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Old Apr 5, 2008, 11:31 PM   #1
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The frame count on the K20d now stands just under 500. My first impressions are positive but I don't know that I would recommend the upgrade for someone who was happy with their K10d, for me, the difference has not been that large. There are some areas of significant improvement and a couple of quirks I have discovered, at least with my example.

My pluses:
I like being able to set the metering on the body rather than through a menu, though honestly I never played with the setting when it was in the menu so I don't remember what setting I was using before. Now that it is readily at hand I have been playing with it and seeing the difference.

Much better green button exposure with non "A" type lenses. My K10 consistently would choose an exposure a full stop over when I used the green button in manual mode. It was so consistent that I learned to press the green button and then immediately roll the thumb wheel to compensate. The K20d seems to get it right most of the time.

Bigger images give you a lot of room to crop with, those 100% crops below are from surprisingly small sections of the photos.

The K20d seems to capture slightly more accurate colors.

The K20d jpegs (at default settings) seem to be sharper than the K10d at sharpness +1.

The K20d seems to have a bias towards keeping the ISO low in auto ISO. I have auto ISO set to 800 and I have taken a number of shots where the K10d would have jumped to 800 but the K20d has not gone over 400. I prefer the K20 in this regard.

My negatives:
The LCD screen on mine seems to display the captured images darker than they really are, or at least darker than the K10d and K20d did. My first foray with the camera I was EV compensating upwards based on the seemingly underexposed images. However, the histogram was accurate and when I viewed the shots on my computer it was clear the camera was exposing correctly. I have not found any setting to change the apparent brightness on the LCD screen.

I seem to notice more graininess in the OOF areas of my photos. It is not noise exactly, just a grain pattern. Unlike the K10d I notice it even in low ISO shots but it also did not get worse at ISO 400 (the highest I have gone thus far). I will say that with the K10d I could normally tell the difference between an ISO 200 and 400 shot just by looking at it on screen, that difference is not readily apparent to my eye with the K20d.

Other Thoughts:
I have not noticed any change in focusing speed (nor did Pentax bill the K20d as having any improvement in that regard). I have not played with the focusing adjustment yet nor have I tried the 1.6mp ultra burst mode. I do think the resolving abilities of different lenses is going to become much more clear with this camera, I could really see a difference between the (old) kit lens and some of my sharper lenses. Overall I am happy with the camera and I am looking forward to trying some of the high ISO shots that were my raison d'etre for the camera in the first place.

All the photos were shot in jpeg mode, the macros were at **** quality and the medieval faire were at *** quality (I am not seeing much difference on the computer screen). No post processing except resizing.

FA 50mm 1.4, one of the first shots, I had forgotten to activate the SR.


Kiron 105mm f/2.8 macro. This is one of the shots that showed much darker on the LCD screen but was actually well exposed ISO 400 and the grain or noise was about the same as the ISO 100 shot below:


Kiron 105mm again, ISO 100.



Kiron 105mm, 100% crop. You can see the grain in the OOF area. This is ISO 400, so I am not complaining as the K10d would have given me a noisier image here.


Another 100% crop from the Kiron. Here the ISO is 200 but the grain is more apparent. It is not *bad* per say, just different from what I would have expected from the K10d or K100d.



FA 50mm 1.4



FA 50mm 1.4



I hope I do not sound like I am dogging the K20d, I am not, and I think I will be very happy with it. I already have some nice shots out of it and have high expectations as I get to know it a bit better. I guess as a recent K10d user I am writing to other K10d users who are sitting on the fence and, in that regard, I have not found a reason for someone who recently bought a K10d to kick themselves in the rear end for not having waited a few months for the K20d.

Tim


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Old Apr 6, 2008, 7:19 AM   #2
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NonEntity1 wrote:
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I hope I do not sound like I am dogging the K20d, I am not, and I think I will be very happy with it. I already have some nice shots out of it and have high expectations as I get to know it a bit better. I guess as a recent K10d user I am writing to other K10d users who are sitting on the fence and, in that regard, I have not found a reason for someone who recently bought a K10d to kick themselves in the rear end for not having waited a few months for the K20d.
Tim, you've summed up my feelings well, although I do see faster focus with the K20d, particularly with the DA*50-135. To me, the reason for a K10d owner to upgrade would be if he/she had a very specific need that was addressed by one or more of the changes. In my case it's high ISO performance, and I've been very happy with what I've gotten so far. Assuming my shutter problem is actually fixed, and keep your fingers crossed, it still looks good on that score, I will be a happy camper.

Paul
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 8:51 AM   #3
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Tim - Have you tried to adjust the brightness of the LCD monitor? It may be just set too dark. Page 226 of the manual says how to do it (it's a custom menu item). They've also added monitor color adjustment also - something the K10 did not have.
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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To me, it seems all of the stated improvements constitute a significant jump over the K10D. Lets see, more accurate colors + greater sharpness + better exposure + greater resolution + noticeably better high ISO = much better camera. Whether it's more a 50% price premium of a K10D may be another story.

Re: the greater noise in OOF areas, is that possibly from the "increased dynamic range"?
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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Hi Tim,

I've been changing lenses like crazy, just trying new things -- and as much as I hate to say it, the dust detecting feature, which I thought of as something of a gimmick, and the dust shaker -- which I had thought of as relatively ineffective with the K10 -- have both become a regular part of my routine with the K20.

With the dust detector, I found that it's best to aim at a featureless wall or ceiling (a clear sky would also work while outside) or you can get some alarming results --

With the dust shaker, I've found that one application does not usually do the job, but 3 or 4 usually does. If the dust still persists, a quick Rocket Blower application takes care of stubborn particles, and with the dust detector, it's easy to target the location of the specks.

I don't mind cloning out dust spots, but knowing that I'm shooting with a clean sensor is just one other thing that I now don't have to worry about.

Scott
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 12:07 PM   #6
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Sorry double post again
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 12:07 PM   #7
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Hi Tim,

I've been changing lenses like crazy, just trying new things -- and as much as I hate to say it, the dust detecting feature, which I thought of as something of a gimmick, and the dust shaker -- which I had thought of as relatively ineffective with the K10 -- have both become a regular part of my routine with the K20.

With the dust detector, I found that it's best to aim at a featureless wall or ceiling (a clear sky would also work while outside) or you can get some alarming results --

With the dust shaker, I've found that one application does not usually do the job, but 3 or 4 usually does. If the dust still persists, a quick Rocket Blower application takes care of stubborn particles, and with the dust detector, it's easy to target the location of the specks.

I don't mind cloning out dust spots, but knowing that I'm shooting with a clean sensor is just one other thing that I now don't have to worry about.

Scott
Both you and Tim have demonstrated that it is worth the while to upgrade from K10D, not to mention K100D which is what I have. I will wait to upgrade until the LBA resurface after DA*200mm . Well hope the price of K20D will ease off a bit by then. The talk in summber of K20D Super (or successor model) will haunt us.

Daniel
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 4:00 PM   #8
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Thanks Harriet, I had not made it that far in the manual yet but I have just bumped brightness up a couple of notches and we will see how that goes.

Brokenbokeh, I am not sure. The increased dynamic range is something I am still trying to figure out. I am wondering now if I had turned it on and if it could have been the cause of the unexpectedly darker images. I need to experiment more with this setting.

Daniel, when it came time to choose one camera to part with to partially fund the K20d, the K100 is the one we kept. It is still a great camera.

Paul and Scott, I appreciate the tips and input.

Does anyone else with the K20d have any input on the expanded dynamic range function? While I had read that far in the manual I had not really understood it until now and could not figure out why sometimes I had ISO 100 as my low end and sometimes ISO 200. Now that I have the control figured out, I am wondering where to set it.

Thanks,

Tim
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 6:11 PM   #9
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Hi Tim,

I can't claim to know exactly how EDR works, but here's what I think it does, and how.

Base ISO becomes at the lowest, 200. On the photosite level, the camera attempts to increase shadow detail by exposing lower Ev levels at this higher ISO sensitivity and to retain highlights by lowering the sensitivity of the photosites at the highest Ev levels (ISO 100). That's why EDR mode raises the lowest ISO to 200, to give it that 1 stop headroom. That's also why the noise levels in the shadows increases, because the sensitivity there is being amplified by 1 stop more.

Scott

As far as where to set it, I guess it depends on whether you like the effect or not. I'm thinking that it might be useful when shooting white birds, or birds that are mostly dark, but have small white markings, against a dark background -- might help to prevent blown highlights (of course that's a pretty narrow view of it, but it's an example) I haven't had the chance to use it like this yet.

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Old Apr 6, 2008, 6:43 PM   #10
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I need to do some more testing with it to decide what exactly it does and when to use it. I've seen the extra noise on some shots, but didn't notice it in others. I used it most of the time yesterday (but NOT when I was trying to take pictures of egrets - duh!). Today I went back to having it turned off, even though I was shooting snow pictures.
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