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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:01 am 
Today I had the opportunity to lay my hand on both of these and I thought I should share my observations.

The K10D is of course a semi-pro model that now has K20D replacing it - over time, there will be an overlap of the two. It means that pricing is shrper than it was.
Australian body-only price at the store I went to, which is quite competitive here, is -
K10D $949 K20D $1559 (now 14.6 megapixels and Live View, look out Nikon 300D!)

By comparison the new K200D is $869, which puts it at a similar price point although it is notionally the more "consumer" model. The same store sells the Canon 400D body for $869 so that is the perspective. More on some of that a bit later in this piece.

What makes the comparison of K10D (now) and the new K200D most cogent is that with the new model upgrade, the new consumer model gets the "older" semi-pro model's 10.2 mega pixel sensor, shares its anti-shake, anti-dust arrangements, has similar weather-proofing arrangements, gains a larger 2.7" screen over K10D's 2.5" jobbie, and adds some more consumer-friendly capture modes.

Whether the 2 cameras also share the processing engine and frame buffer I'm not sure. According to the man in the store, the Pentax rep said they have the same continuous shooting performance. That is NOT how I read the 2 brochures however, which say:
K10D - 3fps, unlimited jpg, 9 RAW
K200D - 2.8fps (4 jpg & continuous Hi, 4 RAW)
1.1 fps (unlimited jpg and continuous Lo, 4 RAW)
Which while expressed differently looks like the K10D is superior in this respect and better suited to sports photography. Jury is out though: I am prepared to be shown otherwise, but I know where my money is :)

The K10D also uses a Li-Ion battery, the K200D uses 4 x AA NiMH rechargeable batteries, which seems an odd choice. For mine this is a weak point of the Pentax - even the Li-Ion in the K10D doesn't report its charge status well. You get a clumsy 3 bar status, compared with say the Nikon D80's % "fuel gauge" report.
This is something that has caught me out more than once in the past in mission critical situations. Pentax needs to improve its game in this area for mine. Something that was near the top of my wish list....

Back to the comparison:
The K10D FEELS like what it is, a semi-pro camera. The K200D FEELS like what IT is, a consumer DSLR.
The shape, texture, ergonomics, balance, and the extra function thumbwheel on the front of the grip are all in favour of the K10D.
Likewise the viewfinder, which is a pentaprism on the K10D and a pentamirror on the K200D.
No doubt about it, looking through the K10D's viewfinder is better.

The difference in screen size (for mine) amounted to nothing, 2.5" vs 2.7".

To summarise, the new K200D has a lot going for it and to these eyes is a far superior piece looked at objectively than Canon's 400D/XTi, although the 450D is just about to make that all a bit different.
You do of course buy into a system including lenses, flash etc etc when you buy the body. There is also a difference in size etc but it looks to me like Pentax has a winner. The sales charts are very likely going to prove me wrong however.

All THAT said, a semi-pro body is clearly a step up from this class of camera, and to me the K10D looks excellent buying at the moment, while it lasts on the shelves. It is a Canon 40D / Nikon D200 class camera for a good bit less cash.....in my opinion:)

And while the Canon lens range has more variety (Nikon too), as near as I can tell you get more lens for your money in a Pentax. The better 3rd party lenses have more Canon and Nikon mount options than for Pentax, so that is a consideration as well.

So did I reach for my wallet and buy the K10D today?
Well.....no. As I said, proper modern battery monitoring was right near the top of my wish list, and I have been caught out too many times. Probably my own fault, but I need my camera to hold my hand sometimes.....so Iam going to think about that one.

A second consideration is current pricing. It seems there are still too many K10D's around in Australia at the moment, and it suits the local distributor to run K10D and K20D in parallel for a while, such is the price of the K20D. This is different to markets in Europe / USA where I see K10D already selling for LESS than K200D.
I can see that happening in Australia soon too. Circumstances here are such that I need to be more price-conscious than usual.

So I'm going to let the dust settle for a bit and watch developments.
Any way you slice it though, I have to say that I was in general terms very impressed with what is a bit of a forgotten brand in DSLRs.
Canon and Nikon probably deserve to be market leaders, but I think the discerning would do well to cast their nets a little wider if they don't have a lens-based attachment to either of the Big Two.

Chris


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:27 am 
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Hi Chris, nice report, thanks!

I'd be interested to see what the K200D's weather resistance is like - is the shop brave enough to let you splash it?!

As for battery indicators, I agree, I prefer more segments, or better still the percentage feedback of the latest Sonys (or Nikon's hidden menus!). But regardless of how fine the feedback is on these cameras, there can still be a surprise drop in charge sometimes which can still catch you out even if you have a camera telling you exact percentages.

At other times, a meter can imply there's virtually no charge remaining, yet you manage to squeeze many more shots out of it...

The moral is always carry a charged spare, regardless of what the battery meter says.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:55 am 
You're quite right, Gordon, there is a good moral in that!
I guess I was just a little disappointed that the camera (K10D) that ticked almost all of my boxes didn't tick one near the top of my list.

I guess there is another moral to the story - NO camera is going to tick them ALL!!

I still think I'm going to watch the pricing, there is a feeling in my bones that not too many weeks will have things going in my direction. (I think we need a crossed-fingers emoticon)

Another observation I will make is how impressed I was with the build quality of the Sigma 17-70mm lens. Side by side with the fancy DA* 16-50mm SDM Pentax lens, it was definitely ball-park, and better than the "lesser" Pentax lenses I saw (16-45 and 50mm f/1.4 prime).

I think it is the lens I will put on the K10D body, they did a BIG buy on them and at a price of $300 in the package, I think it is good buying for a good quality, versatile lens. Current fiscal constraints mean it might be quite a while before a DA* lens could enter the picure. You really need the pair such as rei_vilo has. What a fantastic kit he has there!

As for weather sealing of the K200D, Pentax maintains it is equivalent to the K10D, although using fewer elements with a different construction.
As the store I went to was next door to a food court, the possibilities are endless LOL.
It is something that is appealing about the Pentax product, although as you said in your review, ultimately you do need an appropriate lens to make the most of that, like the DA* lenses.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:07 pm 
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Bonsoir MU51CL,

Very interesting comparison between the K10D and the K200D :!:

About the K10D battery: I've never had a problem with since I'm using two tricks :)
  • The first one is I've always a second battery. The Pentax LI-50 goes for USD 50 but I get a compatible one built by Hama for USD 20.
  • The second one is more interesting: I put in my K10D a 2 GB SD-card, with capacity for approx 400 shots, close but lower than battery life (450~500 shots, depending on flash usage). So when my card is full, I know I may have a risk with the battery running empty. It has never failed.

In France, the K10D is sold with a lower price than the K200D, but the K200D is in short supply or unavailable.

Nice to hear from your final choice and your first pictures :wink:

_________________
--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:31 am 
Quick update:

Now that I have read these sage observations from Gordon and Rei with respect especially to my phobia :lol: about battery level, K10D it will be. I will just have to deal with it....

Having given some thought in another thread on grey imports and how they are priced, relative to ruling exchange rates when stock is brought into the country, I have an idea there is probably not a lot to be gained in waiting. That is, what stock Pentax brought into Australia of K10D was bought at whatever the rate was, and it owes them what it owes them.
So probably not a LOT of future in that.....
The Aussie dollar is strong at the moment and the price of the new K200D reflects it.

A secondary issue that meant I didn't reach for the wallet in the store yesterday was some indecision about lens choice.
As indicated in my earlier post, the Sigma 17-70 was the way I thought I would jump. Having searched the net extensively, I'm now firm on the idea that I will get a "proper" Pentax lens in the form of the 16-45 f/4 for my first walkabout lens.
A bit more money than the heavily discounted Sigma but it aligns better with a future telephoto zoom and also appears to be a lens with a better balance of qualities, especially better bokeh which is important to me, in spite of a bit less range.

What I did find, and re-inforces my decision to go Pentax was what I found at http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/en/special/digiichi/
in the form of Izumi Taniguchi's Photo Technique Workshop.

What a wonderful resource! Now 24 monthly chapters long, whilst it is biased towards Pentax cameras naturally, so much information on everything you ever wanted to know about maximising the benefits of an enthusiast DSLR, both technical and technique. Gave me a real warm fuzzy feeling about re-joining the Pentax Tribe :)
FYI I had a K1000 35mm film camera for many years.....

So yeah, I'm convinced and comfortable about it.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:21 am 
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Bonjour MU51CL,

Congratulations for your choice :)

Go for the K10D and enjoy :!:

_________________
--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:45 am 
Merci, rei_vilo :)

It is very satisfying when your choice is good for both head and heart.
There seems something more genuine about the Pentax "enthusiast" philosophy.

I must save a few more pennies but I am looking forward to the journey.
And thanks to you for the inspiration.
And to Gordon for the place to find it.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:40 pm 
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You're welcome :)

_________________
--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


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 Post subject: K10D
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:27 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Wales
Good evening

Good choice on the K10D - I have had mine over 6 months now and I am happier with it now than the day it arrived.

Oh yeah, I got it wet again yesterday, a common problem here in Wales - good job the camera can handle it.


Cheers

Stu.

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K10D + optimistic idiocy

My pic's - http://www.flickr.com/photos/10126769@N05/


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