The latest entry level model from Pentax is the K200D, replacing last years K100D Super. Rather than being a complete new camera the K200D is more an upgrade, but is not without some interesting and very useful features. Not least amongst these is the weatherproof body with image stabilisation built-in. Featuring some of the technology from the recent K20D, Pentax has brought its entry-level range bang up to date to compete with some of its more popular rivals.
The major upgrade to the camera is of course its 10.2MP CCD backed up with the PRIME image processor, as seen on the semi-pro K20D. This promises improved processing and low noise, but the K200D offers a rather disappointing burst speed of 2.8 fps over just 4 JPEGs or Raw files. In low continuous shooting mode the camera maintains 1.1 fps until the SD card is full, which is slow in comparison to even older models.
Pentax is offering something genuinely new to the entry level market in the cameras build. With over 60 seals to prevent dust and moisture entering the camera, it could be the perfect lightweight model for more hostile environments such as the beach or ski slope. Combined with the easy-to-buy AA batteries for power, the K200D may well be worth considering if you travel a lot, or are planning a backpacking trip, as the need to carry chargers and find power points is eliminated.
The new model has a larger LCD than previous models, now up to 2.7 inch LCD, keeping it in line with its competitors, though not the largest, while the new Dynamic Range Enlargement feature is also something we've seen in Nikon and Sony models for example.
Another addition that brings the K200D up to speed with its rivals is the Dust Detect feature that allows you to check the sensor for dust by taking a picture of a white wall or piece of paper and seeing a high-contrast lithograph-type image on the LCD. The sensor can then be cleaned if necessary.