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Old Apr 3, 2009, 2:44 AM   #1
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Hi All

I've been thinking of getting a new camera for a while, and was going to get a good P&S for taking outdoor shots, mainly landscapes and sunsets and the odd building. Then I changed my mind and have decided to go down the SLR route, originally I wanted portability but now I have decided image quality and versatility to be more important. I like the look of the Pentax cameras especially the results I've seen on here and elsewhere and the additional weatherproofing and the backwards compatability to all the pentax lenses.

So I can either go for the K20 or the K200, so those of you which have experienceof both which would be better for a novice? I've never used an SLR, but have used cameras with manual controls (although not fully manual). I guess the K200 is more user friendly for someone starting with SLRs and is designed more with beginners in mind but would I not be better spending a bit more and getting the K20 and spending a bit more time learning everything from basics, I may not get perfect results to start with but in the long run will probably be better off?

Initially I will use the camera for outside things as I mentioned above, landscapes, sunsets, buildings, the odd waterfall. But I will also use it for a bit of wildlife stuff and I suspect I will get roped into taking pictures of my niece and nephew as well .

Thanks in advance for all advice given

thedoctor
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 7:46 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum. You'll find this a friendly group with lots of very helpful folks, most of whom have far more experience and knowledge than I.

I have never used the K200d, but I own both a K10d (very similar in many ways to the K200) and a K20d and have some experience with my son's K100d.

I checked this morning at Adorama.com and the current price differential between the two cameras there is only $ 150. With that small of a differential, the K20, IMHO, is clearly the better buy. With the 20, you get a larger sensor based on a newer technology, more accessible controls and menus, and more flexibility in its features. In general, a whole lot more camera for not much more money.

The biggest advantage of the K200 is the built-in scene modes that consist of a pre-set combination of settings for different conditions. As most users adjust to the camera, they find themselves using those modes less and less. My son has the scene modes on his K100 and has not used them since the first week he had the camera. Most of us tend to settle into one or two modes (for me, it's Av or full manual) and work off them.

The learning curve on the K20 is significantly higher, but a novice user can set the camera on either "green" mode or Program mode and take great pics right out of the box while learning the rest of the camera's features. I have had the K20 more than a year and have logged well over 50K shots on it, and I'm still discovering new capabilities.

You won't go wrong with either camera. With either camera, I would offer a couple of pieces of advice. Read the manual cover to cover when you first get the camera (or, if you're ordering on line, I went ahead and downloaded the .pdf file from Pentax while waiting for the camera to arrive and had already read it when I got the camera.) It won't all make sense, and part of it is written very badly, but it gives you a knowledge baseline from which to work. Then, use this forum. People here are happy to help new users with everything from initial set-up to any questions you have when you begin shooting.

We look forward to getting to know you. Welcome to our little corner of Steve's.

Paul
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 9:29 AM   #3
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I have to agree. I started out with an *istDL which was the absolute entry-level Pentax DSLR. It was great and still is and very easy to use for a beginner. I'm still a novice really and I'm still learning a lot about photography. But I found myself wanting more and I ended up buying a K20D. As a novice you can take this camera out and start shooting right away, then take advantage of the more advanced controls as you get more comfortable, it's very versatile. And as Paul said, the price difference between the two models is low enough that you might as well spring for the better one.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 11:01 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum! We all love talking about Pentax and taking pictures (as you can tell looking through the threads here).

As far as the K200 vs. K20 - I own both the K100 and the K20. The controls of the K200 appear to be similar to the K100, which means that some of what you can change is set in menus, while there are separate levers and dials on the camera body to change those things with the K20. That's an advantage and disadvantage for the K20 - while it is easier to make the changes you want to, it's also easier to change something unintentionally. If you don't know what you did, you might get some unexpected results and not know how to get back to where you were (first thing to learn is how to reset the camera back to its default settings).

On the other hand, if you are interested in learning (at least somewhat) what all those dials and levers do, then the K20 would end up being an easier camera to use. Yes, it has a steeper learning curve, but it's not that big of a deal if you are interested in learning them. And everything is going to be new to you, so in some ways it doesn't matter if you learn to change your metering mode by a dial on the top of the camera or by going into a particular menu (for instance).

I really like the 14 mp sensor over the 10 mp one in the K200 (I used to have a K10). The ability of the sensor to resolve detail with a good lens is amazing - I could see a significant difference between pictures taken with a top quality lens between the K20 and the K10. The difference wasn't much between the cameras when using my old kit lens though - the limitation not being the camera but the lens. So while the K20 would be capable of resolving more detail than the K200, you might not see it depending on the lenses you use.

I think the K20 is an incredible buy - outstanding value for the little that it costs above the K200. I wouldn't be concerned about it being "too much camera" if you are interested in learning something about photography. On the other hand, if you can't stretch the budget, or aren't interested in learning a bit about photography/camera principles then the K200 is a solid camera with a good sensor and is certainly capable of taking excellent pictures.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 1:02 PM   #5
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Good Morning,

Welcome to the forum and I see that some of the local experts have already responded. I have been using the K100 for 4 years and just acquired the K20, plus my interests are very similar to yours.

A bit of history may help. Pentax came out with the K100 as an entry model - 4 years ago, then the K10 as a semi professional model. Next came the K20 that improved on the K10, then they introduced the K200 which had the simplicity of the K100 along with the internals (hardware sensor) of the K10, as their new entry level model. So from the user's perspective the K100 and K200 are very similar.

I have had the K20 a bit over a week now with several hundred images taken, trying out a wide assortment of features that I am interested in. It is not as daunting a camera as I once thought. The manual could be better written, and actually there are a couple of companion books that do a much better job, tying various capabilities together. Here is a link, plus they have several chapters available on line for viewing (just click on the excerpts).

www . k10dbook . com (the site offers the K20 book also)

I have really never used the various scene modes of the K100/200 at all. However, there are some really NICE differences that I find very attractive over the simpler entry level model user interface. Here are some of the major differences I have observed (in no particular order)....

Bracketing - This capability is used for HDR (taking several images of the same subject and blending them together). On the entry level you get 3 frames across a range of +/- 2 EVs. On the K20, you are able to do either 3 or 5 images across a range of +/- 3 EVs. What this provides is a much wider dynamic range of colors with additional frames, so that when blending you have better control - thus a much better composite image. This is used mainly for landscapes, buildings, etc. With the K20 you have a button to activate the function as opposed to emabling it via a set of menu items.

Frame Buffering - When taking multiple images to stitch together into a panaroma, I always shot faster than what the camera was able to write to memory, thus on the third frame, I had to wait - holding the camera steady, trying to keep the overlap and things level. With the K20, you do not run out of buffer and the writing certainly is faster to memory, thus there is no waiting - trying to hold the shot while the camera catches up.

The Sensor - The K200 is 10mp, with the K20 at 14mp (note the K100 is 6mp). Overall the megapixel race is not important, however the additional real estate makes life easier with cropping. I have the Panasonic LX3 which is 10mp and I have found that 10mp is just fine for everything - but the 14 is even better. More important than the actual number of pixels is the sensor. The K200 is CCD, with the K20 being CMOS. CMOS has less noise, thus will improve overall image quality.

Viewfinder - The pentaprisism for me, is much better than the pentamirror. Much closer to my old Spotmatic II (1970).

Physical Size & Weight - The K100 is a small camera body, the K200 is slightly larger, with the K20 being larger and heavier (by 5oz against the K100), however with a 10 to 15 oz lens, it makes no difference at all. Actually, I though that I would find a much larger difference that what I have. When compared to Canon or Nikon (which are massive - my opinion), I am very happy with the K20.

Operation - It has taken about a week to get use to the new body and controls. Personally I like the [P]rogram mode. Aim it, focus, push the green button and it sets the camera up, and then if you want - adjust the shutter speed with the front wheel or the aperature with the rear wheel.

ISO Speed - The K200 ranges from 100 to 1600. The K20 ranges from 100 to 3200 or 6400 depending on mode and setup. If you need the ISO speed for low ambient light, you can do it. I have taken some night shots and found them to be clear even at high ISO speeds.

Dust Removal - I spent two weeks on a Navy ship going to Hawaii last summer. I only had a day on the island before having to fly back (ship was delayed in getting into port). The pictures of Hawaii I have - have dust all over them - the K20 would have helped in this aspect.

I sat on the sidelines watching the price drop. The K20 is everything I believe I could ever want or use. So I went with it and am very happy I did. Will it work for you - well only you can make that decision. I can say that its complexity is not as large as I once thought. I also thought that my skill level would not be up to the K20. I was flat out wrong. I had made do, for so long working around the limitations of the K100 that I encountered, that I am now enjoying very much the ability the K20 affords.

While using the K100, I concrentrated on acquiring the best lenses I could afford - and for landscapes you really can stay with the slower f4 as opposed to going to the faster (and more expensive) f2.8 lenses. So now with the K20, the lenses actually do complement the capabilities (and resolution) of the body.

Hope that helps...
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 2:11 PM   #6
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Well, you are not the only dslr novice wrestling with this decision: Lots of good information already in this thread, but you might be interested in another discussion from another forum- don't know what she decided.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...92&forum_id=87
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 8:59 PM   #7
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I agree with all the previous posts. I have a K100D and my wife has a K200D. Neither of us has ever used a K20, but I certainly hope that will change some day. The K200D is a fine camera and takes excellent photos. I doubt if you would be disappointed with the K200. But for just $150 more, the K20 is an even better camera. If we didn't already have perfectly functional cameras, I would certainly get the K20.
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Old Apr 5, 2009, 8:38 AM   #8
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Thanks all. I did originally search the forum for similar questions and completely missed that other one.

Reading everything I guess both cameras would be perfect for my needs but for the small extra cost the k20 will probably last me longer, and hopefully (fingers crossed) will produce better results.

Now to decide what lenses to buy as well.........but I will post that in the lenses forum once I've done a bit more research
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Old Apr 5, 2009, 9:01 AM   #9
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thedoctor wrote:
Quote:
Now to decide what lenses to buy as well.........but I will post that in the lenses forum once I've done a bit more research
OMG!!!!
you're going to geta very bad case....
when all is lost, remember that we can do referrals to a good therapist for your problem..

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Old Apr 5, 2009, 10:00 AM   #10
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Welcome to the terminal condition called LBA, or Lens Buying Addiction. While buying that next lens seems like it will solve your problem, it doesn't. My budget is the main thing that keeps mine in check.
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