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02-18-2009, 07:53 PM   #1
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Prospective Pentax convert (from Canon)

Hi,

I just bought my first dSLR a couple months ago, and I ended up going with a Canon Rebel XS. I considered the Pentax K200D, and I liked almost everything about it except how the image quality compared to Canon. That said, I'm not completely satisfied for a couple reasons, and I suspect these will be no surprise to Pentax users: 1) the build quality and hand grip don't really inspire much confidence... at first I thought I could get past this, but it has become more of an annoyance with time. 2) More importantly, though, I'm just not that happy with the Canon lens selection. Not wanting to spend $1000+ on pro lenses, I'm finding few options that appeal to me. This is kind of ironic given how many lenses Canon makes. Looking at other companies' lenses, I found the Pentax primes particularly attractive, so I'm back to thinking about switching to Pentax sometime in the next year. I'm still hesitant about the K200D, but I'm quite impressed by the K20D output, and I'm confident I would not see a loss in image quality with that camera (or a future K*00D with the same sensor).

I must say that there are lots of things I genuinely like about my Canon, and were it not for the lens issue (and the lack of internal stabilization) I would probably feel comfortable sticking with it. The image quality and high ISO performance are excellent, and I like the hard button access to things like ISO. The control layout in general is very satisfactory for me. Obviously, though, my reservations are strong enough to make me contemplate jumping ship. Furthermore, my current investment in Canon lenses is negligible.

That said, I'm curious to hear the experiences of others who have switched from Canon (or Nikon, for that matter) to Pentax or have plenty of experience with both systems. I'm not interested in Canon/Nikon bashing; I think there is plenty to like about those systems, though probably moreso for professionals who can afford the expensive pro lenses. I'm more interested in the particulars of your transition... things you find especially enjoyable about Pentax, or things you miss about Canon.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated.

02-18-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
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I'm in a similar situation, kinda.

I posted on here a while back about the qualities of the XSi compared to the K200D. If you go back a few pages, you'll find it. The thread was closed for further comments, but it might help you out.

I used to shoot with an older Rebel and have used an old manual Pentax for black and white.

I ended up buying the K200D because it felt a lot better in my hands, and I liked the cleaner layout (although I'd rather have an ISO button than a RAW), and I like the use of AA batteries.

But...

I'm an indecisive sob.

The camera arrived a few days ago, but I haven't even shot with it because I've been second guessing my decision based on the performance of the autofocus.

I have about a week or so left where I can return the camera for a refund.

I'm just using this for a hobby, but I'm interested in taking sports pictures, specifically high school sports and professional wrestling.

I have scoured the Internet and have been unable to find a lot of examples of good action shots taken by the K200D. I've found a lot taken by the XSi. I'm sure some of this has to do with the proliferation of the XSi, but still.

From the samples I've seen, the ISO quality isn't a huge factor. I've seen some pretty good shots from the K200D using 1600.

Of course, I guess I could always use manual focus. Although I read on some places that you can't visually tell if the image is focused when using manual? Is this right? And I also read that by using a flash, the autofocus will improve significantly as the flash may emit an infrared beam of some sort to help with focus. Is this right?

As you can tell, even though I've used SLRs, I'm still kinda ignorant.

Hopefully, someone with some brains will come along and add something useful.
02-18-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gwach Quote
I'm just not that happy with the Canon lens selection
This is pretty vague. What exact lenses are you looking for?
02-18-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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Hi Gwach,

First of all, welcome back to Pentax community!

I don't have Canon/Nikon SLR but I handled some of my friend's Canon 30D for a while when they asked me to help taking pictures of some events using their camera.
I also played around a little bit with D200.

One thing that I know from that experience is, none of them can afford a good lens after their body purchase.
Yes, they all have the same complaint like you. They thought it's cool to have a Canon/Nikon but now they all can't afford to buy good glasses.
Canon friend only has some lenses that are not fix aperture. Nikon friend only has 18-200mm.
Because they already spent more than $2000 for that.
When they see my shots, they all are wondering how come my picture comes out nicer and I was able to shoot without flash.
And thanks to Pentax for providing affordable body so I can buy a nice FA 43 Limited for only $400

I do admire the speed of AF of Nikon. But Dxxx series are too big for my hand and they are heavy.
Canon's AF is also fast but I don't think as accurate as Nikon.

Well, the bottom line is if we want best value for our money, and our photography's need is not that demanding (I'm talking long glass, machine gun AF, or prestige) then Pentax is the best choice. IMHO

02-18-2009, 08:24 PM   #5
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I bought a Canon XS based upon glowing reviews. I got one that had focus issues and I didn't like it's soft photos.
I exchanged it for a Pentax K200D. I love the Pentax and my wife noticed the improve picture quality as I did.
I bike with my camera so I like the weather sealing and the feel of the camera verses the Canon.
I don't shoot sports often so that isn't a huge factor for me. If you plan on shooting sports you might have to step up to a more expensive Camera with a higher FPS rate, and be prepared to spend a bundle on fast lenses.
I am glad that it worked the way it did for me. I almost bought the Pentax over the Canon XS, but I know I would have had a serious case of buyers remorse. Now that I have actually owned and used both I am a happy camper.
02-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote

Of course, I guess I could always use manual focus. Although I read on some places that you can't visually tell if the image is focused when using manual? Is this right? And I also read that by using a flash, the autofocus will improve significantly as the flash may emit an infrared beam of some sort to help with focus. Is this right?

As you can tell, even though I've used SLRs, I'm still kinda ignorant.

Hopefully, someone with some brains will come along and add something useful.
How well your manual focus accuracy depends on how good your eyes are.
Also you can check after the shot taken.

Yes, but only if you use External Flash like AF 360 or AF 540 or maybe even an older flash like AF 330. The internal flash doesn't emit infrared beam.
I use K20D w/ AF540 try to focus my bed with room lights off so you can't even see your hand or anything in viewfinder but yet the camera still can lock focus on the pillow

I don't know how fast the K200D AF is but my K20D AF is MUCH faster than my previous K100D.
If you want faster AF, check the K2000 (yes, the new one) since it has an improved algorithm even better than K20D.

Hope this helps.
02-18-2009, 08:32 PM   #7
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Though I haven't owned either system, when I took the plunge into a dSLR - I looked at the D40 and the K110d. I already had a few manual lenses and an old KX. I wasn't too conserned about staying with Pentax because I knew I was at a point where I could take either direction without a loss. The main things that drew me to Pentax were mainly DOF preview and the ability to use legacy glass (a lot of it). The D40 was the first to lose its in-body focusing motor for Nikon and didn't offer DOF preview. On the other hand the D40 has a 1/500 flash sync which is amazing and their flash system is one of the best around. In the end, because I'm here, I chose Pentax and now own a K200d and a K10d and have passed along the K110d. I'm happy and haven't really second guessed my decision. Though some here seem to have a lot problems with Pentax's flash system, I haven't. At the heart of it, the problems really seem to be working within the flash's power and that's probably true with the gripes from the Canon camp. In the end it's really like a member here has said, the more transparent the camera is to my working the better it is - it's the truth. Ultimatley, it's about the pictures, not the camera or system.

-Brian
02-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote
I ended up buying the K200D because it felt a lot better in my hands, and I liked the cleaner layout (although I'd rather have an ISO button than a RAW), and I like the use of AA batteries.
I had a play with a range of dSLRs before I purchased my K200D - and as you point out, the handling was far better and intuitive.

However, as with any device, once you get used to it there is not a problem, so it sort of negates itself.

QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote
The camera arrived a few days ago, but I haven't even shot with it because I've been second guessing my decision based on the performance of the autofocus.
This bashing of the AF astounds me . Once upon a time we only had manual focus for everything. I shot images at Formula 1 races years ago with a manual SLR (no AF, no auto-exposure, no power winder) - and those F1 cars go past in a blink, but I still managed to get lots of fast cars on film (400ISO FujiChrome). The trick was knowing how to use your camera - greater DOF and shutter speed needed, pre-focus on where you want to shoot, panning etc. Its not that hard!

The tool that the K200D provides is catch-in-focus. Effectively pre-focus on a point with this turned on, hit the shutter and wait. When an object comes into focus at that point, the shutter fires - look mum - no hands!

QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote
I have scoured the Internet and have been unable to find a lot of examples of good action shots taken by the K200D. I've found a lot taken by the XSi. I'm sure some of this has to do with the proliferation of the XSi, but still.

From the samples I've seen, the ISO quality isn't a huge factor. I've seen some pretty good shots from the K200D using 1600.
Sadly, the K200D is the neglected sibling here - not as sexy as the K20D, not as cute as the K-M, and considered just an updated K10D.

There are images out there, but if the PP removes the EXIF data you won't find it. Just because people don't bang on about the K200D doesn't mean the images aren't out there. There are a bunch of very happy (me included) K200D owners.

QuoteOriginally posted by Edward B. Quote
Of course, I guess I could always use manual focus. Although I read on some places that you can't visually tell if the image is focused when using manual? Is this right? And I also read that by using a flash, the autofocus will improve significantly as the flash may emit an infrared beam of some sort to help with focus. Is this right?
Of course you can use manual. Some perceive the problem because the display is not as bright as a K20D (its a pentamirror), but you can use tools like the OEM-53 magnifying eyepiece (or others) and its works fine. Its a matter of adjusting the diopter setting as well, and there are lots of thread about both here.

Don't the the lower end CaSoNikOlys have the same issue of the pentamirror?

As for the low light focus - the flash will strobe to aid the focus in low light - no infrared here.

Just my two bits......

02-19-2009, 05:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gwach Quote
Hi,

I just bought my first dSLR a couple months ago, and I ended up going with a Canon Rebel XS. I considered the Pentax K200D, and I liked almost everything about it except how the image quality compared to Canon. That said, I'm not completely satisfied for a couple reasons, and I suspect these will be no surprise to Pentax users: 1) the build quality and hand grip don't really inspire much confidence... at first I thought I could get past this, but it has become more of an annoyance with time. 2) More importantly, though, I'm just not that happy with the Canon lens selection. Not wanting to spend $1000+ on pro lenses, I'm finding few options that appeal to me. This is kind of ironic given how many lenses Canon makes. Looking at other companies' lenses, I found the Pentax primes particularly attractive, so I'm back to thinking about switching to Pentax sometime in the next year. I'm still hesitant about the K200D, but I'm quite impressed by the K20D output, and I'm confident I would not see a loss in image quality with that camera (or a future K*00D with the same sensor).

I must say that there are lots of things I genuinely like about my Canon, and were it not for the lens issue (and the lack of internal stabilization) I would probably feel comfortable sticking with it. The image quality and high ISO performance are excellent, and I like the hard button access to things like ISO. The control layout in general is very satisfactory for me. Obviously, though, my reservations are strong enough to make me contemplate jumping ship. Furthermore, my current investment in Canon lenses is negligible.

That said, I'm curious to hear the experiences of others who have switched from Canon (or Nikon, for that matter) to Pentax or have plenty of experience with both systems. I'm not interested in Canon/Nikon bashing; I think there is plenty to like about those systems, though probably moreso for professionals who can afford the expensive pro lenses. I'm more interested in the particulars of your transition... things you find especially enjoyable about Pentax, or things you miss about Canon.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated.
I thought IQ was the most important feature of any camera/lens combo?

You stated that your Canon is superior in IQ (yet you didn't say in which way) to the Pentax - so why change?

Every camera has it's quirks

Dylan
02-19-2009, 07:00 AM   #10
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Most important maybe, but not the only factor. Do you give up 5 points of IQ for a 20 point gain in comfort and usability? Most would probably say yes.
02-19-2009, 07:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MoiVous Quote
The tool that the K200D provides is catch-in-focus. Effectively pre-focus on a point with this turned on, hit the shutter and wait. When an object comes into focus at that point, the shutter fires - look mum - no hands!
caveat: this only works w/ manual focus lenses or if you have a DA lens and you put it in manual focus.
IMHO, it should work w/ any lens if you use only the AF button to focus, but it doesn't work that way (wishlisted already).

As for inexpensive lenses in the Canon camp, there are quite a few...e.g., the 50/1.8 (aka "nifty fifty") which is a measly $70. There's the 70-200/4 which is ultrasharp even wide open for $800.
That's why I was waiting for gwach to say what the problem w/ his/her lens issue was...
02-19-2009, 07:56 AM   #12
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The image quality "issue" of the K200D initially gave me some reservations when looking for my camera. This is more a result of the pentax jpeg engine than the camera sensor itself. If you read enough reviews the general concensus is that the jpegs fall short of the competition, but the RAW performance is on par, and even better than many of the competitors. If you're willing to shoot in RAW, IQ is not a concern. The jpeg performance was also an issue on the K10D, but that thing produces incredible RAW images ... and the K200D has it's DNA.

That said, I've had my K200D for a week now and have yet to shoot a RAW image. I took some low light pictures in a bar over the weekend and I was very impressed with the results. ISO 1600, combined with a "large" aperture (18-55 kit lens), decent shutter speed and shake reduction ... produced a similar, if not more usable image than my friends canon 5D at ISO 3200, with insane aperture lens. Shots were taken hand held. I blew up the picture last night, and sure there is some noise, and blur in places ... but overall, quite impressive, and like I said, I was shooting jpeg.

Unless you are comparing jpegs side by side at 100% crop, you won't be disappointed with the K200's jpegs.

I considered all similar offerings when looking for a camera. I was pretty set on a D40 from Nikon as I didn't like the feel of the Canon Rebel series ... but once I held the K200D, I couldn't look back. ... The SR in the body is great ... the build quality is noticably better than nikon and canon in this price range ... yeah, I'm happy with my decision.

Now, for me, the issue of comfort while holding a Canon was somewhat solved by picking up a 50D ... but that was a little more than I was looking to spend.

One thing I've yet to determine is whether the small buffer of the K200D will bug me ... but, so far, I haven't had a need for continuous shooting anyway.

All this said though. All of the cameras are great ... get what feels best for you ... and you'll be satisfied.
02-19-2009, 08:00 AM   #13
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I'd used a Canon eos 50e for some time. Still have it.
At the time, I had considered a few Pentax bodies.
I was looking at the MZ10, but it was the MZ5 I really wanted, but it was too pricey.
I eventually settled with the eos 50e.

I switched to Pentax last year after purchasing the K10d.
I got it new at a great price with the 18-55 kit lens, which is a good lens.
Like I said, I was always impressed with Pentax despite buying the Canon.

I'm very happy with the K10.
In-camera shake reduction is great.
Weather seals are something that I needed.
The range of older, compatible lenses is outstanding.
The feel and quality of the body itself is far above its price.
Took me a while to get used to navigate the functions, but it was was fun trying things out, and now it is a joy to use, imo.

There seems to be a certain "nod of the head" between Pentax users.
I've been out with groups taking pics and Canon, Sony and Nikon users mostly seem to have a certain respect for Pentax, even if they have no intention of going to Pentax/switching back.
"My first camera was a Pentax" I have heard on more than one occasion.

This forum is also great, too.
Tons of friendly advice, and defintely a feeling of belonging to something worthwhile.
02-19-2009, 08:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by gwach Quote
Hi,

I just bought my first dSLR a couple months ago, and I ended up going with a Canon Rebel XS. I considered the Pentax K200D, and I liked almost everything about it except how the image quality compared to Canon. That said, I'm not completely satisfied for a couple reasons, and I suspect these will be no surprise to Pentax users: 1) the build quality and hand grip don't really inspire much confidence... at first I thought I could get past this, but it has become more of an annoyance with time. 2) More importantly, though, I'm just not that happy with the Canon lens selection. Not wanting to spend $1000+ on pro lenses, I'm finding few options that appeal to me. This is kind of ironic given how many lenses Canon makes. Looking at other companies' lenses, I found the Pentax primes particularly attractive, so I'm back to thinking about switching to Pentax sometime in the next year. I'm still hesitant about the K200D, but I'm quite impressed by the K20D output, and I'm confident I would not see a loss in image quality with that camera (or a future K*00D with the same sensor).

I must say that there are lots of things I genuinely like about my Canon, and were it not for the lens issue (and the lack of internal stabilization) I would probably feel comfortable sticking with it. The image quality and high ISO performance are excellent, and I like the hard button access to things like ISO. The control layout in general is very satisfactory for me. Obviously, though, my reservations are strong enough to make me contemplate jumping ship. Furthermore, my current investment in Canon lenses is negligible.

That said, I'm curious to hear the experiences of others who have switched from Canon (or Nikon, for that matter) to Pentax or have plenty of experience with both systems. I'm not interested in Canon/Nikon bashing; I think there is plenty to like about those systems, though probably moreso for professionals who can afford the expensive pro lenses. I'm more interested in the particulars of your transition... things you find especially enjoyable about Pentax, or things you miss about Canon.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated.
I switched from Nikon to Pentax many, many years ago. I switched for the lenses. Pentax lenses are better, it's that simple.
As far as the Canon Rebel's image quality being better than that from the K200, I really have to challenge this as being just plain wrong.
I suspect you've read something on the internet and are parroting it back, since the test sites that I an aware of don't make any attempt to optimize camera output for the net, and none of the testers that I know of actually make prints.
Pentax factory defaults are optimized for prints, not web viewing.
If I am making prints, I do a lot less post production than I do when optimizing for web use. I have a couple of friends who use Canon who's experience is the opposite.
02-19-2009, 08:18 AM   #15
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Just one further note ... if you are thinking of getting a K200D, don't wait too long. It's been discontinued (see the news and rumors section). Of course, there will most likely be a replacement announced at PMA in a couple weekes.
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