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Old Apr 5, 2008, 12:54 AM   #1
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Today was my first day with the K20, and I decided to see what it would do in the default settings (I did change the menu so I could use ISO 6400). All pictures were taken in jpg and have been resized in CS2. Some have also been run through Neat Image (thank you SO much, Scott, for the tip on noise reduction!), a couple have had some more pp, but it's been pretty minimal.

For all you nor-easterners who've been having cold, snowy weather - here's the temperature and wind speed as of about 6 am this morning, before the sun came up (handheld, K20, DA*50-135, 50mm, f2.8, 1/20 sec. cropped and resized only, no noise reduction or other pp).



All right, not the most exciting picture in the world, but remember, this was at 1600 ISO looking through a window.

I've been admiring this building for a while. It's about 2 or 3 years old so it's modern architecture. I just think it's lovely at night (same camera/lens combination, 50mm f2.8 at 1/25 sec, handheld, no noise reduction, resized only).



As far as I'm concerned, 1600 is very useable, and has much less noise than the K10 does at ISO 1600.

I decided to push things a little bit. Here's the same building taken at ISO 3200. I've run it through Neat Image, taking a profile when the picture is full sized, resizing it to about half size and using the full sized profile to do the noise reduction. I thought it was successfulhere, and would be happy to use 3200 whenever I really needed it:



You are probably bored with the building about now, but here's the 6400 version using the same Neat Image method above:



If you are interested, there are larger sizes of these pictures in the album on zenfolio (though not full sized files - they've all been resized and/or cropped) at http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p844071579/if you are interested in larger versions.

I took a couple of other scenes comparing the three ISO settings and finally it was just light enough to maximize the noise levels (I've seen the same thing with all of the cameras I have- if its darker or lighter there will be less noise and I was trying to get it as a worse-case example). This was the absolute worst picture I took at ISO 6400, I think it's as bad as it gets with this camera unless you push pictures (haven't tried that yet).

Full frame, resized only, no noise reduction or any pp. K20, DA 12-24 at 24mm, 1/40 sec at f4, 6400 ISO:



When its been resized downward so much it doesn't look that bad, but here's a 100% crop to show you just how bad it was:



The only good thing about this one is that it's random noise, no vertical banding like I would have seen on my early K10.

I decided to see what it would look like with some post processing. I ran it through Neat Image, resized it, created another layer of just the sky and did a surface blur on it (the sky still looked bad after Neat Image - I try to use as little amount as I can and it wasn't enough to deal with the sky completely. I tried gaussian blur but didn't like it either). It ended up looking like:



It loses quite a bit of detail, but it could be used as long as you plan on spending some time with it, and don't mind downsizing significantly.

I wanted to include this picture because I thought it spoke volumes about how effective the K20's SR is. I have no idea if it is better or worse than the K10's SR - I just think it worksextremely well. There is no way I could have taken this picture with the DS! K20, DA*50-135 at 135mm, ISO 1600,f2.8 and 1/30 sec. No noise reduction - only cropped, resized and a little USM:



I was outside, at ground level, looking through a lead stained glass window on the 3rd floor of the building pictured above (different side, not thelighted front). If you want to see the same window taken at ISO 3200, cropped and resized, a bit of USM but no noise reduction, it's at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v1/p751355075.jpgand at ISO 6400, also without noise reduction (you can see that it's not half as bad as the one above) http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v1/p875793243.jpg.

Not all of my pictures were taken in low light. I also went out at lunch time and visited the botanical gardens. The early morning was spent with auto focus lenses on the camera and really low light. The pictures were always in focus, something I couldn't depend on with my particular K10. So at lunch I put the Viv 105 on the K20 to make sure I could manually focus it. I had no problems as long as my subject stuck around long enough. This is mostly cropped, with a little resizing and some USM.



Not perfect, but not too bad for handheld, manual focus, and a new camera.

For a flower comparison shot, the K10/DA50-135 version is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p844071579/?photo=711655924and the K20/Viv 105 lens is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p844071579/?photo=906493459. The K10 picture is very nice and two days ago I would have been quite happy with it. The K20's picture isn't hugely better, the differences are subtle, but I like it better (it's clearer and has more detail/sharper or something like that).

You are welcome to draw your own conclusions. I've tried to present honest pictures, the good and the bad/worst (I won't bore you with some of the comparison shotswhere I messed up the exposure and both cameras were equally bad!).

My conclusion: I agree with Scott - this camera is really awesome. I was blown away by my pictures, especially since they were jpg. I like the default settings (except that it didn't handle a very bright yellow flower well - very oversaturated and blew out the yellow. Might have been better if I had used spot metering). I'm so pleased with the results, I just might stick to shooting jpg for a while (after I've played with raw a bit - haven't tried it yet). Taking pictures is going to be FUN again!


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Old Apr 5, 2008, 1:45 AM   #2
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Thanks a lot for these comparisons and all the work you've put into making them.


mtngal wrote:
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I decided to see what it would look like with some post processing. I ran it through Neat Image, resized it, created another layer of just the sky and did a surface blur on it (the sky still looked bad after Neat Image - I try to use as little amount as I can and it wasn't enough to deal with the sky completely. I tried gaussian blur but didn't like it either). It ended up looking like:



It loses quite a bit of detail, but it could be used as long as you plan on spending some time with it, and don't mind downsizing significantly.
Can someone of the professional complainers on "the other forum" please tell me how I could have gotten a shot like this three years ago when I used an analog film camera? Did ISO 6400 colour film even exist outside the Kodak research lab? IMHO this is simply fantastic!

I think we all need to share pp techniques and work flow for some time now, thats where I feel I have to start from zero again.

Kjell
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 7:02 AM   #3
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Harriet,

In the time since you started posting on this forum, your images have improved to the point where even these test shots are impressive. Kjell is right, we now have tools we could only dream of in the analog days. Although there are naysayers who will claim that digital " is inferior because it is too easy, you get many mediocre shots instead of concentrating on one great shot," my experience is that practice results in improvement, and digital allows us to practice without the financial drain of film and processing costs.

The K20D is another impressive step forward for a company that was relegated to having, "one foot in the grave" only two years ago.

Thanks for sharing.

Ira
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 8:43 AM   #4
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Actually you could push process slide film to 6400 and the results were about the same, with a severe color shift to browns and the grain was impressive.

I am not sure digital is "easy", since I shot a wedding a while ago in digital and it required far more time invested in processing the photos than it ever did with film. Each and every RAW file had to be processed on my computer after the shoot, where with film I just sent the film in and that was it, no tweeking of every image before I could present it to the client.

Yes practice does make you closer to perfect and digital allows that for sure.

Those are very nice and if the focus is reliable, I would be interested in getting one. The only difference I can see from samples is the contrast seems to be a bit less with the K20D than it is with the K10D/DS.

Tom
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 10:25 PM   #5
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Congratulations on your new camera, I look forward to your K20D shots.
That bee is fabulous.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 11:46 PM   #6
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Congratulations Harriet. Those are some good comparisons, you did a much better job than I did with comparing the two cameras. I need to try some higher ISO shots soon.

Tim
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 1:14 AM   #7
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I went out today to find some wildflowers and to take some comparison shots. I took all three cameras and most of my working lenses, thinking that I would take some more comparison shots. However, I found enough lovely wildflowers, some neat texture shots and some unexpected birds so I shot with the K20 exclusively. The pictures are wonderful, shooting went well and was pretty effortless. I didn't feel like I was struggling with the camera at all. It must be psychological - the K20 is the same weight and size as the K10, but it felt lighter and more comfortable in my hands. I'll start another thread, once I've finished going through them and then deciding which ones out of a whole bunch of good ones to post. I had success with a couple of different topics today.
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