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06-02-2009, 02:14 PM   #1
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the case against k200d

hello gentle people. i need some help, i know many people here have very broad horizons and are very honest about camera gear, regardless of brand. i am not aiming for a flame, please read on.

i have been researching for a while for a friend who wants to get into dslr photography, the price point we are looking at is in the range of the k200d double kit. i looked at nikon d60 (his first thought), olympus e520 or the like, canon rebel or the like. here is what i could come up with:

- the k200d is at end of life, so i can find it here and there, and in some places the price is rather good. the disadvantage is that you can't walk into some shop and get it, the advantage is that we are seeing closeout-style prices. i like that .

- the k200d is weathersealed, none of the others is.
- it has 11 focusing points (imho, it does matter, when using af lenses)
- the af system is relatively good (more on this later on, i know this is very arguable).
- backwards compatibility, can mount even m42 lenses, have fun with them, it will meter with them, it will have af confirmation with them, so as usable as it gets with such old lenses. the nikon is terrible in that respect, the olympus i am not sure (i think the same as the pentax, but will only work with m42 and the like, no old oly lenses on it), the canon iirc can mount virtually anything with an adapter and will work like the k200d (kudos to canon for that).
- the pentax is the better built one, followed closely by the oly (but the oly is not sealed), the nikon feels decent, the canon feels like crap (i am sorry, i know it's not a bad camera, but it does).
- the pentax has, imho, the better ergonomics
- the pentax has the better viewfinder
- the two kit lenses are relatively the best from pentax, optically + built + ease of use (oly comes darn close though, nikon is on third place, canon is far), the 18-55 comes with hood (the oly is the only one to match that), yes, that is important imho. both lenses are non-rotating front with the pentax (i think oly is again the only match).
- the cherry on the cake: for about the same price as the others (a bit less even, here and there), price for the double kit, the k200d comes with the grip! (i am beginning to feel envy, and want one for myself, actually ).

i played with a good friends d40 (i know it's older than the d60, afaik it's pretty much the same stuff though in most respects, sensor notwithstanding, somebody with a clue please correct me), the camera is nice, (too)small, no top lcd, and, to my shock, the af is quiet and ..slow. yup, not impressed, i am pretty sure the k20d, with the equivalent screwdrive lens (50-200) is considerably faster, and also the k100d i owned felt faster. it's relatively quiet though. i had similar feelings about a rebel i played with some time ago. i feel af of the big two is only an advantage above midrange or so body (like, d300/50d), _and_ with a fast expensive lens. my friend will not move up that much in a short time, so, i am sorry, the performance of the d300 with one of those G /2.8 lenses on it means nothing to him, same for 1ds with an L lens hanging on the front . if he does wnat something like that in the future, the k-7 already seems to have improved on the k20d, i reckon by the time he would be willing to move up, there would be plenty to chose from in the pentax line, and for less money.

as far as i can tell, as objectively as i can, the k200d has little if anything going against it. perhaps aa battery, but that's arguable (sometimes it sucks, sometimes it's nice, with eneloops it's fine i guess). the oly earns my respect, but for about the same price for an equivalent kit, i am sorry, i will recommend the bigger sensor with the sealed body (sounds silly when you say it like that, doesn't it), the big two simply have nothing going for them except the name on the pentaprism. dim and small viewfinders (oly is guilty too, but partly forgiven for obvious reasons), build quality which could be better, essential details missing (like focusing ring, lens hood, you know, optional stuff..), only in-lens IS (and not bundled with these kits we were considering, btw), few focusing points, stripped down features, in general, it just feels like they fall short.

i think, overall, the feeling that the k200d is half a step above from entry towards "enthusiast" is very strong, and obvious when you try to compare.

so please, help me by making the case _against_ the k200d, it's very possible that i am biased, am i missing something?

again, please understand this is no flamewar (i expect it not to be a problem here anyway, from experience ), i am honestly concerned, it's my friends money (and future as a photographer :-P ), so i am genuinely concerned that my bias towards pentax gear might make me blind somehow. the first purchase is always the hardest, you know how it is.

thanks a bunch

Last edited by pjv; 07-16-2017 at 11:14 PM. Reason: remove swearing
06-02-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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Get a used K10 or K20 ....... with the K7 arriving use dprices are reasonable and you get a lot more camera. if the 200D was genuinly compact i'd suggest otherwise but it's size and weight are close enough to negate the difference compared to it's larger sisters IMHO.
06-02-2009, 02:37 PM   #3
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thought about that, but the prices are not as hot as i would like (in this part of the world). also, keep in mind that the price advantage when buying a double kit is not to be sniffed at . thanks for pointing that out anyhow.
06-02-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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While I've always thought that if I started out fresh (i.e. never having inherited a *ist d) I would say that Olympus is a pretty good bargain. My big gripe with the k200 is the batteries - not a big fan of disposables, but then again, having been thrilled with my three Pentax bodies (and the innumerable lenses that seemed to have passed through my hands) it would make sense to get the k200 now, buy great glass over the next year, and, when they discontinue the k20 pick one up cheap. While I am lusting over the k-7, the k20 is still such an unbelievable joy to use (when I know what I'm doing).

06-02-2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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exactly my thoughts ari. i also love the k20d, and am very curious to see how much better the k-7 can be. the k20d seems almost perfect for me, i can hardly find any justification to upgrade.

i am also rather sad they discontinued the k200d, it seems like such a brilliant idea. i hope they will not kill this line and leave the k-m in it's place.

so still no strong case against the k200d, apart from the batteries (which, as far as i can tell, is not an issue, apart from the extra price you end up paying for eneloops, and allows for emergency solutions if need be, so it's "a good thing (TM)" ).
06-02-2009, 04:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ari Quote
My big gripe with the k200 is the batteries - not a big fan of disposables
Disposables? The K200D uses rechargeable batteries just like all other camera I know of. Rechargeable AA's - in particular low-discharge cells like Sanyo Eneloop - work great and give over 500 shots per charge.

As for size/weight:

Everyone perceives things differently, but when I hold both the K20D and K200D, the difference is very clear. The K200D is a camera I can work with one hand if I want (using th second to support the lens, focus, or turn aperture ring), while the K20D feels like it needs both my hands on the body itself. And with a light lens (something that poeple who tend to be concerned with weight tend to use), I can definitely feel the difference in weight, too. No question whatsoever that the K200D fits *my* hands better.

Only drawback as I see it is the smaller viewfinder and lack of the second dial, but I find the viewfinder sufficient and changing ISO isn't *that* hard (it's the *only* thing that the K20D makes easier that I actually care about).

So that's what you have to weigh in your mind, as well, as whatever price difference might exist right now.

As for other brands, no one that does not offer in-camera stabilization would even get a second look from me, nor would anyone who only offers 4/3 sensors.

Soif you're looking for a case against the K200D, you won't really find one from me, except that if you have the extra money to spend and don't mind a noticeably bigger & heavier camera, the K20D *is* an improvement in most ways.
06-02-2009, 04:55 PM   #7
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I got a K200D for Christmas last year. I knew it was end of line and got it anyway. The replacement KM is half the camera the k200D is.

AAs are a good thing. I've got heaps of high capacity AAs and chargers. Every year the max capacity of my batteries goes up and I can buy new ones everywhere.

If (more like when) I get a K7 I'll be hitting the battery grip up straight away to get that AA capability back.
06-02-2009, 05:45 PM   #8
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I'm with Marc - the only downsides I have with the K200D are:
  • the viewfinder (its a bit hard to manually focus in low light) - but the competition are no better. I've got the OME-53 attached as well, and that helps a little
  • ISO change isn't fast. But then in the days of film we couldn't do that either

The percieved battery issue is very debatable. Yes - dedicated Li batteries have more shots per charge - but at a price (dollars... $17 for 4x Eneloop vs $34 for K20D battery on Amazon).

High quality rechargables like Eneloops are the way to go when using AA. On a K200D I get at least 500 shots per charge. I've got 3 sets so there is never an excuse about batteries.

In camera IS/SR/VR.... gives more scope for legacy lenses and better value (why pay for it on each lens?).

And with old lenses plus the Green Button (what a brilliant idea that is!) you get reliable metering. Can you find that on the big 2? I can't use my legacy Canon FD lenses on a Canon EF mount - the adapters are rare and there is a loss of infinity focus due to registration distance.

The K200D (133.5 x 95 x 74 mm, 630g ) is more compact than the K10D/K20D (141.5 x 101 x 70mm, 715g). And everyone I know with a K20D has the extra battery grip, so even more bulk. You can shoot the K200D one handed, or proper SLR grip with 2 hands - camera and lens.

Yes - the K200D is discontinued (why such a short product life???? ) but thats never stopped people from buying the K10D or even the K100D. A new K200D out of the box will be fresh - without the unknown history. Everyone bangs on about getting a K10D or a K20D - but if your budget doesn't stretch (as you've stated) then the K200D is great bang for buck.

When the K20D drops in price significantly it will be on my list, but for now its still a tad high.

As for the big 2 or Oly - the big 2 entry levels are not impressive in comparison as you've found, and Oly and the 4/3 system has well documented limitations.

Go for it......get the K200D

06-02-2009, 05:51 PM   #9
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marc, i owned a k100d, k10d, and now k20d. i agree about the viewfinder, but the giant leap for me was not k100d - k10d, but nikon d50 - k100d. and i mean giant. the viewfinder in the k100d is very respectable by comparison to other dslrs, and most probably class leading.

i agree about the ergonomics of the k10d/k20d, i love them too, but i must admit i loved the k100d too, and in some ways it felt better (i guess i have rather small hands), it had that dense compact feel to it. for an entry point, i am not scared that my friend might find the ergonomics problematic, as he's coming from a p&s, and the k200d is, again, class leading, as far as i can tell, in that department.

i am starting to wonder if pentax might have overshot a little with the k200d, and achieved something a little bit better than the perfect entry level at the entry level pricepoint, and that's why they are giving up on it now ("sorry, guys, but that's too good to be on the market, back to the drawing board" :-P )

skyntara: don't say "replacement k-m", mate, it makes me shiver. there will be a k300d soon, there must be! or is pentax planning to have a two-line lineup: a cheap k-m, for the nikon d40 typical buyer, and a k-7, for the compact enthusiast model, compact pro model, midsized pro model (add the grip), all at the price of the first, "for your convenience and to cut down on production costs" .

Last edited by nanok; 06-02-2009 at 06:05 PM.
06-02-2009, 05:58 PM   #10
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Unless the price difference is significant (I have no idea) go for the K20D. I recently upgraded from a K200D to a K20D - here are my thougths if you care to read
06-02-2009, 06:05 PM   #11
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the k20d body only is about the same in price here (a bit more actually) as the double kit k200d, with the grip. i would definetly have recommended the k20d otherwise, but for entry level, getting two decent lenses is much more important than a top body, imho (you can do a lot more photography, to put it ismply, for the same money).
06-03-2009, 12:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kristoffon Quote
Unless the price difference is significant (I have no idea) go for the K20D. I recently upgraded from a K200D to a K20D - here are my thougths if you care to read
Personally, I would consider the K200D -> K20D a downgrade because of the K10/K20D's inconsisent metering with manual lenses, FF/BF issues with certain lenses, and lack of AA batteries. I say go for the K200D, and look at the K-7 for the future.
06-03-2009, 04:42 AM   #13
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Also, if your friend is making the transition from P&S to DSLR, the K200D still has scene modes and the like that are often of great comfort to newcomers.

I think it really is the best bang-for-buck option, and definitely agree with nanok, two lenses to start with will be of much more use (and provide a faster learning curve) than a snazzier body and only the kit.

Also, even if it is part of a discontinued line, the K200D is a much better option than the KM, for sealing if nothing else.
06-03-2009, 05:07 AM   #14
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I have both the K100d & K200d. No gripes regarding either. The kit lens plus a 70-300mm Tamron lens take care of my shooting needs.
06-03-2009, 10:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
the k200d is at end of life, so i can find it here and there, and in some places the price is rather good.
1. What are the lower-end current prices for a used and unused K200d camera in these places? It would be nice to know the situation in the US, EU and South-East Asia.

2. An inescapable fact is that with persuasive advertising taking precedence over photography in many cases, the ultimate aim of making pictures with light is no longer the ultimate reason for choosing a camera.
If acceptable pictures are to be taken with a DSLR, then the K200D is more than acceptable.

3. There aren't many arguments against a K200D except for the ISO change from the menu already highlighted by Marc Sabatella. Unpredictable functioning with NiMh AA batteries, excluding Sanyo Eneloops, could be another valid gripe. Very large enlargement enthusiasts should stay out and buy the K20D or Samsung GX20 for the additional megapixels.

4. Of course, everyone needs to guard against the tendency to justify ones purchase.

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