Pentax K200D Hands-On

Pentax K200D / K1000

If you are a pro photographer, you should probably stop reading now, unless you really need a good laugh.

I finally plonked down the required fundage to buy myself some street cred in the camera department. Of course this means that all my photography skills are yet to come.  For a bit of back ground, up to now, my two most sophisticated cameras have been my trusted Pentax K1000 fully manual all metal body and the Fuji s5000 which we bought for it’s faster shutter and SLR-like feel. Five years ago digital SLR cameras were rather expensive. So the art of photography is not completely lost on me, however it is rather funny that the best pictures I’ve taken in the last few months have been with camera phones and point & shoots.

This is also the main reason why we finally settled on the Pentax K200D and not a Canon or a Nikon. Over the years I have accumulated a few manual glass lenses and really wanted to use them again one day but knew all too well that I would never use film again. And the thought of buying new lenses at the same time as a new camera is just too much for a guy who’s wife is expecting twins in January. Hence the real reason we are buying the camera now. It was only when my sister mentioned to me that she was using her old EOS Rebel (35mm) lenses with her new EOS XTi (digital SLR) that I started to think about getting a digital Pentax. I had always thought that Pentax had gone the way of Minolta (now Sony Alpha) and disappeared. Boy was I wrong, they have been pretty active in the pro and prosumer markets. Their current line up of the pro K20D, the K200D and the soon to be announced k-m / K2000 all feature some very cool features like metal frame bodies, weather seals (the K200 has over 60), CMOS dust shake technology, 2 second mirror lock as well as their ability to uses any of the mmmmmiiilliooooon Pentax SLR lens from over the years. The last is what sold me, my 50mm, my 28mm, and 80-200mm will finally have some new life breathed into them.

After to speaking to a few friends, the biggest thing that keeps coming round is the ability to re-use what you already have.  More and more of the big SLR makers are Beaver Swimming in RdPrealising this and making cameras that will work with their old lenses or making adapter rings so that the hard core fanatics can keep using glass.  There are so many photo blogs out there, and really good ones too. But not enough of them mention the importance of what you already have when re-investing into a digital SLR body.

So how am I getting along with the new toy? Frankly, I really have now idea how good my pictures are, but I’m having a hell of a lot of fun. The 18-55 lens is very cool with all it’s wiggly focusing and automatic setting adjustments. This is all new fun for a guy who has spent all of his previous SLR experience jiggling manual focus rings to get the best feel of the subject. And to tell you the truth this is still my preferred method of taking shots. There is something almost ethereal about eyeing the shot and just knowing when to hit the shutter. After 5 years of guessing and predicting when to hit the shutter in order to get the perfect shot. It’s resassuring to know that from now on when I see something I like, I can have that perfect smile, provided my reflexes are up to snuff.   The only thing is that I still have to put up with the world’s most stupid feature: Red Eye Reduction. I don’t know IMGP0522 why they just didn’t call this Red Eye Reassurance. The only thing for sure, is the that whenever you use it, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re subject’s pupil will be fully dilated and that you’re red eye is guaranteed. Thank Good iPhoto, Aperture and even Picasa have excellent red eye removal tools, with iPhoto’s even being able to match eye color. I am lucky enough to have a big old external Flash in my bag from back in the day. With it’s ability to flex and twist, you can pretty much find a good position to either bounce enough light off a near wall or low ceiling or simply use the built in diffuser to make the shot a little easier to bare.

Yup I definately like this camera and I’m exttremely happy to have finally picked up a digital SLR. Would I recomend this camera over the Canon, Sony and Nikon? Only if you already have Pentax lenses. If you’ve been using something else, check to see if you’re old lenses will work and if not take one out for a test drive, you might be pleasantly surprised by what it can do.