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Pentax K20D

By dpreview staff on Jan 23, 2008 at 22:07 GMT

Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has unveiled its latest mid-priced DSLR - the K20D. The camera is based around the successful K10D body with the addition of a 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor and sees the addition of live view for the first time on a Pentax DSLR. It also features this season's de rigueur feature: an expanded dynamic range function.

Click here for our brief hands-on with the Pentax K20D

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Press Release:

PENTAX K20D: A High-Performance Lens-Interchangeable Digital SLR Camera for Truly Demanding Photo Enthusiasts

Coupling a New Image Sensor to Optimize Lens Performance with an Array of Features to Maximize the Fun and Excitement of Digital Picture-Taking

PENTAX Corporation is pleased to introduce the PENTAX K20D lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera. This medium-class model offers superb image quality, an array of advanced features and outstanding reliability and operability to meet the specialized and exacting demands of photo enthusiasts, including advanced amateurs. It incorporates a newly developed image sensor to bring out the optimum performance of PENTAX interchangeable lenses, while offering the features and functions needed to maximize the pleasure and excitement of digital photography.

The K20D’s development was based on the popular PENTAX K10D, which not only attracted great interest and high acclaim from users around the world, but also swept prestigious camera awards across the globe in 2007.

The new CMOS image sensor, exclusively developed for K20D, is designed to optimize the performance of PENTAX interchangeable lenses. Featuring approximately 14.6 effective megapixels and the latest noise-reduction technology, it assures superb image quality a step above its predecessors.

The K20D also offers an array of advanced features and user-friendly functions, including: a new Custom Image function that lets the user select or adjust the image’s finishing touches to their preference; an upgraded, more reliable SR (Shake Reduction) system; a comprehensive Dust Removal system; a multi-mode exposure system for faithful reproduction of the photographer’s creative intentions; and a dependable dust-proof, water-resistant body construction. As a result, the K20D easily meets the diversified, exacting demands of discerning photographers.

Major Features

1. High-quality image reproduction

■ Newly developed CMOS image sensor:
The K20D features a newly developed CMOS (complementary metal oxide silicon) image sensor measuring 23.4 mm x 15.6 mm. After a thorough review of previous image sensors, PENTAX greatly reduced the area of circuitry around the pixel field to expand the light-sensitive area, while narrowing the camera’ depth to nearly 60%, it achieved overall downsizing. Since it can detect diagonal light with great accuracy, the sensor can bring out the optimum performance of PENTAX interchangeable lenses. It also keeps annoying digital noise to a minimum by automatically raising its own sensitivity, allowing to increase the sensitivity from ISO 100 to the highest level of ISO 6400 (via a custom function).

■ Approximately 14.6 effective megapixels for true-to-life, rich-gradation images:
The K20D’s new CMOS sensor features an approximately 14.6 effective megapixels. Coupled with a high-performance imaging engine incorporating PENTAX-original image-processing technologies programmed to yield natural, true-to-life descriptions, it assures fine-detailed, rich-gradation images. In addition, the K20D features a new Custom Image function, which lets the photographer select one of six finishing touches to reflect his or her creative intentions with great ease.

■ High-performance, high-speed PRIME imaging engine:
The K20D incorporates the PENTAX-original PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) as its imaging engine. Designed exclusively for PENTAX digital SLR cameras, it assures well-balanced, true-to-life images with faithful color reproduction by efficiently controlling digital signals transmitted by the CMOS image sensor and other photographic factors, including white balance. This imaging engine also features a DDR2 (Double Data Rate 2) memory to assure speedy image processing and high-speed data transfer.

2. PENTAX-original SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism assuring greater reliability

The K20D is equipped with the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark or at night without supplementary flash illumination, or using extended exposures for sunset scenes. This innovative mechanism offers an outstanding compensation effect equivalent to approximately 2.5 to 4 shutter-speed steps. In addition, the lighter image sensor unit and refined data-control algorithm realize further image stabilization. Since it does not require special anti-shake lenses, this extends outstanding shake-reduction benefits to nearly all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.*

* Lenses compatible with this mechanism are: PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount lenses, screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be applicable with certain lenses.

3. New Live View function
The K20D features a new Live View function, which allows the user to view the image on the LCD monitor on the camera’s back panel during shooting. This comes handy when the photographer must move his or her eye from the viewfinder in specialized applications, such as low- and high-angle compositions. This function also allows the user to confirm the shake-reduction effect on the monitor during the shooting.

4. Expanded Dynamic Range function
The K20D has added a dynamic-range expansion function, which allows the user to expand a dynamic range (or a range of gradation reproduction) while retaining the proper contrast to avoid white-washed areas. With an approximately 1EV expansion effect, it assures beautiful, rich-gradation images.

5. Comprehensive Dust Removal system, including prevention, removal and confirmation devices
The K20D features the user-friendly Dust Removal (DR) system to prevent dust from sticking to the surface of the CMOS image sensor (or low-pass filter). Applied to the image sensor surface through the vapor deposition of a fluorine compound, the PENTAX-original SP (Super Protect) coating effectively removes dust and stains from the surface. In the next step, dust that still remains on the surface will be shaken off when the SR system shifts the image sensor at high speed. Finally, the dust that is shaken off the image sensor will fall onto an adhesive sheet positioned at the bottom of the SR unit, eliminating any possibility of its returning to the image sensor surface. This upgraded DR system even offers a new Dust Alert function, which allows the user to confirm the dust-adhesion status of the image sensor in advance.

6. Custom Image function for easy creation of intended images
The K20D is equipped with a new Custom Image function that lets the users select one of the six modes and adjust the image’s finishing touches to their presence. Allowing a minor adjustment of tone, saturation, contrast, and sharpness, this function enables the user to take photographs with their intend image. The user easily operates the selection and adjustment process by recording a preview images and checking the effect.

7. Versatile exposure system for faithful reproduction of creative intentions

■ Hyper Program function:
The K20D’s Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch to the Shutter- or Aperture-Priority AE mode from the Programmed AE mode, with a simple turn of the electronic dials on the grip. To return to the Programmed AE mode, simply press the green button positioned next to the shutter release button.

■ Hyper Manual function:
When shooting in Manual mode, a single push of the green button allows the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject.

■ Sensitivity-Priority mode:
The K20D features a unique Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode, which is designed to automatically select the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for a user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted instantly in 1/2 or 1/3 steps by turning the electronic dial on the back panel.

■ Shutter/Aperture-Priority mode:
Taking full advantage of the unique capability of digital cameras permitting automatic shift of sensitivity at any time, the Shutter/Aperture-Priority (TAv) mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for a user-selected shutter-speed/aperture combination. It allows the user to experiment with a greater range of photographic expressions with great ease.

8. Bright, clear viewfinder
Featuring a glass pentaprism, the K20D’s viewfinder offers an approximately 95-percent field of view and an approximately 0.95-times magnification for easy viewing of the subject and effortless confirmation of focus and composition. Coupled with the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen, it delivers a large, bright subject image.

9. Dust-proof, water-resistant construction
The K20D boasts an extremely reliable dust-proof, water-resistant construction, with special seals applied to 74 different parts of the camera body, including the shutter release button and all the switches, levers, dials. This dependable body makes it possible to use the K20D in the rain or dusty locations without worries.

10. Continuous shooting at approximately three images per second
To trace the movement of an active subject or capture a sequence of the subject’s expressions, the K20D offers a continuous shooting mode that allows the photographer to capture as many as 38 images in succession (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately three images per second. When switched to the new high-speed advance mode, the user can take up to approximately 115 images at the speed of approximately 21 images per second.**

** The image size is fixed at 1.6 megapixels in the Burst Shooting mode.

11. Large 2.7-inch wide-view LCD monitor
The K20D features a large 2.7-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots on its back panel. Its wide-view design allows the photographer to check the monitor image from approximately 160 degrees both vertically and horizontally. Since it assures effortless image viewing from a diagonal position, it facilitates low- and high-angle shooting using the Live View function.

12. High-precision 11-point wide-frame AF
The K20D’s sophisticated SAFOX VIII autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically focus on the subject with utmost precision, even when it is positioned off center. When the subject is captured in focus, the in-focus sensor point is automatically superimposed in red in the viewfinder for at-a-glance confirmation.

13. Powerful rechargeable batteries
The K20D features new, large capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which can capture approximately 740 images***, approximately 50% more compared with conventional one, when fully recharged. Drastic improvement of battery capacity is realized with through energy saving design.

*** Under testing condition prescribed by PENTAX, when using D-LI50 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with no flash

14. Other features

  • Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications
  • Reliable, durable shutter unit assuring more than 100,000 shutter releases
  • High-rigidity stainless-steel chassis
  • 36 custom functions to personalize camera operations
  • Universal-type X-sync socket (new feature)
  • RAW button for single-action image-file switching
  • Digital Preview for recording images in addition to checking
  • Optional Battery Grip (D-BG2) for extended shooting sessions
  • Nine digital filters to add creative and artistic touches
  • In-body RAW data development for image filing in JPEG and TIFF formats
  • Compatibility with SDM equipped lenses for quiet, extra-smooth autofocus operation
  • PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 3, RAW data processing software, PENTAX PHOTO Browser 3, browser software and PENTAX REMOTE Assistant 3, camera control software, included on the accompanying CD-ROM

Pentax K20D specifications

Body color

Black
Sensor

• 14.6 million effective pixels*
• 15.1 million total pixels
• 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor
• 1.5x FOV crop
• RGB primary color filter

Anti-dust measures • Sensor shake system
• Anti-dust coating
• Dust alert*
Image sizes • 4672 x 3104 (14.5 MP)
• 3872 x 2592 (10.0 MP)
• 3008 x 2000 (6.0 MP)
• 1824 x 1216 (2.2 MP)
Image quality • RAW (PEF or DNG)
• RAW + JPEG (choice of 4 sizes and 4 compression levels)
• JPEG 14.5MP (4 compression levels)
• JPEG 10.0MP (4 compression levels)
• JPEG 6.0MP (4 compression levels)
• JPEG 2.2MP (4 compression levels)
Lens mount Pentax KAF2
Compatible lenses • KAF2
• KAF
• KA
• K (with certain restrictions)
Autofocus • 11-point TTL phase-match AF with 9 cross-type sensors (SAFOX VIII)
Lens servo • Single-servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Manual focus (M)
AF Area mode • Single Area AF
• Dynamic Area AF
• Auto Area AF
Focus lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
AF Assist built-in flash
Exposure mode

• Green mode
• Programmed auto (P) with flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (Tv)
• Aperture priority auto (Av)
• Sensitivity priority auto (Sv)
• Manual (M)
• Flash sync speed (X)

Metering TTL 16-segment metering
• Multi segment metering
• Center-weighted
• Spot
Metering range • EV 0 to 21 (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20 °C)
Exposure compen. • +/- 3.0 EV (1/2 EV steps)
• +/- 2.0 EV (1/3 EV steps)
AE Lock Available
AE Bracketing

• 3 or 5 frames, +/- 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 (1/2 EV steps)
• 3 or 5 frames, +/- 0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, 2.0 (1/3 EV steps)

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100 - ISO 3200 (in 1EV, 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV steps)
• ISO 6400 (expanded)*
Shutter • Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter
• 30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 EV steps)
• Flash X-Sync: up to 1/180 sec
• Bulb
White balance • Auto
• Eight manual modes with fine-tuning
    o Daylight
    o Shade
    o Cloudy
    o Tungsten
    o Fluorescent W
    o Fluorescent D
    o Fluorescent N
    o Flash
• Manual preset white balance (immediate or from photo)
WB fine tuning Yes
Color modes

• Bright
• Natural
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Vibrant
(All with adjustment for Saturation, Hue, Contrast and Sharpness)
• Monochrome
(with adjustment for Filter type, Toning, Contrast and Sharpness)

Digital filters

• B&W (4 types)
• Sepia (3 Types)
• Color (18 types)
• Color extract (6 type)
• Soft (3 levels)
• Illustration
• HDR (3 Type)
• Slim (+/- 8 levels)
• Brightness (+/- 8 levels)

Viewfinder • Optical fixed eye-level
• Penta-prism type
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-2.5 to +1.5 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.95x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Focusing screen: Natural-Brite-Matte II
Viewfinder information

Focus indications, AE/FV lock indicator, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure/Exposure compensation indicator, Flash output compensation, Exposure compensation, Number of remaining exposures, Flash-ready indicator

LCD monitor

• 2.7" TFT LCD*
• 230,000 pixel
• Color* and brightness adjustable

Live view

• TTL using image sensor*
• 4X or 8X enlargement
• Grid view

Built-in flash • P-TTL pop-up flash
• Guide number approx. 13 at ISO 100
Sync contact Hot shoe, X-sync socket*, flash synchronization at shutter speeds of up to 1/180 sec
Flash mode • Auto, Slow-sync (both with red-eye reduction option), trailing curtain sync mode, Wireless mode
Flash compensation • -2 to +1 EV
• 1/2 steps
Shooting modes • Single frame shooting (S) mode
• Continuous shooting (Hi, Lo) mode: approx. 3.0 frames per second
• Burst (approx 21fps at 1.6MP)
• Self timer
• Remote (0sec, 3sec, continuous)
• Auto bracket
• Extended bracket
• Multi-exposure
Continuous buffer • JPEG: 38 (at 3fps), until card fills (at 2.3 fps)
• RAW: Approx. 14 frames (PEF)
• RAW: Approx. 16 frames (DNG)
Self-timer • 2 or 12 sec
Remote control • Remote Control ML-L3 (optional, Infrared)
• Camera Control Pro software (optional)
Text input Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in EXIF header
Playback functions

• One image
• Two images
• Index (4, 9, or 16 thumbnails)
• Enlargement (up to 32X)
• Image rotation
• Folder view
• Slideshow
• Histogram
• Dark/bright areas

Storage • Secure Digital / Secure Digital HC
Video output NTSC or PAL selectable
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)
• Mass storage / PTP selectable
• Video out
• DC-IN (optional AC adapter and adapter connector)
Power Lithium-Ion battery pack D-LI50 (7.4 V, 1620 mAh)
Dimensions 141.5 x 101 x 70 mm (5.6 x 4.0 x 2.76 in)
Weight (no batt) 715 g (25.2 oz)
Weight (inc. batt + SD card)

800 g (28.2 oz)

In the box K20D body, USB Cable I-USB17, Video Cable I-VC28, Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery D-LI50, Battery Charge Cradle D-BC50, AC Plug Cord, Strap O-ST53, Hotshoe Cover FK, Eyecup FP, Body Mount Cover, Finder Cap for ME, Focusing Screen LF-80 Frame Matte, Bottom Cap K10D, Software CD-ROM S-SW74/75
Optional accessories

AC Adapter Kit D-AC50, Battery Charger Kit K-BC50, Battery Grip BG2, Cap D-BG2 (for battery grip), Focusing Screen LL-80 AF Divided Matte, Focusing Screen LI-80 AF Scale Matte, Remote Control F, Cable Switch CS-205, Magnifying Eyepiece O-ME53, DSLR Gadget Bag, DSLR Sling Bag

* New or changed compared to the K10D

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