This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).
Pentax K20D vs. Canon EOS 450D
This comparison isn't included because we think lots of people will be trying to decide between these two cameras (though some may be tempted to spend the extra money to get the K20D's build quality, viewfinder and customizability), but to see what you get, purely in image quality terms, when you step up from the high-entry-level/keen amateur level to the semi-pro level.
Canon EOS 450D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
Canon EOS 450D
9.4 MB (4672 x 3104)
3.7 MB JPEG (4272 x 2848)
The 450D has already established itself as something of a benchmark in its class but at these default settings, the Pentax produces a result some buyers will prefer. Most of the differences appear to be down to sharpening, with the Pentax risking occasional artefacts (such as on the edges of the paperclips), to give a crisper result. (This can be toned-down if you want to apply your own sharpening later). A comparison from RAW will show if there's any fundamental difference in what's being captured.