Large and fairly hefty, the K200D is gunning for enthusiast photographers. The size of the body is put to good use, though. You get a top-mounted LCD panel showing shot settings and battery status. There’s also integrated optical image stabilisation. And, if you like giving your gear a hammering, all controls are sealed to make them splash- and dust-resistant.
For a camera aimed at advanced users, the surprising part about the K200D is its relative lack of dedicated buttons for changing common settings. There’s no AF-point selector button, no ISO button and no metering-mode button, making trips into the menu system more common than we’d like. Strangely, there’s a dedicated button to toggle between RAW and JPEG mode.
One neat touch is the depth-of-field preview integrated into the power switch around the shutter, making it easy to flick on without looking. Set the mode dial to Scene and dig into the K200D’s menus and you’ll find modes with names such as Pet, Food and Candlelight, which are unlikely to be used by most enthusiasts.
Perhaps the biggest oddity, and one that hugely polarises opinion, is the fact the K200D takes four standard AA batteries. The upside is their availability anywhere in the world; the down is their high weight for a given capacity compared to proprietary lithium-ion batteries, and the need to be relatively careful with their charging to avoid reduced life. Two sets of non-rechargeable lithium AAs are supplied – you’ll need to fork out extra for a set of rechargeable NiMH cells plus charger.
The 18-55mm kit lens is surprisingly good, with reasonable sharpness and few chromatic aberrations. Dynamic range from the sensor looks slightly limited, though, with more tendency to clip highlights than the best here, although noise performance is very good.
The K200D is a difficult camera to peg down. It’s capable, but some features seem to be there just to be different rather than because they make sense. If you’re a Pentax enthusiast with lots of K-mount lenses, you’ll no doubt learn to love it. But newcomers will be better served by the Sony or Canon winners.
This Review appeared in the December, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing