Compared to... Samsung NV10

The 10 megapixel, 3x zoom market isn't as crowded as other sectors, although new models are appearing all the time. Perhaps the closest the A20 has to a direct competitor is the Samsung NV10 (itself recently replaced by the NV11), which is similarly-priced and specified - although it does lack the A20's CCD-shift stabilization.

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Pentax Optio A20 and the Samsung NV10. We have included samples for the lowest and highest standard ISO settings for each camera and ISO 800.

Studio scene comparison (Pentax A20 @ ISO 64, Samsung NV10 @ ISO 100)

  • Pentax Optio A20 : Manual mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance.
  • Samsung NV 10: Manual mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation.
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Pentax Optio A20
Samsung NV10
ISO 64, 1/80 sec, F3.8
ISO 100, 1/200 sec, F3.8
2,109 KB JPEG
4,675 KB JPEG

Unsurprisingly there's little real difference between the two shots, although the A20 has more natural colors and less aggressive processing in general. It also captures a smidgeon more edge-to-edge detail than the Samsung, but we're not talking about anything you'd see in a normal print.

It's worth noting that the output isn't considerably different than the A10 - it's a touch more detailed (and a touch noisier) but, again, we're not talking about a significant upgrade. There do seem to have been some subtle changes to the in-camera processing; the A20 output appears to be slightly less sharpened than the A10, producing a less crisp looking image 'out of the box' - this may be the result of slightly higher noise reduction. But essentially Pentax hasn't made any significant changes.

Not that this is a bad thing; we praised the A10's output for its natural, clean, sharp output and the A20 isn't significantly different. There are very few truly poor cameras in this class, but the A20 is definitely producing better output than most ultra compacts.