Pentax K20D digital system camera
I have put the bar quite high for the Pentax K20D. It should surpass the K10D, a camera that I like a lot. Luckily Pentax have not let me down. The best of the K10D has been preserved, and Pentax have added some nice extras. The basic concept is outstanding; a solid, weatherproof, affordable DSLR camera offering possibilities and specifications that also meet the requirements of the demanding photographer.
Pentax K20D incorporates a 14 Megapixel CMOS sensor
14 Megapixels suffice greatly to print large prints full of details. I don't care so much about the extra pixels; even the 10MP of the K10D will get you quite far. The sensor used this time is a CMOS type sensor, which is gradually becoming more common. However, considering the experiences with other CMOS sensors and the quality Pentax got out of the last CCD, the quality is somewhat disappointing this time. The good news is that as far as noise is concerned, it did not diminish compared to its predecessor, even with more pixels on the sensor. However, the quality hasn't increased either and that is a real pity. Pentax are definitely exceeded by several other brands.
Dynamic range and Sensitivity of the Pentax K20D
Maybe I put the bar too high. The Pentax K20D does deliver outstanding pictures. I have no remarks up to and including ISO 400, higher than ISO 400 noise plays a bigger role. The dynamic range is beautiful, colour reproduction is pleasant and a lot can be gained using RAW. If there's any criticism at all on the K20D, it is the structure of the buttons and the menu. It is too disorderly and too opaque in my opinion. Unfortunately Pentax left it untouched compared to the K10D. Hopefully, it will be better next time. And if they're working on that, they might as well take a second look at Live View. The way Pentax implemented it, doesn't work that well.
Sensitivity priority and Hyper program
Nevertheless, the Pentax K20D has yet again conquered my heart. Mainly because the camera is developed, just as the K10D, with the photographer in mind. The clever exposure programs, such as the Sensitivity priority, are really well thought-through. A photographer really benefits from these. And I am thrilled about the Hyper program. Working in manual mode has never been easier. Press the Green button once and the camera will help you with the light metering.
Pentax K20D SLR camera with a surplus value
Another very helpful function is the fact that you as a user have the control over how the camera calculates the aperture and shutter speed. It seems a gimmick, but it simply makes you the boss of the camera. And that's the way it should be. Excellent image stabilization, dust reduction that lets you check where potential dust is found and the ability of calibration of the auto focus are features that give the Pentax K20D an absolute surplus value.
Pentax K20D a recommended SLR camera!
The fact that I am enamored with the Pentax K20D might have something to do with emotions rather than strong arguments. Sometimes your feelings have to prevail over the facts. Certainly the pancakes together with the Pentax K20D digital SLR form a combination that is by no means to be sneezed at. Small, speedy and good quality. The minor flaws you have to take for granted. And the smart functions that no other brand but Pentax offers, are the real plus points. Hopefully before long we will spot more Pentax DSLR cameras in the streets; the Pentax K20D certainly deserves it!
JPEG & RAW shooting with the Pentax K20D
The Pentax K20D allows you to shoot in RAW as well as in RAW+JPEG. You have the choice between several JPEG modes and, uniquely, also from two types of RAW. The format of Pentax called PEF is around 2 to 3 MB smaller than DNG. The only advantage of DNG is that there are more programs available for processing DNG than there are for PEF. Pentax also deliver an excellent converter.
Pentax K20D supports SDHC memory cards
The Pentax K20D has more pixels than the K10D. And more pixels means more memory. Of course the camera also supports the SDHC memory cards, so you can insert sufficient memory into the camera. The files are huge, you shouldn't economize on the memory cards, and I'd go for at least a 2GB memory card. The table below shows how many pictures will fit on that type of card.
Considering 2GB of storage capacity:
RAW (PEF) - 4672x3104 pixels - 82 pictures
RAW (DNG) - 4672x3104 pixels - 82 pictures
JPEG - Premium - 4672x3104 pixels - 138 pictures
JPEG - Best - 4672x3104 pixels - 239 pictures
JPEG - Good - 4672x3104 pixels - 429 pictures
JPEG - Standard - 4672x3104 pixels - 830 pictures
JPEG - Premium - 3872x2592 pixels - 206 pictures
JPEG - Best - 3872x2592 pixels - 343 pictures
JPEG - Good - 3872x2592 pixels - 602 pictures
JPEG - Standard - 3872x2592 pixels - 1254 pictures
JPEG - Premium - 3008x2000 pixels - 359 pictures
JPEG - Best - 3008x2000 pixels - 579 pictures
JPEG - Good - 3008x2000 pixels - 991 pictures
JPEG - Standard - 3008x2000 pixels - 1862 pictures
JPEG - Premium - 1824x1216 pixels - 931 pictures
JPEG - Best - 1824x1216 pixels - 1499 pictures
JPEG - Good - 1824x1216 pixels - 2458 pictures
JPEG - Standard - 1824x1216 pixels - 4390 pictures