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  • Physical Tour

  • Components

  • Design / Layout

  • Modes

  • Control Options

  • Image Parameters

  • Connectivity / Extras

  • Overall Impressions

  • Conclusion

Physical Tour

Front **The Pentax K20D has a large hand grip on its left when viewing from the front. The grip is covered in a leather-like texture and is only broken by a little window in the center of the grip that acts as a receiver for the infrared remote control. At the top of the hand grip is the exposure adjustment dial, with the shutter release button and surrounding power switch also visible from this angle. The bayonet lens mount is to the right of the center, and the Pentax logo hovers over it and provides a stepping stool for the built-in flash unit. To the lower left of the lens mount is a red "SR" label flaunting the camera’s shake reduction system, which is built into the camera body. Beside the label is the lens release button. A small shoulder peers outward from the right. The grooved edge of the mode dial peeks out at the top and the K20D logo sits below it. 

 Back**The back of the Pentax K20D is cluttered with lots of controls that are typical of DSLRs. The camera has a nice shape, and at its top is the hot shoe mount. Below it is the optical viewfinder surrounded by a cushioned rubber eyecup. To the left of the viewfinder is the exposure bracketing button. Below it is a column of circular buttons with large labels: from top to bottom they are menu, delete, info, and playback. Below the viewfinder and beside the buttons is the 2.7-inch LCD screen. A Pentax logo sits just below the LCD. An expanse of space to the right of the LCD leaves plenty of room for all kinds of interesting controls. At the top is the exposure adjustment/zoom dial, which magnifies images in the Playback mode and assists in selecting shutter speed and aperture settings in the Manual mode. To its right is a small exposure lock button that can also be set to lock the focus within the Setup menu. Below the exposure adjustment dial is an exposure compensation button that also activates a backlight on the monochrome LCD atop the camera. Adjacent to the exposure compensation button is an autofocus button that allows you to access the autofocus system while using the live view LCD feature. There is a sensor in the same neighborhood that can be used for remote controls. Below the buttons and sensor is a traditional multi-selector surrounded by a dial that rotates within three positions: auto, select, and spot. This sets the autofocus point. The multi-selector has arrows that point in four directions along with a central OK button. To the right of the multi-selector and autofocus point dial is a small LED that indicates when the camera is busy processing data. In the lower right corner of the K20D’s back is an odd lever that appeared on the K10D and is used to release the SD card door located on the right side. To the left of the release lever is a shake reduction switch and a function button. 

 **Left Side The left side has a flattened shoulder with a neck strap eyelet near the top. Just below the eyelet is a PC sync socket covered with a tiny cap. The mode dial can be seen at the top, and a few more features sit near the front of the left side. Near the top is the pop-up flash button. Below it is a RAW shooting button. And closer to the bottom is a switch that moves from manual focus to continuous and single autofocus modes. 
**Right Side The right side of the camera has a neck strap eyelet at the top to match the other side. It also shows the wide hand grip that is covered in rubber. Near the back is a door that is completely sealed and can only be opened if the release lever on the back of the camera is toyed with. 
**Top The Pentax K20D has a monochrome LCD on the right side that shows shooting info and is typical of DSLRs. At the tip of the hand grip is the shutter release button, surrounded by a power switch and next to a small button with a green dot on it. This button can be set to perform different functions in the Setup menu. The flash unit sits to the left of the monochrome LCD along with the hot shoe socket and the viewfinder behind it. Barely visible, but still there, is the sliding serrated control that adjusts the diopter. On the left shoulder is the mode dial with a metering switch surrounding it. 
**Bottom**The bottom of the Pentax K20D couldn’t be easily seen on the show floor because it was attached to a handle that kept it tethered to a counter. I could see the battery compartment door beneath the hand grip. I couldn’t see the tripod socket, but there’s a good guess that it’s directly behind the lens mount.** **



The Pentax K20D has a pentaprism optical viewfinder that Pentax claims has 95-percent coverage (when measured with a 50mm lens). The 95-percent accuracy is on the low end of normal DSLR viewfinders; most have between 96- and 98-percent accuracy and a few have 100-percent accuracy. The view in the finder can be adjusted to fit your eyeglass prescriptions. The viewfinder has a diopter adjustment dial that has a range from -2.5 to +1.5. The adjustment dial is really a sharply serrated control on the top of the viewfinder that glides along when pushed. It is not comfortable to adjust but shouldn’t need adjustment often. The viewfinder component itself is comfortable with its cushy rubber eyecup surrounding the window. The top of the cushion is especially plush and the bottom is barely there to allow some space for the nose. The window of the optical viewfinder has a Natural Bright Matte II screen, but its view isn’t very natural or bright. It is a little darker than normal and the screen looks like it has a grainy film over it. The viewfinder’s magnification is rated at 0.95x (with 50mm f/1.4 at infinity). In addition to the optical viewfinder, there is a brand new live view available on the K20D that wasn’t on the earlier K10D and won’t be found on the companion K200D, either. The K20D is currently Pentax’s only DSLR with live view. Overall, the viewfinder isn’t impressive because of its graininess, but it is the only way to capture shots on the fly. The live view on the LCD slows down the shooting process. The optical viewfinder can access the autofocus system more quickly and with an uninterrupted view. LCD Screen **

The Pentax K20D’s LCD screen makes huge improvements over the older model. The new LCD measures 2.7 inches while the old one was 2.5 inches. The new LCD has 230,000 pixels and the old one has only 210,000 pixels. The biggest change is that the K20D now offers a live view - a trend many DSLRs are picking up now that point-and-shooters are buying into the DSLR market and looking for familiar features. The live view on the LCD is made possible directly from the 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor; it's accessed by pushing the power switch beyond "on" toward a circular icon. The view is beamed up until you want to access the autofocus system. You push the AF button on the back to focus in the live view and the LCD goes black for a moment while it focuses. You can snap the shutter release while the screen is black and hope you get the shot – or you can wait until the view appears and then frame your shot. You are either shooting blind or taking forever to take the picture. Bottom line: the live view isn’t as seamless as on a compact digital camera. The break for the autofocus takes too long and may cause missed opportunities. However, it is worth remembering that this is a pre-production unit and that Pentax may be able to lessen this time when the camera is released. Another disadvantage of the live view LCD is that no shooting info can be displayed at the same time.

The screen can be viewed from wide angles of up to 160 degrees in both horizontal and vertical directions. The brightness and color of the LCD screen can be changed in the Setup menu. Of note is the smaller monochrome LCD on the top of the camera that shows exposure information. Overall, the LCD’s size and resolution are great, but the live view feature isn’t worth the high price of the camera. Point-and-shooters who move up may be disappointed by its slowness. **Flash The Pentax K20D has a pop-up flash that only appears when the button on the left side of the camera is pushed. According to the manufacturer, the flash has a guide number of 13 at ISO 100. The sync speed maxes out at 1/180 of a second. The built-in flash’s modes can be found by pushing the function button and scrolling down. On, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Red-Eye, Trailing Curtain Sync, and Wireless flash options are available. The flash coverage is not impressive. It looks significantly brighter in the center than around the edges and was not flattering in most of the pictures I took on the show floor. Flash exposure compensation from -2 to +1 EV is available in half steps in the Custom menu. It’s hard to find, but it’s there. For photographers who want to use studio lighting, the K20D comes with an "X" on the mode dial for X-sync. The K10D also has this. There is also a dedicated hot shoe atop the camera that accepts Pentax flash accessories. All in all, the built-in flash looks like something to be avoided, but there are lots of options for studio and other flash accessories. Zoom Lens**Like its predecessors, the Pentax K20D accepts all old and new Pentax lenses – all 24 million manufactured, according to the company. The K20D has a KAF2 bayonet stainless steel mount that accepts KAF2, KAF, and KA lenses. It also accepts K-mount 35mm screwmount and 645/67 medium format lenses with an adapter and some restrictions. The camera body hosts a shake reduction system that shifts the image sensor when the camera shakes; this helps reduce blur in images. The system is built into the camera body so it doesn’t have to be built into every lens, which keeps the cost of the lens down. Several manufacturers like Sony and Olympus have similar image stabilization systems into their DSLRs. Canon and Nikon build the technology into their lenses. Pentax claims that their shake reduction system compensates for 2.5-4 shutter speed stops. The Pentax K20D does not come with a kit lens in the United States, but company reps said it may be sold with a kit lens elsewhere.** **

Design / Layout

 **Model Design / Appearance**The Pentax K20D has a sturdy body that is dustproof and weather-resistant with 72 rubber seals placed throughout the camera body. The K20D is made of "reinforced plastic polymer shell surrounding a rugged stainless steel chassis," according to the manufacturer’s specs. It looks like a serious DSLR and feels that way, too, but your opinion might change when you enter the menu system.** ****Size / Portability**The Pentax K20D doesn’t aim to be small and portable at a time when many DSLRs are shrinking to attract the consumer crowd. It measures 5.6 x 4 x 2.76 inches and weighs 25.2 ounces without the battery and memory card. With those items included, the camera weighs 28.2 ounces. The camera I looked at on the PMA show floor was tethered to a counter so I couldn’t get an unrestrained hold of the weight – but it seemed heavy to me. The K20D will require a camera bag to carry it around. The body is big, and carrying around a set of lenses and flash accessories will surely require more than just a purse. And no matter how big your pants are, this won’t fit in your pocket. **Handling Ability**The Pentax K20D looks and feels like a plush DSLR. It has a large hand grip covered in rubber that is textured to look like leather. Matching the rubber front is a patch on the back where the thumb rests. It is complemented by a lip on the side of the thumb pad that adds some support to keep the camera from slipping and hitting the pavement. The right hand enjoys these comforts while the left hand has a wide base to hold the camera and will likely wrap around the lens barrel to zoom. The handling is overall positive, although the number of on-camera controls and buttons is a bit overwhelming. 

 **Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size There are so many designated buttons on this DSLR that it takes some getting used to. There are buttons for everything, and many of the buttons can be set to access different functions in the Setup and Custom menus. For instance, there are two exposure adjustment dials – one on the front of the camera and one on the back. In the Custom menu, you can specify which dial changes the shutter speeds and which changes the aperture. This is very cool for picky photographers. The Custom menu is full of gems like this, although the menu is lengthy and verbose. Buttons are properly labeled but placed in so many crevasses. It will take a few shooting sessions with this camera before you can recall the location of the controls. Lots of on-camera buttons translate to less time wasted in the menu system, though. ****Menu**If you’ve ever seen Pentax Optio digital camera menus, the ones on this DSLR aren’t much different. There is a menu button to the left of the LCD that display the menus, which appear with white text on a black background and have a purple background to show which item is selected. A nice perk is that the selected item also appears a bit larger than the others so it is more differentiated and easier to read. The menu font is readable and typical of Pentax digital camera menus. It is also quite colorful – the background and the icons – and almost looks low-quality because of it. Parts of it look like a cartoon or video game.  There are four tabs at the top of the menu system that move between the Recording menu to the Playback, Setup, and Custom menus.  The Custom menu is where you can really personalize your camera in just about every way. Unfortunately it is incredibly verbose and the abundance of text in the 2.7-inch space makes it a pain on the eyes.  This is insanely long. There are even more options to set the function of the green button, as well as setting the two exposure dials to access the shutter speed aperture or program line in every single exposure mode on the dial. This is an incredible amount of options – but it’ll take as much time to customize this as it does to build your own camera out of scrap metal. **Ease of Use **The Pentax K20D is not easy to use. It may have two exposure dials, but its menus and other buttons don’t much resemble more common DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. If you’re used to the K10D, though, an upgrade shouldn’t be too difficult because they have the same structure and design. The menus are lengthy and options seem scattered about on button and various menus. To its credit, this camera does have a "green" Auto mode, which fully automates everything and is found on Pentax’s compact Optio line of digital cameras. 


 **Auto Mode The Pentax K20D has a fully automated "Green" mode that essentially turns the DSLR into a point-and-shoot. This Auto mode shows up as a green speck on the mode dial. Only the image size options can be changed, and access to the Recording menu is limited. There is also a Program exposure mode that automates the shutter speed and aperture but allows you to adjust items in the Recording menu and through the function button. Drive / Burst Mode**Despite the huge increase in resolution, the Pentax K20D’s Burst mode hasn’t suffered. It hasn’t improved much, either. It snaps 3 frames per second (fps), the same rate as the K10D. The K20D’s burst lasts for 38 consecutive JPEG shots or 14 RAW shots. There is also a Low-Speed burst mode that shoots 2.3 fps up to the capacity of the memory card in JPEG or up to the same 14 RAW files. The new DSLR adds a High-Speed burst mode that snaps 20 fps for up to 115 images, but the resolution is reduced to just 1.6 megapixels. After a standard 3 fps burst for six shots, the camera we looked at took nearly 30 seconds to write the burst to memory. Clearly, the pre-production model has a ways to go before it’s ready for shipping. There are 2- and 12-second self-timers along with an infrared remote control option that can snap images on demand or wait for 3 seconds before firing the shot. There is also the ability to hook in a cable and shoot with it. All of the Burst modes, self-timers, and remote options are available by pushing the function button and pushing upward on the multi-selector. Of note is the interval timer shooting feature in the Recording menu. You can set what time it starts to shoot and how often to shoot, and also how many pictures to shoot, from 1-99. **Playback Mode The Playback mode on the pre-production model needs some work before the K20D goes on sale in April. The processing times are horrid. It takes nearly 10 seconds at times for the Playback mode to open when its button is pushed, but Pentax will no doubt improve this before it ships. The images on the camera can be magnified up to 32x with the back adjustment dial and can be scrolled around for a fuller view with the multi-selector. Index screens of nine images at a time can be viewed along with a folder view. Pictures can be deleted with the designated button to the left of the LCD screen or in the menu.  According to the manufacturer, there will also be RAW development on the production model. The Playback mode isn’t anything special. There aren’t many editing features, but most owners of this camera will opt for superior editing software running on a PC or Mac, anyway. Custom Image Presets**This DSLR does not have any Scene modes. The closest thing it has is a position on its mode dial called "USER." This allows you to save current settings and recall them later. 

Control Options

 **Manual Control Options       The Pentax K20D is built and priced for advanced photographers, but still has a few attractions to lure point-and-shooters with its live view LCD and Green mode. It comes with a nice variety of Automated and Manual modes, with more attention paid to the more creative end of the spectrum. Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, and Program modes are available on almost all DSLRs, but the Pentax K20D is the first to include a Sensitivity Priority mode. More details on these modes and more manual controls in the next few sections. Focus***Auto Focus – The Pentax K20D has a through-the-lens phase-matching autofocus system that hasn’t changed much from the K10D. Both DSLRs have a fast 11-point autofocus system that Pentax dubs SAFOX VIII. The autofocus points are all grouped toward the center, the same as the K10D. The autofocus mode can be changed from Single to Continuous with a switch on the left side of the camera, near the lens mount. There is also an autofocus area switch that surrounds the multi-selector. It moves from Auto to Select and Center. The latter two options are the fastest because the camera doesn’t spend time searching for a subject. Even still, the autofocus modes seem to be snappy, as a DSLR should be. The autofocus system is enabled differently when the live view LCD is used as opposed to the optical viewfinder. The LCD shows a live view, and when you want to focus, you push the big AF button on the back of the camera. When this is done, the screen goes black until you release the AF button. It’s a surprise: you don’t know if the camera has successfully focused until the button is released. Most of the time it works, but it’s hard to tell when the camera has finished focusing. Bottom line: use the viewfinder and avoid the clunky autofocusing that comes with the live view. *Manual Focus – *The same switch that moves between Single and Continuous autofocus modes also moves to manual focus. Manual focusing is done through the lens, which is not included. *ISO**The Pentax K20D has a wider ISO range than its predecessor and keeps the mildly interesting Sensitivity Priority mode that allows you to choose the ISO and leaves the exposure settings up to the camera. This isn’t entirely different than the Program mode because you can change the ISO but not the shutter speed and aperture there. There is also a TAv mode that lets you choose the aperture and shutter speed and the camera chooses the ISO. This might be useful for shooting in variable lighting, but I don’t think the Sv and TAv modes will be picked up by other DSLR manufacturers. There is an automatic ISO setting along with an ISO 100-3200 range at full resolution that goes beyond the K10D, which topped off at ISO 1600. The ISO options can be accessed by pushing the function button and then pushing to the right on the multi-selector. The range can be accessed in selectable increments of 1, 1/2, or 1/3. The new K20D DSLR can also expand up to ISO 6400 through the Custom menu. The K20D has a new CMOS sensor that promises less noise in the higher ISO settings, but we could not test that on the PMA show floor. **White Balance            The white balance can be changed by pushing the function button and then pushing left on the multi-selector. Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flash, and three Fluorescent white balance modes (W, D, N) are available. Each of these can be fine-tuned on a +/- 7 scale between amber and blue, and green and magenta. You can also opt to change the color temperature in Kelvin or Mired steps. The Manual white balance mode lets you set it and even shows a live view of what you’ve captured on the LCD screen. Exposure There is an exposure mode for everything: Manual, Shutter Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, Program, Sensitivity Priority, Shutter Speed + Aperture Priority, User, Green, Bulb, and X-sync modes are on the dial. Every level of manual control is available. Exposure compensation is available by pushing the designated button and rotating the front adjustment dial. When the options are scrolled through, you can see the change – unless you’re viewing from the live view LCD and then there’s no information about the exposure compensation appearing whatsoever. The range goes from +/- 3 EV in half-steps and +/- 2 in third-steps. This can be specified in the Custom menu. There is an exposure bracketing mode accessible from the button to the left of the viewfinder. It shoots three or five images in the +/- 2 range. Metering The metering modes are conveniently found on a switch that surrounds the mode dial. It moves from Multi-Segment to Center-Weighted to Spot. The Multi-Segment metering system uses only 16 segments when most digital cameras use much more elaborate systems. Shutter Speed The Pentax K20D has a typical shutter speed range for a DSLR. It has 30-1/4000 of a second shutter speeds along with a bulb option, available on the mode dial. The electronically-controlled focal plane shutter snaps vertically in front of the CMOS image sensor. For longer shutter speeds, Pentax employs a noise reduction system that is improved from the last model, according to the company. Aperture **The available aperture depends upon the affixed lens, of course, but it can be controlled by one of the two adjustment dials on the camera. If the lens comes with an aperture ring, the camera can also sync with that. 

Image Parameters

 **Picture Quality****/ Size Options**The Pentax K20D has a newly-developed 14.6-megapixel CMOS image sensor that was made in a collaboration between Samsung Electronics and Pentax Imaging. According to the manufacturer, the new sensor has larger photo diodes that capture more light and is therefore more sensitive. This allows the camera to increase its dynamic range. The old K10D has a 10.1-megapixel CCD, so the new DLSR has more resolution and does it on a CMOS sensor. According to Pentax’s press release announcing the K20D, the "sensor brings out optimum performance of Pentax interchangeable lenses." The sensor is paired with a Pentax Real IMage Engine (PRIME) image processor. UPDATE: A previous version of this article listed the K10D as having a 6.3 megapixel sensor; this was an error casued by confusion with a previous Pentax camera.  The 23.4 x 15.6mm sensor offers RAW files in PEF and DNG format. JPEG files can also be taken in the following image sizes: 4672 x 3104, 3872 x 2592, 3008 x 2000, and 1824 x 1216. Compression can be set to premium, best, better, and good. RAW files can be taken and developed in the Playback mode and then output as RAW or JPEG. Pentax also says the camera will include TIFF files by production time. We can’t evaluate the actual effectiveness of the K20D’s resolution on the PMA trade show floor, but we hope to get this DSLR in our imaging lab for a more thorough evaluation of its new 14.6 megapixels. **Picture Effects Mode**More and more DSLRs are including picture effects in one form or another. Many are trying out modes that simulate different types of film. Pentax’s "custom image" function serves this purpose. It has Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, and Vibrant modes. Each of these modes allows you to fine-tune the color, saturation, contrast, and sharpness. In the Recording menu, separate adjustments can be made to the saturation, hue, contrast, and sharpness.** **

Connectivity / Extras

 **Connectivity***Software*The older Pentax K10D came with Pentax Photo Browser 3 and Photo Laboratory 3. It is expected that the K20D will come with a newer version of these basic editing and browsing programs. *Jacks, ports, plugs*There is a plastic door on the left side of the camera that offers access to three ports: remote at the top, PC/video in the center, and 8.3-volt DC-in at the bottom. There is also a PC sync port beneath a tiny cap on the left side. The video out function can be set to NTSC or PAL. *Direct Print Options*The Pentax K20D is PictBridge-compatible and has a DPOF print ordering system. It is also compatible with Print Image Matching III format. *Battery*Pentax revamped its lithium-ion battery in the new K20D. The older model has a lithium-ion battery that gets 500 shots per charge, but the newer D-LI50 battery for the K20D lasts 740 shots. An optional BG2 battery grip allows photographers to add a second battery for even more battery life. The grip retails for $129 and goes on sale in March. *Memory*Most high-end DSLRs still accept traditional CompactFlash media, but the Pentax K20D takes SD and SDHC cards. That media is more common in compact digital cameras, so Pentax is hoping point-and-shooters can come to the DSLR market without having to buy new memory cards. The memory card slot is located under a tightly-sealed door on the right side of the camera body. The only way to open it is to pull out the release lever on the back of the camera and rotate it until the door pops open. **Other features***Extended Dynamic Range* – We can’t verify the effectiveness of this feature at PMA, but we know it’s on the camera. The K20D’s larger CMOS sensor allows for expanded dynamic range to 100 or 200 percent. This brings out more details in highly contrasted images. The expanded dynamic range is grouped with ISO options in the Function menu. *Dust Reduction* – The K20D has an improved dust reduction system over the older K10D – a mechanism that vibrates the image sensor to shake dust off. The sensor shouldn’t get much on it though because it has an SP coating on it that repels dust. The new feature on the K20D’s dust reduction system is the dust alert function. Located in the Setup menu, it allows the camera to analyze its own image sensor and show you the location of the specs via the LCD screen. It doesn’t remove the specks; it just shows you whether there are any and where exactly on the sensor they are located. You can then opt to manually clean the shutter by locking the mirror up. *Multiple Exposures* – The Pentax K20D can snap two to five images and merge them together into one image file. This can be done in the Recording menu. You can also choose whether the camera should adjust the exposure when combining them. 

Overall Impressions

 **Value**The Pentax K20D will retail for $1,299 when it goes on sale in April. This puts it well above the $799 K200D that comes with a kit lens. The new K20D DSLR has a twin sister - the Samsung GX-20. It has the same 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, dust reduction system, live view 2.7-inch LCD, in-camera image stabilization, and weather-resistant body. Even Pentax’s booth reps said it is exactly the same camera, but rebranded for Samsung. The GX-20, however, sells for $1,399. The better bargain? The K20D. **Comparison to the Pentax K10D**The Pentax K10D comes with less resolution with its 10.1-megapixel CCD. The new model has a completely different 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor that allows for more dynamic range. The older K10D does not have the special dynamic range function, nor does it have the dust alert function. It does have an older version of the dust reduction technology that involves physically shaking the image sensor. The Pentax K10D has a slightly smaller 2.5-inch LCD screen and relatively poor resolution of 210,000 pixels. The old screen doesn’t have the live view like the new model, either. The two DSLRs have the same 11-point autofocus system, exposure modes (although it doesn’t have the Sensitivity Priority mode), and 3 fps Burst mode, but the new K20D adds a 21 fps High-Speed burst, although it shoots at reduced resolution. The old K10D has an older battery that gets 500 shots per charge, significantly less than its successor. The Pentax K10D sells for about $850 online with an 18-55mm kit lens included. **Who It’s For***Point-and-Shooters* – This DSLR has a few items that will interest point-and-shooters: a live view LCD, editing perks for slimming, and direct printing. *Budget Consumers* – At $1,299, the Pentax K20D isn’t a DSLR on a budget, but it certainly isn’t the most expensive one out there, either. *Gadget Freaks* – It has a dust reduction system along with in-camera image stabilization and a newly-developed 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor. Very cool. *Manual Control Freaks* – There are manual controls available for everything. Shoot happily, manual control freaks. *Pros/ Serious Hobbyists* – Pros and hobbyists who have huge stashes of Pentax lenses will find this is the best camera to put them on. 


   **Conclusion**The 14.6-megapixel Pentax K20D has a lot going for it. It has a water-resistant camera body that is durable and tightly sealed and is backwards compatible with Pentax lenses. It is comfortable to hold and there are tons of on-camera buttons, but the features that aren’t on the body are tough to find in the lengthy and confusing menus. The preproduction K20D at the show was incredibly slow in its processing speeds. It took a long time to write images after a burst sequence and even longer to open the Playback mode. Let’s hope those items are fixed by production time. The biggest disappointment is the live view on the 2.7-inch LCD screen. This is Pentax’s first attempt at live view and it shows. The whole system is slow – and it may not be from being preproduction but could be because of the way the camera is constructed. We'll have to wait to test the final version before we draw any firm conclusions. The live view is provided by the CMOS sensor, but the autofocus system only works when the mirror is flipped up. And when the mirror flips up, the live view blacks out. If you’re photographing sports or other moving subjects, you won’t be able to see what you’re focusing on and if the subject is actually in the picture. We'll explore this more in our full review.  The live view LCD system is clunky – and that, along with the new 14.6-megapixel CMOS, is one of the camera’s best assets. The Pentax K20D will retail for $1,299 in April. It is the best option for photographers who have bags of old Pentax lenses laying around and otherwise won’t be able to use them.

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Emily Raymond

Emily Raymond


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