The plastic finish is less than impressive and prone to scratching, especially around the right rim of the lens mount where fingernails can scrape along the body. Otherwise, the camera is well thought out with sensibly spaced buttons making it simple to change settings, and most needed controls situated either on the main mode dial, or via the function button. The handily positioned exposure compensation button also accesses the aperture control in manual mode, in conjunction with a rear command dial. but few of the core audience for this camera would probably use manual mode.
Pentax has continued with it’s menu improvements, with a similar though stripped down interface to that of the K20D, and as I mentioned, the naming of some menu items is much improved.
The autofocus is generally only let down by the standard kit lens. Investment in better lenses will improve the speed and sound of the AF which is noisy using the kit lens,
Image stabilisation performance varies, which is also dependent on the photographer, but I managed to shoot at slightly slower shutter speeds than I could without. There were several disappointing shots nevertheless, which other cameras could manage better.
The K200D produces nice punchy images with good exposure and pleasing results. I‘d say the K200D achieves brighter images than those of the K20D, struggling only with pictures with lots of sky, or tricky subjects, such as dominant highlights or shadows. This is where experience comes in and correction using spot metering or exposure compensation solved any problems. In particular, I found the ‘Bright’ setting in the Image menu to produce the best results.
Daylight and shade are well maintained by the auto white balance, with few tweaks needed to correct, and JPEGs always looking pleasant. Other lighting conditions are handled well, but sometimes need a little work to get the best out of them.
Noise control is impressive. Shooting up to ISO 1600 there’s little loss of quality and the K200D exceeded my expectations especially considering the high pixel count of the CCD.
However at 10MP we expect decent sharpness and plenty of detail capture. Images seldom look too digital, and plenty of smooth detail is captured, as opposed to unnatural looking digitally enhanced sharpness.
The handling of the K200D is very simple yet it maintains a reassuring, more professional build quality. Images are sure to please even the most critical photographer, with few serious problems bar slight underexposure on rare occaisions. There are plenty of features to keep beginners and advanced users happy, with the only major disappointment coming from the drive speed.
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