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A K20 test

Renato Aranghelovici , Apr 01, 2008; 04:55 a.m.

claimed "complet", en francaise :)

http://www.focus-numerique.com/test-51/pentax-k20d-test-presentation- caracteristiques-1.html

Not sure if complete, but big - 14 pages, with a lot of details, other style of review than the usual english reviews. Worth to read, pour les connoisseurs :)

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Renato Aranghelovici , Apr 01, 2008; 04:56 a.m.

link again

http://www.focus-numerique.com/test-51/pentax-k20d-test-presentation- caracteristiques-1.html

John Marsden , Apr 01, 2008; 07:57 a.m.

Hi Renato, Thankn you. For me the link didn't work so try this instead

http://www.focus-numerique.com

and then click on the picture of the K20d and then off you go in French...

The high iso shots are interesting. It seems to be better than the Sony Alpha 350 - does that mean anything to anyone?

Del Gray , Apr 01, 2008; 09:38 a.m.

My French is rusty, and this is off the top of my head, but the opening teaser paragraph on the home page says (roughly)

"The Pentax K20D is a terribly seductive SLR: solid and (?against the mainstream?) construction, large bright viewfinder, carefully thought out ergonomics, Sensitivity Priority mode, DNG Raw file format... The list is long, but the differences with the Pentax K10D aren't ultimately so numerous and can be summarized by one thing : the 14.6 megapixel sensor. Is this a truly decisive difference? Our answer in the the Pentax K20D test."

Pardon is begged from anybody who really knows French. I haven't had the time yet to read the article inside.

Fred R , Apr 01, 2008; 10:47 a.m.

I really don't get why they use the 18-55mm "kit" lens. It's kinda like putting a moped engine in a Harley.

Fredrik

Dan Lenski , Apr 01, 2008; 01:19 p.m.

Translation

That's pretty good, Del. Just one correction: "antiruissellement" means "weathersealing", so the first part should read:

"The Pentax K20D is a terrifically seductive SLR; solid build and weathersealing, large and bright viewfinder, ..."

----

And here's their verdict on the final page:

"Not quite the revolutionary body that some were expecting, the Pentax K20D is a nice surprise, or at least its sensor is a nice surprise.

With no changes to the body design, Pentax-ists will be immediately familiar with this new SLR, and others will find it to be an extremely well-thought-out body, with thoughtful ergonomics and sprinkled with very practical features here and there (sensitivity priority mode for example). First of all, the sensor co-developed by Samsung and Pentax is a success. Concerning electronic noise, the K20D's images certainly don't reach the (very high) level of a Nikon D300 or Canon 40D, but they remain very clean up to ISO 1600 and remain usable to the highest sensitivity (ISO 6400) with very gentle noise reduction and an impressive level of detail. The image quality is also there, even if a few points could be improved, such as under-exposure. These remain minor details compared to the overall image quality which is quite exciting.

Overall, the Pentax K20D is a very good body (excellent ergonomics), but nonetheless somehow lacking in ambition. The improvements relative to the K10D are quite real but not decisive: the Live View mode remains limited, the increased dynamic range is less than convincing, and the improvement in image stabilization is little noticed... we would have liked a more precise viewfinder and a redesigned AF module. Pity.

Of course, the immediate question is "should I spring for the brand spanking new K20D, or stick with the K10D for its unbeatable price / performance ratio?" The K20D has high resolution going for it, but the K10D is now available at a very attractive price. With practically the same body and ergonomics, the K10D remains an excellent alternative for those whose first priorities aren't high resolution (14 MP) or studio use (PC sync, live view)."

Michael Kuhne , Apr 01, 2008; 04:07 p.m.

It seems the K20D really does offer an improvement in image quality over the K10D. I am not convinced yet that the improvement includes lower noise at high ISO. I remain unconvinced that ISO 3200, though apparently usable, is up to the best- the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D. The sample at ISO 6400 given here looks terrible. Might as well have left ISO 6400 out of camera design.

But the future looks ever more promising for succeeding models. I recall how we discussed that more mp has to mean more noise, and less low light capability. It seems to be generally true, but not necessarily so. The Nikon D300 points the way. This is a remarkable camera, and I would expect Pentax will pick up on how its performance was accomplished, along with its superior 6FPS shooting speed and higher flash sync. The D300 can even automatically cancel CA's and purple fringing!! Its out-of-camera JPEG quality is rated tops at all ISO. It is worth the read to catch Ken Rockwell's review of this exceptional camera. If the remarkable advancements of the D300 were encorporated into the excellent unique Pentax design concepts and apparently great 15mp sensor of the K20D, in a forthcoming model we'd have something really spectacular to enjoy. The D300, together with the virtues of the new K20D does indeed give us an idea of what is possible.

Dan Lenski , Apr 01, 2008; 04:15 p.m.

Noise

Michael, I too was surprised at how mediocre the high-ISO results were from the K20D in this review... it looked better to me in sample images, but those may have had more NR applied.

This review pretty much panned the high-ISO performance compared to the D300 and 40D. And frankly, I think that's pretty consistent with the images they actually obtained.

For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's an excellent article, by the way, that explains why noise gets worse with smaller pixels (all else being equal): (link) Explains a whole lot of other sensor properties like dynamic range as well!!

The D300 does seem to be the camera for Pentax to beat. Pentax, can you hear me? I want you to make the K30D have the performance of the D300 at the price of the K10D, okay? I paid $586 for the K10D with kit lens, just so you know what to aim for, 'mmm-kay??? :-)

Del Gray , Apr 01, 2008; 05:45 p.m.

Thanks Dan. I couldn't figure out what flowing water could have to do with a camera body's construction, so I guessed mainSTREAM. I did read the rest of the article, and it sounds like they say pretty much what we have all been saying here for a while - a nice upgrade to 14 mp, but those of us with a K10D might just wait this generation out. Actually, there aren't really many things I can think of that I would actually care all that much about that my K10D doesn't already have.

Dan Lenski , Apr 01, 2008; 06:20 p.m.

Del: Haha, that gave me pause too! "Ruisseau"? Then I remembered the term "ruissellement" with regards to a leaky roof in France, and I figured it out. :-)

It's good to know about focus-numerique.com... I really like their thorough reviews. I was getting impatient waiting for DPReview to do the K20!

I agree, not much that the K10D lacks and the K20D has. Sure, I'd like 5 fps, faster AF, and less noise at ISO 1600... don't care about 14 MP as none of my lenses can do that! The one thing I *would* like about the K20D is the Live View... not for me, but so that I can hand the camera to my digicam-using friends without them whining about it :-)


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