Jan. 23, 2008 – Pentax updated its DSLR line with today’s release of the Pentax K20D and K200D. Last year’s K10D and K100D both have 6.3
|Take a look at the new Pentax SLRs and Lenses|
megapixels, but the newer models increase their resolution and enlarge their LCDs, among other improvements. The flagship K20D has 14.6 megapixels and will sell for $1,299 in April. The 10.2-megapixel Pentax K200D will go on sale in March for $799 and include an 18-55mm lens.
Both of the cameras have sturdy stainless steel bodies – like their predecessors – that are dustproof and weather resistant. The Pentax K20D has seals in 72 places throughout the camera body and the K200D has 60 seals. They both have the dust reduction technology that debuted on last year’s DSLRs, but update it with a "dust alert" function that pinpoints the location of dust so photographers can remove it.
The Pentax DSLRs have bigger LCDs with better resolution than last year’s models. The older K10D and K100D both have 2.5-inch LCDs with 210,000 pixels on them. The newer K20D and K200D have a 2.7-inch LCD with 230,000 pixels. The flagship Pentax K20D has a trendy perk in that it hosts a live view on its LCD.
The Pentax K20D has a newly-developed 14.6-megapixel CMOS image sensor, created in collaboration between Pentax Imaging and Samsung Electronics. The new sensor has larger photo diodes that catch more light in less time, making it more sensitive. This gives the camera more flexibility and allows it to offer a dynamic range expansion feature. The dynamic range can bring out an extra 1 EV in bright light.
"The K20D builds on the technology of the award-winning K10D and is ideal for the advanced photographer seeking maximum resolution from their camera as well as complete control over how the camera captures images," said Ned Bunnell, president of Pentax Imaging Company, in today’s press release.
The "complete control" not only includes dynamic range and the typical manual exposure controls, but also adjustments to image processing like noise reduction. RAW files can be shot and developed in the camera and output as RAW, TIFF, or JPEG files. There is a built-in flash, but also a PC sync socket for studio lighting.
Along with the increased control, the Pentax K20D throws in some ease-of-use features. It has a simplified "Green mode" that automates everything in addition to "custom image functions" such as Portrait, Natural, Bright, Landscape, Vibrant, and Black & White modes. The K20D’s Burst mode remains 3 fps, the same as its predecessor, but adds a new high-speed Burst mode that shoots 21 fps for up to 115 shots at a reduced 1.6-megapixel resolution.
The Pentax K20D runs on a lithium-ion battery that is greatly improved from the one included with the K10D. The old battery got 500 shots per charge, but the newer one gets 740 shots per charge. The K20D is compatible with an optional battery grip, which will sell for $129 in March.
The K20D and K200D both debut a new exposure mode on the dial: a Sensitivity Priority mode that will show up as "Sv." This allows users to select the ISO and let the camera automatically choose the other exposure settings.
The Pentax K200D has a 10.2-megapixel CCD and has many of the same controls that are in the K20D. The K200D improves upon its predecessor’s auto focus system, upgrading from the K100D’s nine-point auto focus system to an 11-point system. It also upgrades the burst mode from 2.5 fps to 2.8 fps. It is still a step down from the flagship K20D though: it does not have live view on its LCD screen, its burst mode is a little slower, and it runs on four AA batteries instead of a lithium-ion battery.
"The K200D will grow with an amateur photographer’s skill as they learn more about their hobby by offering more features than what is found in entry level models," Bunnel said. "Our unique approach to building Pentax DSLR equipment allows each customer to be confident in their camera choice whether they are just learning about photography or they are a more advanced photo enthusiast."
The new cameras keep some traditions alive from the old models. They have the same Pentax Shake Reduction that shifts the image sensor to compensate for 2.5-4 shutter speed stops of camera shake. They are also compatible with old Pentax K-mount lenses and the newer digital-specific lenses alike.