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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.

The K2000, especially in its 'Bright' setting is rather more saturated than most DSLRs on the market, with a particular over-fondness for the color green, but it can be toned-down a bit by shooting in 'Natural.'

Pentax K2000 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
BrightNaturalPortraitLandscape
VibrantMonochromeAdobeRGB

Artificial light White Balance

The K2000 offers a good degree of control over white balance, with eight presets (including three different fluorescent lighting settings). And, if you dig down to Custom Setting 8, you'll find a White Balance fine-tune option that allows fairly subtle adjustment of white balance in both the Amber-Blue and Green-Magenta axes. This option, combined with a color-adjustable LCD, should allow you to get pretty close to perfect white balance if you're determined to get it spot-on for JPEG shooting.

Interestingly, despite having three fluorescent white balance presets, we got better results out of the camera using Auto. The tungsten (incandescent) performance under our tungsten light bulbs was good-to-excellent, though.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 12.1%, Blue: -19.20%, Poor
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: -0.3%, Blue: 1.6%, Excellent
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: 2.7%, Blue: -5.1%, Average

Fluorescent - White Fluorescent preset
Red: 7.1%, Blue: -12.4%, Average

Flash

The flash performance is pretty impressive for a camera in this class with both exposure and color handled well. Skin tones are perhaps a touch too magenta but that can be a problem with the camera's default JPEG setting, rather than an indictment of the flash. The K2000 strobes its internal flash unit to aid focus in low light - not always a pleasant experience for the subject - but the camera's pre-exposure metering flash burst is well timed so that it doesn't leave you waiting around but rarely prompts subjects to close their eyes.

Overall Image Quality / Specifics

The K2000 is unquestionably aimed at the first-time DSLR user - its help button and automatic scene mode selection make that very clear - but the pictures it produces aren't always consistent with that ambition. The light metering is often pretty conservative, with an occasional tendency towards underexposing. In general this is a good thing as it reduces the likelihood of bright areas of the image becoming too bright and straying outside the camera's dynamic range. It's certainly desirable for users with the time and patience to post-process their images and pull the brightness back up but it might come as a bit of a shock to compact camera users who expect constantly bright images (albeit with the blown-out highlights that tend to plague compacts).

What is a problem is the quality of a the camera's JPEG engine - something we've been concerned about with some previous Pentax DSLRs. Images straight out of the camera do not make a very good job of conveying all the detail that the sensor is capturing. Examples on the next page show what is and isn't possible by tweaking the camera's image settings.

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