What camera should you buy if you want the most value for under $200? It’s easy to recommend a discontinued or used DSLR camera in the Canon or Nikon lineup. And they are excellent cameras. Here’s an alternative that may help you to extend your tight camera budget even farther.
The Pentax K-X is a 12 megapixel DSLR that has in-body image stabilization (it works with all lenses), excellent image quality and can usually be found used in mint condition on eBay for well under $200 with the excellent kit lens. Pentax cameras have excellent build quality and performance, but they do not have the brand recognition of Canon and Nikon. Therefore, on the used market Pentax gear tends to depreciate more than its competition, offering better value for cheapskate gear buyers.
Here’s is what makes this a budget stretcher: You can use plenty of excellent older lenses (film era lenses) in the Pentax lineup that usually can be found on ebay for about $20 -$100. Pentax always had a reputation for making excellent lenses. Plus, the image stabilization feature of the Pentax K-X will work with any of the older lenses from the film era – sweet! That saves you quite a bit of money as you begin to purchase lenses. With Nikon and Canon, only their newer lenses have image stabilization (not their camera bodies) so you pay more for the lenses and cannot use that feature with older lenses.
I shot the photo above handheld with my Pentax K-X and a 40-year old Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm lens that I purchased used for $35 in mint condition. The Pentax K-X allows me to use image stabilization with this vintage lens for sharper images (in this image I used a wide aperture to blur the background).
It would make little sense to buy an inexpensive DSLR only to discover that available lenses are out of your budget. There are many excellent vintage lenses available for your Pentax DSLR that are outrageous bargains. Exceptional bargains can be had in excellent manual focusing lenses from the past 20-40 years that will work perfectly with your Pentax DSLR body.
The Pentax K-x can also shoot excellent 720p HD video. I personally purchased one on eBay for under $100 and I can say for a certainty that these are great cameras, fully the equal of Canon and Nikon. In fact, they use the same Sony sensors as Nikon. Plus, I love being able to buy very inexpensive used high-quality lenses that are generally much cheaper than Canon or Nikon equivalents. A cheapskate bargain!