Recent posts have been all about the F550, but the K200d is still around. My Pentax kit of the recent past has mutated faster than .. well no analogy comes to mind, it's been that bad. Why is that? Long story..
The past two years have seen great chaos in our personal life, and it's been reflected in my camera gear. In early 2010 my Sony A200 and some Minolta lenses ruled, and our health was under control. I switched over to Pentax as a trial run, picking up a refurb K100d - and I liked it. About a month later my dream camera, the K-7, went on sale for a record-low price (back in the cashback days of yore) - exit K100, enter K-7. About that time my bride started experiencing strange medical symptoms and visiting specialists, but things felt like they were under control. While that was going on, however, I was learning the K-7 was not a great fit for me; it's very much a right-eye camera and I've been a left-eye VF viewer since the mid-70s.
After Thanksgiving 2010, medical issues became a big thing - therefore medical bills did too. Given my ambivalence toward the K-7 and our tightening belt, I let it go along with several nice lenses and picked up a K200d. It worked very well for me, though its low-light limitations were apparent. After a few months my wife's condition stabilized, which allowed me to look around for fresher options. At that point I found a barely-used k-x and grabbed it: farewell K200d (and strong weather resistance..). In too short a time I found a great deal on the k-r; I let the k-x go, a move I would later regret as the k-x fit my hands a smidge better for equal image quality. Although I was limiting myself to $50 bids on auction sites (most of the time), it's amazing just how many lenses $50 could buy in a tight economy - so the lens collection got large rather swiftly.
Then the medical issues returned with a vengeance, demanding fresh budget cuts - so farewell to almost all my PK gear, and welcome back to another gently-used K200d and kit lenses. A couple of bargain primes and a Rikenon zoom remained, but the kit is much smaller. And that's where I stand today, waiting a clearer medical signal & keeping a low profile on auction sites.
I reluctantly stretched the budget a bit when I found the F550exr for $175, as I knew that was about $80 below its typical price. I even tried to cancel the order, but it came - and now I'm glad I have it. The budget flexed that far but no further. Maybe in six months the budget will allow me to dream again.. but maybe not.
As to my next Pentax? Right now, that's a tough one. The obvious choice is the K-5, but my re-training to a right-eye shooter is still a work in progress. What I would choose above all is a weather-sealed k-x, or put another way a K200d with the 12Mpixel k-r sensor. Perhaps Ricoh/Pentax will choose to offer a sealed camera below the K-5, but I would not bet on that happening. Many Pentax users have asked for this (and a WR version of the 55-300!) but Hoya/Pentax was not interested. In the meantime the k200d will serve me well.