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123 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
I am an amateur photographer who's always used point-and-shoot cameras. Finally, I got up the nerve (and cash) to get myself a DSLR.

I started doing lots of reading and reviewing the various reviews/features of different cameras, eventually settling on the Pentax K200D.

I have never owned anything made by Pentax/Canon/Nikon/Olympus/Sony before, so I didn't have any sort of brand loyalty ties. I took long, hard looks at the features and performance and went from there.

There are several reasons why I chose the Pentax K200D over similar models from other manufacturers:

1) Weather sealing -- Pentax claims their camera is the only environmentally sealed camera in its class ("starting DSLR"). Nice to know it's there, even if I don't plan on intentionally testing it out!

2) Saving High quality JPEG and RAW at the same time (RAW+). Some of the other models I was considering didn't allow RAW + High JPEG, only medium JPEG.

3) Very high build quality. This thing feels like it's built like a tank. After reading literally hundreds of user reviews from Canon owners, Nikon, etc. the general consensus was their bodies (and cheap lenses) felt a little flimsy. I must admit, I went to the stores and tried out their cameras (the entry DSLR) and I felt the same way.
Popular Photography's preview of the K200D said it best: "Mate a tank with a SLR body..." or something to that effect.

4) AA batteries. I know some people consider this a downside, but decent 2500mha AAs are extremely cheap and work great. If I ever run out of juice, I know I can hit up practically any store for a recharge.

5) You can mount any lens Pentax has ever made on this camera. Of course, you may not get all the features, but the consistency of the lens mounting was a plus for me.

6) In-body stabilization - A real biggy for me, as this translates to any lens you buy for the system! It has already saved several of my shots.

7) It's an APS-C sensor -- this discounted the Olympus line immediately.

So how do I like the camera? So far it's great!

I've only owned it a few days, but I've been doing lots of testing with the kit lens (which, according to "the net", isn't as horrible in quality as some other kit lenses).

Autofocus is fairly quick, though low light seems to be throwing it off sometimes (duh!)

Light metering seems to be very consistent -- I'm not getting surprise too dark or too light shots unless I intentionally screw the shot up (like forgetting to reset EV , doh).

Burst rate is a bit low at 4 JPEG or RAWs - but I don't plan on doing too many sports shots so hopefully this won't be a limiting factor. I'm awaiting some Sandisk Ultra II SD cards to come in before I see how much this low rate limits me -- hopefully the fast card will allow a quick buffer flush.

The grip is confortable for me, a 6-foot tall male with large/medium hands. So far I haven't accidentally hit a button while operating the camera, etc. I haven't done prolonged shooting yet.

The menu options are pretty self-explanatory, and I like the manual they give you (though it's huge) -- They do a pretty good job explaining what various functions do, etc.


So, the verdict? If you're moving from a point and shoot digital camera (I had a Kodak Easyshare Z612 6MP), this thing is going to blow it away!

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. The kit lens isn't total garbage, the menu functions are easy to access and the camera performs admirably.

The only thing I miss moving from my PNS camera is the zoom.

My next purchase will probably be the fast 50mm prime lens for portraits.

I've been shooting in low-light situations (my house tonight) and so far it's doing great.

I've also taken it outdoors on a sunny day for some pretty good looking shots. I can't wait to upgrade to a good zoom to catch more wildlife.[...]
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2008
Style Name: K200 Body Only
I previously owned a Pentax K100D. I decided to step up to a DA* lens and wanted a body to match its weather sealing and SDM motor. The K200D is the perfect prosumer DSLR. It has all of the great features of the K100D Super (the K100D with dust removal), plus many more. The 10.2MP sensor takes great photos. The construction is solid and the dust/water sealing clearly visible on all doors. As with the K100D, this model uses AA batteries, a feature I love. Paired with a couple of sets of NiMH rechargeable batteries (I have 2500 ma Sonys), you are set for over 1500 photos. Also included, built in support for wireless flash operation with the internal flash as master (the K100D required an external flash as the master).

Overall an excellent upgrade from the K100D, and a bargain compared to the K10D from which it gets its CCD. I highly recommend it for prosumers and entry-level professional photographers.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2008
Style Name: K200 Body Only
I have been an amateur photographer since the late 70's and have always used Nikon cameras FM, F3 and later on a 995 digital Nikon. I always wanted to get into digital SLR's and I could never justify the price of the D100 D200 or D300 and the D40's and lower priced Nikon SLR's felt kind of cheap. I looked at other cameras in the price range of the K200D including Canon, Olympus and Sony and none of them had the build quality of the K200D with its stainless frame and weather sealed body. Also the shake reduction in the Pentax body sure beats having to buy expensive lenses such as the Nikon and Canon to get the same effect. The CCD is a carryover from the K10D which is a highly rated camera and the K200D shares many of the same features as the flagship Pentax K20D such as 2.7" LCD, front programable RAW switch, the newly modified text in menu screens that did away with jibberish abbreviations and the CCD cleaning system which vibrates and you can take a picture of CCD to see where particles of dust are located. It's not a 100% accurate there are times you still have to blow off CCD with bulb blower, but there is a cleaning mode in which you can lock up mirror and not have to hold shutter open with bulb setting. The K200D uses AA batteries which I like, they are easily found. I have been using 2500mah rechargeable SONY NiMh and getting approx 800 shots from a full charge. You can add a battery grip and add 4 more batteries. The camera will switch from camera battery to grip battery when power is low which doubles the amount of shots. Plus grip has a vertical shutter button.
The kit lens is among the best kit lenses out there surpassing many with very clear shots and very good auto focusing.
The K200D has simple settings for the beginner and lots of manual control for advanced photographers. Very well laid out controls and very easy to understand. If you are familiar with 35mm SLR's it seems like a natural transition.
The only downside I see to this camera is fast multiple exposure shooting. If you are looking for strictly sports photography where you shoot 10 20 frames rapid series then this is not your camera.
Bottom Line for the majority of people looking for the best value at this price and even a little more, the K200D ranks at the top of the list.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
I am not sure why my first review didn't end up getting posted . So I am writing it again.

I have had this camera for about a month, purchased from Amazon, which got it to me less than 48 hours after I clicked "order" with the free shipping - amazing.

This is my first DSLR. I owned two digicams before, a 2000 Olympus C3030Z 3 MP, and a 2006 Nikon Coolpix L1 6 MP.

Price wise, the K200D is a steal, especially with the rebate deals going on this summer - about $550 after rebate with the DA 18-55 AL II kit lens. Compared to other DSLRs, the only other comparable model feature-wise in this price range is the Olympus E-510.

I can't believe what I have been missing ! The colors with the K200D are just vibrant and nothing like the digicams. Right out of the box, with kit lens (DA 18-55 AL II), the pictures are sharp. The extra megapixels don't hurt either. I wish I had this camera years ago on my previous trip. Most of my old digicam pictures looked washed out to me now, especially with the older Olympus :(

The ability to attach filters to the lens, such as a polarizer for outdoor use, greatly helps in the ability to enhance the picture and get incredible blue skies. That alone is worth getting a DSLR over a digicam.

The shake reduction is great. It is basically impossible to get a blurry picture with this camera in daylight, except if you move it on purpose like crazy. At night time, it can still occur occasionally. And what's even better, since the SR is in the body, it works with all lenses that you attach to it, even 40 year old Pentax lenses made for 35mm film cameras ! The only other manufacturer to have in-body SR is Olympus, in some models.

The camera is very fast. I verified that I can indeed take 2.8 pictures per second as advertised in continuous mode. There is never any noticeable waiting to save a 10 MP shot in JPEG mode, that is to say less than 1/3 of a sec. My Nikon could take several seconds to save a 6 MP JPEG onto SD, and my Olympus 30s for a 3 MP TIFF onto SmartMedia !

One of my favorite cost-saving features is the AA battery support. This is what made my decision to buy the K200D over the Olympus E-510. With the K200D, there is no need to buy expensive proprietary batteries, that can only be used in one device, and will be obsolete for the next camera, or to carry another charger when traveling. Olympus also makes you purchase a quick charger. They only bundle a slow charger with the camera. Once you factor the extra charger and at least one spare battery, the 2 cameras are no longer in the same price range. AA batteries are available everywhere, and cheap NiMH rechargeables work great. I can use the same AA battery type for my flash and my DSLR and only have one charger. I was able to take 1600 pictures on a single set of 4 AA NiMH 2500 mAh batteries in continuous mode, including 100 with the built-in flash. That's way more than Pentax says I could (they claim only 700 with NiMH). This may be because I wasn't using the LCD due to the continuous mode. Even after that, I kept shooting with the same batteries for another week. They were not depleted. But the 1600 pics filled up all my cards so I thought it was time to stop the test.

This camera is not perfect.

It is heavier and larger than most of the competition. It will not fit in your pocket like a digicam, but then no DSLR with a lens attached will, either. The size and weight are somewhat mitigated by the fact this unit seems better built than others, and is weather-sealed, which means it will probably last longer.

It doesn't have Live view. At this price, only Olympus has it, with the E-510. I won't miss this feature much. Actually, I missed the viewfinder in my Nikon Coolpix L1 digicam far more than I miss Live view on the K200D. It was difficult to compose shots on the L1 LCD in daylight without a viewfinder. So, I am very glad to have a viewfinder back now in the K200D. Live view would help a bit when using the tripod upwards, such as for moonshots with a big zoom lens. However, I have found the camera does very well handheld with the SR for those. And for tripod use, if the camera is in an awkward position, you can use a right angle finder - admittedly an extra expense and accessory to carry.

Compared to other brands, it is also difficult to find new accessories, such as lenses and flashes, for this Pentax camera locally at stores, because many of them (I tried Ritz camera and Fry's electronics) do not carry anything Pentax. If you want new, then you have to order online. On the other hand, you don't have to buy new when there are plenty of used old lenses to go around on craigslist and ebay, that work perfectly fine, many of them manual mode, and some autofocus. I say the compatibility with old lenses means it's an environmentally friendly camera. :)

If I had to choose again, I would make the same choice in a heartbeat.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
I have had the K200 for 2 days now...
I got the K200 instead of the K10 for several reasons. (1) I wanted a DSLR(tired of my "point-n-shoot" and out grew it), (2) My wife needed to be able to use it for her business. Probably more me than her. I had been admiring the K10 for a while and played with it at the store, really wanting it. When the K200 and K20 came out the K10 only remained for sale on line, at least in my area. I drove my wife crazy for weeks reading reviews and even downloading the manuals from the Pentax website as well as other brands. I didn't want to spend this kind of money without actually holding the camera(it's not in the stores yet). Almost all the stores never even heard of the K2oo because the K20 takes top billing..14 mega pixels. Long story short...the advertisement on the K200 is as far as I can see very accurate. Its for those graduating to DSLR and still need some AUTO features. I am not going to try to fool you with a lot of professional sounding lingo. Lets just say I would have preferred the K10 but love this camera. You cannot shoot a bad picture...REALLY! If you can skip through the technical talk in the manual, it tells you everything you need to know. The camera still has plenty of room to play for those of us learning more about how to manipulate shots how we want them plus the auto features for those who aren't. I really like the way Pentax feels like a REAL camera, not cheap plastic like others. My brother owns a popular Cannon. See for yourself, go to a store and hold any of the Pentax late models(K10,K200,K20). I am still fixated on the more advanced K20 but that's for the near future. Then my wife can have this one back.
By the way, Thanks Amazon!!! You sent me a message saying my shipment might be delayed but you upgraded the shipping so I still received it on time...You ROCK. I will continue to use you.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 Lens
For over five years I used 3.2MP Olympus D-540 camera.
It still works fine. But I decided to step up for some more megapixels.
I purchased Panasonic Lumix LZ7... It was ok, but I didn't get "wow effect" as I expected...
Then I purchased Olympus FE-340, same absence of "wow".
Then I got Fujifilm Finepix S700... I still felt that my old Olympus was getting better shots.
Then I decided to get a real camera... After a lot of research I decided to go with Pentax K200D. After I saw the first shot with it, I got that "wow effect" I expected. Really sharp photo and real colors.
And this camera still makes me wow each time I make a shot. Like another reviewer said: "you really can not make a bad shot".
It's my first DSRL camera, so I can not compare it to any else. But some things that convinced me to get it were:
-Weather resistant build. It even has seals in memory slot, USB port and battery port.
-Hardware shake reduction function. Still didn't get any blurred image, and I believe my hands are not "shake-free".
-Accessible AA batteries (you can get it in every shop)
-Really fast Autofocus (according to one review 1.2 seconds compared to Rebels 3 seconds)
The only bad thing I found (or may better to say: I didn't expect) is that you are obliged to see thru viewfinder to make a shot... Something I didn't expect from a digital camera. But I'm used to it, because I still remember how to use my father's old Zenith 35mm camera.
Other than that it's a great camera that takes sharp photos with life-bright colors.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2008
Style Name: K200 Body Only
I have been using this camera for the past 3 months. My experience has been positive so far.

Why K200D?

* Built like a tank - No other entry level DSLR has this build quality
* Weather Resistant - No other entry level DSLR has weather seals. You can take pictures outside in a dusty and rainy environment with a K200D and a DA* lens. Can you do this with a Nikon/Canon entry level camera?
* Image stabilization Shake Reduction gives you two stop advantage. No more blurred images.
* AA batteries no need to carry charger, adapter etc - around 800 images with flash
* Built in Wireless Flash
* Shoots RAW and JPEG simultaneously
* Dust Removal and detection facilities
* User selectable noise reduction levels
* Good Ergonomics
* Accurate color reproduction. Excellent IQ upto IS0 800.
* Additional features like Exposure Bracketing, DOF preview, lens compatibility, spot metering etc.

Unless you shoot sports action, you cannot go wrong with the PENTAX system. Unlike some other systems, PENTAX autofocus system never locks focus when the subject is not in focus. However, the focus lock is not lightning fast in low light ( i.e. after sunset) and it takes an extra second or two to lock focus. This is not the fault of this camera but PENTAX is yet to introduce a ring type ultrasonic focus lens. However, when it locks focus, it means the subject is in focus. No doubt about it.

I bought this camera because of the excellent and comparatively cheaper primes available from PENTAX. Ever heard about FA 31 limited lens? ( one of the 3 best autofocus lens in the world ever!) The primes are high quality and competes with Leica and Zeiss primes. They are very much affordable and are optimized for APS-C cameras.

Most of the Nikon and Canon primes are full frame and the crop factor makes them not attractive. An 105mm Nikon prime lens is approximately 158 mm in APS-C. A PENTAX 70mm prime gives you the 105mm field of view on K200D which is the preferred focal length for portraits and it costs only [...]$. The Da 70mm lens is not made of plastic like the Canon 85mm f/1.8 and 100mm f/2 but it is an all metal lens which is again built like a tank. If you want a PENTAX quality prime lens from Canon, you have to go for the CANON L prime lenses which are always above $1000. Visit [...] to know the list of all available lenses from Pentax . Look for lenses designated as "Limited".

What about zoom lenses? You have weather sealed ultrasonic silent motor lenses like DA* 50-135 and DA* 16-50. They are cheaper compared to other systems. Also you have cheaper consumer build quality lenses like DA 55-300mm, DA 12-24, DA 16-45 etc.

One other advantage of the PENTAX lenses is that they have special coating which controls flare very well. This is not the case with all other manufacturers.

Let me reiterate: Only in PENTAX system, you can get professional quality lenses at affordable prices. No other manufacturer produces such high quality lenses that are so compact in size. Go for PENTAX.

Update: Some dust got inside the camera while changing lenses. I was little worried as it showed up in the Dust Alert analysis. I repeated the dust removal option (it shakes the sensor, I believe, to remove the stubborn dust particles) multiple times. Now it is 100% clean.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
I just got the Pentax K200D and it is amazing, my first thoughts when I was handling it were how solid the camera was! Especially compared to the Canon Digital Rebel XSi and Nikon D40! The Kit lens is also amazing, it's very sharp and has a decent manual focusing ring (Hoo-Ray!). Pentax also included a lens hood!

The camera is very responsive when taking pictures as long as you give the camera a second or two after firing off four shots or so in quick succession, you will be fine shooting either JPEG or RAW.

The autofocus is quick and reliable in most conditions, in low light it's a bit slower but still accurate most of the time, not as fast as Nikon or Canon's systems but darn close.

Picture quality is absolutely amazing but if you want the best pictures you will undoubtedly have to use the more manual oriented modes and shoot RAW (PEF or DNG) the camera gives you several default image tones that you can customize to your liking when shooting JPEG. I'd recommend shooting in "Bright" image tone if you do not intend to post process your JPEG's, but if you do want to post process I would recommend shooting in "Natural" image tone.

The auto WB can be a little off at times but the camera also has a whole bunch of white balance presets, so chances are you will find the preset to match the lighting conditions that you are shooting in and if you can't then you can use the custom WB which you can perfectly fine tune it if you want to.

Battery life is also excellent, when using Energizer AA Lithium Ion batteries I got about 1,100 shots, which is what Pentax specifies the camera can do using Lithium Ion AA's. With Sanyo Eneloops Hybrid Ni-MH rechargeable batteries I was able to crank out about 850 shots which is truly amazing as well.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
Have only had this camera for two days and it's everything I've wanted in a DSLR and more. I also almost got the K10 but it doesn't use the readily available rechargeable AA batteries which I have plenty of. The 10mp sensor is more than enough to get great big sharp enlargements. The grip on the camera is fantastic, I can't see it ever slipping from your hands unless you rub them with motor oil. I'm coming from a long line of Fuji bridgecams I've own, including the 18x zoom s8000 that I also bought off Amazon, the quality difference is like night and day and the price I got for the Pentax makes me wonder why I even bought the former in the first place. If you want to spend anywhere from $200 to $700 more for a DSLR, be my guest but in my opinion your wasting your money, get this this camera and use the money you'll save to get your spouse a nice Mother's/Father's day gift so you won't have to sleep on the sofa because your lame excuses why you spent so much on a camera. Oh..Shake Reduction works like a dream.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2008
Style Name: K200 w/ 18-55 LensVerified Purchase
Extensive comparison between Pentax, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Canon led me to pick the K200 as my first DSLR and after a few weeks of shooting it's starting to feel comfortable and so very much better than my old Canon point-and-shoot. Comments from a newbies perspective:

The menus are truly a pleasure for older eyes. Choosing the 'large' text only affects the line on which the cursor rests, so as not to overcrowd the display. Both sizes of text are very readable. If you wear or need glasses, you'll like the menus.

There are two menu systems to consider when operating the camera. The 'Fn' button on the right brings up a smaller set of menus for ISO, white balance, and shooting 'mode' (single frame, burst mode, bracketing exposures & etc) and a few other functions that you will be most likely to need to access when shooting. This allows you to dive into your most-needed settings without having to slog around in the larger full menu set. Both menus are well designed to be shallow lists rather than deep trees. Hurray Pentax!

Ergonomics are good for me, a medium-to-large handed lefty. As others mention, the camera is large and no lightweight. Oddly (for such a big camera), the buttons on the 4-way controller ought to be a bit larger but it's very useable as-is.

The kit lens is intended for generic use: it's not meant to be extremely good in low-light situations without flash, and if you're looking for a lot of zoom you'll be buying another lens shortly. It's a compromise, a good lense for most peoples daily usage. There's nothing really 'wrong' with it, but it may not be the only lens you'll want to own. The kit lens uses 52mm filters, while other lenses you eventually buy may use other sizes. You should get a UV filter and a polarizing filter right away and leave the UV filter on most of the time to protect the lens. Either of these filters can make a huge difference in the quality of your pictures, with the polarizing filter giving you the ability to 'dial out' glare and reflected or scattered light.

You Will Read The Fine Manual. The Product Description section on Amazon that claims the K200D is 'as friendly as a simple point-&-shoot' is quite a stretch of the truth. The manual is pretty good, luckily. Your best bet might be to set the camera up on a tripod indoors and actually work through any section that confuses you. Hint: learn about using Aperture Priority and take series of shots that use f-stop to adjust depth of field. I'm sure this camera works great as a point-and-shoot but that's probably not why you're spending this much; save the auto modes for things like urban photography where you're not always sure what's going to pop up next.

The USB connection works fine connecting to my Asus F3J series laptop running Debian Linux, with the camera appearing as a hot-plugged USBFS file system. Hurray for Linux!

There are two 'Cons' against buying this camera. There is no 'live' view through the LCD, though there is a 'preview' mode that displays a frozen frame. So if you want to frame shots by looking through the LCD this might NOT be the camera for you. I shoot through the viewfinder at all times so this is fine for me, but might really disappoint someone who expects to be able to see their shots lined up in the LCD and changing as they move the camera.

The second possible issue is the USB connector. The end that plugs into the camera is a sort of micro-mini d-shaped connector. The tiny jack on the camera is one exception to the 'built like a tank' design of the k200, and I'm not sure how it'll hold up. It's so small that it's hard to tell when plugging in the cable which orientation is correct. Maybe other cameras are no better, but I would have liked to see a larger, more robust connecter here even if it had to be proprietary. If you plan to remove the memory card when pulling your images this won't be an issue.

I expect this camera to keep me confused and entertained for years, and feel very pleased and proud to have chosen it over other great entry-level DSLRs like the Olympus Evolt series, the Sony A series and the various Nikon D models. Four AA batteries, rugged weather sealed construction, a reasonable price and a huge, easily legible LCD made this camera a winner for me.
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