Pentax K2000 review: Pentax K2000

The LCD is fine--no better or worse than anyone else's--but the viewfinder is very nice for this class. Though the guidelines don't light up, the viewfinder is relatively big and bright and the focus lock indicator is close to the middle of the bottom LED readout rather than on the edge of your peripheral vision. However, it doesn't display individual focus points or areas because the K2000 limits you to one of two options: wide-area AF or single center point focus.

One of the fastest entry-level dSLRs we've tested, the K2000 can keep up the pace because of a surprisingly zippy autofocus system--despite only having five AF points. It takes a bit longer to power on and shoot than the competition, though it's still only 0.7 second. Focusing and shooting in good light clocks a mere 0.2 second, and in dim light that increases to just 0.5 second. It typically takes 0.5 second for two consecutive shots, though enabling the on-camera flash slows it down to 1.1 seconds, which is on the high side for a dSLR. Its continuous shooting is the only real disappointment; though it can burst for 3.3fps, it can only do so for about five shots before it slows significantly. A longer sustained burst is more like 1.1fps.

Out of the box, I'd have to rate the K2000 photos as mediocre. Pentax uses a default setting of Bright Custom Image for its JPEGs, which boosts the contrast and sharpness and renders some of the worst colors I've seen, plus it exacerbates noise at even medium ISO sensitivities and clips highlight and shadow detail. (Every manufacturer uses some boosted settings to provide more vivid, consumer-friendly photos for its entry-level dSLRs. These go too far.)

However, if you switch to Natural or shoot raw (it supports both Adobe DNG and Pentax PEF), the photos look much better--quite good, for that matter. While you should probably stick with ISO 400 and below for general shooting, I found photos generally usable as high as ISO 1,600, depending upon output size and content. The metering system does a good job, even in challenging high-contrast lighting, and the camera displays a reasonable dynamic range for its class. Though the kit lens can focus pretty closely, which I really like, I couldn't get very sharp images out of the body.

If you're a longtime Pentax shooter with a shelf full of lenses, a cheap K2000 body is a good way to finally move to digital; they should all be compatible, albeit with limitations depending upon the lens. (Check the manual for specifics about compatible functions.) With its aggressive price, as long as you're flexible and intrepid enough to play with the settings before shooting, the Pentax K2000 is a pretty good option.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Raw shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim light)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Pentax K2000
0.7 
0.5 
0.5 
0.2 
Sony Alpha DSLR-A200
0.5 
0.6 
1.2 
0.3 
Nikon D60
0.4 
0.5 
0.7 
0.4 
Canon EOS Rebel XS
0.2 
0.7 
0.8 
0.4 
Pentax K200D
0.2 
0.5 
1.3 
0.4 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Pentax K2000
3.3 
Nikon D60
2.8 

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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