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Compared to...

With the K20D, Pentax has done its usual trick of offering an unambiguously semi-pro specification at much closer to keen amateur prices, which makes it a little awkward when it comes to identifying its peers. The real problem is that some people who might otherwise buy Canon 450Ds and Sony A350s will be tempted to spend a little more to get the better viewfinder and build quality that moving up a level gets you, while its high spec will make it appeal to people considering the Olympus E3, Canon 40D, Sony A700 or even Nikon D300.

As a result, we here compare it to cameras that have lower specifications but are cheaper, as well as the similarly specced but more expensive competitors. The Canon 450D has a lower specification than the K20D but is also less expensive, and gives an idea of how whether you get more image quality for the extra money or just a better-built body with greater customization and better ergonomics . The Sony A700 is more of a match for the Pentax in terms of specification and cost, while the Olympus E3 represents a more expensive option again, but a similar feature set and a similar level of weather sealing. In addition, comparisons to the Sony A350 are included in the review of that camera.

We'll also put it alongside the K10D just to see how much progress the K20D represents.

Positives versus the competition

  • High resolution sensor
  • Cheaper than many similarly specified cameras
  • Higher spec than many similarly priced cameras
  • Ability to save DNG
  • Dust / weather seals (Also on E-3)
  • Selectable program line (including MTF priority)
  • Unique Sensitivity priority and Shutter+Aperture priority modes
  • High quality Pentaprism viewfinder with 0.95x magnification (the biggest here)
  • In-camera RAW development (Also on E-3)

Negatives versus the competition

  • Only 3fps continuous shooting rate
  • Live view doesn't allow fine focusing
 

Pentax K20D

Canon EOS 450D

Sony A700

Olympus E3

Price (Body only)
(With kit lens)

$1200 / £725
£800 [check]
$800 / £450
$850 / £500 [check]
$1300 / £750
$1400 / £890 [check]
$1500 / £1000
$2250 / £1850 [check]
Construction • Plastic
• Metal frame
• Sealed openings
• Plastic
• Metal frame
• Plastic
• Mg Alloy chassis
• Mg Alloy body
• Sealed openings
Dust removal • Sensor-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• Sensor-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• CCD-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• SSW filter
Sensor type CMOS CMOS CMOS Live MOS
Sensor size 23.4 x 15.6 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
Pixel density (MP/cm²) 4.14 3.77 3.32 4.16
Image Stabilization Built-in sensor shift Lenses only Built-in sensor shift Built-in sensor shift
Effective pixels 14.6 million 12.2 million 12.3 million 10.1 million
Aspect ratio 3:2 3:2 3:2 4:3
FOV crop 1.5x 1.6x 1.5x 2.0x
Image size 4672 x 3104 4272 x 2848 4272 x 2848 3648 x 2736
Live View

• Yes
• Up to 1:1 pixel view
• Mirror flip AF

• Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Mirror flip AF
• Different modes
No • Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Mirror flip AF
Lens support • Pentax KAF mount • Canon EF / EF-S • Sony Alpha
• Minolta A-type
• Four Thirds
File formats

• JPEG
• RAW (PEF)
• DNG

• JPEG
• RAW (CR2)
JPEG
RAW (ARW)
cRAW (ARW)
JPEG
RAW (ORF)
Auto focus • 11 point
• 9 cross-type
• -1 to 18 EV
• 9 point
• 1 cross-type
• -0.5 to 18 EV
• Eye-start AF option
• 11 point
• 1 double cross-type
• 0 to 18 EV
• Eye-start AF option
• 11 point
• 11 cross-type
• -2 to 19 EV
AF illuminator Flash strobe Flash strobe Red lamp pattern Flash strobe
AF adjustment Yes, body and up to 20 lenses No No No
Metering sensor 16 segment 35 zone 40 segment 49 zone
Metering range 0 to 21 EV 1 to 20 EV 0 to 20 EV 1 to 20 EV
Metering modes Multi-segment, CWA, Spot Evaluative, Partial, Spot, CWA Multi-segment, CWA, Spot ESP, CWA, Spot, Highlight spot, Shadow spot
Exp. comp. +/- 3.0 EV (In 0.5 EV) +/- 2.0 EV +/- 3.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
Exp. comp. EV steps 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV
Manual EV steps 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV
Sensitivity range (boost setting) 100 - 3200 (6400) 100 - 1600 100 - 1600, (3200, 6400) 100 - 3200
Auto ISO adjust Max & Min ISO selectable No Max & Min ISO selectable Max & Min ISO selectable
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/8000 sec 60 - 1/8000 sec
Continuous rate (high) • 3.0 fps
• 38 JPEG/Fine frames
• 14 RAW frames
• 3.5 fps
• 53 JPEG/Fine frames
• 6 RAW frames
• 5.0 fps
• Unlimited JPEG
• 18 RAW / 25 cRAW
• 5.0 fps
• Unlimited JPEG
• 19 RAW
White balance • 8 presets (with adj)
• Color temp (K)
• Manual
• 6 presets (with adj)
• Color temp (K)
• Manual
• 6 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual (3 mem.)
• 7 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual (4 mem.)
Image parameters • 6 presets
• Saturation +/- 4
• Hue +/- 4
• Contrast +/- 4
• Sharpness +/- 4

• 6 presets
• 3 User defined
• Sharpness 0-7
• Contrast +/- 4
• Saturation +/- 4
• Color tone +/- 4

• 13 presets / 3 user
• Saturation +/- 3
• Contrast +/- 3
• Brightness +/-3
• Sharpness +/- 3
• Zone -1 to +2
• 5 presets / 1 user
• Saturation +/- 2
• Contrast +/- 2
• Sharpness +/- 2
• Gradation (3)
Noise reduction control 4 levels 1 additional level 3 levels 4 levels
DR extension mode DRange Highlight Tone Priority DRO (3 modes plus 5 manual settings) Shadow adjustment
Built-in flash • Manual pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
• Manual pop-up
• Guide no. 12 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
External flash • Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe • Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
Flash sync speed 1/180 sec 1/200 sec 1/250 sec 1/250 sec
Delete in record review Yes Yes Yes No
Storage • SD (Inc SDHC) • SD (Inc SDHC) • CF (inc. UDMA)
• MS Duo / Pro Duo
• CF (inc. UDMA)
• xD-Picture Card
Viewfinder

• Pentaprism
• 95% coverage
• 0.95x magnification

• Pentamirror
• 95% coverage
• 0.87x magnification
• Pentaprism
• 95% coverage
• 0.9x magnification
• Pentaprism
• 100% coverage
• 1.15x magnification
LCD monitor • 2.7" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 922,000 dots
• 2.5" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
LCD articulation No No No Yes (flip-out & twist)
Top panel LCD Yes No No Yes
Vertical grip Yes, BG-2 Yes, BG-E5 Yes, VG-C70AM Yes, HLD-4
Other features • Color tunable LCD
• Weather sealing
• Program jump btn.
• RAW development
• JPEG edit
• Custom 'My Menu' • Included IR remote • RAW development
• JPEG edit
• Weather sealing
Dimensions 142 x 101 x 70 mm
(5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
142 x 105 x 80 mm
(5.6 x 4.3 x 3.3 in)
142 x 116 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 2.9 in)
Weight (inc batt) 804 g (1.8 lb) 522 g (1.2 lb) 690 g (1.5 lb) 800 g (1.8 lb)
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