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-   -   Pentax K200D or K20D? Help! (

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?

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