Anyhow, Pentax lenses are inexpensive and readily available. You can use 40 year old glass if you can find it. You will have a camera that will be functioning several years down the road and which may help you grow into becoming a great photographer. And hey, you will have the great advice of many friendly, helpful and knowledgeable folks in this forum (most of whom are far more intelligent than myself).

Okay, stepping off of soapbox now, though with great reservation... I yield to the senior senator from the state of...
01-28-2009, 03:59 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
Does this happen with all lenses? I rarely have to tweak exposure value on my K20d. I do notice that the 35ltd tends to shoot a bit darker than my FA limiteds. But the slowest lens I have is the 16-45/4 (which I rarely shoot) so maybe that is part of it.
Yes, it has happened with all lenses that I tried. I'm down to 2 now : the Pentax DA 18-250, and the Sigma 10-20. Neither of them are fast lenses. It's not really predictable exactly when it happens unfortunately. But it tends to be worse for indoor shots or in poor light conditions - it's especially maddening for indoor shots when using flash - and you have an external flash with plenty of power, but in the automatic mode, it pretty much never fires at full power, except in complete darkness. That's more of a P-TTL issue I'm afraid.
01-28-2009, 06:38 AM   #26
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K200D or Xsi?

I was recently faced with a similar decision, but mine was made easier on account of the Pentax primes I already owned from film days.

Nevertheless, I live with a canon user and a nikon user, so have had some experience with their entry level models. For me, the feel of the K200D was certainly a decider. The solid, more-rubber less-plastic feel makes an enormous difference, and yes, it's heavier, but it feel more like a semi-pro camera and less like a toy. Further, the dust/moisture seals are a great addition. A bit of ocean spray or similar and I'm non-plussed while my mates are running for shelter.

Also, the AA batteries are fantastic. The lithiums that came with the K200D lasted me almost 1200 shots (of which less than a quarter were with flash, but it's still impressive). After doing some reading I invested in two sets of four eneloops, and am so pleased I did. I get at least 500 shots to a charge, but as I seldom if ever use flash, it's normally closer to 700. Most proprietary batteries can't even manage that. Further, the eneloops hold their charge unlike many rechargeables, and even if it's weeks before I use the spare set (which is often the case), they still perform so well that if there is any loss of charge, I can't see it.

At the end of the day, who are we kidding, the camera is just the tool. So pick the one that feels best in your hands, as that's where it's going to be spending the bulk of its time.
01-28-2009, 08:15 AM   #27
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Honestly, either choice will get you a good body and both are excellent in their own regard.

But...


The JPEG issue, this has to be the most ridiculous issue to get hung up on. I think it's been proven time and time again that once you customize the JPEG settings to suit your taste, they are just as sharp as anyone elses. Some dickhead in some review a few years ago began dogging Pentax about their out of the box JPEG results and since then, it seems to be a reputation potential Pentax owners always fear. Get to know the camera, use decent glass and I dare anyone to spot a Pentax JPEG over a Canon one, at similar resolution settings.

Jason
01-28-2009, 08:50 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
Edwards,
You can easily get 500 shots with Eneloops, 600 is more typical for me. The AA support is definitely a pro on the K200D.
OK - I gotta ask it - what are Eneloops? I've used Energizer lithiums to great success, and (when new) Energizer NiMH's to decent success as well. However, my NiMH's went to crappy really quickly - within a couple months of constant (but not overtly heavy) usage.

steve
01-28-2009, 09:11 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
Yes, it has happened with all lenses that I tried. I'm down to 2 now : the Pentax DA 18-250, and the Sigma 10-20. Neither of them are fast lenses. It's not really predictable exactly when it happens unfortunately. But it tends to be worse for indoor shots or in poor light conditions - it's especially maddening for indoor shots when using flash - and you have an external flash with plenty of power, but in the automatic mode, it pretty much never fires at full power, except in complete darkness. That's more of a P-TTL issue I'm afraid.
I never use flash of any kind so maybe that is the main culprit.
01-28-2009, 10:20 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by skeuos Quote
OK - I gotta ask it - what are Eneloops?
They're just rechargeable batteries with a longer shelf life.

For more info, see the Wikipedia entry and Amazon.com listing.
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