An entry-level DSLR featuring facets of its more advanced sibling – too good to be true?...
Pentax has kept the camera small, despite its tough credentials, making it ideal for both genders, and also as a travel camera. The dust and weatherproofing, combined with its light weight and AA batteries are sure to appeal to the backpacker or adventurer.
The plastic finish is less than impressive, though, and the camera is prone to scratching – especially around the right rim of the lens mount where the lack of purchase from the grip makes fingernails scrape along the body easily. As a finger-picking guitar player my nails are slightly longer than most men’s, so I imagine this may be a problem for women in particular.
Another niggle is the SD card slot, which is tight when reaching in to remove the card, a problem I remember on the original *ist. Unlike that camera, I didn’t have to resort to a pair of long-nosed pliers, but a snappy flick when pushing the card down to release the catch sorted the problem out.
The exposure compensation button also accesses the aperture control in manual mode, in conjunction with a rear dial. I prefer dual command dials for shutter and aperture, but few of the K200D’s core audience would probably use manual mode, so this is fine.
Pentax has continued its menu improvements with a similar, though stripped-down, interface to that of the K20D and, as I mentioned in its review, the naming of some menu items is much improved. Overall, the camera is well thought out and with well-placed buttons, making it simple to change settings, and most frequently needed controls situated either on the main mode dial, or via the function button.