Pentax K200D Review
During the past couple of years, we've seen many entry level DSLRs have features that rival mid-range DSLRs. The Pentax K200D is one of those SLR's, and puts excellent features and good performance in the hands of newbies and budget buyers.
One of the unique features introduced in the Pentax K200D is shake reduction, which is built into the body. When the sensor detects dust particles, it vibrates the CCD. There's also an alert function that shows you specifically where on the CCD the dust is located.
First, the design. It's fairly compact with a comfortable grip. In fact, the K200D is one of the smallest DSLRs you can find in the market. Inside the body is 60 rubber seals, ensuring it won't get damaged by weather elements such as water and dust. It's not waterproof, so please don't take it out for a swim in the beach. You need to buy housing if you want to do that.
Following the trend of most entry level cameras, the Pentax K200D puts most of the controls in the menu system. For those that are moving up from point and shoots, the menu should be fairly familiar, but there are some differences. For starters, there's the Fn menu. This menu allows you change settings such as the ISO sensitivity, drive mode, and white balance. There's a thumb wheel so you can tweak shutter speeds and aperture.
One cool feature about the controls is the inclusion of the sensitivity priority mode. This mode enables you to select the ISO level you need while the camera chooses the aperture and shutter speed based on what ISO you select. This mode has 1/3-stop increments, so you can fine tune the sensitivity if you want.
Part of the reason why the K200D is an excellent DSLR for beginners is because it offers so many automatic and scene modes. If you're not feeling ambitious, you can let the K200D take care of all the settings, while you point and shoot. Once you feel skilled enough, you can dig in and explore settings such as aperture priority with manual mode. So it's very flexible.
Of course, as with most DSLRs, you can buy the Pentax K200D with the body only or a kit lens. The kit lens comes with the 18-55mm focal length, and f/3.5-5.6 maximum aperture range. It's clearly not the highest quality lens, but it's great for the low price. Details are pretty sharp, and there's some chromatic aberrations, and softening in the corners. We did notice some distortion when using the widest setting with this lens, but that's pretty much common with lens of this quality, and price.You can pretty much use the 200D with most of Pentax's K lenses.
One cool feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of wireless flash control. It's refreshing to see it in this camera because this unique feature is usually found in more expensive digital SLRs.
The performance for the Pentax K200D is solid, and matches with most of the competitors in this price range. From start up to first shot is a brisk .2 seconds. Shot to shot takes .5 seconds with no flash. With flash, it takes .6 seconds. Shutter lag is fairly solid too, clocking in at .4 seconds in high-contrast and 1.3 seconds in low-contrast. Continuous shooting speed is above average for its class at 3 frames per second in our tests. One thing we find a tad frustrating with the K200D is that if you press the shutter button too early, it will just do nothing until you release the shutter, and press it again.
Overall, we found the images we shot very pleasing to the eye. Color accuracy is a problem, but not a big deal since they still looked very pleasing. You won't notice color accuracy problems in general, unless you have a sharp eye for colors. Images are very sharp, and detailed, even when we used a high ISO of 1600, which is the highest you can go.
The Pentax K200D handles noise very well. There was no noise noticeable at the lower ISO sensitivities, and even when we used the highest ISO, it wasn't glaring. You can probably have print sizes as large as 8 X 10 inches using ISO 1,600. There's 2 options available for handling noise: slow shutter noise reduction, and high ISO noise reduction. Generally, you'll want to use show shutter for getting rid of hot pixels. High ISO noise reduction is for dealing with detail noise in ISO's 800 and higher, and has 3 levels: weakest, weak, and strong. Try them both and see which ones suits you.
We do wish they had included ISO 3200 in this camera, but we can't everything in life, can we?
The Pentax K200D offers many different modes to shoot in. There's 6 advanced ones, and 8 dedicated scene modes for specific situations such as shooting portraits. As we mentioned previously, the K200D is a great digital SLR for those graduating from a point and shoot. If you're confused on operating a camera, just use the default automatic settings provided. When you feel comfortable, you can then use manual mode, and change the settings to your comfort.
- 10.2 megapixels
- Supports ISO 100 to 1600
- 2.7 inch LCD with 230,000 pixels
- Optical viewfinder with 96% coverage
- Plastic body
- Pop-up flash
- Great, if not best DSLR for the money
- Solid performance
- Has sensor shift IS (image stabilization)
- Durable and weather resistant
- Colors can be inaccurate at times
- Underexposed images are common
- Missing live view
The Pentax K200D is a great value for your money, and is an improvement over previous models. It offers a good noise profile, and very pleasing and detailed photos. The only glaring flaw we saw was inaccurate colors, but that didn't take away from how pleasing the photos looked overall. Though we wish it offered live view, and an extra level of ISO sensitivity, it's still a good bang for your buck entry level DSLR.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:35:00 PDT