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Pentax K200D DSLR Review

Matt Grayson takes a look at the K200D DSLR from Pentax. A camera suitable for newcomers to photography and users upgrading from compact cameras.

Posted: 30/04/2008 - 14:17

Dubai wasn't all about the K20D, although any references to it would leave you to believe exactly that. Pentax also announced the K200D DSLR which is the replacement to the popular K100D Super.

Pentax K200D Specification

  • Resolution: 10.2Mp
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Autofocus points: 11
  • Lens mount: Pentax KAF-2
  • Metering system: TTL
  • ISO min: 100
  • ISO max: 1600
  • Screen size: 2.7in
  • Card format: SD/SDHC
  • Battery model: 4xAA
  • Weight: 630g
  • Resolution: 3,872 x 2,592
  • Sensor size: 23.7x15.7mm
  • Screen resolution: 230,000dots (230,000pixels)
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Flash type: In-built, Hotshoe
  • Flash guide number: 13
  • Flash metering: TTL
  • Flash sync speed: 1/180
  • Image stabilisation: Yes
  • Integrated cleaning: Yes
  • Live view: No
  • Shutter speed max: 1/4000sec
  • Shutter speed min: 30 seconds

The Pentax K200D shares a playing field with the Canon EOS 450D, Nikon D60, Sony Alpha A200 and Olympus E-420.

The K200D is available body only for £469. The Canon is £394 with an 18-55mm lens and the Nikon is £10 less than the Pentax with a 18-55mm VR lens. The Olympus is £379 with the 14-42mm lens and the Sony is the cheapest of the lot at £345.

Pentax K200D Modes and features

As a direct replacement to the K100D Super, the K200D has built on the 6Mp sensor and now boasts the 10Mp sensor originally found in the K10D.

In Dubai, I asked our hosts why they had decided to go into the pixel race when fans of the K100D Super actually liked the fact that it had a smaller resolution than other models in the classification.

Marketing Communications Manager for Pentax Europe, Gabrielle Remmers, explained that Pentax aren't entering into a pixel race as they realise that massive resolution is unnecessary for most photographic styles. The problem they had with the choice of sensor was that no-one makes smaller resolution sensors anymore, so they had to go with the larger 10Mp one.

Other changes from the K100D Super include the ISO tolerance being changed. No improvements have been made though, it's simply been shifted over one level. The ratings now range from ISO100 to ISO1600 from the previous ISO200 to ISO3200. I would have liked to see an expansion here of ISO100 to ISO3200. The noise tests will show whether Pentax were correct to leave ISO3200 out of the equation.

The flash guide has decreased to 13, from 15.6 and while this may be seen as a negative point, bear in mind that the K100D has a minimum ISO of 200 and the K200D is ISO100. Flash compensation has been increased to +2EV from +1.

The K200D has been given the Dust alert system that the K20D has fitted. This system will scan your sensor upon instruction and show you the image on the screen. You can then decide if you wish to shake the sensor or not. Conveniently, the camera will save the image it showed you, on your memory card in a folder called Dust.

Not much else has changed apart from the playback zoom being increased from 12x to 16x and the K200D being bigger and heavier, which is a U-turn for usual Pentax policies.

Even the layout of the K200D is the same as the K100D Super. Only the download light has been moved to a more prominent position just above the navigation pad and the screen has been increased in size and resolution to the same 2.7in 230,000 dot (230,000pixels) screen that the K20D has.

The K200D can save simultaneously in RAW and JPEG formats with in-camera processing of RAW also available.

The K200D carries on what the K100D started and is still a better build quality than the nearest rivals with its metal chassis. This does make the camera heavier, but I can let that slide for a more durable camera.

The lens mount is metal which is standard on any camera these days, but the lenses usually have a plastic mount. Kits for the K200D are available and the advantage of this is the 18-55mm lens having a metal mount as well. This promotes longevity and I think it's a great idea which could be a purchasing decider.

Pentax have also been kind enough to fit it with dust and weatherproof rubber seals in the battery bay and card door.

The K200D retains the previous battery compatibility of four AA batteries. This would've been a disadvantage in the past with the lack of power compared to dedicated Lithium Ion batteries that rivals accept.

However, battery technology has increased in recent years and while rechargeable batteries are still not necessarily as powerful, they've attained a significantly higher rate of performance.

Pentax K200D: Flash options
The built in flash can work as an auto pop-up flash in preset modes or activated by pressing the flash button on the left shoulder of the camera next to the viewfinder.

Flash sync on the K200D is 1/180sec compared to the Sony Alpha A-200 with a sync of 1/160sec. The Canon EOS 450D and Nikon D60 both share a sync speed of 1/200sec.

The guide number of 13 brings the Pentax more in line with the other models in the same classification. The K100D Super has a higher 15.6 guide, but the lowest ISO was ISO200, which explains the performance.

Pentax K200D Performance

The Pentax K200D has a pretty low frames-per-second (fps) rate in comparison to the rivals. It has two different settings of Continuous Hi and Continuous Lo. Hi mode has a speed of 2.8fps with the Lo mode coping with a poor 1.1fps, but this is designed to not use the buffer, so keeps shooting until the card is full.

The buffer has been adapted on the K200D from its predecessor and now allows four JPEG images or four RAW images compared to five JPEGs or three RAW images on the K100D Super.

Luckily, an overcast day provided a good result for the camera. Shot at ISO100 in aperture-priority, fringing is practically non-existant in the usual places. The white bars of the ladder leading into the lock have mild fringing of orange and green and the roof shows a tepid CA result. A good result from Pentax.

The colour chart has shown the processor boosting blue, yellow and red but not so much green. The tones have been recreated nicely.

Portrait mode has reproduced the skin tones really well with no cast to the image on the overcast day.

I took a series of images in different photographic styles to show how the K200D could help the beginner find their preferred style of photography.

I shot the arch at Roche Abbey with the white balance adjusted to fluorescent lights which brought the brown floor out as a lilac colour. The field was shot in aperture-priority which is a great mode as the camera controls the shutter speed, so if you're new to photography, this mode means you have one less thing to worry about.

I shot the waterfall on an exposure of 1sec with a polariser filter to reduce reflections and a tripod to steady the image.

Pentax K200D: Noise test

The images are quite hazy, which could be put down to the limited Depth of Field (DoF) that the camera has chosen on the lower ISO levels despite a lot of light being available.

If I was to be really critical, I would pull the Pentax up for showing a very mild smattering of noise at full size in the lower ISO settings, but its barely noticeable. It is present on ISO400 however.

The haziness found on ISO100 because of the limited DoF, disappears for a crisper image and petal detail is still excellent at ISO800. ISO1600 is the K200D's highest setting and, given the result, they could've gone up to ISO3200, like the K100D Super.

It's a shame they've limited the camera like this when it would've handled the job better than some others.

Pentax K200D Verdict

The Pentax K200D does a great job for what it's designed to do. It manages to create decent shots for any photographic style which is great for the learner trying to find a niche.

My main problem is the price. At launch the price is £469.99 body only, which is expensive for this classification. Kits are available if you look around, but are around the £550 price mark.

Pentax K200D Pros

  • Good noise performance
  • Good build quality
  • Dust and weatherproofing

Pentax K200D Cons

  • Expensive compared to rivals
  • FPS performance isn't brilliant

Features: 3.5/5
Handling: 3.5/5
Performance: 3.5/5
Value: 3.5/5
Overall Verdict: 3.5/5


Pentax K200D Specifications

Manufacturer Pentax
Lens
Effective Magnification 1.5x
Image Sensor
Pixels 10.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 3872
Pixels (H) 2592
Sensor Type CCD
Sensor Size No Data
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 2.7in
Screen resolution No Data
Touch Screen No Data
Focusing
Focusing modes Autofocus
AF Fine Tuning (Micro Adjustment)
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 30sec
Shutter speeds longest 4000sec
Bulb mode Yes
Exp modes Program
Aperture-Priority
Shutter-Priority
Manual
Metering Multi Pattern
Spot
Centre-weighted - Average
ISO sensitivity 100 - 1600
White balance Auto
Manual
Exposure Comp +/-2
Viewfinder
Magnification No Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 2.8fps
Video
Movie mode No
Video Resolution
Video FPS No Data
Stereo Sound No Data
Optical Zoom with Video No Data
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI No
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi No Data
Storage
Card Type SD
SDHC
File Type JPG
RAW
Power Source
Battery Type 4x AA
Battery Life (CIPA rating) No Data
Box Contents
Box Contents No Data
Dimensions
Weight No Data
Width No Data
Height No Data
Depth No Data

Members gallery photos using: PENTAX K200D

Posted 24/12/2023 - 18:00 Link
Some of the reviews on this site are of questionable merit, in hindsight. They should be updated. Rating the K200D 3.5 in value, when good copies are selling for 30% of their original retail price, then rating the defective K-50 as a 5 in the same category is a disservice to readers. I've had, and still use, a K200D since it was a production model, and it's more robust that any of the K-x0 models superceding it. It's only weakness is the 10 MP sensor and the ISO limitations it has. As a photo taking tool, the K200D is a simple pleasure to use, and the fact it's a 'beginner' camera that accepts a battery grip shows Pentax was still designing cameras for photographers back then, as opposed to loading them up with bells & whistles for 'consumers.'

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