A K20 test

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by renatoa, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. claimed "complet", en francaise :)


    Not sure if complete, but big - 14 pages, with a lot of details, other style of
    review than the usual english reviews. Worth to read, pour les connoisseurs :)
  2. http://www.focus-numerique.com/test-51/pentax-k20d-test-presentation- caracteristiques-1.html
  3. Hi Renato, Thankn you. For me the link didn't work so try this instead


    and then click on the picture of the K20d and then off you go in French...

    The high iso shots are interesting. It seems to be better than the Sony Alpha 350 - does that mean anything to anyone?
  4. My French is rusty, and this is off the top of my head, but the opening teaser paragraph on the home page says (roughly)

    "The Pentax K20D is a terribly seductive SLR: solid and (?against the mainstream?) construction, large bright viewfinder, carefully thought out ergonomics, Sensitivity Priority mode, DNG Raw file format... The list is long, but the differences with the Pentax K10D aren't ultimately so numerous and can be summarized by one thing : the 14.6 megapixel sensor. Is this a truly decisive difference? Our answer in the the Pentax K20D test."

    Pardon is begged from anybody who really knows French. I haven't had the time yet to read the article inside.
  5. I really don't get why they use the 18-55mm "kit" lens. It's kinda like putting a moped engine in a Harley.

  6. That's pretty good, Del. Just one correction: "antiruissellement" means "weathersealing", so the first part should read:

    "The Pentax K20D is a terrifically seductive SLR; solid build and weathersealing, large and bright viewfinder, ..."


    And here's their verdict on the final page:

    "Not quite the revolutionary body that some were expecting, the Pentax K20D is a nice surprise, or at least its sensor is a nice surprise.

    With no changes to the body design, Pentax-ists will be immediately familiar with this new SLR, and others will find it to be an extremely well-thought-out body, with thoughtful ergonomics and sprinkled with very practical features here and there (sensitivity priority mode for example). First of all, the sensor co-developed by Samsung and Pentax is a success. Concerning electronic noise, the K20D's images certainly don't reach the (very high) level of a Nikon D300 or Canon 40D, but they remain very clean up to ISO 1600 and remain usable to the highest sensitivity (ISO 6400) with very gentle noise reduction and an impressive level of detail. The image quality is also there, even if a few points could be improved, such as under-exposure. These
    remain minor details compared to the overall image quality which is quite exciting.

    Overall, the Pentax K20D is a very good body (excellent ergonomics), but nonetheless somehow lacking in ambition. The improvements relative to the K10D are quite real but not decisive: the Live View mode remains limited, the increased dynamic range is less than convincing, and the improvement in image stabilization is little noticed... we would have liked a more precise viewfinder and a redesigned AF module. Pity.

    Of course, the immediate question is "should I spring for the brand spanking new K20D, or stick with the K10D for its unbeatable price / performance ratio?" The K20D has high resolution going for it, but the K10D is now available at a very attractive price. With practically the same body and ergonomics, the K10D remains an excellent alternative for those whose first priorities aren't high resolution (14 MP) or studio use (PC sync, live view)."
  7. It seems the K20D really does offer an improvement in image quality over the K10D. I am not convinced yet that the improvement includes lower noise at high ISO. I remain unconvinced that ISO 3200, though apparently usable, is up to the best- the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D. The sample at ISO 6400 given here looks terrible. Might as well have left ISO 6400 out of camera design.

    But the future looks ever more promising for succeeding models. I recall how we discussed that more mp has to mean more noise, and less low light capability. It seems to be generally true, but not necessarily so. The Nikon D300 points the way. This is a remarkable camera, and I would expect Pentax will pick up on how its performance was accomplished, along with its superior 6FPS shooting speed and higher flash sync. The D300 can even automatically cancel CA's and purple fringing!! Its out-of-camera JPEG quality is rated tops at all ISO. It is worth the read to catch Ken Rockwell's review of this exceptional camera. If the remarkable advancements of the D300 were encorporated into the excellent unique Pentax design concepts and apparently great 15mp sensor of the K20D, in a forthcoming model we'd have something really spectacular to enjoy. The D300, together with the virtues of the new K20D does indeed give us an idea of what is possible.
  8. Michael, I too was surprised at how mediocre the high-ISO results were from the K20D in this review... it looked better to me in sample images, but those may have had more NR applied.

    This review pretty much panned the high-ISO performance compared to the D300 and 40D. And frankly, I think that's pretty consistent with the images they actually obtained.

    For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's an excellent article, by the way, that explains why noise gets worse with smaller pixels (all else being equal): http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/digital.sensor.performance.summary/index.html
    Explains a whole lot of other sensor properties like dynamic range as well!!

    The D300 does seem to be the camera for Pentax to beat. Pentax, can you hear me? I want you to make the K30D have the performance of the D300 at the price of the K10D, okay? I paid $586 for the K10D with kit lens, just so you know what to aim for, 'mmm-kay??? :)
  9. Thanks Dan. I couldn't figure out what flowing water could have to do with a camera body's construction, so I guessed mainSTREAM. I did read the rest of the article, and it sounds like they say pretty much what we have all been saying here for a while - a nice upgrade to 14 mp, but those of us with a K10D might just wait this generation out. Actually, there aren't really many things I can think of that I would actually care all that much about that my K10D doesn't already have.
  10. Del:
    Haha, that gave me pause too! "Ruisseau"? Then I remembered the term "ruissellement" with regards to a leaky roof in France, and I figured it out. :)

    It's good to know about focus-numerique.com... I really like their thorough reviews. I was getting impatient waiting for DPReview to do the K20!

    I agree, not much that the K10D lacks and the K20D has. Sure, I'd like 5 fps, faster AF, and less noise at ISO 1600... don't care about 14 MP as none of my lenses can do that! The one thing I *would* like about the K20D is the Live View... not for me, but so that I can hand the camera to my digicam-using friends without them whining about it :)
  11. Users have said that The K20's ISO 1600 noise is about like ISO 800 with the K10D. That is a significant improvement, but still not of the magnitude of the D300, from what I have seen, which seems to provide very decent IQ at ISO 3200 and still very usable at ISO 6400! The key is to get low noise while sacrificing very little sharpness and detail as high as ISO 3200. Somehow, the D300 seems to have achieved this. Think what this would mean for action shooting for higher shutter speeds in moderate lighting, and for low light scenes.

    My "mere" K100D does a pretty good job, better than the K10D or K200D for noise. Quite clean with very good sharpness and detail at ISO 1600, and still very usable at ISO 3200.
  12. You seems all enchanted by the D300 low noise capabilities. And this from... guess... reviews ! Well, the reality is not always at the hype of the reviewers, and some reviews can mean money, very much money...

    This said, I want to tell you than in my local photo community there are no less then 3 fellows who dropped D300 in the last months due to... you guessed, noise. Present even at ISO 100 ! Two of them switched to second hand D2x at the same price of a new D300, thanks you for this price drop :) The other changed system.

    So, when you will buy your first D300, be sure you have a safe return option...
  13. Renato, I'm pretty sure that I've never in my life taken a photo that was good enough to be ruined by sensor noise...

    But how else am I supposed to waste my time on the Internet? :)
  14. There have also been scads of reports and letters from experienced users raving about the D300. These differing views are a reason why scientific testing is important. Tests are not always fully accurate, but POP Photo has been around a long time. They may be forgiving in their comments, but I really don't think they deliberately alter test results of their lab instruments.

    An interesting lab submitted by Mike Earussi providing visible comparisons is imaging-resource.com, where you can click on "compare sample images". You can select two different models in two separate colummns, with identical test shots for each. They have the same shot at all ISO the camera can shoot. You can compare the D300 performance against the D2x, or the K10D against the D300, or the K100D.

    At ISO 1600 for instance, click on the magnifier in the lower right corner of the shot for blowup. There are numerous objects in the shot.. if you go to the lower right area where the plant leaf is next to the cup you can see noise easily. The K100D is indeed one of the better performers. The D300 is outstanding.

    One thing I noticed on second examination is a slight price for best low noise. Among the fabric samples in the shot, the lightest one has a faint leaf pattern. At ISO 1600 this pattern cannot be seen with the D300, not even at ISO 800, but can be seen with the K100D.

    Except for slight loss of such subtle detail nuance along with noise loss, the sharpness quality of the D300 otherwise holds up pretty well for clean shot even at ISO 3200!

    Maybe some day we will have sensors with no loss and no noise at ISO 6400!
  15. Michel, you make my day ! I can't express how grateful I am for this idea and images resource... I know about it, but not think to use it in so smart way to prove something... and the proof is in the image and is smashing...

    I made my self comparison and will post it here for the convenience of those who don't want to believe and too lazy to reproduce what you and me did.

    Well, gentlemen, sit down and look what you pay for a "better" tool. The right image is K100D, erased the name to post on other non-Pentax forums and my intention wasn't to produce mass migration (or migraine ;))
  16. Your welcome indeed Renato! I consider this website, imaging-resources.com to be a valuable discovery. I thank Mike Earussi for referring it to us. What these visual tests have shown certainly did fortify for me my decision to get a bargain K100D Super in addition to my K100D. It will also handle any SDM lens I am considering. I will wait until much later regarding a bigger camera. The imaging I am getting is terrific.

    The POP testing showed slightly greater noise for the K20D over the K10D on their instruments. It will be interesting to see how the K20D will compare on these same visual tests.
  17. Renato, just for the heck of it, I just checked other Pentax models on imaging-resource.com image comparisons, the K200D and K10D more thoroughly than before. It seems these Pentax models also do a good job of preserving subtle detail at high ISO. They also have a slight magenta or purple color cast, and of course, more noise at ISO 1600 than the K100D. There are slight differences in exposure and in contrast. I think Pentax engineers refrained from overdoing noise suppression to preserve detail and sharpness, leaving additional noise to be further addressed in other software by the user.

    I checked the Canon 40D and they also preserve subtle nuance of detail at high ISO, but edge sharpness suffers nonetheless as they achieve low noise. Check that out. Look at the tops of bottles, and the printing on the scale, and the tops of brushes. The Nikon D300 does not recover the faint fabric details until ISO 800 or below.

    Of those I checked, the K100D seems to be the best at high ISO 1600 in terms of distiguishing different colors, preserving faint subtle details, edge sharpness, and low noise. The only other which seems as good or better is the mighty Nikon D3 because it is full frame!!

    Eventually, full frame might really make a comback for best quality reasons.
  18. > The only other which seems as good or better is the mighty Nikon D3 because it is full frame!!

    May I be not surprised knowing they have the same pixel size ? ;)

    I mean that D3 pack 12M on an area double than our popular 6M DX sensors...
  19. k_i


    When I did some high ISO test in the store with Pentax K20 today, it's not good at all.

    ISO test at 3200 NR off
    ISO test at 6400 NR off

    ISO test at 3200 NR on (high)
    ISO test at 6400 NR on (High)

    with the 18-55 kit lens.

    It's not good at all. Lots of splotchy chroma noise - even with ISO NR HIGH, it's still quite terrible - and color is slightly off. (measure indoor white balance)

    I tried exactly same shot with D300 in store, no issues at all. Straight out of the camera at HI1 it's CLEAN.

    If anyone wants to see comparison shots, let me know.

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