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07-11-2011, 08:04 AM   #1
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Pentax K10D vs. Pentax K20D

Just from being curious i would like to learn from others experience how is the Pentax K10D vs. Pentax K20D in terms of image quality, handling, built quality, etc. I am not interested in Live View and for me the resolution difference is not that important. If the price difference between 2 second hand bodies is 100-150 dollars - does it make sense?

07-11-2011, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have both, although my K10D is currently awaiting me to pull my finger out and finish fixing it.. The K10D I found was much better at low-iso or long-shutter operations - i.e, at night.
But it sort of peaked at around ISO400 before noise started being something that had to be 'fixed' in post..

The K20D is however, much better to being able to push it a lot more to ISO800 - except where there is shadows, where the noise seems to be worse than the K10D.

Build wise, they are identical I would say externally, however, there is obviously fixes to some of the known problems with the K10D - that being things like the onboard flash that quite often failed in the K10D's doesnt seem to be as prevalent in K20D's.

My K10D does have a dead onboard flash - which isn't an issue as I use proper flashes from a 'flash' perspective - but sucks because the onboard flash is used as the low-light AF Assist... My K10D also no longer works off the internal battery compartment - its spent its life with the BG attached and I suspect this issue is just terminal corrosion and should be sorted with some liberal cleaning of the contacts.... When I get round to it ..

So from my limited experience - go the K10D if you want to do low-light or long exposure stuff.. The K20D if you want a tad more DR over the K10D or the higher ISO. But having said that - I also found ironically the K20D *easier* to use in low-light though, due to the LiveView, as I could still focus using it on zoom where the K10D would risk being a black nothing in the viewfinder....

I personally also think the K20D perhaps produces 'nicer' images than the K10D as a general rule - but not sure I can definitely say it provides 'better' IQ at all (I could just be imagining it based on the extra MPs when I view the previews in LR....) - However not being able to turn off Dark Frame Subtraction (DFS, in-camera NR) on the K20D makes it tedious over and above the sensor differences for long exposure stuff...

The above though is obviously based on my own experiences with my own particular cameras - neither of which came to me 'brand new' either....

Last edited by adr1an; 07-11-2011 at 05:29 PM.
07-11-2011, 08:24 AM   #3
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The handling is identical. The K20 handles higher ISO levels than the K10 and has a larger CMOS sensor than the K10's CCD sensor. I personally love the images from my K10. I have a pair of 16x24 gallery wraps that are absolutely stunning, taken at ISO 100 and 400. Above ISO 400 the K10 images are quite noisy, and with my slow long lens that can be a problem. For $100 more, I think I would take the K10, but this is a very personal choice.

[Edit] it seems that two of us replied at the same time! Good post from Adr1an.
07-11-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
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The K20D is slightly better in the following areas;
  • Noise performance(across the curve).
  • Dynamic range.
  • Tonal Range(negligible)
  • Resolution.
  • Pixel pitch.
  • More photosites.
  • RAW - JPEG file creation(K10D?)
  • Higher ISO performance(6400)
Other than that, I really don't know if any of these jump-out as major improvements tbh,

07-11-2011, 08:50 AM   #5
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For several years my K10 and K20 hung off of me on various trips, photo shoots, etc. They handle so similarly that I generally had to look to see which was which. However, in my experience clearly the K20 was my preferred camera of the two. It just did everything the K10 did and more. A lot of folks have written volumes about the CCD vs. CMOS sensor look. Personally I've preferred the K20's look over the two as well as the K20's ability to work at higher ISO than the K10. Now that I have a K-5 my K10 sits idle and the K20 has gone to back up role.

For me, if I had to pick between the K10/K20 it would always be the K20 because it just does more time and time again.
07-11-2011, 12:32 PM   #6
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I have both, few months at the same time. Both handle the same since they are base in the same body design. I like the K20D better in my opinion. If the $100 - $150 is an issue, the K10D still a good performer and you will not be disappointed.
I may add a K10D as a back up in the near future. Thanks Adrian for the nice explanation.
07-11-2011, 12:40 PM   #7

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If you're into long exposures, get the K10. The K20 can not turn off DFS. (if I recall correctly)
07-13-2011, 07:56 AM   #8
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FYI, according to: DxOMark - Camera Sensor Ratings - the sensor rating of the K10 is a bit higher than the K20...

I love my K10 and have handled and shot with a K20, they're almost the same. I happen to like the way the K10 handles darker colors/areas and at ISO 100 its IQ cannot be beat...

If the K10 had appropriate means for adjusting AF for lenses, like the K20 does, I probably would never consider "upgrading". At the moment, my K10 back focus' the only AF lens I care about, F 50/1.4... it properly focus' all my other AF lenses

If I do "upgrade", it'll be the K20...


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