Improving on the technology of the award winning K10D, the flagship Pentax K20D is the highest-resolution camera in the advanced photo enthusiast category and allows more experienced photographers, who demand complete control, to fully customize the camera. The most significant features in the K20D include:
- A newly-developed CMOS image sensor to bring out the optimum performance of Pentax interchangeable lenses. Featuring 14.6 effective megapixels and the latest noise-reduction technology, the sensor assures superb image quality.
- Custom Image functions that allow users to select between six preset options and further adjust image processing, including saturation, hue, contrast and sharpness. The K20D also offers an Expanded Dynamic Range function that allows users to gain more contrast and detail in bright settings.
- A Live View that allows users to see the full image area to confirm composition, focus status and lighting on the large, 2.7-inch LCD monitor. A grid display may be engaged to help assure the perfect arrangement of an image and Auto focus may be activated by simply pressing the AF button on the back of the camera. Further fine tuning of the image can be confirmed with the 4x or 8x zoom option.
- An improved Dust Reduction system that features the new Dust Alert function to pinpoint the exact location of dust particles for the photographer to remove.
- A weather and dust-resistant body that allow photographers to keep shooting even in harsh conditions.
- A PC sync socket for more advanced photographers who use studio lighting.
Pentax K20D Digital SLR Highlights
Newly Developed CMOS Image Sensor The Pentax K20D features a newly developed CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensor measuring 23.4 mm x 15.6 mm. In designing the K20D, Pentax made the significant transition to a higher resolution 14.6 megapixel sensor, rivaling the detail previously only found in images captured with 35mm film. This considerable gain offers 50 percent more resolution than 10 megapixel sensors, and 20 percent more resolution than 12 megapixel sensors. Pentax Imaging (a leading innovator in the imaging business) collaborated with Samsung Electronics (a market leader in developing and producing semiconductors) in the development of the 14.6 megapixel CMOS Sensor found in the Pentax K20D Digital SLR. The larger photo diode in the sensor gathers more light in a shorter time and therefore can respond more sensitively. As a result, the K20D is able to achieve higher sensitivity levels (up to 6400 in the expanded ISO mode). Also, there is a more direct light path to the pixels. Coupled with a high-performance imaging engine incorporating Pentax-original image-processing technologies programmed to yield natural, true-to-life images, the new model assures fine-detailed, rich-gradation images.
Pentax Original Shake Reduction mechanism The K20D is equipped with the Pentax-developed Shake Reduction mechanism, which reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions, such as shooting with a telephoto lens, shooting in low light conditions or at night without supplementary flash illumination, or using extended exposures for sunset scenes. This innovative mechanism offers outstanding compensation equivalent to approximately 2.5 to 4 shutter-speed steps. In addition, the lighter image sensor unit and refined data-control algorithm offer improved image stabilization over previous models. Pentax Shake Reduction is compatible with existing Pentax interchangeable lenses.*
* Lenses compatible with this mechanism are: Pentax K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount lenses, screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be applicable with certain lenses.
Large, 2.7-inch wide-view LCD monitor The K20D features a large 2.7 inch color LCD monitor. The wide-view design allows the photographer to view the monitor image from approximately 160 degrees both vertically and horizontally. Since it assures effortless image viewing from a diagonal position, it facilitates low- and high-angle shooting using the Live View function.
New Live View function The K20D features a Live View function that allows users to view an image on the LCD monitor during shooting. This feature is beneficial when the photographer moves his or her eye from the viewfinder in specialized applications, such as low and high-angle shooting, or when perfecting composition. The function also allows users to confirm the Shake-Reduction effect on the monitor while shooting.
High-performance, high-speed PRIME Imaging Engine The K20D incorporates the Pentax-original PRIME (Pentax Real IMage Engine). Designed exclusively for Pentax digital SLR cameras, the engine ensures well-balanced, true-to-life images with faithful color reproduction by efficiently controlling digital signals transmitted by the CMOS image sensor. It also allows complete control over other photographic factors including white balance and the new Custom Image functions. This imaging engine also features a Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2) memory to assure speedy image processing and high-speed data transfer.
Custom Image function The K20D is equipped with a new Custom Image function that lets the user select one of the six modes and adjust an image’s processing to their preference by automatically adjusting tone, saturation, contrast, and sharpness. These modes include Natural, Bright, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, and B&W image modes. The photographer can make further fine-tuned adjustments to each setting. The effect on each of the primary colors is shown in a radar-type display on the LCD panel. The user can easily see the effect of their adjustments by using the digital preview option.
Expanded Dynamic Range Function The K20D adds a dynamic-range expansion function, which allows the user to expand the dynamic range (or range of gradation reproduction) while retaining the proper contrast to avoid white-washed areas. With an approximately 1EV expansion effect, it assures beautiful, rich-gradation images.
Dust-proof, water-resistant construction The K20D boasts an extremely reliable weather-resistant and dust-proof construction with special seals applied to 72 different parts of the camera body, including the shutter release button and all the switches, levers, dials. This dependable body makes it possible to use the K20D in the rain or dusty locations without worries.
Comprehensive Dust Removal System With Prevention, Removal and Alerting Devices The K20D features the user-friendly Dust Removal system to prevent dust from sticking to the surface of the CMOS image sensor (or low-pass filter). The Pentax-original Super Protect (SP) coating, applied to the image sensor surface through vapor deposition of a fluorine compound, effectively prevents dust from sticking to the surface. In the next step, dust that may remain on the surface will be shaken off when the system shifts the image sensor at high speed. Finally, the dust that is shaken off the image sensor falls onto an adhesive strip positioned at the bottom of the unit, eliminating any possibility of the dust returning to the image sensor surface. This upgraded Dust Reduction system also offers a new Dust Alert function, which shows the user exactly where dust may be sticking to the sensor surface.
The K20D also features a versatile exposure system for faithful reproduction of creative intentions:
Hyper Program Function The K20D’s Hyper Program function allows users to instantly switch to the Shutter-Priority or Aperture-Priority AE mode from the Programmed AE mode with a simple turn of the electronic dials on the grip. To return to the Programmed AE mode, simply press the green button positioned next to the shutter release button.
Hyper Manual Function When shooting in Manual mode, one push of the green button allows the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject.
Sensitivity-Priority mode The K20D features a unique Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode designed to automatically select the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for a user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted instantly in 1/2 or 1/3 steps by turning the electronic dial on the back panel.
Shutter/Aperture-Priority mode Taking full advantage of the unique capability of digital cameras, which permit automatic shift of sensitivity at any time, the Shutter/Aperture-Priority (TAv) mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for a user-selected shutter-speed/aperture combination. This mode allows users to experiment with a greater range of photographic expressions with greater ease.
Bright, clear viewfinder Featuring a glass pentaprism, the K20D’s viewfinder offers an approximately 95 percent field of view and an approximately 0.95x magnification for easy viewing of the subject and effortless confirmation of focus and composition. Coupled with the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen, it delivers a large, bright subject image.
Continuous shooting at approximately three images per second To trace the movement of an active subject or capture a sequence of the subject’s expressions, the K20D offers a continuous shooting mode that allows the photographer to capture as many as 38 images in succession (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately three images (frames) per second. When switched to the new high-speed advance mode, the user may capture up to approximately 115 images at the speed of approximately 21 images per second.*
* The image size is fixed at 1.6 megapixels in the Burst Shooting mode.
High-precision 11-point wide-frame AF The K20D’s sophisticated SAFOX VIII autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors) to automatically focus on the subject with utmost precision, even when it is positioned off center. When the subject is captured in focus, the in-focus sensor point is automatically superimposed in red in the viewfinder for at-a-glance confirmation.
Powerful rechargeable batteries The K20D features large capacity Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which can capture approximately 740 images when fully charged. The dramatically improved battery capacity (over the previous K10D) is the result of a new energy saving design.
- A PC Sync socket for shooting with studio lights. The camera remains weather and dust sealed even when the PC socket cap is removed.
- Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications
- Reliable, durable shutter unit assuring more than 100,000 shutter releases
- High-rigidity stainless-steel chassis
- 36 custom functions to personalize camera operations
- Universal-type X-sync socket
- RAW button for single-action image-file switching
- Digital Preview for verifying camera settings
- Optional Battery Grip (D-BG2) for extended shooting sessions
- Nine digital filters to add creative and artistic touches
- In-body RAW data development for image filing in JPEG and TIFF formats
- Compatibility with SDM equipped lenses for quiet, extra-smooth autofocus operation
- Pentax PHOTO Laboratory 3, RAW data processing software, Pentax PHOTO Browser 3, browser software and Pentax REMOTE Assistant 3, camera control software, included on the accompanying CD-ROM
Good camera for general photography but fails for long exposure work!
I've been a serious Pentax photographer for over 20 years... so naturally, because of my investment in PK type lenses, I purchased one of the first K20D's as soon as it was available.
I should have waited!
Please understand, there is a reason for all these great reviews. It really is a good camera in many respects. However, if you have special requirements, such as long exposures (e.g. astrophotography), this is NOT the camera to purchase.
The K20D uses a new and jointly developed Samsung CMOS imager. Unfortunately, they have not worked out all the kinks... um... namely heat! As a result, the K20D produces a significant amount of noise (hot pixels) and this is why the K20D is the *ONLY* current DSLR camera that forces the user to endure an automatic DFS (Dark Frame Subtraction) for any length of exposure in Bulb mode (or any manual/automatic exposure greater than 15 seconds). This means that a 2 minute exposure is actually 4 minutes, a 30 minute exposure will take 1 hour, and so on...
If money is no object, consider Canon or Nikon. Canon is especially prized by astrophotographers as being the best DSLR for long exposures.
The other annoying problem is that the K20D is terribly slow (and even worse in low light) with auto focus! Again, Canon and Nikon do a much better job.
Other than two major complaints.... I echo the positive attributes spoken by others about this camera.
The K20D loses two stars (out of five) because of the forced DFS and high noise levels. Pentax almost made the perfect camera!
Smething Shakes Badly(?) Inside
Recieved my new K20D a few days back. as the camera moved in my hands i could hear something shaking inside.
i asked Amazon to replace it, they did it very fast, and the next one has the same problem.
i wonder: all K20D are like that?
mine was assembled in the Philippines.
your comments, please. thanks.
Best value on the market!
I got into photography through a Pentax SLR kit, and am returning to the Pentax fold after five years in the Canon wasteland. I couldn't be happier. Whether its the supportive and eccentric user community, the forty-plus years of compatible equipment on the market, or the high-quality, affordable lenses, Pentax people simply have more fun. Don't let your sunken costs deter you from making the switch. I sold off my Canon gear for about 80% of retail; plenty of people will pay a premium for Canon's middle-tier junk because some Anna Kournikova look-alike told them to. Now I have a premium camera and pro-level lenses to match, plus weather sealing and a camera body that's built to last.