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The original release date for the camera according to the Pentax press releases was set for May of By some quirk of digital SLR manufacturing, the camera became available in early March, which is great news for all you Pentax digital SLR enthusiasts. The Pentax K20D builds on top of the features available in the popular K10D, and includes a superlative something all digital SLR manufacturers look for in their new cameras.
At the time of its release , the Pentax K20D features the most megapixels The extra megapixels are both boon and bane: while you're able to make exceptional quality prints at huge sizes 12x18 inches, if you like , the large file sizes generated by a high-megapixel sensor are going to eat up both memory card and hard drive space. Ultimately, file size and memory requirements may be inconsequential for those who want the best that Pentax has to offer: the K20D comes packed with features in addition to its high megapixel sensor, and is a great option for the experienced photographer who's already made an investment in Pentax SLR lenses.
The Pentax K20D doesn't have one single feature that really sets it apart from other competing cameras. Instead, it's the package as a whole that places this camera into its own unique category. I've already talked about the huge number of megapixels, but the K20D also sneaks in a few extras that are worth paying attention to.
As if this weren't enough, the K20D also includes some very interesting features that are fairly unique very few other SLRs share these features and none share all of them :. I'll go into a lot more depth about each one of these features later on in this Pentax K20D Guide. For now, let's just say that the K20D comes packed with a wide variety of features and options, making it a versatile camera for a lot of different photographic opportunities.
While the sheer number of features available on the Pentax K20D make it well suited for a variety of photographic applications, I think that this camera will work especially well for portrait photographers. If you take the images as they are and don't edit them one tiny bit, you'll be able to make enormous 20 x 30 inch prints.
But let's say that you grab a quick shot of a portrait subject and don't have the time to zoom in so that the subject fills the image. Later on, you crop out the distracting parts of the photo so that the focus is on your primary subject. While built-in IS systems are great, they're not invincible: they can't prevent image blur that occurs when you use a slow shutter speed in conjunction with a fast moving subject.
Since this is the case. IS systems are most effective at taking clear photos of subjects that aren't moving. Unless you are taking portraits of small children who never sit still you're going to be able to leverage the full power of the IS system if you can tell your portrait subject to hold still while you take the shot.
This should allow you to take great portrait shots even when the light is dim and you're forced to use a slow shutter speed. A PC sync connector is a small socket that lets you plug a PC sync cord into the camera it's the small silver circle in the photo to the right.
The other end of the cord can be connected to small external flash units or to professional studio strobe lights, and this will allow you to take your flash portrait photography to the next level.
It's a relatively inexpensive way to make the jump into off-camera flash, since the alternative is an investment in a wireless flash trigger system. Adjustments can be made to the saturation color intensity , hue color tone , contrast and sharpness, and each one offers 9 different levels of customization.
When you set the camera to image preview mode indicated by the arrow the camera takes a snapshot of the subject in front of you, but doesn't save it to the memory card. As you adjust the color and contrast settings, you see a real-time preview of the impact that these changes will have on your subject.
With this approach, you can make all the color tweaks you want before you go and take photos that don't quite have the color or intensity you were hoping for. Don't fancy yourself a portrait photographer? The K20D is also very well-suited for photographers with a creative streak, and I'll explain why in detail a little bit later on in this Pentax K20D Guide.
The K20D replaces the highly regarded and well-reviewed K10D, so the immediate question is: what makes it so much better? Both share a lot of features in common, although with the Canon 40D the image stabilization isn't built into the camera body. Instead, it's available in special image-stabilized Canon lenses. Otherwise these two share a lot: dust control, live view, PC sync ports and plenty of ways to customize how the camera captures images.
The Canon 40D performs considerably faster, in two ways: the autofocus sytems locks in faster on subjects, even when they are moving at high speed, and the 6. This makes the Canon 40D a better candidate for those who want to take a LOT of action photos or photos where the subject is in constant motion.
If your photographic passion leans more toward the static than the speedy, then the Pentax K20D should be on your list of cameras to consider, especially if you want to make ultra-large prints of your photos since the Pentax K20D sensor beats out the Canon 40D by about 4 megapixels. And if you happen to have a lot of old Pentax lenses lying about, then the clear choice is the K20D, for two reasons: The stabilization system will work with your old lenses You don't have to spend a ton of money on new lenses for your SLR Top of Page.
One drawback to the K20D is that it's not exactly intuitive to operate, and you have to do a bit of digging to "unlock" all of the camera's potential. This is one of the first digital SLRs where I've had to read through the entire operating manual in order to figure out how to adjust settings like ISO and white balance. Please keep in mind that this is mostly due to my unfamiliarity with the layout of the new breed of Pentax digital SLRs.
Anyone who has used a K10D won't have any problem at all operating the K20D. Unlike some of the other "entry-level" digital SLRs, the K20D is set up to give you precise control and tons of creative options when capturing images.
It will take some time to learn them all, but once you do, you'll be able to capture images in-camera without the need for photo editing software that simply aren't possible with other cameras. But you can take photos comfortably in rain, dense fog or at the beach without having to babysit the camera. You can immediately tell the difference between the weather-sealed camera body and other SLRs without it: all of the access doors on the K20D are made out of a hard plastic other cameras use rubber and when they close, they snap tight.
Both the memory card compartment and the battery compartment go an extra step: in order to open them, you need to lift a small lever and twist it. This action "pops" open the door: a small difference from other cameras, but more satisfying than trying to pry it open with a fingernail. Anyone working in a studio environment clearly won't benefit all that much from it — but those who live where the weather is wild and want to take photos in the great outdoors can feel confident taking photos with their SLR while others hide their cameras away to protect them.
While this is all quite wonderful for the experienced photographer who knows how to leverage them, it can be daunting and intimidating for a beginner to figure it all out.
These three camera settings all balance with each other to create a good exposure - one that is neither too dark nor too bright. The mode you choose on the Pentax K20D determines the level of control that you're going to have over one or more of these features.
In some modes, the camera will be determining the right setting for you, while in others you can select it yourself. As you can see, many of the modes are designed to give you manual control over one or more of the three main settings.
While other cameras just provide you with an ISO button and let you figure out which setting is the best, the K20D provides multiple ways to set this value manually, and several automatic modes where you specify the ISO range you want the camera to use. Of course, this assumes that you'll want to have this level of control over ISO, aperture and shutter speed. If you don't have a good command of these controls and really never want to, then the K20D has a ton of modes and features that you'll simply never use.
The live view mode was the one feature that I was most interested in testing for this Pentax K20D guide. Having used it I now say this: it's great for closeup, still-life and portrait photography but not much good for moving subjects. When you look through the viewfinder of a digital SLR camera, you're seeing an image that's reflected by a mirror inside the camera body.
This mirror sits smack in front of the camera's sensor, and it's the sensor that's required to capture a live view image. And here's where we run into trouble: the camera's sophisticated autofocus system needs to have that mirror DOWN in order to work.
So every time you try to autofocus in live view mode, the mirror snaps down, the autofocus engages, locks, then the mirror snaps up again. This is a time-consuming process, and not very effective when you're dealing with a moving subject.
Case in point: I tried photographing my kids a lot with the live view mode and ultimately had to give up. They simply would not sit still long enough for me to set the autofocus and then take a picture. In the previous section on camera controls, I note that the K20D is a unique camera because of the sheer number of ways you can adjust the ISO setting.
But whether you're setting the ISO yourself or having the camera do it for you, a question arises: how well does the camera handle noise at high ISO settings? Image noise appears as grain or speckling in your digital photos.
Smooth surfaces actually look smooth when there is little noise, but they take on a mottled appearance when the noise levels are high. One way to find out how a digital SLR camera handles noise is to take a sequence of images from a low ISO value to a high one and inspect them to see when noise becomes a noticeable part of the photo.
Being able to capture high-quality images between ISO and gives you a lot of flexibility when working in low light conditions. Paired with the built-in image stabilization system, this camera is a good option for low-light hand-held photography.
I don't typically talk a lot about exposure in my digital SLR camera guides, since most modern digital SLRs are quite accurate about their automatic exposure settings. One issue I have with the K20D is the fact that its default exposure setting universally under-exposes the image.
If you just allow the camera to do what it wants, you're going to wind up with photos that look too dark and might not have the color brightness that you were hoping for from a camera of this caliber. The solution is an easy one: you just have to change the exposure compensation setting so that the camera thinks the image is over-exposed when this really just balances things out.
Take the following two sample photos: the first was taken with zero exposure compensation and you can see how dark it turned out. For the second shot, I adjusted the exposure compensation setting to intentionally over-expose the photo, and got much better results. You just have to keep a close eye on the histogram for each photo you take to make sure that you're getting a decent exposure. Getting the exposure right the moment you take the shot means less time later tweaking the image with software if you're inclined to tweak it at all.
When you're talking about a camera with a It's no good for an SLR to have a massive sensor if it's not going to capture remarkable images. The verdict: the Pentax K20D delivers in spades in the image quality department. Images captured by the sensor are clear, bright, and colorful but come with one drawback: the slightest flaws in either your camera technique or your subject become quickly apparent with these huge image files. At its full This means you can create high-quality prints on paper that measures 14 x 17 inches or A2.
If you're willing to suffer a slight loss of image quality, you can print even larger than this. It also means that you can crop aggressively , and still get away with fairly large print sizes. I wasn't overly happy with the framing of the image on the left and I wanted to crop in so that the dog is the primary subject of the photo as illustrated in the second photo. Here's the fun part: even though I cut out an awful lot of the original image, the second photo still measures by , with a total resolution of 2.
For those in the back of the room without calculators, I can still make a nice 4x6 print from this photo, even though I have cropped out a huge amount.
All of this printing and cropping flexibility does come with a price: the file sizes generated by the Pentax K20D are absolutely enormous. You can quickly see that the full-size, high-quality photos captured by the K20D are fairly substantial. And these huge files aren't just going to have an impact on your memory card capacity. They will also:. While you certainly can set the K20D to capture 6 megapixel files for everyday use, be aware of the impact that the full-size Every modern digital SLR camera lets you adjust how the camera captures color in two different ways:.
For each mode, the K20D lets you adjust the saturation, hue, contrast and sharpness.
Pentax K20D Operating Manual
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Pentax K20D Film Camera User Manual
The original release date for the camera according to the Pentax press releases was set for May of By some quirk of digital SLR manufacturing, the camera became available in early March, which is great news for all you Pentax digital SLR enthusiasts. The Pentax K20D builds on top of the features available in the popular K10D, and includes a superlative something all digital SLR manufacturers look for in their new cameras. At the time of its release , the Pentax K20D features the most megapixels The extra megapixels are both boon and bane: while you're able to make exceptional quality prints at huge sizes 12x18 inches, if you like , the large file sizes generated by a high-megapixel sensor are going to eat up both memory card and hard drive space. Ultimately, file size and memory requirements may be inconsequential for those who want the best that Pentax has to offer: the K20D comes packed with features in addition to its high megapixel sensor, and is a great option for the experienced photographer who's already made an investment in Pentax SLR lenses.
Pentax K20D User Manual
Although both cameras share similar hardware, each camera has its own design, firmware, and image processing algorithms. Samsung's expertise in sensor design is seen as a major benefit to Pentax, which did not release its first DSLR until , when most other camera manufacturers had already established themselves in the growing digital SLR market. The latest firmware release, version 1. It solved issues with certain SDHC memory cards.