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08-18-2010, 08:13 PM   #1
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Old K20D: What to expect?

I have a 3 year old K20d that has received an enormous amount of regular use.
Actually that is an understatement. I haven't checked lately, but I'm sure it's well exceeded the amount of shutter actuations it was rated for. I've taken good care of this incredible workhorse of a camera, but I've noticed that it is showing a few signs of old age. The sensor seems to be exhibiting a little more noise, and it's focusing of certain lenses is not quite as snappy or accurate. It still works reasonably well but I can tell that it is not quite the same as it was 2 years ago.

I'm curious as to what I might expect. What components tend to degrade or go out first? How long can I expect to use the original battery? Can anyone share their experiences with me?

08-18-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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The battery is replaceable, so that should be the smallest of your concerns, but do note that lithium ion batteries are typically rated for 500 rechargings.

What typically dies first in cameras that have seen a lot of use is the shutter and mirror mechanism. With digital, obviously the sensor will accumulate over hot pixels over time, but I think that if anything fails on you, it won't be that

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08-18-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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Thank you for the information Adam. I have noticed more hot pixels. It's very good to know that the battery is rated for 500 charges. I may actually have exceeded that though.
08-18-2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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have always jotted down charging time with k20, have 3(bats) I rotate and after about a year,I see just small downward trend, havent kept track "religously"
but enough to see trend and its close to what Adam indicates.3 years, makes them
a little suspect.

Ive wondered whats worst for a body... use or non-use?

08-19-2010, 02:09 AM   #5
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I use mine everyday, without any dramas, I guess they get replaced when they wont go anymore, until then just crack on and enjoy.
08-19-2010, 04:50 AM   #6
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I did notice alot more noise from my K20D on my last holiday then when it was my new baby. (Compared similar shooting situation side by side)
I was fine with it, Guessed I would use it at only iso 100-200 now for landscape.

But something tragic happened when I was experimenting with super long exposures this weekend. 20 min was more than the sensor could deal with. This picture is taken the day after. 30 sek exp, Iso 100. Turned B&W for more visibility



I cried a bit, then I remembered that pentax is hopefully comming out with a new camera soon. Bye Bye 2 year+ old camera
08-19-2010, 07:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by melander Quote
I did notice alot more noise from my K20D on my last holiday then when it was my new baby.
I don't think it quite works that way...
If you saw more noise than with a previous experience, then chances are, that there was a reason. My first guess was would be environmental(outside temperature) or that some setting(such as: highlight recovery) was turned on or vice-versa. Though for the most part, dead pixel counts increase with use, I thiknk sensor noise performance pretty much stays the same.

As the proud owner of three K20D's, two of which, have been used for work for over 3 years(Just picked-up no.3 off eBay as a backup, backup, device), noise seems to of stayed relatively stable even after 35K+ shutters. And I shoot alot of ISO6400 prints(at least 25% of them). Having said that, I don't shoot in bulb mode either... and so there's always the chance that things change at that level of the game also

One interesting thing about the K20D is that I haven't had one of them fail on me yet despite the tons of use I put into them. Perhaps it has something to do with sending them out for CLA Pentax every year?
08-19-2010, 08:57 AM   #8
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Its the croma noise I see more of, red, blue, green pixels

08-19-2010, 09:17 AM   #9
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This is all very interesting information to me. Thank you!

I've also noticed idiosyncrasies in bracketing on my K20d. When I am continuously bracketing, 5 raw at a time,
sometimes the order I have it set to changes unexpectedly for one series.

White balance will sometimes strongly shift colors for just one shot in a series of identical studio shots in
carefully controlled lighting conditions, with no movement of the camera and subject.

I wonder about the resilience and longevity of the focusing motor which turns the screw drive on the lenses.
Could the faster more aggressive motor on the improved K7 be there for reasons other than the fact it helps
to improve focusing speed?

I'm not keen to argue the point because there are no scientific tests I can point to, but overheating of the
sensor seems to have hurt the performance of my camera noise-wise.

Last edited by jeff knight; 08-19-2010 at 09:31 AM.
08-19-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
I don't think it quite works that way...
If you saw more noise than with a previous experience, then chances are, that there was a reason. My first guess was would be environmental(outside temperature) or that some setting(such as: highlight recovery) was turned on or vice-versa. Though for the most part, dead pixel counts increase with use, I thiknk sensor noise performance pretty much stays the same.

As the proud owner of three K20D's, two of which, have been used for work for over 3 years(Just picked-up no.3 off eBay as a backup, backup, device), noise seems to of stayed relatively stable even after 35K+ shutters. And I shoot alot of ISO6400 prints(at least 25% of them). Having said that, I don't shoot in bulb mode either... and so there's always the chance that things change at that level of the game also

One interesting thing about the K20D is that I haven't had one of them fail on me yet despite the tons of use I put into them. Perhaps it has something to do with sending them out for CLA Pentax every year?
Tell us more if you will. How long does it take? Cost, etc. I'd like to do this for my K20, and its covered by a 3 year warranty that includes a CLA, i think. Either way, it deserves it.
08-19-2010, 09:46 AM   #11
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I dread the day my K20D stops performing, I have a Pentax S1a which is still going strong and used regularly. Don't know what I would replace my K20D with, did not like the K7 when it came out.
08-19-2010, 09:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Tell us more if you will. How long does it take? Cost, etc. I'd like to do this for my K20, and its covered by a 3 year warranty that includes a CLA, i think. Either way, it deserves it.
Sure, I'd be more than glad to help.

I've always sent my units to Pentax Canada(I pay shipping out, and Pentax returns shipping with cost of service).

The average costs have been aprox. 80.00 per unit, however I calculated this since I've always sent out two or more units at one time. Basically, the work order states AF calibrations and minor adjustements, lubrication and cleaning of the sensor, mirror and viewfinder. Though one time, I did send out a unit with a Katzeye that returned with a new shim, that ended-up being off. So following this, I made sure to include specific instructions on what I didn't want adjusted on my camera's.

The general idea is to request what you want done with your unit. To which I usually ask: Cleaning, Lubrication and Adjustment. Other than that, Pentax service has been pretty good about it all. I have had corroded body screws changed or replaced, and they did a very thorough job of removing dust and dirt on and around the bodies. Also... it's a great opportunity to get little things replaced too. ie. pin protection and hotshoe covers etc etc.

Hope this helps.
08-19-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rees Quote
I dread the day my K20D stops performing, I have a Pentax S1a which is still going strong and used regularly. Don't know what I would replace my K20D with, did not like the K7 when it came out.
I feel exactly the same way. I did not like the K7 either. I wonder how many K20d users have tried the K7 and sent it back?

Last edited by jeff knight; 08-19-2010 at 10:23 AM.
08-19-2010, 11:20 AM   #14
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I recently sold my K20D with around ~15k photos run through it - it worked as well as the day it was new. Better, actually - around 10k photos, I sent it to Pentax to tweak the focus and they replaced the sensor, also. (I had seen excessive blue noise at the top and bottom of the frame, which I think is pretty common with K20Ds.) No issues at all and last I heard, it's working well for its new owner.

My K-7 had perfect focus when new, but after around 10k photos, it did not consistently focus accurately. I tried using focus adjust (as I did with the K20D) but sent it back to get it tweaked perfectly while under warranty. I also had a red hotpixel that showed in movies, so I don't know if they did anything about that. I think the camera is getting delivered back to me today, so I will know soon enough... other than that, the K-7 is working great, as you would expect. Occasionally I think that the shutter is louder than it used to be, but I think it's just that I've gotten used to it - it always sounds quiet again after using our K-x a little!
08-20-2010, 12:34 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
I'm not keen to argue the point because there are no scientific tests I can point to, but overheating of the sensor seems to have hurt the performance of my camera noise-wise.
Hi Jeff, kind of buy into that myself, in support, I offer this term 'Hysterisis'
deals primarily with alternating current flow, to summarize.... as polarity of
current changes, molecular re-alignment occurs in current carrying conductor.
manifest as heat.

inverse, I feel, relates to what you articulate.
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