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Old May 19, 2008, 1:12 PM   #1
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See Steve's hand on review here:

Pentax K20D

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Old May 21, 2008, 9:17 AM   #2
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Finally we have reviews for K20D and K200D.

I waited for them to make a decision whether to upgrade from K10D to K20D and I am not sure I have the answer yet. My major beef with K10D is the sensor's dynamic range and higher ISO noise. Before K10D I had K100D and that was way better ISO 400 and up.

Last week I was in Florida (St. Pete Beach, DeSoto Park, Clearwater Beach etc) and taking shots of white sand beaches against the ocean/sky is tough for the dynamic range (something the reviewers of this site know lots of it). I used lenses such as DA 70mm, FA 35mm, D-FA 50mm F2.8 Macro, Sigma 10-20mm, DA 50-200mm. At times I used a 49mm polarizer which made the sky way too dark considering the white sand. I probably should have used a gradual ND filter in reverse. I am pretty happy with the shots just that I have to lighten up the dark areas (ocean, sky) quite a bit which leads to all sorts of artifacts, even with after NeatImage and all.

I know some people here upgraded to K20D from K10D and some even had K100D before. Can you tell us your take on the sensor performance compared with K10D from real life shots?

Thanks.
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Old May 21, 2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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I've seen comments from more than one member on how much the K20D has improved.

If you look at some of the low light sports shots at higher ISO speeds from Trojansoc you can see a big improvement in the quality since he upgraded to a K20D.

Interestingly, some of the measured test results don't show the type of improvement that members seem to be getting in "real world" shots. So, test results don't always tell the entire story. There are just too many variables involved, including temperature of the lighting, the grain pattern of the noise (some noise patterns are more objectionable than others), retained detail, and more. Also, you're starting out with more pixels using the K20D. So, any noise is not going to be as noticeable at a given print or viewing size, especially with the kind of detail this sensor is capturing, and the type of grain pattern I'm seeing from it.

Samsung seems to have done a very good job with this sensor from what I'm seeing (I find it amazing that stuffing that many pixels into an APS-C sensor would be able to achieve the kind of results members are getting in the field with it).

mtngal also seems to be very impressed with the results (and owns the K100D, K10D and K20D now from what I can see of the posts).


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Old May 21, 2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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Good points, Jim.

mtngal and others is what I was hinting at:-)

Simply put I want to gauge the benefit of upgrading for sensor's sake. For personal prints, K10D and Photoshop is good enough.

My main motivation is thou using the camera for stock photography and pixel manipulation via Photoshop is both insufficient and very time consuming. I came back from my vacation with 3K photos from which 20% are family shots. All the others were shot specifically for stock (commercial and editorial). I hope to get 500 ranging from decent to very good. Now, having to process that many from RAW is a huge time investment. The more I can get directly out of the sensor the better.

I will probably upgrade to K20D unless there is some major disadvantage with the new sensor compared with K10D (which I have not seen any so far).
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Old May 21, 2008, 1:46 PM   #5
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Thanks to JimC for his kind words, but the best examples I have of the K20's improvement in low-light performance were not from sports, but from the stage. They can be seen in this thread.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=5

Each of these was shot at ISO 1250 except the one of the wicked witch in the blue dress. That one was at ISO 2000. All were shot with the DA*50-135. I love my K10, which my wife now uses, but I had to use significant noise reduction any time I exceeded ISO 800, and sometimes even then. As a matter of course, I still run most of the higher ISO shots (above 1600) through Noiseware, but at minimal levels.

I had shutter problems with the first k20 I got and had to return it. Thus, I only got to use it for part of one soccer match. Tonight, I'm shooting a track meet, and I'll try to post some shots from it (assuming I get anything worth posting). This will be my first real trial under stadium lights.

Overall, I'm getting a much higher percentage of quality shots with the K20. The level of detail and color performance just simply seems superior. A couple of examples:





And, in this spring football shot, the culprit I was fighting was harsh sun, rather than low light.



Hope this is the kind of info you're wanting.

Paul
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Old May 21, 2008, 2:21 PM   #6
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Trojansoc, those images seem to do it. Great shots!

I saw some of mtngal's images and they look just great.
Tonight I will download some of the full size images from the Steve's review to try some Neat Image on them and see what the end result is (some are similar with mine).

I checked your thread about the shutter problem with K20D: I had some problems at the beach with K10D as well. Somehow some strands of sand got into the shutter button and it stuck in the half-way press position. That made it impossible to access menus or playback images and in AF mode will do continuous AF. It took me an hour trying all sorts of things to get it to work again: rocket blower, shaking it, using a pin etc. I was almost to the point to ask the hotel personnel for a vacuum to get all that sand out. It finally worked although even now I can see some left in there. Not sure what Pentax means by weather sealed.
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Old May 21, 2008, 2:40 PM   #7
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From a low light/noise standpoint, the K20 is definitely better than the K10. My feeling is that the K20's ISO 3200 pictures are more useable than the K100's, mainly because of the extra pixels. If you can downsize the noise isn't as big of a deal. However, if you have to crop, the noise is about the same as the K100.

If you want to play with an example at ISO 6400 - the full sized picture from the K20 is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v1/p371651800.jpg- this was the jpg version completely unprocessed. For the raw version converted in Lightroom at default settings, also full sized, it is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v1/p515389431.jpg. Remember that these are full sized so they are huge files.

Your primary question, though, was on dynamic range, not noise. I never thought there was much difference in dynamic range (the ability to see both light and dark before you lose detail) between the K100 and the K10. I think the K20 has aless dynamic range, but my camera tends to underexpose by a 1/3 stop, and I've only recently started shooting with a +1/3 Ev setting on a regular basis. I've tried it both with the extended dynamic range on and off, but can't say that I've particularly noticed much difference (unlike some people on other boards who have posted quite impressive differences and the ability to capture more information in areas that would otherwise be blown out). Maybe this weekend I'll take both the K100 and the K20 out and take better comparison shots (i.e., either matching exposure values or else shooting the K20 at the +Ev setting I've been using recently).

The other thing I haven't quite come to terms with yet is the fact that the sensor produces much more saturated colors - a very significant change. Reviewers point out that they are very punchy and that's true. It's very true with the raw files, where I sometimes can't quite tone it down to the proper levels in Lightroom (I usually go overboard and lose that punchy look, then get frustrated when I can't find that happy medium between saturated and detail). Because of that I've been shooting raw + and using the jpg files mostly. Oversaturated flowers often lose fine detail to the extra color and I personally prefer the detail, so I've been using a -2 for saturation and a +1 for sharpness (I like the jpg engine's sharpness, much better/finer than many cameras).

As far as your beach pictures - a circular polarizer isn't the best thing to use with white sand unless you do want to have almost black skies (that would be a good candidate for a b&w conversion). Grad ND or just shooting without a polarizer would probably be better. As far as "pushing" underexposed shots - I think it's similar to the K10, neither can stand too much underexposure.

The K20 suits my shooting style and subjects very well and I really like it better than I did the K10. It is quite different, more than I had expected. I get a whole lot more keepers, but that's partly because my K10 didn't focus well with AF lenses, especially the 50-135. The extra resolving capability of the K20 is significant - it's given me a whole new appreciation of both my A300 and the 50-135. It has also shown up the limitations my old kit lens has (which I used to be quite happy with).

I would recommend, if you have the opportunity, of taking your K10 and a spare cardto a friendly camera store and shooting some comparison shots with theier demo model, like I did at Bel Air Camera. It gave me a more realistic view of what I was going to get with the camera, so I didn't have an over-inflated opinion of the gains I could expect. It isn't a perfect camera at all (I'd prefer a hair less saturation with the raw files and more dynamic range than I got with the K100) but I'm so much happier with it than I was with the K10.
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Old May 21, 2008, 3:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for your take, mtngal.

A bit surprised at the fact that the dynamic range seems not to be any better than K10D. Without any filter and with the best prime lenses I still found the conditions at the beach difficult. I won't probably go to any beach for a year but other similar conditions may arise. It may be that other camera systems don't have it any better and I am being picky.

The color saturation could be a problem both in loss of details and extra time to correct that in Photoshop.

Lower ISO noise seems to be on par with K10D and some noise reduction (which I apply today anyway) should do away with it.

It will probably require a test side by side with K10D and compensation for the mismatch in exposure and saturation. I may need to order K20D online and do that myself: there is no decent store around. If unhappy with it I will just have to return it.

Appreciate your answers folks: really great discussion. Much appreciated.

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Old May 21, 2008, 3:44 PM   #9
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A couple of quick shots from lunch today. This first one is a building I once took with the K100 right after I got the A*300. On that picture (I'll have to go hunt for it tonight if you want a comparison) there's a huge amount of PF. Today I shot it with the K20 and the same A*300 lens. This link is to the original, untouched jpg file (I don't have any photo manipulation software on my work computer) - not resized or anything. It was taken using the extended dynamic range and I was really impressed with the results. Until I looked at this picture, I thought the Oxy building had white block sides, I had no idea it was a marble texture (the K100 blew out the white). And there'svery littlePF - truly amazing compared to what the K10 and K100 produced with this lens. It's not exactly the sharpest picture in the world, but the building is several blocks away, it's hazy,and the shutter speed is too slow for me to be reliable handholding such a long lens (which I was). Link to full sized version is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v0/p811486395.jpg. The extra noise you get using the dynamic range is visible if you pixel peep, to give you an idea of what you can expect.

And I just can't resist flowers, especially when they are very bright. Taken with the same lens, along with a polarizer, extended dynamic range. I don't usually take flower "close-ups" with a polarizer or a lens with a minimum 11+ foot focus distance, it was an impulsive thing as I was walking back into the office after lunch. http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v0/p647753064.jpg. Remember, I just took these and uploaded them straight from the SD card. Here's the flower, resized by zenfolio's software (the link above is to the full sized version, not this resized version).


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Old May 21, 2008, 11:25 PM   #10
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Finally, I found the previous picture I took of the same building back in February 07 with the K10, not the K100. It was taken in raw and converted with ACR's default settings - no other pp. Here's a link to the full sized file: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v0/p302572042.jpg- notice the PF. The picture isn't particularly sharp either (atmospherics?). The K10 blew out the white, while the darker building in the background isn't all that different as far as exposure in the K20. It's rather changed my view of the K20.
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