Pentax Optio A20 Review
Timing & Performance
The A10's achilles' heel was its lack of responsiveness and overall sluggish performance, so does the A20 represent a big leap forward? In a word, partially. There's no doubt that some aspects of the camera's performance have been improved significantly, but the A20 still struggles to keep up with the best ultra-compact models when it comes to important things like focus, shutter lag and shot-to-shot times (with or without flash). Basically the A10 was so slow that it needed a 400% boost to catch up with the best of its peers, it only got a 100% boost. At the long end of the zoom in anything but perfect lighting the time from pressing the shutter can take anything up to 1.5 seconds; this simply isn't acceptable for anything other than a totally static subject.
That said the A20 is, if you don't push it too hard, perfectly usable; the focus is a lot more assured than it was on the A10, and the zoom action has been improved immeasurably (though it still lurches from one end to the other in only 6 steps). Some playback functions are actually slower (thanks to the larger files) but we can live with that (performance when actually taking pictures is the important thing).
As we said when reviewing the A10, how much of an impact the pedestrian performance will have on you depends on the type of photography you will be using the camera for; if it's a pocket camera for taking out walking, no problem; if it's a party camera or a camera for catching snaps of the kids at play, you're going to miss a lot of shots.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on an 10MB JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.3|
|Power: Off to Play||1.8|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.6|
|Power: Play to Off||When lens is extended||1.5|
|Power: Play to Off||When lens is retracted||0.4|
|Record Review||Image displayed||1.4|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.1|
|Mode: Record to Play||0.5|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (8x)||~2.3|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~0.3 *1|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||~0.4|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||38 to 114 mm (3x)||~0.9|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle||~0.6 *2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto||~0.7 - 1.1 *2|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view||~0.2|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.9 *3|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~5.0|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~2.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||3.6 / 4.0|
|*1||Low res previews are loaded in around 0.3 seconds, so you can scroll through images fairly quickly. To load the full image (which can, for example, be magnified or edited) takes around 1.0 seconds.|
|*2||Focus speed drops significantly when light levels fall. Figures shown are for area AF with the focus limiter on (turning it off extends focus times).|
|*3||Switching to PF (Pan Focus) mode when shooting outdoors allows a full press lag of only 0.2 seconds.|
Continuous drive mode
The A20 has a single standard burst mode that we measured at around 0.8 frames per second (in other words one shot every 1.15 seconds). This is far from class-leading but it probably enough for most typical users, and you can keep shooting until the card is full; there appears to be no limit to the length of burst.
File writing / playback performance
The A20 takes around 2.7 seconds to write a 3.5MB best quality 10MP file to the card and around 1.3 seconds to display it (though the use of low resolution previews makes playback seem much faster). Neither figure is very impressive, but then speed is not this camera's forte.
The A20's small rechargeable battery is good for 150 shots (using the CIPA standard) - in real world use you'll get a few more or less depending on how much you use the screen and flash or activate the SR preview often. Either way it's pretty poor for a compact camera in 2007, when similar cameras from other manufacturers often offer twice as many shots per charge. If you like to take a lot of pictures you'd better budget for another battery.
|Short-eared Owl by bryand7k|
from Best photo of the week...
|Happy girl! by Dutch Newchurch|
from Wide angle
If you're on a budget and want a Sony FE 50mm F1.4 lens that'll autofocus, this one is worth consideration. But as is usually the case, you get what you pay for.
Time is running out to vote for your favorite cameras and lenses in our year-end Readers' Choice Awards! In this category, we've rounded up the seven of the best high-end interchangeable lens cameras for enthusiasts and pros.
Each week, we'll help you cut through the noise and share the top 5 photography news stories from the past 7 days. This week's top stories cover a wide range of emotions: from tragedy, to anger, inspiration, and a little bit of sticker shock courtesy of Apple.
In part two of his series on shooting lava flows in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, landscape photographer Erez Marom tackles the challenges inherent in shooting lava from the ground.
"Texas, like many states, has a banned book list totaling about 10,000. What’s surprising is that whilst books by Adolf Hitler and the Klu Klux Klan leader do not make the list, a surprising number of photography books do."
Thinking of getting a rugged or underwater camera for a tropical vacation this winter? Jose Francisco Salgado tested two popular models, the Olympus TG-5 and Nikon W300 on a trip to Puerto Rico this summer. Find out what he thinks of these two cameras.
This year saw several cameras released in the mid-range ILC class, from full-frame DSLRs to super-compact APS-C mirrorless models. Take a look for a reminder of the key mid-range ILCs released in 2017, and don't forget to vote for your favorites.
The most important camera you'll ever own is the first one you buy. This year was relatively quiet on the entry-level ILC front, but the quality of the cameras released in this market segment was universally excellent. Vote while you can – polls close Monday!
Disney is attempting to buy most of 21st Century Fox in a deal worth a reported $52.4 billion. In the process, Disney will take over Fox's controlling 73% stake in National Geographic.
Leica has released a series of 100 limited edition M bodies with red anodized top and base plates. The company says the red hue of the cameras makes a bold statement, though some might argue the $7,000 price tag is slightly more daring.
Fuji users have another flash trigger to add to their arsenal. Broncolor's RFS 2.2F flash trigger—formerly only available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony—is now being made for Fujifilm cameras as well.
Canon might be planning to bring catadioptric 'mirror' lenses back from the dead. A new Canon patent spotted in Japan describes a 400mm F5.6 catadioptric lens that would use a variable density ‘electrochromic’ filter to 'stop down' the lens.
DxOMark just finished their review of the Leica M10 sensor, and while it outperforms almost every other digital Leica ever made, it still falls significantly short of the top-of-the-line full-frame sensors out there.
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are one of Earth's great natural wonders. As we head into the dark days of winter, it's a great time to think about photographing them. In this article, we walk you through what you need to know to get your own magical photos of these lights in the sky.
The year 2017 was great for prime lens shooters. Based on reader interest and preferences, we've got a whopping twenty lenses for this category of our year-end reader polls. Vote now for your favorite!
It's the end of an era. Two years after releasing the Milvus line, Cosina Japan has announced that it has ceased production of the Zeiss SLR Classic series of lenses.
Now that the iMac Pro is live on the Apple store online, we can finally see how much a fully loaded, 18-core version with 128GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD and Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card will cost you. Surprise, surprise... it ain't cheap.
Apple just dropped a major update of video editing program Final Cut Pro X, adding support for HDR, VR and 360° video editing, 8K support, and advanced color grading tools including (FINALLY!) curves.
"I ended up with two minutes to shoot the group of 11 egos, six of whom were palpably unhelpful," says celebrity photographer Jesse Dittmar, "while a peanut gallery of 40 PR reps, individual hair, make-up, and stylists were trying to get their say."
26-year-old Chinese rooftopper Wu Yongning fell to his death from atop the 62-story Huayuan Hua Centre skyscraper when a photo stunt for an unnamed sponsor went horribly wrong.
Photographer Nasim Mansurov ran the new Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the newest 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro side-by-side for a month. Read on to find out how the two machines compared in real-world use.
President Trump has signed a bill that reinstates mandatory drone registration in the US, reversing a court ruling from earlier this year that eliminated the requirement.
The iPhone X shares the iPhone 8 Plus' camera specs with a notable exception: both of the X's main cameras are stabilized. Take a look at what Apple's newest flagship device can do.
This year saw plenty of new lenses released, including several excellent zooms. We've used a lot of them, but we want to hear from you – what were your favorite zoom lenses of 2017?
National Geographic has revealed the winners of its annual Nature Photographer of the Year contest, and every shot from the Grand Prize winner down to the Honorable Mentions and People's Choice awards are fantastic.
The Mini System was designed with portability and ease of use in mind, but builds on High Sight's experience building larger and more complex products.
Dutch police began training eagles to take down illegal drones all the way back in 2016, but after running into some training issues and a lack of demand for these trained birds, the program is being shut down.
This is what happens when Madison Avenue tries to romanticize photography, using iconic and social media savvy photographers to sell you everything from shoes, to credit cards, to SUVs.
After raising over half a million dollars on Kickstarter earlier this year, Lomography has finally put its Neptune three-in-one lens system on sale for the general public.