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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.

The K200D's color response was very similar to that of previous Pentax digital SLR's. The image output in the default 'Bright' image tone is quite highly saturated (vivid), as can also be seen earlier in this review. Switching to the Natural tone calms color saturation to more typical levels (compared to other digital SLRs).

Pentax K200D Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
BrightNaturalPortraitLandscape
VibrantMonochromeAdobeRGB

Artificial light White Balance

The K200D's automatic white balance is pretty much the same as most other digital SLRs, which means it works perfectly well in natural light, it's poor in incandescent (or tungsten) light and better in fluorescent light. On the plus side the K200D's incandescent white balance presets perform better than most and deliver excellent results. For perfectionists and/or difficult lighting situations there is also a custom white balance setting and the option to fine-tune all presets.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 14.2%, Blue: -23.7%, Poor
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: -0.3%, Blue: 1.6%, Excellent
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: 4.0%, Blue: -11.8%, Average
Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red: -0.4%, Blue:-1.2%, Excellent

Long Exposure noise reduction / Night shots

Using the K200D without noise reduction for a typical thirty second exposure will lead to a fairly large number of 'hot pixels' dotted all over the image, just as we saw it on the K100D. However, in our test scenario long exposure noise reduction removed virtually all of those, luckily not leaving any black spots instead.

Noise reduction Off Noise reduction On
ISO 100, 30 sec, F11 ISO 100, 30 sec, F11
(Brightness boosted for clarity) (Brightness boosted for clarity)

Flash

The built-in flash performs well with good exposure in both our portrait and the test charts. There are no signs of a color cast or white balance issues either.

Built-in flash Built-in flash

Overall Image Quality / Specifics

The quality of the K200D's JPEG output has lead to some raised eyebrows in the office. In its default settings the Pentax applies some quite aggressive sharpening to its JPEGs. This results in images that show visible sharpening artifacts and jagged diagonals but not necessarily a great amount of detail. We came to the conclusion that Pentax is not using particularly adequate parameters for its in-camera sharpening. If you shoot in RAW and do some careful processing yourself you'll be very pleasantly surprised when you see what the camera is actually capable of.

The image below was shot in RAW+JPEG. The RAW file was processed in ACR with default settings, only 'Detail' was increased to 80. The result is a pin-sharp, much cleaner image that also shows visibly more detail (check the roof tiles on the first crop). As a welcome side effect you also get a slightly more natural looking lawn.

Admittedly you need to zoom in 100% view to see the difference. I have taken almost 1000 pictures during the course of this review and on-screen most of them are pleasant to look at with consumer-friendly (maybe slightly too saturated) colors and could be sent to the printers straight from your memory card. However, if you want to get the maximum out of the Pentax K200D you have no other choice but to shoot RAW and process manually.

JPEG out of camera ACR default, detail 80
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