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-   -   Pentax K200D or K20D? Help! (

HeatherM Feb 15, 2009 4:36 PM

Well, it's time for the big DSLR step! I've been using 60s-era Minoltas for the last few years, and only have b/w film processing capabilities, so now that I want to move into colour I've decided to also move into digital. But, the problem is deciding which camera to get! I've narrowed it down to either the Pentax K200D or K20D, because:

- The weatherproof body is a huge selling feature for me, since I mostly shoot outside. Also I kayak/hike/live on the West Coast of Canada, where it rains A LOT, and while I won't let my camera get soaked it would be nice not to have to baby it all the time. The internal metal frame is also great, because a lot of my shooting is done while crashing through the forest, so sturdiness is nice.

- I started out looking in the Canon XSi/NikonD60/Pentax K200D range, and the Pentax seems to have more manual features than the other cameras. I like to do as much as possible manually, so this is good! I especially like that the Pentax has the bulb setting, something the other models don't.

- My existing Minolta lenses COULD be used on a Sony, but I wouldn't be able to use the metering capability of the camera, so it's really more efficient just to buy into a whole new system.

- The Pentax has a lovely large viewfinder, and I like the layout of the little LED info screen inside the viewfinder.

- The top LCD screen is awesome, with or without backlighting.

- LiveView isn't a priority for me, so the K200D is still in the running.

- Pentax has lots of lenses, and backwards compatability is a good thing.

Now why, you might ask, choose between the K200D and the K20D? Well, I like that you have a bit more control with the K20D, and it has more megapixels for cropping. Since I'd like to do some enlarging, and also get into macro work, that could be a good thing. Also the K20D has a higher ISO rating, which is good for cloudy-day forest shots. The f-stop/shutter speed knobs are nice too, instead of having one knob and a button, and the K20D has a higher shutter cycle rating. The last thing is that the K20D has the ability to be controlled by a computer, which would be cool because theoretically I could then program my computer to operate my camera (I'm a geek!). But, I like the K200D's AA batteries --since I will probably be travelling with the camera, it would be nice to not have to worry about what would happen if my battery AND spare battery both died. And most of the capabilities of the K20D and K200D are the same (would I really USE ISO 3200 or 14 megapixels anyway?!?), but the K200D is quite a bit less expensive, which is a big bonus on a grad student salary!

So now, the big question: get the more expensive body or the cheaper body? It has been pointed out that if I got the cheaper body I would have more money to get a good lens (the lens issue is the next decision...18-55mm, 50mm prime...). It would be nice to be able to get one of the weatherproof lenses, and lenses seem to be a better investment than bodies anyway. Although I would rather like to start out with a good body, so that I can use it for longer without it becoming completely obsolete. Bodies just improve every year anyway, which brings me to the next issue: should I just hold out for the K300D/K30D which will probably be released soon? If tradition holds, the K300D will be basically the K20D anyway. But since they would be new, they would be more expensive, yuck. And there's only so long I'm willing to wait! Because there will ALWAYS be something better coming out.

I'd really appreciate any opinions/help/other points of view! You guys have way more experience than me, so I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks a lot!


TCav Feb 15, 2009 6:06 PM

Since the 'Live View' isn't a deciding factor, and the difference between 14MP and 10MP isn't much, I'd get the less expensive body and havemore to spend on lenses.

mtngal Feb 15, 2009 7:01 PM

For the most part, I would agree that going with the K200 and buying more expensive lenses would be the way to go. However, the K20 is a really good buy at the moment (Adorama had it recently for not a lot more than the K200) and it is SO much more convenient to have the two wheels and some of the other on-body controls that the K200 puts in menus). I currently have the K100 and the K20 (having sold the K10 when I bought the K20) and prefer the pictures from the K20, especially in low light. When I played around with my various cameras (before I sold the K10), I found the K20's ability to resolve more detail than the K10 quite noticeable with better lenses (not with the kit lens). The discounts available on the K20 make it hard to say no to.

One of the differences between the two cameras is the viewfinder - the K200 has a pentamirror while the K20 has a pentaprism. Some people find the pentaprism noticeably easier to use, but I don't find all that much difference between the K100's pentamirror and the K20's pentaprism, and I use manual focus lenses quite often. Have you noticed any difference between them when you've looked at them?

A good reason to choose the K200 over the K20 is that the K200 is a lighter camera, and that might make a huge difference.

In the end both cameras are capable of taking awesome pictures, so you can't go wrong with either one.

HeatherM Feb 15, 2009 10:55 PM

Hmm, good points! Thanks!I don't remember seeing a noticable difference in viewfinder quality, but it's definitely worth another look to make sure. I hadn't checked out Adorama, but they seem to have some good deals. It kind of makes me nervous buying stuff like this off the internet, but they look pretty reputable so it would probably be okay. Mmmm must go browse there more and drool over the insanely expensive lenses...

mtngal Feb 16, 2009 12:08 AM

Both Adorama and B&H are reputable, they are both bricks and mortar stores. You can check them out at if you want to know more about their reputations. I've spent quite a bit of money at both places (several cameras from B&H, lenses and other stuff from Adorama). I should probably warn you that if you buy a Pentax and hang out with other Pentaxians, you are liable to catch a serious condition called LBA, otherwise known as Lens Buying Addiction.

fotografo35 Feb 16, 2009 1:22 AM

I went with the K200D, precisely because of being able to afford the lenses vs. buying the k20d. Here's something else I considered, from DxO labs, in a sensor and other factor comparison of k200d and k20d:|0/(appareil2)/277|0/(appareil3)/212|0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Pentax/(brand2)/Pentax/(brand3)/Pentax

I'm not a super-technical guy, but assuming these #s are accurate, the k200d is actually slightly better than the k20d on its sensor, dynamic range and low-light performance. I do however give these #s significant credence, since reviews (as an offhand example I could think of) was that the Nikon D90 was one of the best low-light cameras in its price range--and these tests from DxO labs backed that up. There were several other higher-end models tossed around that reviewers praised in the full-frame DSLR ranks and again, I checked the #s out on the results DxO labs had and they backed up those conclusions in 3 cases I can remember.

I see you're in Canada, so I can only quote prices I've seen here in the U.S.: the k200d is going anywhere from $555-599 with the 18-55 mm kit lens whereas the k20d is going for $875 with a kit lens after Pentax REBITE (as I love to call it), as Pentax has an ~ $100 REBITE I believe until the end of Feb. Given I don't know anything about Canadian vendors and pricing there, I can say one shop that's at least really good for computer components and that has an excellent reputation among computer geeks at is NCIX and I've seen them have some very impressive sales. Since that's the only shop I can pass along, you can try these two price comparison engines I've used that have really helped me narrow things down:


Pricegrabber is the more established of the two and the latter is the newer one. Curiously though, pricegrabber won't list in its results since a while back whereas pricespider will.

One thing to also consider getting: if you decide to go k200d, invest in 2 packs of Sanyo Eneloops or the Duracell equivalent (can't think of the Duracell-specific name), as those newer-generation NiMH have special features that really slow the discharge to where they last MUCH longer than standard NiMH. Only thing is that they can't be placed in the standard fast-chargers typically available, so you'd also have to invest in a charger rated to charge them properly, where you get the full charge and usage time from them. In my case, I bought two packs of Eneloops and got a MH-C801D charger (8-cell) from Thomas Distributing specially to charge them (and it needs 2 hours on soft-charging mode to do it, but with how the Eneloops last, charging time is rarely an issue if you plan for it).

fotografo35 Feb 16, 2009 1:40 AM

HeatherM wrote:

Hmm, good points! Thanks!I don't remember seeing a noticable difference in viewfinder quality, but it's definitely worth another look to make sure. I hadn't checked out Adorama, but they seem to have some good deals. It kind of makes me nervous buying stuff like this off the internet, but they look pretty reputable so it would probably be okay. Mmmm must go browse there more and drool over the insanely expensive lenses...
Mtngal is right about Adorama, as they are also (in the U.S.) a BBB accredited member--which means they live up to pretty high standards for keeping the consumer satisfied. Here's the link to their BBB report:

Here's also their reseller ratings report:

Now, if you find an online vendor that you feel comfortable buying from (and if you have it), use your AMEX or AMEX Optima card, as you'll not only get an extra 1-yr warranty on most products (anything under 5-yr warranty will give you 1-yr extra on the original manufacturer warranty), but you'll get really good customer support if on the off chance you buy from an Internet retailer and they decide to be jerks--AMEX will really back you up as a consumer, so if the retailer doesn't give you satisfaction...AMEX most likely will. I think there's other credit cards that offer similar great dispute resolution services + even extra warranty coverage (some Platinum cards, but I don't know which ones those are offhand), so you can have some extra power in your corner there if you have one of those kinds of credit cards. :G

As for any lenses, I was asking around for a good low-light lens recommendation + macro shots + really good zoom coverage. Mtngal recommended these:

FA 50 mm 1.4 ($192-199 US)--everyone that reviewed this lens raved about how fast and how great the pictures taken with it were;

Pentax DA 55-300 mm ($279 @ a great zoom lens and this was also well-reviewed and loved [I especially liked that it was indicated the full range of the zoom could be used, whereas the Sigma and Tamron equivalents could not really].

It turns out I did indeed purchase those 2 lenses + the k200d and kit lens with it, but aside from the 50mm 1.4 prime lens, I have no idea if the 55-300 mm would be something you're interested in (although you did mention something about the forest).

mtngal Feb 16, 2009 9:32 AM

Heather - as far as lenses go, are you a detail type of person, or one who likes to capture grand vistas more? Since weather is a big concern, you probably should think about getting one of Pentax weather sealed lenses sooner rather than later. They have several options at the moment, either the DA*16-50 f2.8 (for wider angle) or the DA*50-135 f2.8 (medium telephoto) for zoom lenses and if you are primarily a wildlife shooter, the DA*300. They aren't cheap, but they are all nice lenses. The DA*16-50 had some QC issues when it was first released, but they seem to have that under control and lenses that are good are greatly loved by their owners.

Also, any lens ever made by Pentax can be used on their dSLR cameras, though the M42 screw mount lenses require an adaptor and will be manual. K-mount lenses will retain whatever capability they had when they were new - I'm happily using one or two manual lenses I bought in 1980 (but they have not magically become auto focus/auto exposure, they are still manual lenses). That used to mean that you could pick up some good lenses for not much money, but now that others have discovered that fact, the price of used lenses has gone up.

HeatherM Feb 16, 2009 3:24 PM

Wow, you guys all ROCK! Thanks a lot!

Good tips on the pricing fotografo35, I will check that out! The battery suggestion sounds excellent as well, since I did want to use rechargables instead of the nonrechargable Li batteries.

With regards to lenses, I am definitely on the 'detail' side of things rather than the 'grand vista' or 'forest animal' side, so right now I'm not looking for a crazy 300mm telephoto or anything (although in the future, anything's possible! Especially with this LBA you speak of, mtngal :-)). The DA*16-50 f2.8 sounds incredible, although slightly pricey. It might be worth it though! The kit lens is decent too, and the FA 50 mm 1.4 would be good for normal and macro shots. Probably I will end up getting one of those 3 lenses, or maybe the kit + fixed 50. Thanks for the suggestion on which 50 prime to get, it looked like another confusing decision! How useful is the 16-50 zoom, compared to a fixed 50mm? I guess older lenses are always an option too, like off of craigslist or something.

mtngal Feb 16, 2009 4:03 PM

If you are more into the detail side of things, then I might suggest you look at these lenses:

1. Kit lens (it's reasonable quality especially for the price). The DA*16-50 f2.8 is a much superior lens (faster and better optics) but it's expensive. If you had said you liked wider vistas I would have suggested the DA* instead of the kit lens.

2. DA*50-135 f2.8 - weather sealed, excellent optics and medium telephoto. As someone who likes details, you might find this your walk-about lens (even though its fairly heavy). I own this lens and use it often.

3. If you want a faster lens than f2.8, then you could look for an M 50mm f1.7, which are often sold for around $50. I understand is a reliable source of used lenses (they tend to under-rate their lenses). It's a manual lens, but it's sharp, it was a kit lens for many film cameras so its easy to find. You set the aperture on the lens and push a button to meter, manual focus. It's advantage is that it's inexpensive and good quality. For macro you can also find manual extension tubes cheaply, or do what I did - take a poor quality manual 2X teleconverter (had been my fathers) and take the glass out of it - instant extension tube.

I'd probably recommend getting 1 and 2 right away, then think about 3 and other lenses while you get familiar with what you have. You may find yourself going in a totally different direction.

Biro Feb 16, 2009 5:10 PM

Boy, I'm joining this string late, Heather. But eight months ago, I bought the K200D over the K20D for the very reason others state: To have more money for better lenses. I bought the K200D camera body only (without kit lens) and went for the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 and the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8. Later, I added the DA 55-300mm. I have never regretted the decision.

Now, today, if I could land a K20D for $100 or less over the price of the K200D, that might be a different matter. So carefully check the prices at Adorama (I physically went to their brick-and-mortar store in NYC to make my purchases), B&H Photo and I might yet buy a K20D myself now that the price has dropped. I just want to see what the K300D and K30D offer when they are unveiled first. But if you're looking so save money, there's no question buying a K200D or even a K20D - at their current price levels - will be a big savings over one of the new cameras.

Oh, and to answer your question, the 16-50mm is - for me - much more useful in a general sense than a 50mm prime. But that's for my shooting style, which includes group shots, landscapes (urban and rural) and things like auto shows (where you need wide because you can't back up far enough). But a good, fast 50mm prime can work wonders in low light and with macro work (assuming the lens is macro rated). I plan to pick up one of these myself before long.

Like Harriet, I'd advise covering the range up to 135mm with two zoom lenses first before adding prime lenses and longer telephotos later as you discover you need them and can afford them.

HeatherM Feb 16, 2009 11:15 PM

Well, from whateveryone hassaid, it seems like a good idea to start with the kit lens and see what I need/want from there. It's 'only' an extra $100, and should be pretty decent to use to figure out which specific more expensive lenses I need. I notice there is a DA* 55mm as well as a 16-50mm and 50-135mm, so I guess it would be good to see which one would be best before getting the weatherproof quality lens, or a faster lens. Maybe I'll think about something in the 50-135mm range too.

As for bodies, it seems like the K20D is $275-$500 more expensive, depending on which site you look at. B&H has a randomly great deal of $875, for some reason it comes up cheaper in the cart than it shows up as in the list of cameras? Crazy! I think their rebate (or rebite, as fotografo35 says!) is good until Feb. 21. Only 5 more days! Must...think...

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Oh and two more quick questions: What's the opinion on AAs vs. proprietary batteries? Seems like they are both good, but are there any strong feelings one way or the other? And, do you guys use UV filters with your lenses? I've heard of using them to protect the lenses, which kinda seems smart. Thanks!!

peripatetic Feb 17, 2009 3:00 AM

AA rechargeables are fine, but the reason you don't find them in higher end cameras is that they cannot be as precise in their power delivery, this leads to problems deep in the electrical system and can lead to compromised image quality. This according to the Pentax engineers in their K10D whitepaper; some people were upset when the K10D was released that it didn't use AA. It sounds plausible. *shrug* Standard alkaline AA's have terrible shooting life. The proprietary batteries give hundreds of shots between charges and simply having a charged spare in your bag will cover almost any shooting situation for an amateur photographer.

I don't generally use UV filters with my digital cameras; in 20 years of photography I have never scratched or damaged a lens or filter. If you operate in extreme environments that is different of course. If you do buy a filter make sure it is of similar quality to the lens you put it in front of. Nothing quite so silly as putting a cheap $10 filter in front of a $1000 lens - just buy a cheap lens if you are going to do that. Most of the time, with most camera/lens/filter combinations the filters do not degrade image quality. Sometimes they can however, so if you do get one do some tests and make sure you can't see any difference when using it. There are lots of threads on this if you search.

Starting with the kit lens is always a good idea, because they are incredibly good value. If you decide to go up to the 18-50 f2.8 then you will likely be able to trade it in. On the other hand buying better lenses doesn't cost more in the long run because they generally last longer and give you better quality over their whole lifetime.

The K20D is currently by far the best value camera on the market IMO. But prices won't stay this low forever, same with lenses.

In your shoes I would get the K20D and the 16-50 f2.8.

It's a fantastic combination and you will be rather less subject to temptation to rush out and get more stuff, secure in the knowledge that you already have the best.

You can then spend all your energy concentrating on making better pictures and learning to get the best from your equipment.

You will also get a great deal of satisfaction 6 weeks from now as you watch the price of the equipment you just purchased increase by 30%.

mtngal Feb 17, 2009 10:39 AM

I have both the K100 (AA batteries) and the K20 (proprietary). I hated the regular rechargeable batteries - my back-up set was always dead when my primary set ran out of power. I switched to the hybrid rechargeable batteries which hold their charge longer when not in use. So now I don't think it makes that much difference (though I still have a personal preference for proprietary ones - the charge on the K20 lasts longer). Some people like being able to use normal AA batteries in an emergency, but if you manage your batteries with a little thought, it's not a big deal either way.

jvanwees Feb 18, 2009 10:25 PM

I went looking at dSLR cameras today & the one the guy at my local camera store recommended was the Pentax K200 so it is great to hear all the comments on here about it.I wasalso shown a couple of Canons but the Pentax was better for a few reasons. I'm not sure if they had the Pentax K20D but as this is my first digital SLR (I previously had a film SLR before my point & shoot digital), he probably thought the K200 would be better for me if it is less epensive.

The camera comes with a 18-55 lens & he recommended the 55-300 telephoto when I am ready to buy it. I am also in Canada & he gave me a price of $649 for the camera & $439 for the 55-300 lens. The flash he recommended was the AF540 for $480. The AF200 is much cheaper but does not have a tiltable head & is not as flexible. I do not want to purchase a camera from the internet as the store I went to offers classes & if I have problems I can get help there so would prefer to buy locally.

fotografo35 Feb 18, 2009 11:49 PM

HeatherM wrote:

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Oh and two more quick questions: What's the opinion on AAs vs. proprietary batteries? Seems like they are both good, but are there any strong feelings one way or the other? And, do you guys use UV filters with your lenses? I've heard of using them to protect the lenses, which kinda seems smart. Thanks!!
If you decide on the K200D, you can either use AA NiMH rechargeables; standard AA alkaline (I'd have these only as a standby, just for an emergency); lithium non-rechargeable AA (great longevity but expen$ive) or the newer-generation NiMH like the Sanyo Eneloops.

I have one set of Energizer 2500 maH standard NiMH and one set of PowerEX 2300 maH; I also have 2 sets of Sanyo Eneloop 2000 maH, but those are the long-lasting NiMH (the hybrids mtngal mentioned). Both the PowerEx and especially the Energizer are at the top of most reviewer's lists for being both the highest constant-powered NiMH as well as the longest-lasting (for standard NiMH). The advantage to these is that you can properly/fully charge them in 1 hour and these are the ones I use if I'm sure I'm going to take a LOT of photos in a short time (e.g., 300-350 in a week). My experience is that the charge will last you approximately 3 wks-1 month, BUT my reference point is in a Canon S3 IS. The time I use my Eneloops are when I know I'll try taking about 10-15 pics a week, just on miscellaneous things. Again (in my S3 IS),
I used my second set starting in Oct 2008 to snap about 300 pics in a 10 day period AND THEN left them in my S3 IS (snapping about 10-15 pics/week after that) and the charge JUST RAN OUT 2 days ago. So what I typically do is keep one set in my camera on standby and the other Eneloop charged in plastic battery container (or I charge the 2nd set when I see the charge on the first gets to ~45%) so I have power ready to go.

Now if you decide to go proprietary battery (i.e., buy the K20D), then your only choice is to get at least 1 spare battery.

kevinpletcher Feb 19, 2009 10:35 PM

Wow! Great information. I've been shooting with a Pentax optio 60 6mp point and shoot for 3 years now. It's time to upgrad to DSLR I've looking alot at the k200d, but I also see alot of k2000 ofered. does anyone know the differences in these two very similarly badged cameras? Which would you suggest for an intermediate?

phil123 Mar 19, 2009 10:51 AM

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I find myself in the same situation as. I was pretty much set on getting the k200d, but Amazon dropped the price for the k20 today with kit to $797. Do you think the price drop warrants the upgrade to the k20? It seems like a great price for the quality of the camera to me...This is my first DSLR and I'll be using it pretty much for the same purposes as the OP. Thanks in advance for any advice.

mtngal Mar 19, 2009 2:50 PM

I definitely think the drop in price makes this the K20 the best value. It's an outstanding camera and the extra features are worth a lot more than the price differential right now. Also check out the prices at The fact they've also added another 2 years onto the warranty - I almost wish I neededa secondcamera body! My K20 is now almost a year old, works great and I don't regret paying the initial cost of over $1,000 for it. It's a steal at what they are selling for now.

penolta Mar 20, 2009 8:19 PM

I am coming into this thread late, but there are a couple of things that still need to be said. This is not the first time this question has been asked - scan through the current and past topics on the Pentax dslr thread and you will find any number of useful discussions that will give provide a perspective that cannot be garnered from any one thread, no matter how good the information contributed to it. You will see that there are basically two groups of users - those who are still using the older "star" series (*istD, Ds, Dl, etc.) and are satisfied with them, and those who either have or lust for the K20. New K200 users love their camera, but some will eventually outgrow it (as have most k100 users), having chosen it because of the price considerations. K20 users may hold on to an older model, but tend to use it less and less as they get into the K20. The type of camera you choose depends on what you want to get out of your photography. There are a lot of good cameras today which can satisfy the needs and desires of all types of photographers.

The price differential at the moment between the K200 and K20 is so small that it is almost no longer a consideration - it has been a distraction that has masked the differences between the two cameras, which are really two different kinds of animals.

To boil it down to the essentials, the K200 is a hybrid made up of the best features of the discontinued K100 and K10 - it has the sensor of the K10 and the simplicity of the K100, which makes it a very good camera and a good choice for many people, but a more demanding photographer will find it has limitations.

The K20 has a CMOS sensor rather than the CCD of the other Pentaxes, and little of the simplicity of the other current Pentax models. It is a near professional level camera, which few photographers have yet to use to its maximum potential. Its manual controls allow - require - an advanced knowledge of and considerable experience with photography to use it effectively and get the most out of it. A beginner might use only the automatic Green mode, which would make it no more useful that a single mode point-and shoot.

The K200 has the ability to allow a good deal of manual control, but has a number of preprogrammed modes that allow a beginner to use it more effectively under differing conditions, so it allows for gradual growth - once it has been used to its maximum potential, then it would be time to move up to the K20 (or its successor), A rank beginner starting off with the K20 would be like a nonswimmer jumping into the ocean without a life preserver.

The K20 may be on the verge of being discontinued, but that makes it no less of a great camera - get one while you can - but only if you need it and can use it. The K200 is not an inferior camera - it is just different.

You can look at the laboratory tests of sensor performance in the reviews, but they will not reveal the less tangible benefits of the CMOS sensor, nor its real world performance.

Comparing the features and operation of the two cameras or of the two types of sensor is like trying to compare apples and oranges - they can be contrasted, but not compared.

Bottom line: Technology changes fast. Buy what you can use best now, and let the future take care of itself.

HeatherM Apr 23, 2009 5:35 PM

Well, I did it! Thought I would post a bit of an update, and say that I ended up getting the K20D and I LOVE IT!!! This camera rocks my world. It can make pretty much any picture look spectacular, and a good picture look extra spectacular! It was definitely worth the extra $300 -- the two wheels are so much easier to use, the body is sturdier, and it will last a lot longer. I've even used the high ISO settings already!

Since I tend to get really attached to my stuff, I chose to get the body that I wouldn't outgrow and that would last for a longer time -- the (very knowledgable) guy at the store where I bought it said the K20D could last maybe 20 years if you took care of it, whereas the 200D would maybe last for 10 1/2, and plus you would have to do more maintainance on the 200D (clean the sensor and stuff). The 20D shutter is rated for 30,000 more shots than the 200D, so really you are ending up paying one cent for each extra shot.

For lenses, I got the kit 18-55 and 50-200 lenses, and they will be just fine for now. The 50-200 is definitely the one I use the most (good prediction, mtngal!), but the 18-55 gets some exercise as well. When I have more money, a DA* 50-200 may get purchased!

So far the only issues I have with this wonderful piece of machinery are that the apertures seem to give different results than I'm used to (but that's just a learning thing, and I'm comparing it to results with my 40-year-old Minolta so of course they will be a bit different), and that this camera pumps up the blues and greens so much! That can definitely be adjusted though, once I read through the manual. And often it makes the pictures look even better than in real life, so I'm not complaining! These issues are really minor, and pretty inconsequential. Something quite frustrating, but also that no dSLR can do, is that I would really like a focusing bit in the center of the viewfinder like in my Minolta -- the kind that has a grid that gets aligned when the image is in focus. SO HANDY, but also not available these days :-(

The battery life is really good -- I had it out for 5 days (not full days, but good chunks) before it ran out. I did do most of the focusing manually, but it's still pretty impressive! Must find a good deal on a spare battery now...Adorama has great deals on their 'house brand' batteries, and even with the international shipping it's a lot cheaper than buying a Pentax brand from one of the stores here.

Some of the other amazing things about this camera are the top LCD, which is incredibly useful to change aperture and shutter speed while you are using the back LCD for something else or using a tripod (although theEV barsometimes gives different results than the one inside the camera...probably I can fix that though), and the menus/back panel, which are really nicely laid out and make it easy to change settings/view and delete pictures quickly. I really like the high megapixel count too, and I think it'll come in useful for cropping and enlarging. The EV bar is waaaay nicer to have than the numerical EV display in the 200D -- for me anyway, it is more intuitive.

Next up: a remote and neutral density filter for time exposures, and a good camera bag to protect my investment! See, I can justify these expenses now, because I might as well make good use of my camera right??

So yeah, did I mention that I love this camera? My new most-used saying is "Because my camera's awesome," and boy does it get said a lot! Thank you to all of you for your insightful and helpful advice/comments, they really helped a lot!!! Happy picture-taking!

JohnG Apr 23, 2009 5:59 PM

Congratulations Heather. It's great to see someone so happy with their investment! Hopefully you'll stick around the forums - we'll look forward to seeing some of your work with the new gear.

mtngal Apr 24, 2009 9:18 AM

Glad to hear that you are happy with the camera - I still love mine. I do think that the K20 is a better buy than the K200, but I wouldn't quite go as far as some of what your sales guy said - I don't think there would be much difference as far as the sensor cleaning goes.

As you've noticed, the default bright mode does saturate colors differently. The nice thing about the K20 is that you can adjust it. Try using the optional natural settings for a while and see if you prefer those. You can also change things individually as well (saturation and sharpness, color tones, etc.) if you don't care for the presets. The changes will affect the jpg version, but not the raw (unless you use the Pentax software to convert your raw files to jpg).

On the upper monitor not showing the same setting as the viewfinder - it does show the actual settings at the moment you are looking at it. I've sometimes found myself looking at it and wondering why the camera has such a strange shutter speed. Then I look at where the camera is pointing - it's usually pointing at something entirely different than what I want to take a picture of (like the ground instead of the tree!) and the camera has adjusted the exposure to fit the new subject. Try using the AE-L button to lock in the exposure and then see if the values in the top monitor are different than that shown in the viewfinder.

Also, there's several different companies that make split focusing screens for the K20. Katz Eye is one, but its fairly expensive. I keep thinking about getting one as several of my commonly used lenses are manual focus, but I haven't bothered. I've practiced a lot with macro and can see the focus pretty well without a split screen, and there's many more things I want to spend my money on.

Don't forget to drop by the Pentax DSLR section of this board if you have questions - we're a friendly lot with lots of experience and happy to share what we've figured out.

peachy Jul 17, 2009 9:10 PM

K20D or K200D for a newbie
Hi, I don't know what to do. I'm not like Heather (BTW congratulations Heather on your new K20D!) in that I don't want to have to play with all the different settings and features of an SLR. But I do want to have good photo quality and have some control over some settings.

Herez a little bit about me: I go on a lot of outdoor adventures so I appreciate the weather resistant body of the K200D and the K20D. However, I'm rather a small person so I don't enjoy lugging around more weight than I have to, so the smaller the better.
I'm a portrait/landscape artist and take photos of my subjects that I draw from. I like to take photos quickly and not spend too much time on figuring out the best settings for them. I currently have an old P&S that just isn't cutting it for me as far as clarity and precision. It was recommended to me that I should get a SLR.

Do you think I should lean towards getting a K200D over the K20D because I don't intend to maximize the use of a semi-professional SLR, but still want good photos? The reason I'm considering the K20 is because it is $100 more than the K200D but offers more features---but then again, I might never use those features.

Also, if I only intend to get one lens what lens would you recommend me getting to take shots of landscape, portraits and flowers?

Thank you so much for your help!!

penolta Jul 17, 2009 9:54 PM

The K20 is the largest and heaviest camera that Pentax makes, but it allows the most manual control. The K200 is smaller and lighter, but still allows control, but fewer are at your fingertips. The K2000 is the smallest and lightest with the fewest fingertip controls. All three are capable cameras that can deliver high image quality with the proper lenses.

One good choice of a lens for your requirements would be either the Pentax or Tamron 18-250mm zoom (both made by the same company).

Welcome to the Forums, and be sure to visit the Pentax/Samsung DSLR forum, where there are many users who can give you good (and sometimes conflicting) advice based on their own experiences.

mtclimber Jul 17, 2009 10:37 PM

Well Penolta-

Tonight I did it! I purchased the K-20 and the Pentax 18-250 mm lens. Hopefully that will be a great combination. I have made quite a jump from the K-2000 to the K-20, but at the price the K-20 is selling for I could not resist any longer.

I think that it will be a great, and rather huge step forward. However, it sure will be fun.

Sarah Joyce

penolta Jul 17, 2009 11:47 PM

Congratulations, Sarah. You won't be disappointed.

interested_observer Jul 17, 2009 11:50 PM

Peachy - I upgraded from the K100 to the K20 a couple of months ago. The K100 was the 4 year old version of the K200. Both the k100 and K200 offer scene modes (as do all of the other makes of entry level cameras - Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc). You can turn the dial to the appropriate type of scene, aim and shoot - you are there.

Now on to the K20. It is a larger camera - about 5 oz heavier than the K100, which was one of Pentax's lightest weight cameras. The K20 has a mode dial for all of the various "advanced or more complex" modes.

Scenario #1 - It has the "Green" mode - i.e., fully automatic, which I would believe would be great for you. Turn the camera on, twist the mode dial to green, take the lens cap off, look through the viewfinder to frame the shot, depress the shutter button half way to get it to autofocus the lens, then when your happy - depress the shutter button the rest of the way down - it takes the picture. Then look at the rear screen and see the picture. That is it.

Scenario #2 - It has the "P" mode - i.e., nearly automatic, which I would believe would also be great for you. Turn the camera on, twist the mode dial to "P", take the lens cap off, look through the viewfinder to frame the shot, depress the shutter button half way to get it to autofocus the lens, then when your happy - [so let's say you want a deeper depth of field for your landscape - as you look through your viewfinder you see that it selected f4. For your lens you have learned that f8 is best for DOF and sharpness, so you then use your thumb to roll the little rear wheel until the display in the viewfinder says f8, and then ] depress the shutter button the rest of the way down - it takes the picture. Then look at the rear screen and see the picture. That is it.

The difference between the two scenarios is in [red]...

The kit lens for the K20 is the 18-55mm, which is a very good starter lens.

You have indicated that your current P&S is no longer cutting it. Might I suggest an alternative for consideration. Panasonic has a P&S camera - the LX3 (or the Leica DLux 4 - same camera) that is somewhat of a speciality camera. It has a wonderful Leica f2-2.8 lens - currently the fastest lens for a P&S. It is 24 to 60mm (35mm equivalent). Its resolution is 10mp on a somewhat larger sensor, so that noise is limited. It is a wide angle camera for essentially for landscape. Its telephoto capability is limited, so as to not comprimise the lens design for wide angle.

It is a bit large for a shirt pocket, but fits into a cargo pants or jacket pocket very easily.

I have both cameras. The K20 is 28 oz + lens. The LX3 is 9.3 oz. There are business trips that I just am unable to take the K20 or K100 on, so I take the LX3. It is fully automatic (the IA mode + it has something like 20 different scene modes) and it can be fully manual just like a dSLR. It's images are very good. But it still has a small sensor when compared to a dSLR, so there are image quality advantages with the dSLR. However, you may have a problem telling the difference. The LX3 is in short supply - Panasonic did not make enough cameras, so they are selling for around $450 currently.

hope that helps....

peachy Jul 18, 2009 12:30 AM

Thanks Penolta for your response! :)

Do you think the picture quality would be relatively the same between the K20D and the K200D with a Pentax or Tamron 18-250mm zoom lens?

Also, I noticed that Heather mentioned something about the life of the shutter... (the K20D supposedly has 30,000 more than the K200D?!). Should this be a big reason to buy the K20D over the K200D?

peachy Jul 18, 2009 12:46 AM

WOW Interested_Observer! :D Thank you so much!! I didn't realize the SLRs would be that user-friendly! I guess those green and P modes would give me time to learn.

Thank you also for the Panasonic Lumix LX-3 recommendation!! The pictures are amazing! Are there any other cameras like it that you would recommend?

My friend says that 5 oz is nothing, and that 5 oz. is like the weight of my chapstick, so I shouldn't think about the K20 being that much heavier. Would you agree?

penolta Jul 18, 2009 1:03 AM


Originally Posted by peachy (Post 985058)
Thanks Penolta for your response! :)

Do you think the picture quality would be relatively the same between the K20D and the K200D with a Pentax or Tamron 18-250mm zoom lens?

Also, I noticed that Heather mentioned something about the life of the shutter... (the K20D supposedly has 30,000 more than the K200D?!). Should this be a big reason to buy the K20D over the K200D?

The K20D sensor is capable of higher resolution then that of any of the other Pentaxes (except the new K7), but whether or not it would make a difference depends on how you intend to use the pictures. If you want to make prints larger than 8X10, then you would get better results with the K20. If you only make small prints or post pictures the size of those on these forums you might not notice the difference.

It is doubtful that any user who does not shoot hundreds of pictures each week would ever exceed the shutter life of any of these cameras - not a consideration unless you want it to last a lifetime!

This lens I recommended is relatively lightweight and compact. Why recommend a wide to telephoto lens to someone who wants landscapes and flower close-ups? 18mm is wide enough for good landscapes, and the telephoto end gives you reach in the field when you need it - it is also good for close-ups as it focuses fairly closely and lets you get that flower you can't quite reach. Here is a link to some examples of flower close-ups at the telephoto end of the Tamron lens:

interested_observer Jul 18, 2009 1:44 AM

Hi Peachy,

Could you tell us how you work a bit. Do you go hiking, camping (weekends, week, etc.) to take your images (on your outdoor adventures)? Do you print them as Penolta asked? If so, how large a print? How much detail from the image do you transfer to your artwork?

Could you expand on what you mean with "an old P&S that just isn't cutting it for me as far as clarity and precision."?

You indicated that weight is a concern, but how about bulk - the overall volume. How do you carry your camera - around your neck while carrying a back pack? The K20 is 28 oz and the 18-55 lens is 7.8 oz for a total of 35.8 oz Other lenses would have their own weights.

On the topic of another recommendation - The reason why the LX3 is such a success is that it is so different from all of the other P&S cameras. It has a wider lens, and a much faster high quality lens (excellent for ambient low light). So there is really nothing else like it. It is pretty unique with its combination of features.

peachy Jul 18, 2009 2:34 AM

Penolta, thank you for clarifying the shutter life for me. That was very helpful! (BTW I clicked on the link in your post and the page that came up was empty).

Penolta and Interested_Observer, usually I make 1 or 2 big trips in the mountains a year. Last year I hiked through the Swiss Alps and then went down and backpacked around Patagonia in South America. I really enjoyed taking pictures during my treks. But, in general, I do not like taking a lot of time to take pictures.
The only camera I own (besides the camera in my phone) is a 3px Kodak P&S that is around 6 yrs old. It has taken a lot of beating over the years and I am surprised it still works. My pictures usually turn out pretty well. When people see my pictures they think I'm an experienced photographer. (Hee hee, crazy I know). But really, the landscape is so beautiful you can't go wrong when you're taking pictures in such beautiful places.

Sometimes I go caving on the weekends, which is usually damp and dusty. I usually carry my 3px P&S in the side pocket of my pants which makes it easily accessible.

I usually go for short hikes around where I live when I don't have time to make longer trips and sometimes I just carry my camera phone with me, which has turned out to be very handy at times.

I usually do not like carrying things. That's why I don't even carry a purse.
But considering the picture quality that a SLR can provide I am willing to carry one around.

I do not plan to print out my pictures larger than 8x10, but I do view them on my 20" monitor from which I draw from. I try to be as detailed and realistic as possible when I draw, especially with my portraits. I haven't actually taken many portraits with my own camera because my 3 px P&S doesn't give me the level of detail that I would like when I draw (I usually like to see every eye lash and the details of the eye clearly). But that is why I am looking into getting a SLR. The artists I know have told me that I should get a SLR. But they prolly don't know about the LX3!

I'm planning a trip the Chicago soon and I hope to use the SLR around the City. I was thinking that I would get a shoulder bag of some sort that isn't too big that I could quickly access the camera from.

Thank you for telling me more about the LX3. I really like the size of the LX3 and its capability! But if a SLR can give me better picture quality I'm willing to deal with the bulk and weight.

I found a factory refurbished K200D with 1 yr warranty for 2/3 the price of what it normally costs, so I was thinking maybe I should go for that over the K20D. But if the K20D's picture quality is going to be noticeably better (with how I am going to use the camera) than the K200D, I might just go with the K20D.

Thanks so much for your help and advice!

mtclimber Jul 18, 2009 10:49 AM


Welcome to the Forum. There are certain strategies that might work well for you. You can select a small DSLR to reduce weight and bulk, such as a Pentax K-2000, that got a highly rated professional review earlier, or even the Olympus E-620, that just got a highly rated professional review this month.

Then you can focus on a single lens, or just two lenses maximum to reduce what you have to carry. Personally, I share some of your feelings. I often times leave the house carrying just my Pentax K-2000 with the Pentax 18-250mm lens. That allows me the ability to handle just about anything I encounter to photograph.

So you might give some consideration to keeping your DSLR as small as possible and using a single lens. And yes, I tuck the K-2000 into a small Tenbo bag that doubles as my purse too. Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce

interested_observer Jul 18, 2009 11:27 AM

Thanks for the information, which turns out to be significant....

So I cut and pasted the important items here -
- 1 or 2 big trips in the mountains a year
- taken a lot of beating
- I go caving on the weekends, which is usually damp and dusty.
- side pocket of my pants which makes it easily accessible.
- I usually do not like carrying things.
- considering the picture quality
- I do not plan to print out my pictures larger than 8x10
- I do view them on my 20" monitor from which I draw from.
- with my portraits.
- I usually like to see every eye lash and the details of the eye clearly
The beating and the damp and dusty - says at least a K200 and maybe the K20, because of the environment seals (in time you might even want to go to the K7 since it is lighter, smaller, and has a machined metal body for increased ruggedness). More importantly, rather than getting the current kit lens, you would want the sealed kit lenses (the WR lenses) that just came out with the K7. This way both the body and lenses are sealed against moisture and dust.

mountains and portraits - says that you are going to want 2 lenses. an 18-55 for landscapes (and you need to know how to do stitching - more on that later) and a 50-200 for portraits. I am no expert, however for portraits you probably need at least 70mm to 100mm. Also, you would probably want a second lens for telephoto shots in the mountains, or flower close ups. So, you might as well get them both sealed.

8x10 and 20" monitor - I think that the 10mp on the K200 would work well. Zooming in for additional detail - you could use the additional resolution of the K20.

pocket of my pants and do not like carrying things - that says the LX3, but I do not know how well it will hold up in damp and dusty situations.

caving - a toss up here. You may want to consider a flash on what ever camera you select. The new flash that is suppose to be coming out for the LX3 is suppose to be small and light.

picture quality - see every eye lash - so you would have a better probability of this with the K20, however it would all be dependent on light, thus you may need a flash in order to utilize all the resolution you have available at the sensor.

So any of the 3 - K20, K200 and LX3 would work well. The dust and moisture would push the K20 and K200 higher. Both would work very well. The resolution on either one would be way beyond what you currently have. It comes down to the weight and size that is particular to each one. Actually - in time I think you will also pickup the LX3 and have a "big" camera and a "little" one, thus sizing the camera to your particular situation at the moment.

So here is the information on the sealed lenses.. and they would work on any Pentax digital camera (*dl K100, K200, K20, K10, K7, etc.)
Standard 3X zoom focal range for a wide range of shooting applications. Weather-resistant to handle damp, inclement conditions. The PENTAX-original SP (Super Protect) coating repels dust, water and grease to keep your lens clean and your image quality at its peak. The PENTAX-original Quick-Shift Focus System allows instant switching from autofocus to manual focus operation. Aspherical elements help to compensate for spherical lens aberration. The focal length is equivalent to 27mm-84.5mm in the 35mm format. Developed specifically for PENTAX digital SLR cameras.

So have we spent enough of your savings account?

You could save on the 50-200 lens for portraits you really do not need to get it sealed, and you could probably find a less expensive lens in the 50-200 area maybe used for a bargain. The 18-55 would really need to be sealed, thus would help with the longevity of both the camera and lens.

You could also save money, size and weight with the K2000 - but it is not sealed.

penolta Jul 18, 2009 11:48 AM


Penolta, thank you for clarifying the shutter life for me. That was very helpful! (BTW I clicked on the link in your post and the page that came up was empty).
The link to the Tamron flower close-ups is now corrected:

Another advantage to using a single lens out of doors is that the chance of getting dust on the sensor while you change lenses is eliminated.

mtclimber Jul 18, 2009 12:28 PM

And thanks to Penolta-

For reminding me that another advantage of the Pentax 18-250 mm lens is the fact that you are not changing lenses many times, a real inconvenience, and you avoid the problem of dust intrusion inside the camera when changing lenses.

Sarah Joyce

peachy Jul 18, 2009 4:36 PM

(Sigh) If only I had $$ to buy all of the great equipment suggested here!! Especially the weather sealed lens! I think it would be a great investment, but I don't have the money right now. :( (But I will start saving! :)!)

I want to only carry around one lens, at least to start out with. So I think I will opt for the 18-250mm because it seems to be the most versatile. Hopefully I'll be able to find a good deal on a used one. I hope the quality of that lens is as good as the kit 18-55mm lens...

I need the weather-resistance of the K200D or the K20D, so I'll go with one of those. Knowing me, the bigger the object is, the less likely I'll take it with me. And if I don't take it with me, then why in the world am I spending hundreds of dollars on it? So now I'm leaning towards the K200D. Plus, I doubt I'll ever take advantage of all the features of the K20D. And if I do grow out of my K200D, then maybe the K7 will be more affordable by then! :)

You guys have been so AMAZINGLY helpful! You've taught me SO much, I can't thank you enough! I had no idea the community here was so supportive and well informed. You guys are awesome! THANK YOU!!! :D

P.S. I'm thinking of getting a factory refurbished K200D with a limited 1 yr warranty. If you think this is a bad idea, then please let me know!

mtclimber Jul 18, 2009 5:03 PM


I saw the refurbished Pentax K-200 at Best Buy for $(US) 379.99, but I did not see an mention of a 1 year limited guarantee. Where did you find the K-200 with the guarantee? Thanks.

Sarah Joyce

robbo Jul 18, 2009 6:06 PM

From what I've read ...
The 18-250mm (both Tamron and Pentax badged) lenses are supposed to be at least as good as the kit lens. In fact, many people say better.

Go here for some consumer reviews:

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