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Pentax K200D Gordon Laing, July 2008

Pentax K200D results :
Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

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Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi
Pentax K200D vs Canon EOS 450D / XSi vs Olympus E-520 outdoor scene

To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Pentax K200D, Canon EOS 450D / XSi and Olympus E-520 within a few moments of each other using their Aperture Priority modes, best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings. The lenses on each camera were set to f8 and adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view - see note below.

The E-520 was fitted with the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm, the Canon with the EF-S 18-55mm IS and the Pentax with the DA 18-250mm; note this was the only lens Pentax had available for our review.

The image above was taken with the Pentax K200D with the DA 18-250mm lens at 25mm f8 and a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original *** 10M JPEG measured 4.12MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, centre, lower right and lower left portions of the originals and presented here at 100%.

Note: The Olympus E-520, like all Four Thirds DSLRs, captures images with a 4:3 aspect ratio that's narrower than the 3:2 aspect ratio of most DSLRs including both the Canon and Pentax models here. In this test we adjusted each lens to deliver the same vertical field of view, so we're not using the full width of the Canon and Pentax images. As such, the 450D / XSi and K200D are only using 10.8 and 8.9 of their total Megapixels here respectively.

Also note all three cameras were using the same 1/200 shutter speed under the same lighting conditions. This was the metered exposure for the Olympus and Canon bodies, but required +0.3 EV compensation from the K200D.

These days we often have to pixel-peep to spot much difference between cameras, but the crops below show the K200D delivering a considerably different result to the Canon 450D / XSi and the Olympus E-520 - and remember all three shared the same exposure and lighting conditions. First of all, the Pentax DA 18-250mm lens supplied for this test is performing much better than the kit lenses of the other two bodies, especially in the corners. We'd like to have tested the K200D with the more typical DA 18-55mm, but the DA 18-250mm was the only lens Pentax could supply for our review. That said, super-zooms are often optically compromised in favour of their long focal range, but there's clearly little to complain about on this model. As also seen on our Pentax K20D review, the DA 18-250mm is capable of delivering very sharp results across the frame when other lenses can become quite soft.

Beyond superior optics though, what you're seeing below is also the result of a quite different image processing strategy. While the Canon and Olympus bodies are being quite refrained, the K200D is going all-out to deliver punchy, consumer-friendly images with everything turned-up several notches; you might like the effect, but we'd say Pentax has arguably gone a little too far. Certainly it's possible to achieve a similar effect with the other cameras by boosting their settings, and you can of course tone down the K200D if you prefer. But you can't sharpen a lens which is soft in the corners, and in this respect the Pentax DA 18-250mm certainly has an advantage over the other two lens and body combinations tested here.

To see the K200D in a different light, scroll down to the bottom of the page where we've compared an in-camera JPEG against a RAW file. The result is far more refrained, yet more detailed. Or if you're ready for some figures, head straight over to our studio tests in the K200D resolution page.

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Pentax K200D
with Pentax DA 18-250mm

Canon EOS 450D / XSi
with Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS
Olympus E-520
with Zuiko Digital 14-42mm
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO


Pentax K200D: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed the scene here in RAW (DNG) + *** 10M JPEG mode and have presented crops below from each file for comparison. The RAW file was converted using Adobe Camera RAW using the 'As Shot' settings, then exported to Photoshop in 16 bits. This was then reduced to 8 bits and processed the same way as the original JPEG for presentation here.

There's a noticeable difference in the crops below: the processed RAW file looks more natural while additionally containing finer details - indeed the JPEG looks quite fuzzy and artificial in comparison. While there's still some processing artefacts on the RAW crop, the result is much preferable overall. On the next page you'll also see just how much extra detail the K200D's RAW files contain over the default in-camera JPEGs.

Now to see how the camera performed under studio conditions, check out our Pentax K200D resolution results.

Pentax K200D JPEG
with Pentax DA 18-250mm
Pentax K200D RAW
with Pentax DA 18-250mm
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Pentax K200D results continued...

Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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