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-   -   Pentax K200D or K20D? Help! (

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.

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