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Old Aug 29, 2008, 7:43 PM   #1
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I just need some advice on picking between these cameras. I am new to SLR photography. I did some amateur photography with a Pentax film camera for a hobby. I am looking to get into it a little more seriously now.

I have the lenses already for the Pentax that are fully functional, I have checked. I have the smaller lens that came with the camera along with a 75mm-300mm. I can get the K200D body alone for $338.

Or I can get the Sony Alpha which comes with 18-70mm and the 75-300mm for $366.

I am just a little confused which would be better. The big differences I can see are the battery and memory cards. It seems that the Pentax does a lot more automatically (aperture, white-balance, saturation, etc) which would be good for me because I am new. But the Sony may do that as well and I don't know. AHH PLEASE HELP!
Thanks guys.
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Old Aug 29, 2008, 8:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
It seems that the Pentax does a lot more automatically (aperture, white-balance, saturation, etc) which would be good for me because I am new. But the Sony may do that as well and I don't know.
Both of these models use a Sony 10MP CCD Sensor, and and have Auto modes with Auto White balance (as well as a variety of scene modes, and the ability to control Saturation, Contrast, Sharpness, etc. via settings if you don't like the defaults).

The Sony is probably a bit faster with Autofocus, and the Sony has much faster write speeds to memory cards. For example, you can shoot at 3 frames per second until a fast memory card is full with no pauses. With the Pentax, you'd be limited to around 10 jpeg images in it's high speed continuous mode before the camera slows down. If you're not shooting a lot of sports, that may not make any difference to you (and even if you are, you may be fine with that many frames).

What 2 lenses do you have for the Pentax (I'd give us the info from the front of each lens)? One thing to keep in mind is that lenses on a dSLR with an APS-C sensor (like these two models) will have a narrower angle of view (they'll appear to be about 50% longer). That's why most of the kit lenses start out at around 18mm (which gives you the same angle of view as a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera). So, depending on what lens you have, you may want something starting out wider (since you may not be able to back up enough to get what you want in the frame for some subjects).

Quote:
I can get the K200D body alone for $338.

Or I can get the Sony Alpha which comes with 18-70mm and the 75-300mm for $366.
Where did you see those prices? We can probably tell you a bit about the vendor. lol

IOW, those prices look too good to be true. The Sony A200 with a Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DT Autofocus Kit lens usually sells for $499 (more with the 75-300mm included). The Pentax K200D body is selling for around $539 now (the better deal is the K200D kit including an 18-55mm lens for around $559 from some discounters now).

In other words, you're likely dealing with a scam artist.

There are lots of scammers around with nice looking web sites with nice logos, etc. Most are located in the Brooklyn area, where they seem to be able to get away with it.

When you see prices that are much lower than you find at http://www.buydig.com or http://www.bhphotovideo.com (both reputable dealers) on major brand gear, there is usually going to be a catch. ;-)

The scammers will call you to confirm the order. Then, you'll also find out that they'll want to sell you high priced batteries, extended warranties, stuff that normally comes with the camera anyway, want to include inflated shipping and insurance charges (sometimes unauthorized). Anything to increase their profit (since they can't sell the camera alone at the advertised prices without losing money).

If you don't buy enough of the outrageously priced extras, your camera will suddenly go to backorder status (of course, the web sites still show them in stock and your credit card has been charged). They'll often sell gray market gear, too (not intended for sale in the country you live in with a store versus manufacturers warranty).

This has been going on for years. It's a racket.

Do yourself a favor and stick with a reputable dealer.

Make sure to check out any vendor you consider using http://www.resellerratings.com
(they're a bit better about filtering out fake customer reviews compared to most ratings sites)

If they are not listed, avoid them (these guys tend to start up new web sites often under a variety of names). If they have a small number of customer reviews there, avoid them (they tend to try and get away with padding their own ratings with glowing reviews). Some even seem to have their own ratings sites now (with all of the stores listed being same old scammers, with the reviews unbelievably good).

Suggested Reading:

How to buy a Digital Camera without being robbed

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Old Aug 30, 2008, 2:28 AM   #3
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Do a Google search for Camera + Scam. For giggles throw"Brooklyn" in the search.



I strongly suggest visiting Don Weiss's website

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/

to view the pictures and information about the scam artists working in the metro NY market.

Actually these scam artists are all over the country, there just seems to be more in the metro NY area than any other.



I found one that described themselves as a simple Mom&Pop hard working legit smallstorefront store. They sounded so sincere. Don did not have a picture of them yet so I did a Google Maps search. Ha ha Ha Ha. Monstersized warehouse in an industrial park. Not quitehowthey described themselves. And then I found 3 other electronics businesses using the same street address.




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Old Aug 30, 2008, 2:37 AM   #4
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WOW! I had no idea. Thank you soooo much. You saved me money and hassle. I was going to place the order but I wanted to see the opinions first. Phew, so glad I waited.

Anyhow, the two lenses that I have are Sigma 70-300mm DL Macro Super and 28-80mm.

Again thanks...I am really just looking for a good beginner SLR on a budget. And I do have those lenses if it helps keep my cost down.

"Breathing a sigh of relief"
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 5:30 AM   #5
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The Pentax K200D and the Sony A200 are about as similar as two cameras can be, and drawing distinctions between them is difficult.

Unfortunately, the two lenses you've got aren't worth much, and lack the coatings that prevent flare in dSLRs. That is not to say they aren't worth anything; they will get you started, but you may ultimately want to replace them anyway.

The biggest differentiator between the two cameras is the selection of lenses they each have, and the types of photography they are appropriate for. The Pentax doesn't have a large selection of long lenses, but has a number of large aperture, fixed focal length lenses to choose from. The Sony has some very good lenses to choose from, some of the best in their class in fact, but they can be very expensive.

So I think it comes down to what type(s) of photography you wnat to persue, and how the cameras feel to you. What do you have in mind for a dSLR, and have you ever held either of these cameras?
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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I bought a Pentax because I had a couple of old lenses from my film days, and couldn't be happier. As was pointed out, both the Sony A200 and the Pentax K200 use the same sensor and the pictures look to be pretty similar when it comes to quality (take a look at Steve's review of the cameras, especially the sample photos). So you can't make a bad choice between these two cameras.

As far as lenses - up until recently there weren't many choices for Pentax when it came to 300mm. However, that's been quickly changing (the DA*300 looks like an outstanding lens, just as good as the older *300 lenses) and there were always a number of older lenses available on the used market that are outstanding. There's also the new DA 55-300mm lens if you want a zoom, and it seems to a bit better than the Sigma or Tamron 70-300 zooms (and priced similarly). I think that they've leveled the playing field when it comes to lens selection. In fact, there's far more lenses that I want than I have money to pay for!

The K200 comes with weather sealing, which is very nice if you are out in the snow (as I am on occasion). It's not water proof so I wouldn't carry the camera in a complete downpour or underwater. While the camera would be sealed, your two older lenses are not. What I do with my unsealed A*300 lens is to carry the camera around my neck with the back up, putting the lens and the joint where the lens joins the camera under my jacket. This seems to work very well. The DA* lenses are sealed. I have the DA*50-135 and it seemed to work quite well with the earlier K10this past winter, being exposed while I wandered around while it was snowing (if you are interested, I posted some pictures at http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=80).

Some people love AA batteries while others hate them. If you go for the K200, check out the hybrid rechargeable batteries - I've been much happier since I switched over to them (I have both the earlier K100, along with the K20).
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 11:16 PM   #7
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Okay! So now I know and have done some research on these crazy people trying to screw everyone over I have had to change my camera choices. It's crazy to me that people want to do bad things to people just to make money, it's actually really sad.
But I have now had to obviously go down a few steps in cameras to get into my actual price range. Thank goodness I have you guys and kept me from all those bogus people.
From my research I have found some on ebay that seem to be ligit, and they are power sellers with all amazing feedback. So these are my choices now.
I do have the old lenses so I have got the Pentax option.
The K110D with a new 18-55mm is about $350.

Still have found some pretty good deals on the Sony DSLR 200 with just the one lens 18-70mm for about $450.

There is a Nikon D40 with two lenses 18-55 and 55-200mm and it's about $570. That's a little out of my price range, but I figure I am spending so much anyway I might as well get the best one for me.

I am going to start taking some classes for photography, but for the time being I have mostly been asked to do some headshots and commercial print photography, hence living in Los Angeles. I also am interested in scenic/artistic photography. I did pretty well with my film camera, but I have been so overwhelmed with all the choices for SLR. My mom bought my camera for me for Graduating college and so I didn't have any choice ;-)

Thanks again, you guys have been soooo helpful.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 12:20 AM   #8
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That's a tough call.

Since you've already got two lenses (even though they're probably not the best), Pentax looks attractive on a tight budget. But, for commercial print type work, I'd probably lean towards a higher resolution model (i.e., the 10MP K200D versus the 6MP K110D) in the Pentax line. I'd also get the 18-55mm kit lens with one (because it's a relatively high quality lens as kit lenses go, and you may want something starting out wider than what you have).

Like the Pentax K110D, the D40 is also a 6MP model.

The 10MP Sony A200 is probably the best "bang for the buck" in the 10MP entry level models. But, then you couldn't use your existing lenses with it.

I'd prefer the Sony choice over the Nikon D40 for multiple reasons. Not only is it a higher resolution camera, but you'd have a larger variety of Autofocus lenses to choose from on the used market (it can use Minolta AF lenses), whereas the Nikon requires lenses with a focus motor built in for Autofocus, since Nikon didn't include one in it's entry level models (D40, D40x, D60). The Sony also lets you shoot jpeg fine + raw. That way, you've got both a higher quality jpeg image and a raw file you can convert if needed. With the Nikon D40, you'd only be able to shoot jpeg basic + raw. So, you'd lose the higher quality jpeg option that way if you didnt' want to convert the raw file. The Sony also has a more advanced Autofocus system in it's camera body compared to the entry level Nikon models.

Chances are, you'll need to invest more into a system as time passes for best quality (lenses, etc.), too. So, you'll need to keep further needs and budget in mind.

I've got to hit the rack (it's after midnight here). ;-) I'll check this thread in the morning and try to think of some other options. Perhaps some of our forum members will chime in with their thoughts, too.

What's your total budget including lenses and accessories for getting started?

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Old Aug 31, 2008, 12:50 AM   #9
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I am trying to stay below $500. I know that is not a lot, but just to get me started. That's why I am not opposed to buying used or older models. Or selling my lenses. Wish I could sale the actual camera, but it seems to keep rewinding film before the roll is finished, hence the excuse for going digital.
;-)
I can x out the Nikon then. I am thinking the Pentax K100D would be an option too, it seems the only difference is the image stabilization. Not sure if I need or don't need that.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 1:07 AM   #10
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My thought would be to go to the K100 over the K110 - the SR is very nice to have. If you are willing to get a used camera, you might also look for a K10 - you can sometimes find them around at decent prices. It offers the weather sealing (which the K100 and K110 do not) and the 10 mp sensorthat the K200 has.

I do think the kit lens is one of the better ones around, and usually doesn't cost all that much more to buy (at least when buying new). The fact that you have film lenses means you can do without it pretty easily, though.

Another thought since price is very significant for you is to buy a used DS, especially if you can find one very inexpensively. It's older than the K cameras but has the same 6 mp sensor that the K110 does, like the K110 it doesn't have SR, but has the pentaprism viewfinder, which some people prefer over the pentamirror (I don't find all that much differencemost ofthe time). That would get you in the door for the least amount of money, would offer a bit more than the K110, and would let you upgrade that much sooner. However, I think for your purposes, a used K10 would be a better solution for the same reasons that JimC gave you.
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