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11-17-2009, 11:35 PM   #1
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Convince me...K20D

Greetings all!

This is my first post here...after months and months of research, I've narrowed my DSLR search to the K20D and the Sony A700. I am very impressed by both cameras but I continue to lean towards the Pentax. I travel extensively for work (worldwide) and as such I'm very interested in the toughest, best built camera. To be honest, I was SHOCKED by the excellent build quality of the K20D. I also was impressed by it's ergonomics. On the other hand, the A700 is a great camera with great specs. I don't do lots of sports/action photography so I don't NEED the higher fps rate of the A700 (though it would be nice). Since I travel a lot, I primarily shoot landscape, indoors and people.

My gut is telling me to go with the K20D...I'd love to hear why the membership here thinks I should listen to my gut! What do you think of the Pentax glass vs. the Sony?

Thanks in advance for your assistance! This site is a GREAT resource!

11-17-2009, 11:47 PM   #2
Damn Brit

Welcome to the forum.
Pentax probably does have the better build quality and of course you have the weather sealing.
To be honest with you, any of the current or recent DSLRs are going to be more than adequate and give you some fine photographs (operator not withstanding of course).
If you have the opportunity to handle them and play with them in a store, do so. It doesn't matter how much research you do and how good the specs are, if the camera isn't physically comfortable in your hands then you could be disappointed.
11-18-2009, 12:54 AM   #3
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Yes welcome Treetop. The Sony a700 is a great camera and so is the K20. The advantages, as Gary correctly pointed out are build quality and weather sealing. I havn't handled a Sony but can certainly vouch for the ergonomics of the K20, a great camera to handle, very well balanced and everything where it should be. I don't think there would be much between the 2 as far as IQ goes and alot of that comes down to lenses. There are a lot of great lenses available for the K20, both Pentax and other brands eg Sigma. If you want top glass for the Sony then the CZ lenses will burn a very big hole in your pocket, but they may be considered overkill for a 12 megapixel DSLR. In the end just go with your gut feeling, you will be happy with the K20 I'm sure.
11-18-2009, 01:22 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.
What's been said already is right to me too.
Pentax has the upper hand in ergonomics, user interface and top quality build on both body and lenses.
As Gary says all these mid-range cams are very capable and it comes down to personal choice.
Then consider the lens range and their quality, both in their results and their build.

11-18-2009, 01:32 AM   #5
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Think I'd have to agree with All of the Above and believe me when I say if you buy the K20D you'll love it.
11-18-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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I've always been a firm believer in going with your gut reaction. If you are telling yourself to go with the K20, then that might be the one you'll be happier with.
At the end of the day, it's your money, you have to decide what you think will work better for you...
11-18-2009, 02:17 AM   #7
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I'm sure any mid-range camera on the market today is quite capable. I cannot say much about the Sony but from a side-by-side comparison (Digital Cameras Side-by-Side, 2 cameras: Digital Photography Review) the two cameras balance out quite nicely and evenly with Sony owners appreciating the A700 as much as Pentax owners do the K20D. (always a good indication)

Both will serve you well. From my own experience I can only say the K20D results have surpassed my expectations by a wide margin, it is as tough as a brick and the fact any old gem (Takumar, '70-ies lenses, 42mm thread) can be mounted without loss of SR or focus indication is a huge pre.

With the D-BG2 grip, the ergonomics are really excellent and the combination will sustain even the lengthiest shoot.

The one HUGE advantage the K20D has and which is often overlooked or underrated (or both), is the TAv mode where you set both shutterspeed and aperture to fit your subject and let the camera figure out(and vary) the ISO. I cannot emphasize the benefits of TAv enough and no other brand has this mode.

11-18-2009, 09:19 AM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone!

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the number of replies! Thank you all. I'm hoping to spend some time with the K20 today.

Another question...

I've been told the 1/180 flash sync is a "big deal." My understanding is the sync speed can be much higher (for fill flash, etc.) when using an external P-TTL flash. True?? Does the 1/180 sync cause any issues for your day to day shooting?

Thanks again...
11-18-2009, 09:28 AM   #9
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Lenses, what lenses do you need?
11-18-2009, 10:29 AM   #10
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Both the Sony A700 and K20D are quality build cameras, I do think that K20D is slightly better in weather sealing, however, I am not sure since I have not done any real comparison (just played with the A700 a few times since my friend owns one). You may have to think about what kind of lens you will use and compare the price and quality as well. Both systems have SR built-into the body, so there are also a wide of variety of old glasses you can use (this is where the fun begins). I like to use the MF prime lens occasionally. Here is an example of older, cheaper and quality glass (of different make) I like to use with my Pentax system (picture taken with my M-50mm f1.4). I sold my FA 50mm f1.4 in favor of this lens while keeping the 31mm and 43mm ltd.

Last edited by aleonx3; 02-23-2011 at 03:16 PM.
11-18-2009, 02:02 PM   #11
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K20D is easier to clean?

If look at release date, the K20D is newer then the A700 but i must admit, the A700 definitely has a nicer GUI and is faster if need to change some settings.
11-18-2009, 02:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reportage Quote
i must admit, the A700 definitely has a nicer GUI and is faster if need to change some settings.
Really? It's often stated that Pentax is designed by photographers for photographers. When I handle a Pentax, I understand the buttons and menus. The Sony GUI doesn't seem to have come from that photographic heritage, it's more like a TV or something.
11-18-2009, 08:28 PM   #13
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The K20D is a great photographic tool. You're never searching for a button or stuck trying to figure out how to change something. In fact, I would say it edges out the new K7 in terms of controls (No bracketing button? please...)

If my K10D died today I'd get a K20D tomorrow.
11-24-2009, 04:21 PM   #14
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My K20 is my go to camera and my k10 is a tag along. I like my k20 so much that I am searsly thinking of getting another one of them. jim
11-25-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Really? It's often stated that Pentax is designed by photographers for photographers. When I handle a Pentax, I understand the buttons and menus. The Sony GUI doesn't seem to have come from that photographic heritage, it's more like a TV or something.
No, there are Sony cameras and there are Minolta cameras. The A900, A850, and A700 are straight Minolta in heritage. Everything else they make is Sony, though, and this statement holds true. Both the K20D and A700 have solid ergonomics, the only thing I really didn't like about the A700 was the lens release being on the left hand side. The K20D also feels a little more solid than the Sony offerings.

The principle advantages of the Sony system are better dynamic range in their sensors (usually class leading), solid exposures, and the Zeiss auto focus lenses. There is also the upgrade path to full frame with the A850 and A900, which are both solid cameras. The disadvantages are that neither the A700, A850, nor A900 do high ISO particularly well, and that Sony's lens lineup is even more limited than Pentax.

Pentax has the advantage of overall being much more compact system. The K20D and K7 perform a little better at high ISO, and Pentax has a better selection of primes in the UWA to normal range. Pentax's recent batch of dSLRs also have excellent white balance. And while Sony has Zeiss, Pentax has their excellent Limited lenses.

Granted trying an A850 paired with the 85 and 135 f/1.4 gave me a little camera envy, that whole setup would run around 4 grand. My K10D with a 50mm f/1.4 and 77mm f/1.8 is half the price, half the size, and half the weight, and both systems are capable of excellent results.

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