Pentax K20D

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by Tony Polson, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Tony Polson

    Tony Polson Guest

    This was announced last Wednesday. I haven't seen any postings about
    it on here, so I thought I would post one today.

    The K20D is based on the excellent K10D. Where it differs is in its
    14.6 MP Samsung CMOS sensor and Live View. There is also a dynamic
    range expansion feature, based on compression at the time of taking
    the shot, and the SR shake reduction has been improved, offering a
    reduction equivalent to almost 4 stops in certain conditions.

    To me the key feature is the sensor, which not only raises Pentax's
    highest pixel count by 45% but is *made by Samsung*. This is
    Samsung's first APS-C size sensor for Pentax and it finally
    consummates the partnership which the two companies entered into a
    couple of years ago. Naturally there is also a near-identical Samsung

    Here is the DPReview report on the announcement:
    Tony Polson, Jan 26, 2008
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  2. Tony Polson

    Paul Furman Guest

    The megapixel wars continue :)
    It sounds like a nice camera though.
    Paul Furman, Jan 26, 2008
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  3. I didn't see any reference to the CMOS being fabricated by Samsung, The
    new Sony Alpha A300 will also rumoured to be a 14.6 megapixel CMOS. Sony
    already announced and is shipping soon the CAD $600, A200 (10.2 mp) and
    will announce the A300 (14.6 mp, live view and swivel screen) and the
    A350 at PMA08.

    The Nikon D90 *may* also have this CMOS chip.
    Darrell Larose, Jan 27, 2008
  4. Tony Polson

    Tony Polson Guest

    I found two references to this, but I admit that neither was on the
    site that I linked to in my original posting.
    Tony Polson, Jan 27, 2008
  5. And there were some who thought Pentax was dying. I think they are just
    Peter Stavrakoglou, Jan 27, 2008
  6. Tony Polson

    time Guest

    time, Jan 28, 2008
  7. Tony Polson

    Dan Lenski Guest

    Yeah, they initially claimed almost 4 stops for the K10D as well,
    whereas it turns out to be 2 to 3 stops generally for me... which is
    nothing to complain about, especially when it works perfectly with old
    manual focus lenses!! I think we'd better wait for more real-world
    tests of the K20D's shake reduction...
    The new sensor will have a lot of benefits! The increased ISO range
    to 6400, the live view, and the reported extremely low sensor noise
    are awesome though. There has been a bit of disappoint with the
    K10D's low-light performance since it only goes to ISO 1600, whereas
    the 6 MP K100D went to ISO 3200.

    As I understand it, Pentax+Samsung were constrained until now to pick
    from the limited number of sensor models produced by Sony. The K10D
    used the same sensor as the Nikon D40X while the K100D/Super used the
    same one as the Nikon D40. Now that Samsung is producing the sensors,
    they can fine-tune the features they want. Awesome!

    I have been very happy with my new K10D, so I'm sure the K20D will not
    disappoint either. One thing I really want to know is, what will be
    the real-world price of the K20D??? The K10D has been such an
    unbeatable value. I got mine for less than the price of Canon's 400D
    and Nikon's D40X entry-level kits... while the K10D actually has
    features competitive with the Nikon D80 and Canon 40D. I hope they'll
    be aggressive on pricing the K20D too. More Pentax owners will mean
    more lens options, I hope.

    Dan Lenski, Jan 28, 2008
  8. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    Well, one thing to keep in mind is that I don't think any companies numbers
    are real world as a user would get numbers. In a lab under perfect
    conditions you can probably get and the thing is probably capable of 4
    stops. But, labs aren't the real world which is why benchmark testing is a
    big waste of time and only a fool would trust them to make a purchase.

    Guest, Jan 28, 2008
  9. Tony Polson

    Tony Polson Guest

    True. Manufacturers' claims cannot be relied on. Konica Minolta made
    outrageous claims for the anti-shake on their two DSLRs when all the
    system could manage was slightly better than one stop.

    Exactly. This justifies the Pentax-Samsung collaboration that, until
    now, has looked slightly weird since each model announced so far has
    used Sony sensors.

    In the UK, the suggested retail price for the K20D is about 50% higher
    than that of the K10D. By the end of 2008, I expect the K20D to sell
    at the same price as the K10D sold for at the end of 2007.
    Tony Polson, Jan 28, 2008
  10. Tony Polson

    RichA Guest

    So how does camera shake in the lab differ from the real world camera
    shake? This isn't fuel economy.
    RichA, Jan 28, 2008
  11. Tony Polson

    Dan Lenski Guest

    Presumably, Pentax came up with a fairly accurate model for real-world
    camera shake, maybe basing it on measured data from one or several
    real photographers. Then they designed a shake reduction system to
    correct this model camera-shake as well as possible. Finding that
    their system corrected the model camera-shake enough to allow 4 stops
    longer exposure, they advertise it as such.

    But of course, the camera shake from *me* holding the camera is
    probably a little bit different from the camera shake when *you* hold
    the camera, and both of us are probably not quite the same as the
    model that Pentax used. So results vary from individual to

    Dan Lenski, Jan 28, 2008
  12. Tony Polson

    Dan Lenski Guest

    Interesting. I'd never heard that! Nonetheless, I'd say I am very
    pleased with the shake reduction of the K10D. I had never used any
    kind of image stabilization before, and it's a significant, if not
    miraculous, improvement.
    Yep, that's right. I imagine Pentax has been slightly frustrated by
    not being able to get a 10 MP sensor with as good low-light
    performance as the K100D... I know a lot of K100D users are a bit
    disappointed by the announcement that the K200D will use the K10D's

    Do you think Pentax+Samsung have had the goal of producing their own
    DSLR sensors all along, since the collaboration began? And this is
    just the first model brought to market? Or does this represent an
    actual shift in their commitment of resources, now that their DSLRs
    have some momentum in the market?
    If it works out that way, no complaints from me! :)

    Dan Lenski, Jan 28, 2008
  13. Tony Polson

    Tony Polson Guest

    The Pentax/Samsung shake reduction works in a different way to other
    in-camera systems. The up-and-down and side-to-side movement is
    compensating by moving the sensor up-and-down and side-to-side as in
    other systems. However there is additional compensation for rotating
    the camera/lens combination about the lens axis, which the other
    in-camera systems don't have.

    If you jab rather than slowly squeeze the shutter button, the right
    side of the camera goes down slightly, rotating the camera/lens
    combination about the lens axis. The Pentax/Samsung system
    compensates by rotating the sensor about the lens axis in the opposite
    direction. It's very clever, and it seems to work very well.

    The K10D sensor is an excellent sensor, capable of resolving fine
    detail. I don't think the K200D buyers should be too disappointed
    with a K10D sensor at a much lower price.

    When the collaboration was announced, both companies made great play
    of the strengths that the other brought to the relationship. At that
    time, Pentax made it clear that Samsung's expertise was in sensor
    design and manufacture. Because all Pentax and Samsung DSLRs to date
    have used Sony sensors, we have had to wait until now to see that
    Samsung genuinely does have something to offer.

    Until now, Sony has had a stranglehold on the sensor market, supplying
    the majority of P&S digicam sensors plus DSLR sensors for Nikon,
    Pentax, Samsung and Konica Minolta, whose DSLRs Sony took over. The
    profitability of Sony's digital imaging division has always been
    underpinned by its huge earnings from selling sensors.

    Now that Pentax has an alternative supplier for one DSLR model, you
    can be sure there will be more Samsung sensors to follow soon. Nikon
    is designing its own sensors (although Sony currently manufactures
    them) so you can see Sony being squeezed a little. P&S sales have
    reached a plateau and will drop. And with very disappointing sales of
    the Sony Alpha DSLRs, there is not much for Sony to fall back on.

    I agree. I think the K20D will be a very popular DSLR, helping to
    increase Pentax's and Samsung's market share, and cementing Pentax's
    place as No.3 in the DSLR sales statistics, with Sony, Olympus and
    Panasonic trailing behind.
    Tony Polson, Jan 29, 2008
  14. Tony Polson

    Dan Lenski Guest

    I didn't realize the other in-body stabilization systems lacked
    rotational stabilization. Definitely a good addition.

    I have been wondering how the sensor suspension is physically
    constructed. Springs? Some kind of electromechanical device? Coils
    with magnetically tunable stiffness? The system clearly responds
    differently depending on focal length, as I've found out with old
    manual focus lenses when I forget to set the right focal length. I've
    tried lightly jiggling the camera with the mirror up in sensor
    cleaning mode, and couldn't see any visible motion of the sensor...
    damped or otherwise.
    Well at the moment, you can get the K10D kit + lens for about $600 in
    the USA, which is well below the K200D's list price when it becomes
    available. Marketing-wise, it might not be the best strategy for
    Pentax to take some K10D features and put them in the K200D... since
    it gives customers a clear picture of exactly what they're NOT
    getting. Although if the prices come down to the level of the current
    K100D Super, around $450 for the kit, that will be a phenomenal deal.
    If the rave reviews are to be believed, it's the lowest-noise APS-C
    sensor ever produced. Would love to know how they pulled it off.
    More competition for DSLR sensors is hopefully a good thing for
    consumers! Any idea when Nikon's own sensors will make their first

    Dan Lenski, Jan 29, 2008
  15. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    it's probably not engaged in sensor cleaning mode. try an exposure of
    a few seconds, but i suspect the distance it moves won't be very
    that remains to be seen, and also how much of it is due to noise
    reduction after the fact versus true low noise from the sensor.
    nikon designed sensors appeared with the d2h a few years ago (lbcast),
    and are currently in the d3. nikon also has its own modifications to
    the sony made sensors in their other cameras (for instance, 4 channel
    readout on the d200).
    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
  16. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    Also, I choose a camera in with in body SR because I have a nerve disorder
    that causes me to shake. No matter how hard I try to hold the camera steady
    it shakes. I can promise you that Pentax didn't line up a bunch of people
    with various nerve disorders to do lab testing. Benchmark testing has always
    and still is a flawed way of proving a devices capabilities. Take a computer
    for instance. The people running the benchmark test it with Windows running
    alone, the Windows with Photoshop, then Windows, Photoshop and Norton
    Anti-Virus. Well that is a very small amount of testing. They didn't test it
    with Windows, Photoshop and MacAfee, some other anti-virus. They didn't test
    it after running 3 years straight with normal user use (installing and
    uninstalling software, etc.). What they test the system under in benchmark
    testing is so small that it is worthless for real world comparison.

    Even software reviews suffer from this. The results ones would get from
    installing a software program on a clean system and using it for 20 minutes
    is a far cry from someone installing it on a system with tons of other
    stuff, using it for several times a day for 2 or 3 hours for several months.
    The reviewer doing the test on a clean system is going to run in to far
    fewer bugs, crashes, etc. than the person using the software in the real

    This is why benchmark testing shouldn't be used as any part of a purchasing
    decision and reviews should be read from many sources, the results averaged
    and used a small fraction of the information used to decide what program to
    buy or not to buy. One of the best sources of buying information comes from
    people that have bought and used the product in the real world. That is why
    places like Circuit City, Best Buy, have user reviews/ratings.
    However, these also have to be watched because too many people either don't
    know what they are doing, don't know what their talking about, have a grudge
    against a company, etc. So these user reviews need to be used a yet another
    small fraction for a purchasing decision. Buy the time you get information
    from all available sources you should have a fairly complete picture and
    should have a much better chance of getting what you want and what you

    Benchmarks however are 100% worthless.

    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
  17. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    Oh, and lets not forget the role of the marketing department which has a
    tendency to make any thing weak seem like a much desired feature that
    everyone should be clamoring to get. By the time you run the best possible
    scenario the benchmark numbers are so far off they might as well have come
    from another galaxy. Marketing makes most of the mess when trying to get to
    the true about a product. The would hype ice to an ice cube and get it to

    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
  18. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    Yes, the SR in the K10D works very well. But, not 4 stop well. Not in the
    real world. 3 Stops at best, more often than not 2 to 2-1/2 which is still
    good. I would expect the provided SR in the K20D to get 3 to 3-1/2. Like all
    new things it gets perfected over the generations. Thankful computer
    generations are quite short. 20 to 30 minutes at best! :)

    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
  19. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    The K10D uses electromagnetism. It is different from say Sony. I don't like
    Sony as a brand or a company so I can't comment on how they do it. But, I
    have read Pentax is different from others.

    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
  20. Tony Polson

    Guest Guest

    There have been pre-production samples from the K20D at ISO 1600 and 3200
    and they are impressive.

    Click on the camera photo to bring up the sample image gallery, the later
    ones (there are 14 sample images) show comparisons at high ISOs. For
    pre-production they look pretty impressive. They should be better by the
    time it ships with full non-beta firmware.

    Guest, Jan 29, 2008
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