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spysty1e 08-10-2011 03:18 PM

My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
I recently wanted to buy a new camera, my Nikon D200 had 85k actuations and I didn't have a backup for it, it made me worry LOL ... even though it will probably go to 150k.

So I was all over the place trying to decide what to buy, and I decided to go with a weather resistant Pentax K200d and weather resistant 18-55mm lens. My D200 was actually weather sealed, but not the lenses.

For me, having a "weather resistant" camera and lens really changes my feelings - I take the camera out more, I am less scared for it ! My daughter and I don't melt when we go out in the rain, we carry umbrellas but we aren't scared - so why should I be so afraid for my camera ?

I find myself bring it out all the time, where I used to leave my "big" camera at home, I always brought out my pocket camera, now I bring both.

Sometimes a technology comes along that changes the conversation - Weather resistant cameras and lenses are such a technology :)

Here is a photo I made with my pocket camera while my Nikon D40 was in the car :

2011 February 05 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

... it was a wicked blizzard that made for interesting shots. But I was too worried to bring my real camera out so it stayed in the car.

Next time I'll have this :

It's something to think about :) Cameras you can take out in crazy weather !


Pentax doesn't seem to get the recognition they deserve.

The K200d got very high marks from Dpreview. It seems Ken Rockwell p1sses on Pentax, and that's sad because I find his not-brand-specific articles to be very helpful. Dx0 is also suspect for giving Pentax lower scores than they deserve. I think outdoor photographers should be very excited about Pentax weather resistant bodies and lenses. I think people should appreciate that Pentax takes innovative risks and introduces odd products rather than just releasing the same thing over and over.


Going from Nikon to Pentax (again LOL), my observations

Going from a high end Nikon (d200) to a mid Pentax (k200d), circa 2005 and 2008 respectively, I have a pretty good idea of the strengths and weaknesses. I also used Nikon D40 and Pentax K-X, Nikon EM and Pentax P3n, and I tried the little Pentax K2000. I find that Pentax is just as good as Nikon except for the silent motor in the lenses (called Nikon AF-S). But the silent motor was really from Canon originally (called Canon EF). Pentax is still using the equivalent of Nikon AF (called screw motor). Besides this motor in the lens I find Pentax to be as good as Nikon.

If the missing silent motor is a real deal breaker for you, Pentax can use Sigma HSM lenses, which have a silent motor in them.


Pentax has better backwards compatibility than Nikon.

All of Pentax cameras can use all of Pentax lenses. For example the entry level Pentax K2000 can meter all K-mount lenses since 1975, and adds vibration reduction to the lenses. It can also used M42 lenses since 1949 with an inexpensive adapter. All autofocus lenses (called K-af) are completely compatible, and were introduced in 1987.

Entry level Nikon D40 can only auto-focus "AF-S" lenses, introduced in 1996. It can meter with AF lenses (introduced 1986) but must manually focus. It can not meter any lenses made prior to 1986. Those lenses must be metered manually and focused manually.

So the entry level Pentax camera has a much wider range of lenses to choose from than the entry level Nikon camera. Nikon has a sinister history of making it's previous lenses obsolete - but as a slap in the face to it's entry level users Nikon gives full backwards compatibility to it's high end cameras. This was a point of contention for me when I was using Nikon D40, but not when I was using Nikon D200.


And here is my review of the K200d if anyone cares :

Well I received in the mail the K200D body, the 18-55 WR lens, and D-BG3 battery grip. It's all very nice.

(the actual eBay ad photos are posted above)

I find the build quality of the 3 items to be excellent.

1. Body : The K200D is very nice

Viewfinder - The viewfinder is nice in an "entry level" way, it is smaller than the Nikon D200 but larger than the Nikon D40 (according to

Build - The build quality is excellent. It's solid but not especially heavy. Because it is weather sealed the AF is quiet.

Startup - It starts quickly, I don't need to leave it "on" all the time for fear of missing a shot.

ISO - The ISO range is very limited for this time (July 2011), a range of 100-1600 would be a hard sell to some. But I use "strobist" flash or fast lenses so it's not a big deal for me. The range of ISO is like Nikon's D50 in 2005, but with the addition of ISO 100. I will probably find ISO 100 more useful than I would have found ISO 3200. This camera was released Q4 2008, and it has the K10D's image sensor of Q4 2006. So a sensor from 2006 would explain the limited ISO range.

Camera's controls - the controls and screen are pretty easy to navigate, while dedicated buttons for aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, would have been nice; they are easy enough to change using the back and top LCD.

Camera's grip - It's easy for me to grip, I am a tall fella with big hands. I could use the camera one-handed if I had to (like holding an accessory for a few shots). My daughter is 13 years old and smaller, she also finds the grip comfortable.

Shutter sound - to my ears the shutter sounds very quiet Probably due to the body being weather sealed.

Image quality - According to snapsort the image quality is comparable to Nikon D80, August 9, 2006 (DX midrange), and Nikon D40X, March 6, 2007 (DX, entry level). Which is reasonable as the sensor is from Q4 2006. I find the image quality to be similar to the D200 I recently sold. I like it just fine, good quality 10 megapixel images, there is room for cropping.

File sizes - Curiously the 10 MP JPEG and RAW files are about 20% larger than the ones from 10 MP Nikon D200

Weather sealed - this is so amazing, it's not to be overlooked. If more photographers could "transcend brands" they'd have no reason not to buy a weather sealed camera and lens from Pentax. While Nikon has some weather sealed bodies, it makes more sense to have a weather sealed lens attached to it LOL. I am not aware of any other dSLR manufacturers who cater to the aqua-phobics. I was shooting an equestrian event once with my Nikon D40, it began to rain and I had to leave because I didn't have an umbrella. My camera got a little wet and I was very nervous. Now I can really go shooting in any weather, it's quite empowering

2. "WR" Lens : I have previously owned the 18-55 "DAL" entry level lens, and this 18-55 "WR" lens has a noticeably nicer build quality, including manual focus override and a manual focus distance scale. The plastic barrels that make up the outside of the lens, and rotate, are all precise. And the rubber grip is attached precisely. The build quality is inspiring for a plastic lens. And as a weather sealed lens it's very quiet to focus.

3. The D-BG3 battery grip is nice too, it also has weather sealing, and it doubles the number of batteries for the camera. Four AA becomes eight AA. It has a shutter release button that can be turned on and off. It also has a "AE-L" button. The battery grip is not especially big but, in my estimation, adds just enough surface area to the K200D to balance a large lens and / or large flash.

So that's my review of the kit I like it just fine.

I also tested the K200D with manual focus lenses and manual flashes, it all works well, quick and responsive.

korman 08-13-2011 06:46 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)

Originally Posted by spysty1e (Post 1347809)
File sizes - Curiously the 10 MP JPEG and RAW files are about 20% larger than the ones from 10 MP Nikon D200

The Pentax uses less compression on the JPEG data than the Nikon. As to the raw files, they're a different format and the Nikon format is compresses them better, it seems. All that really counts is whether the resulting image quality is good enough for what you need it.


mod edit:

Pentax rawfiles are in two tastes , the dng file recognized by adobe and the pef by the pentax software

Dirk 08-14-2011 05:36 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Craig , congrats on the k200d it is not far different from my k10d (wich is a pro camera too like the D200) i am looking to get a pentax wr lens too

spysty1e 08-14-2011 10:09 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Rock on Dirk :)

I really don't think Pentax gets the recognition they deserve :)

Tinstafl 08-14-2011 11:50 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Interesting. I have a bunch of old M42 mount lenses. I am looking though at the MF offering and think that too does not get the recognition it deserves but then again I hope it stays under the radar so I can get one before they raise the prices too much.

spysty1e 08-14-2011 01:25 PM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
In my opinion, manual focus lenses on auto focus bodies gets old quick. The big viewfinder in a Pentax K1000 SE film SLR, with the split prism focus screen, makes manually focusing quick and easy. But the little "keyhole" finders we get in APS-C DSLR's are quite a different experience.

I like manual focus lenses on film bodies all the time, or on DSLR's when the light is good and the setting is casual, but I'd hate to shoot an event with manual lenses on a DSLR.

I bought a complete auto focus 3 lens set for this K200d : 18~55 WR, 50~200 DAL, and 50/1.4 FA

... But I have to admit I bought a Sears 135/2.8 manual focus lens for joy :)

That's my 2 cents about shooting manual focus lenses on APS-C DSLR's LOL (so many acronyms!!!)

Of course you can still shoot film, or buy a full frame DSLR. Dpreview claims that Nikon D200, despite being an APS-C DSLR, has a nice viewfinder for manual focus but it can't use M42 lenses straight. Canon can use M42 lenses. The new "mirror-less" detachable lens cameras can use their relatively large LCDs for manual focus. I think Olympus 4/3 DSLR can use the LCD for manually focusing M42 lenses...

If I was going to shoot manual focus lenses digitally, I'd certainly take a close look at one of those mirror-less things, they can even use C-mount lenses. When I go to the bank drive-through I see absurd lenses in their security cameras, like 12mm f/1.2 and such, these are the type of lenses you'll find in C-mount. These cameras can also use nearly all the old lenses like FD mount and MD and Leica and everything. The problem with those cameras is the sensors are so tiny, that's what enables them to use obscure lenses. When sensors get small noise goes up and dynamic range goes down.

So I'd take a medium format digital over a mirror-less, but the price for medium format digital starts at about $5k (Mamiya 645AFD). So I guess I'll stay with AF APS-C for now. It's a good balance between sensor size and price.

Keep us posted :) Those M42 lenses are little gems!

Dirk 09-08-2011 10:13 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Craig :

the D200 will do 150.000 and after that you may need a new sensor but it is worth the cost since it is such a good camera.

the pentax may be better with your gems .. i challenge you to a nikon d200 and pentax k200d .
You have 2 weeks to post the best images in this thread

After that time a poll will be posted to vote

price: karma for the best shot


spysty1e 09-08-2011 11:51 PM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Howdy Dirk :)

I was working on a cabinet project and taking pics to document. Shooting all manual with manual flash (I like the Sunpak auto zoom 933).

I shot the project with the D200, then after with the K200d, the pics seem the same.

I'll see if I can find some good pics with both to compare, but I feel they are really practically the same.

The weather sealing is a big deal to me though. I have this idea that certain technologies are real game changers, weather sealed bodies and lenses should get more attention.

It extends beyond shooting in the rain, it's for shooting in sandstorms (military photographers could use it), snowstorms, or simply while shooting at the beach of the pool.

The camera with lens is as tough as I am, I can get a little wet it won't kill me, but my beloved D40 would have been in big trouble if rain got on it. I had to protect it even more than I protect my child ! That was weird. My child can get a little rain and I don't freak out but I have to bundle my camera up as if it's made of paper, phooey!

Now I have a good rugged camera and lens that can go out in nasty weather, and I can pay more attention to what's important.

Really now that I have a weather proof system I do not look forward to going back. But I am rather unusual, I like to go out at night and in bad weather, I'd love to go to Alaska and that sort of thing. Places that are rough on cameras produce scenes that are interesting :)

Unfortunately , I don't think anything can save Pentax. Even such an amazing technology they will always be an underdog, LOL

But until they go under I am enjoying my K200d with WR lens :)

I am not afraid to speak highly of Nikon, I do not have brand obsession, they make good cameras. The D200 was heavy, but otherwise was a masterpiece, it has a viewfinder that is too big to be APS-C (!!!). And I used the Nikon D40 to make most of my best pics when I was learning the basics. The metering and colors in both cameras was fantastic, especially in RAW. The D40 had a lot of limitations, the D200 had none but was heavy.

I miss Nikon's metering and am still getting used to Pentax metering.

I like Nikon manual focus film SLR bodies and lenses so much, they are like mechanical jewels.

But back to digital :

I used Canon too but found their entry level cameras too flimsy - I wouldn't want to drop one from any height LOL. I also tried the Canon 10d (not entry level) and was very nice for it's time.

I used Fuji dSLR and liked their color palette best. I miss it ! Otherwise they are like Nikon semi-pro cameras.

But I am sticking with Pentax simply because of the weather sealing. It's a big deal to me :) I also don't mind supporting an underdog. The cameras and lenses are good quality too, they are not lacking in any way except perhaps marketing ?

Have fun!

Dirk 09-09-2011 02:53 AM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
howdy too Craig!

if i am not mistaken the Nikon D200 is weather sealed also , but only a few nikon lenses have the same seals.

True the viewfinder of the D200 is huge , lately i use it with the mb200 battery grip that is adding extra weight

here a a few from mine comparisson of the k10d and the D200
i experience the same like you metering is different it also is how you tweak the camera , i find nikons menu more easier than pentax menu to use
D200 and 18-105 dx ed vr
D200 and 18-105 dx ed vr
pentax K10D and 18-55 smc
Pentax K10D and 18-55 smc
D200 and 18-105 dx ed vr
Pentax k10d and 18-55 smc

spysty1e 09-16-2011 02:45 PM

Re: My weather resistant Pentax - I take it out much more :)
Rock on Dirk :)

I am not super technical, but I think I've read the K10d and D200 have the same sensor, called "ICX493AQA".

Maybe the D80 and K200d also have the same sensor ?

Sony - it's what we unknowingly shoot LOL

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