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Old Feb 28, 2008, 12:46 AM   #1
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Bel Air Camera got a stock of K20 cameras in yesterday, so I had an interesting lunch checking out their demo model. Just a few unscientific personal observations, based on a few minutes in a camera store:

It's the same size and weight as the K10 - it's supposed to be 1 ounce heavier but I didn't notice it. For all intents and purposes, it works much like my K10.

Recently it seems like the AF on my K10 hasn't been consistent. Up until yesterday I thought it was pretty consistently backfocusing with the DA*50-135, but I managed to get a good focus on almost all of my hummingbird pictures, as it was flitting around a blossoming cherry tree. My K10 will also hunt a bit with the DA 12-24 for some reason. My first reaction with the K20 is that it is faster because it doesn't seem to hunt as much. That could be my particular K10 having problems, I don't know. I did try the camera store's 16-45 (nice lens), and my own 12-24 and DA 50-135. I didn't take any pictures with the K10 and the store's lens, but with my own two lenses, I had more confidence in the K20 than in my camera.

I'm just not any good at taking direct comparison shots - there's always some camera setting that just isn't quite set the same. Today it was the metering mode - the store's K20 was set to matrix, and I still had the K10 set for spot (what I use mostly when shooting flowers). I didn't notice that until later, when I realized that the K10 shots were often over-exposed.

I've never used the K10's capability for setting user settings. I didn't think to see how the K20 was set (duh!) and noticed that the ISO kept resetting itself whenever I turned off the camera. Then I noticed that it was on user setting, not P. I think I might start using it more - it's a way to get the camera to go to a baseline settings that I like, because I only too often forget to change things back to how I like them. That's something I think I might start using.

I wasn't at all interested in the live preview - I know I can't line up vertical or horizonal lines using the LCD, and I'm not as able to hold the camera steady when it's at arm's length. However, the salesman demonstrated how it worked, and seeing the brackets on the LCD while you are setting things up could be useful in certain situations. It might be more useful than I had originally thought (though I still won't use it much).

My K10 is one of those thatis subject tosignificant vertical banding at higher ISOs. But it wasn't anywhere to be found today since the pictures tended to be overexposed. So the pictures aren't good for comparison. If you are interested in more of them, I put some resized and 100% crop examples up at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p29208270...EE2D#657190445and if anyone is interested, I can post the full sized jpg files there, too - let me know because I haven't yet. Unless otherwise indicated all pictures are straight from the camera jpg images, either resized or cropped. If the title includes the word "neat" in it, I ran it through Neat Image and then used some USM in CS2 to compensate.

K10, ISO 1600, full frame, resized.


K20, ISO 3200, full frame resized:


K10, 100% crop of above picture:


K20, 100% crop, ISO 3200 after being run through Neat Image (65% Luminance channel, 75% Chrominance channel - I try to keep my noise reduction fairly low).


If you look at the exif information, these were taken at different focal lengths, slightly different angles/location, but both with the DA 12-24.

K10, DA*50-135, ISO 1600 (darn the spot metering - it metered off of the black camera!), full frame/resized, 135mm:


K20, DA*50-135, full frame, matrix metering, ISO 1600:


K10, same picture, 100% crop (should have cropped a little closer so it wasn't so large):


K20, 100% crop, ISO 1600:


My initial reaction to the pictures is that I wouldn't want to use ISO 3200 for 100% crops (i.e. macro shots), since the noise is significant, and you lose enough detail with Neat Image that it would bother me. However, if I were going to be resizing the picture down at all, I'd probably not bother too much with noise reduction. Second, ISO 1600 seemed quite useable - far more so than with the K10 (unless you overexpose, like I did here). I didn't see any of my K10's banding in any of the 100% crops, even at 3200 (I posted some more in the album I liked to above).

They've changed where some things are located - they've put more things under the fn button that used to be in the menus. I think it'll be easier to change some values, but would take getting used to.

I didn't find anything in my 10-15 minutes playing around with it to discourage me from wanting to upgrade my K10 - resolution/sharpness is excellent. If I didn't have the banding problems and some possible AF issues I'm not sure I'd be as interested in upgrading though. My K10 did better against the K20 than I had expected. In any case, I don't have the money right now to do anything about buying a new camera - this summer is the earliest I could even think about it.

Finally, I'm very grateful that Bel Air Camera let me take pictures, use my lenses and otherwise handle the camera. It was a very useful exercise and I'll probably buy from them when I finally do get one even though I'll end up paying a premium. Their service is excellent and deserves to be rewarded.

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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:27 AM   #2
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mtngal wrote:
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Bel Air Camera got a stock of K20 cameras in yesterday, so I had an interesting lunch checking out their demo model.¬* Just a few unscientific personal observations, based on a few minutes in a camera store:

It's the same size and weight as the K10 - it's supposed to be 1 ounce heavier but I didn't notice it.¬* For all intents and purposes, it works much like my K10.

Recently it seems like the AF on my K10 hasn't been consistent.¬* Up until yesterday I thought it was pretty consistently backfocusing with the DA*50-135, but I managed to get a good focus on almost all of my hummingbird pictures, as it was flitting around a blossoming cherry tree.¬* My K10 will also hunt a bit with the DA 12-24 for some reason.¬* My first reaction with the K20 is that it is faster because it doesn't seem to hunt as much.¬* That could be my particular K10 having problems, I don't know.¬* I did try the camera store's 16-45 (nice lens), and my own 12-24 and DA 50-135.¬* I didn't take any pictures with the K10 and the store's lens, but with my own two lenses, I had more confidence in the K20 than in my camera.

I'm just not any good at taking direct comparison shots - there's always some camera setting that just isn't quite set the same.¬* Today it was the metering mode - the store's K20 was set to matrix, and I still had the K10 set for spot (what I use mostly when shooting flowers).¬* I didn't notice that until later, when I realized that the K10 shots were often over-exposed.

I've never used the K10's capability for setting user settings.¬* I didn't think to see how the K20 was set (duh!) and noticed that the ISO kept resetting itself whenever I¬* turned off the camera.¬* Then I noticed that it was on user setting, not P.¬* I think I might start using it more - it's a way to get the camera to go to a baseline settings that I like, because I only too often forget to change things back to how I like them.¬* That's something I think I might start using.

I wasn't at all interested in the live preview - I know I can't line up vertical or horizonal lines using the LCD, and I'm not as able to hold the camera steady when it's at arm's length.¬* However, the salesman demonstrated how it worked, and seeing the brackets on the LCD while you are setting things up could be useful in certain situations.¬* It might be more useful than I had originally thought (though I still won't use it much).

My K10 is one of those that¬*is subject to¬*significant vertical banding at higher ISOs.¬* But it wasn't anywhere to be found today since the pictures tended to be overexposed.¬* So the pictures aren't good for comparison.¬* If you are interested in more of them, I put some resized and 100% crop examples up at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p29208270...EE2D#657190445¬*and if anyone is interested, I can post the full sized jpg files there, too - let me know because I haven't yet.¬* Unless otherwise indicated all pictures are straight from the camera jpg images, either resized or cropped.¬* If the title includes the word "neat" in it, I ran it through Neat Image and then used some USM in CS2 to compensate.
Harriet,

You did quite well in doing comparison shot . Maybe the prohibition (getting into any camera shop) is just for me not for you. Even without going into a camera shop, the urge to click this and that is deadly for my budgetting. Again that does not apply to you.

About the systematic comparison shots, it is clear that K20D is a winner. But it is more like an evolutionary winner. Its iso 3200 is outstanding even compared with the same size (smaller MP count) DL/K100D. That is a feat already.




This is entirely useable at iso3200

Thanks for sharing the info which gives me a lot to think about as I have skipped K10D and K20D is a very logical step for me rather than a K10D user.

I have been staying away from camera shops nowaday as what is available locally is just very little. While waiting for my Tamron zoom 70-200mm, I have got myself some mess a DA*200mm instead. I should have concentrated on taking pict instead of shopping for more gear.

Daniel



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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:35 AM   #3
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Harriet, thank you for taking th trouble of postingthis comperative hand onreview of K20D, with which Pentax has raised the bar yet again I, too, would like to express my gratitudeto Bel Air Cameraforletting you take these pictures : )

Faster AF is quite a good news for low light and action shotsExposure, as you mentioned, plays important role on the IQ, soit is difficult to come to a certain verdict. Judging from the earlier examples and your pics. Ithink the noise level of the K20D @ iso 3200 is quite similar to K100D,which is, considering the6 mp vs 14 mp, is quite an improvement(for those who often do heavy croppings or poster size enlargements, imo). Concerning the banding issue, I don't see anything serious in your 7th(cropped) picture below. I should also say that the newer K10D cameras are likely to be less prone to this effect. I replaced my K10D a month ago (for some other reason) and though the older one also had the latest firmware (1.30) I can say this new oneconfirms my conclusion. I have also quite liked your pics. @ zenfolio. I looked for some examples in which metering mode would not matter that much. to seethese twopictures there shot @ iso 400 (K20D)and iso 800(K10D). Btw, I assume that SR was on in either camera.

iso 400 (K20D)
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:38 AM   #4
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Harriet wrote:
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My K10 did better against the K20 than I had expected.
I'd secondthat ; )

iso 800 (K10D)




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Old Feb 28, 2008, 9:24 AM   #5
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SR was on in both cameras - if you look at the exif information for the various shots, there's no way I could handhold a camera without camera shake in some of them. I'm not sure about the noise reduction settings for the K20 - I didn't go into the menus very much. Their folders and naming are different (and you might notice that my K10 just went over 10,000 shots, which is why the file name is lower than the K20!).

Daniel - did I read that correctly, you bought a DA*200? Oh, I've got to get caught up, I hadn't picked up on that. It's been busy around here and I've been lurking somewhere else checking out what they are saying about the K20. That's why I was so delighted that Bel Air let me take some snaps with theirs.

The AF is faster than my particular K10, but not by long miles. I still think there's a problem with mine and certain lenses. It seemed like the K20 didn't hunt as much, which made it seem faster. I'm sure that there will be some that seem to think it's the same. I didn't notice anything about the shutter sound - that's not something you can particularly judge in a busy store.

In the end, the camera is just a tool. I like Daniel's comment that the K20 is an evolution of the K10 - definitely improved but not so revolutionary as some would like. I'm still very interested in getting one, but the desire isn't burning as hot as it was before.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 10:22 AM   #6
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Harriet, I like you got one of the first K10D's that was available, has focus issues with it right away, so Pentax replaced it with another, but still one of the first available for sale. That too had focus issues (1.4 and 2.8 lenses wide open) so I finally gave up and sold it at a loss and now use my DS which has always worked perfectly.

I am going to get a K20D, but not one of the first ones out of the factory like the last time. I like the higher resolution and some photos on another forum are showing extended DR with the K20D with some amazing flower shots. They look like a great film shot and not computer generated like many other brands do using a CMOS sensor-thank you Pentax for that!

Thanks for your time testing the camera as I take what forum members say to heart and what the professional testers say with a grain of salt.

Daniel, your giff at the bottom of your post really tells it all in this age of digital imaging. Just think how much money you could have saved buy shooting film, even when you factor in the cost of processing!

Tom
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 12:50 PM   #7
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Hmmm...does not seem to be a ringing endorsement of the K20D:sad:. Like Tom, I take the feedback from professional magazines with a grain of salt mostly because they are beholden to the advertising dollars. Although I must admist the the review in Popular Photography came across to me as an "excellent value for the money" vs. a "this is the camera to own" bias. Thanks for your first hand report Harriet.

Jay
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 1:38 PM   #8
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I guess I've been spending too much time lurking on another board where significant criticism has been leveled at this new camera recently. It's like before the camera is released, everyone expects the new camera to be the answer to all of their prayers - it will do all kinds of wonderous things. Then it gets in the hands of some people and they post pictures. Immediately a number of people find that it either doesn't live up to their unreasonable expectations, or else they pick it apart with graphs and scientific tests that make much of some obscure aspect of the sensor's output. I've been finding that very tiresome, and its been hard for me to sort out what I really think.

So I went to the camera store and looked at it for myself. I ignored all that I had read in the various threads over there and concentrated on what I, personally, could get out of it. Because I'm no pro - the only person I need to satisfy with my picturesis myself.

Doesthis cameralive up to some people's expectations? Is it the answer to every photographer's dreams and prayers? Absolutely NOT! No camera ever does, by the way. It was the same thing when the K10 came out. But is it a horrible camera, not worth buying? Absolutely NOT!

So what I wanted to do in my post is to be realistic about the camera. I don't want to give anyone inflated expectations about it. It's a really nice camera, and it definitely has less noise than my K10. Not a vertical band in site (still don't quite understand why my K10 pictures don't show it - it usually is quite obvious).It does seem to capture more detail - not just make things look larger with its more mp. I thought that the ISO 3200 pictures did look quite a bit like the K100 - but they clean up better (sorry I didn't have my K100 yesterday). The K100 pictures tend to fall apart more when you apply noise reduction, while the K20's pictures held up much better.

I'm really quite impressed with the camera for what it is - but not as the savior of Pentax and the world of Photography.The basic image quality isn't hugely better than the K10 (just as the K10didn't have hugely better pictures than the K100). And while my particular K10 seems to have some of the early camera problems (which the K20 would address), not all of them do. I just wanted to put things in proper perspective, showing that neither the K10 nor the K20 is as bad/good as some would have you believe.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 1:53 PM   #9
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Harriett,

Thank you for a great comparison, it helped me make up my mind that the K20 will be my next camera. I just wish I had a camera store like yours. Seems customer service is number 1 there. So nice and neat too. My only large store is all cluttered you have to search for anything, and if its not Nikon, they seem putout to answer questions.


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Old Feb 28, 2008, 2:51 PM   #10
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danielchtong wrote:
Quote:
I have been staying away from camera shops nowaday as what is available locally is just very little. While waiting for my Tamron zoom 70-200mm, I have got myself some mess a DA*200mm instead. I should have concentrated on taking pict instead of shopping for more gear.

Daniel



Daniel, I have given up smoking!!

I cannot deny that the K20D is very tempting (in fact I am probably even more interested in the K200D), but I have taken a new tack in my gear aquisition. I just received a very inexpensive remote cable from China, works perfectly and allows me new options in my photography. My next plan is a transmitter and two receivers for remote flash operation, another item that can be had for very little money from China. This budget remote flash system, with my two Vivitar 285 flash units, umbrellas and light stands should make for a very flexible portable studio set up. That is where my focus is now, learning to use my current tools more effectively and adding small but significant items.

Tom, I will be interested in how the K20D works out for you when you finally take the plunge. I actually find that my DL with it's three focus points, is more accurate in focussing my 50mm f1.4 than the DS is.

Harriet, I like your DS, sorry, my DS, but I don't think I'll bother with the K10D

Ira
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