Thumbnail index

Turn the rear dial to the left to switch to a 3x3 (9 image) thumbnail index. In this mode you can press the delete button to enter a 'select and delete' mode where you simply tick the images you want removed. If you turn the rear dial left once more you enter folder browse mode in which you can select the current folder on the card.

Pressing the 'Fn' button brings up the option to view 2x2 or 4x4 thumbnail views. Pressing the delete button at any point adds a tick box to the top left of the thumbnails, allowing the quick selection and deletion of multiple images.

Other play mode features

Press the delete button to delete the current image or all images (press again). Press the protect button to mark the image as read-only or to unprotect, press again for all images.


One of the interesting playback modes on the K20D is a compare mode, in which two captures can be viewed alongside one another. The size and resolution of the screen limits the usefulness sometimes, especially when the on-screen furniture is shown (it can be removed, once you're familiar with how it works). It's a nice feature to have 'in the field,' though, particularly when deciding whether you'd definitely got your shot or want to check which set of parameters yield the best results.

This mode is available by pressing 'OK' from the function menu in playback mode or by pressing the 'Fn' button when zoomed-in on an image in playback mode. Once compare mode is engaged, there are three screens - control right-hand image, control both images and control left-hand image. These screens are toggled-through by pressing 'OK' - the next screen that will be selected is represented in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Screen 1: Control right-hand image
Front dial selects a different image
Rear dial magnifies
Controller moves around the image
OK selects Screen 2

Screen 1 zoomed in on a detail. Both left and right images can be the same, allowing a split view with two different zoom levels.
Screen 2: Control both images
Rear dial magnifies both images
Controller moves around both images
OK selects Screen 3
Screen 3: Control left-hand image
Front dial selects a different image
Rear dial magnifies
Controller moves around the image
OK selects Screen 1

Live view

The K20D is the first Pentax to offer Live view, which has become the latest must-have feature, even amongst those who haven't worked out what they'd use it for. Pentax has been left facing the same problem as most other manufacturers: having to provide live view when nobody has really worked out what it's supposed to actually do.

In general terms, Live view can either be used in a compact-camera-like fast preview or to provide a greater level of precision for studio and macro work. The Pentax implementation tries to offer a little bit for both of these uses but isn't quite as good at either as any of the systems that really specialize in one of the two uses.

In terms of offering a live preview, the Pentax scores over some of its rivals by allowing you to see and select the active AF point while in live view mode and returning to live view once focus has been attained (it sounds obvious, but isn't universal), but can't offer the seamless operation and speed of the Sony A350 and A300. For tripod work it offers magnified live view but this doesn't appear to use the sensor's full resolution, significantly reducing its usefulness for confirming focus. Slightly annoyingly, there is no way of showing the shooting settings on the screen when working in live view, though they are still visible on the status LCD.

Live view can be zoomed 4 or 8 times, for focus confirmation. Unfortunately the results are not very detailed, even when focused.