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07-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #1
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K20D vs K200D (with some A700 for good measure): Ergonomics

Hi, folks,

As I like to eat my own dog food, I've done a good bit of searching (which my employer can plainly see in the logs), trying to find specific commentary on my questions. I've found general discussion with comparisons, but not on ergonomics.

Yesterday, much to my delight, I found that Cord Camera in Cincinnati actually stocks Pentax. However, the only models they had were the K200D and the K2000. Based on what I've read in these forums, I was eager to try out a K20D, but, alas.

I held the K200D, and was immediately disenchanted with the body. My right hand fit fine, but there wasn't much room for my left hand. Maybe this is endemic to DSLRs, though my wife's D40 feels pretty decent in my average-sized hands. I was then handed a Sony A700, and was immediately impressed with the ergonomics.

I know that there are comparisons of IQ and features, and I've been browsing them. Having been told that the Sony alphas have Minolta lineage, and that some/all AF Minolta lenses (we have one on a Minolta film camera) are compatible, seems comforting somehow, too. I can make assessments on those dimensions via other threads.

But ergonomics aren't trivial, especially for you pros. Your camera is your tool, and if its form factor is a hindrance, that's a problem. I am barely a consumer, let alone a pro, but if I'm spending money, I'm fretting the ergonomics.

So, my question, in that context: how does the K20D compare to the K200D, as far as hand-held fit? I've read here that some consider it on the heavy side, which I'm not worried about. But when it feels, to my left hand, as if I'm holding a curved brick (how the K200D felt), well, that's not quite optimal.

If, in the bargain, I can get impressions of the price comparison between Sony lenses (purportedly quality Carl Zeiss stuff, but not inexpensive it seems) their and Pentax counterparts, that'd be great; but I can dig around for that.

Obliged.

Daniel

07-13-2009, 12:48 PM   #2
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While I've never handled the K200 (and so can't address your question directly), I do have some comments about ergonomics and why you don't see many posts addressing it.

How a camera feels in your hand is a very personal thing. I have small hands but find that the right grip on the K20 feels very comfortable to me. The weight is something I struggle with a bit. The next small female that comes along might pick up the K20 and hate it's grip.

When Sony first released a dSLR, the used Minolta lenses were more reasonably priced than Pentax lenses. That's because a lot of Pentax dSLR cameras had already been sold and so there was more demand for them. I'm not sure that there's been as big an increase in the price of used Minolta lenses - I think there are more Sony users that have not figured out (and don't particularly care) that they can use the older lenses, but I haven't researched this in at least 6-8 months. There might now be a "critical mass" to affect their price accordingly.
07-13-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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Well, K200d has a bit too small grip. K10/20 fits my hand just right.
07-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
While I've never handled the K200 (and so can't address your question directly), I do have some comments about ergonomics and why you don't see many posts addressing it.
Quite understandable. I know there are a vew people with both bodies, so I thought they might wander in and opine.

QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal:
When Sony first released a dSLR, the used Minolta lenses were more reasonably priced than Pentax lenses. That's because a lot of Pentax dSLR cameras had already been sold and so there was more demand for them. I'm not sure that there's been as big an increase in the price of used Minolta lenses - I think there are more Sony users that have not figured out (and don't particularly care) that they can use the older lenses, but I haven't researched this in at least 6-8 months. There might now be a "critical mass" to affect their price accordingly.
These are the little tidbits of relevant history and market dynamic that are hard to come by without forums like this. I appreciate the perspective. I actually hadn't recalled the Minolta/Sony connection until yesterday. On further reflection, I realize we have a couple lenses from three different manufacturers:
  • Nikon
    • 18-55mm f/3.5 AF-S D40 kit lens
    Pentax
    • Promaster 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6
      Pentax 50mm f/2
    Minolta
    • AF zoom (80-200mm maybe)

That's not a great investment in any of them, but a snack for thought nonetheless.
Daniel

07-13-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kent Quote
Well, K200d has a bit too small grip. K10/20 fits my hand just right.
Danke sehr schön. This, of course, makes all those deals in the Marketplace that much more enticing.

Daniel
07-13-2009, 01:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by muraii Quote
I held the K200D, and was immediately disenchanted with the body. My right hand fit fine, but there wasn't much room for my left hand.
Everyone's hands are different, so take what anyone says about what feels right to them with a grain of salt. But FWIW, this is exactly how I character the difference in feel between the two cameras: K200D feels like it wants to be held in the right hand, with the left supporting the lens; K20D feels like it wants to be held with two hands on the body. For that reason alone I prefer the feel of the K200D - I want that left hand free for focusing and working the aperture ring (I use manual lenses a lot). Not that you can't do that with the K20D, of course, but *for me* the K200D feels better. Since you seem to have a preference for holding the camera with two hands, I suspect you'd like the feel of the K20D for exactly the same reason I prefer the feel of the K200D.

QuoteQuote:
But ergonomics aren't trivial, especially for you pros. Your camera is your tool, and if its form factor is a hindrance, that's a problem. I am barely a consumer, let alone a pro, but if I'm spending money, I'm fretting the ergonomics.
I'm not a pro either, but my take is that features and IQ are similar enough between models that you might as well buy on ergonomics. Except that you couldn't pay me enough to buy a camera without stabilization in the body.
07-13-2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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K200d with battery grip (going for really cheap atm) fits my hands perfectly...... The battery grip adds just that much more to the camera

I wish I could try holding a K20d but alas the closest camera store is an hour and a half away and doesnt carry pentax!
07-13-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
K200D feels like it wants to be held in the right hand, with the left supporting the lens; K20D feels like it wants to be held with two hands on the body. For that reason alone I prefer the feel of the K200D - I want that left hand free for focusing and working the aperture ring (I use manual lenses a lot).
Maybe this is due to the fact that the only camera I've used frequently enough to have developed an ergonomic affinity is a P3, and I'm used to the broad body with a centered lens. I'll test this with our other bodies to see what's common between them that I like.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella:
I'm not a pro either, but my take is that features and IQ are similar enough between models that you might as well buy on ergonomics. Except that you couldn't pay me enough to buy a camera without stabilization in the body.
Even as a neophyte, I couldn't agree with you more.

07-13-2009, 02:20 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
I wish I could try holding a K20d but alas the closest camera store is an hour and a half away and doesnt carry pentax!
My local store, which surprised me with a little bit of Pentax gear, won't even stock the K20D due to demand and the impending K-7. I have to say, the K20D + battery grip (as sold here a couple of times in the last week or two) looks damn sexy, and seems like it would be a joy to hold. And use, of course.

Daniel
07-13-2009, 02:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by muraii Quote
I have to say, the K20D + battery grip (as sold here a couple of times in the last week or two) looks damn sexy, and seems like it would be a joy to hold. And use, of course.

Daniel
More so if you see it wet and with the appropriate lens to match!
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07-13-2009, 07:52 PM   #11
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+1 for the K200D with grip. I absolutely love mine.

Sony has nothin' on this or the k20D/grip combo especially for ergonomics.

You said yourself "I'm fretting the ergonomics" if that's a big part of your decision you are setting yourself up to buy the wrong camera.
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07-13-2009, 08:41 PM   #12
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K20D vs K200D (with some A700 for good measure): Ergonomics

QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
K200d with battery grip (going for really cheap atm) fits my hands perfectly...... The battery grip adds just that much more to the camera

I wish I could try holding a K20d but alas the closest camera store is an hour and a half away and doesnt carry pentax!
I'll second the grip. Mine stays on the camera at all times. My K200D was comfortable in my big hands without the grip but is even more comfortable with the grip. As Mark S. mentioned the K200D allows you to use your lefthand to focus etc. I too use my manual lens' a lot.

It also takes great pictures too!

07-13-2009, 09:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
More so if you see it wet and with the appropriate lens to match!
Quite lovely. I feel a little dirty now.
07-13-2009, 09:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PinarelloOnly Quote
+1 for the K200D with grip. I absolutely love mine.

Sony has nothin' on this or the k20D/grip combo especially for ergonomics.
Only so much more lamentable that the K20D's not corporeally available locally with the grip (or without).

QuoteOriginally posted by PinarelloOnly:
You said yourself "I'm fretting the ergonomics" if that's a big part of your decision you are setting yourself up to buy the wrong camera.
I assume you mean that the feel of the A700 is leading me astray. I don't want to have given the impression that I'm weighing feel over functionality. If I could have my way right now, based on what I've read, I'd go K20D. I'd just want to be sure it fit well.

QuoteOriginally posted by kkoether Quote
I'll second the grip. Mine stays on the camera at all times. My K200D was comfortable in my big hands without the grip but is even more comfortable with the grip. As Mark S. mentioned the K200D allows you to use your lefthand to focus etc. I too use my manual lens' a lot.
I'm currently using only manual lenses, so I can appreciate the perspective.

Thanks, folks, for the feedback. Now, to check some prices on gear and on whatever I can sell off to fund its purchase. +)

Daniel
07-13-2009, 09:37 PM   #15
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I don't use my left hand ON the camera. The camera sits on my left hand (the heel) leaving the fingers to handle the aperture ring (yeah, I still use the aperture ring), focus and/or zoom control. My daughter's new K200d was a bit smaller than I like, and a lot smaller than my K10d with grip, but still felt alright in my hand.
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