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Pentax K20D Gordon Laing, May 2008

Pentax K20D Gallery

The following images were taken with a final production Pentax K20D fitted with a Pentax DA 18-250mm lens.

The K20D was set to 14.6M **** JPEG quality, Auto White Balance, Multi-Segment metering, High ISO NR off, and the Custom Image setting at the default Bright option with +1 for Contrast and Sharpness. Shake Reduction was enabled for all these handheld shots.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note: you may wish to open our Sony Alpha DSLR A350 Gallery and Canon EOS 450D / XSi Gallery for a direct comparison of detail and noise.

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Landscape: 9.97MB, Program, 1/350, f6.7, ISO 100, 18-250mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  This first shot was taken with the K20D and the 18-250mm zoomed-out to an equivalent of 27mm.

It's immediately apparent the default processing on the K20D is delivering a much more vibrant and consumer friendly image than the subdued default output from the K10D. The new **** JPEG setting also has mild compression, delivering fairly large files.

The crops reveal a high degree of detail and impressively for the range of the DA 18-250mm lens, minimal fringing in high contrast areas.

Landscape: 10.8MB, Program, 1/200, f7.1, ISO 100, 18-250mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Another shot taken at 100 ISO under bright light, although this time with the lens zoomed-out.

As before it's a vibrant image with a large file size, and one that's packed with detail.

The DA 18-250mm also keeps the details sharp up to the corners.

Look closely and you may spot a very small amount of fringing in high contrast areas, but only at the extremes of the frame.

Landscape: 10.8MB, Program, 1/350, f9.5, ISO 200, 18-250mm at 55mm (equivalent to 83mm)

    Our next shot was taken of an approaching boat. The lens was zoomed-into an equivalent of 83mm, the focus set to AF.C, and the sensitivity increased to 200 ISO.

The K20D's continuous AF system tracked the approaching boat without difficulty.

Pixel-peeping reveals the increase in sensitivity hasn't had a detrimental effect on quality, unlike the same shot from our Sony A350 gallery which exhibits a faint smattering of noise and evidence of smearing.

Portrait: 9.79MB, Aperture Priority, 1/750, f5.6, ISO 200, 18-250mm at 92mm (equivalent to 138mm)

  For this portrait shot we kept the sensitivity at 200 ISO, but increased the focal length to an equivalent of 138mm and opened the aperture to its maximum f5.6 in Aperture Priority mode. Note: we didn't fire the flash here.

The DA 18-250mm has delivered a nicely blurred background at its maximum aperture and you can increase this effect at longer focal lengths.

The crops of the subject are sharp and detailed, again unlike those from the A350 which can already look soft at 200 ISO.

Macro: 11.4MB, Program, 1/100, f5.6, ISO 400, 18-250mm at 78mm (equivalent to 117mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus with the lens zoomed to an equivalent of 117mm.

We shot this in Program mode, but a larger depth of field could have been achieved in Aperture Priority.

The increase to 400 ISO hasn't had any detrimental effect on this particular composition, with the crops again showing lots of detail and no undesirable artefacts.


Indoor: 10.6MB, Program, 1/30, f3.5, ISO 400, 18-250mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our first indoor shot was taken with the K20D at 400 ISO.

The K20D's Achilles' heel, like the K10D before it is a tendency to underexpose. Here we applied +1EV compensation and it's still arguably too dark.

On the upside, the crops are still showing a decent amount of detail and the default disabling of noise reduction is ensuring there's no smearing to worry about.

The slightly soft crop of the eye is due to it being slightly out of the plane of focus in this shot.

Indoor: 11.8MB, Program, 1/6, f3.5, ISO 800, 18-250mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the K20D's sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. Again we've applied +1EV compensation and despite not performing that well in other tests, the Shake Reduction has eliminated any wobbles at the relatively slow shutter speed of 1/6.

Here you can see Pentax's noise reduction strategy in action. It's off by default, so you'll see noise speckles at high sensitivities. But by eliminating any smearing, you'll also retain plenty of detail. An impressive 800 ISO result here.

Indoor: 10.7MB, Program, 1/20, f3.5, ISO 1600, 18-250mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our final indoor shot was taken with the K20D's sensitivity increased to 1600 ISO.

We applied +0.5EV of compensation, although it could arguably do with more.

The crops reveal a significant increase in noise speckles, but again the lack of noise reduction means any detail is held onto. It's an unusual strategy in the current noise-averse climate, but one which serves the K20D well.

So the K20D delivers good results across its sensitivity range, along with vibrant images by default and large files at the **** setting.


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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