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03-03-2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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Interesting K10d K20d comparison

Now don't get me wrong; I love my k10d, but understandably I have been feeling a bit envious of the new k20d coming out. I read the review in PopPhoto on the k20d which was very good (they give a clear nod to the 20D over the 40D for example). I decided to go back and compare some numbers with the k10d review. Particularly the low-light numbers which are of great interest to me (2/3 of my glass is "fast"). I found them interesting:

k10d, k20d

Image Quality: Excellent, Excellent
Color Accuracy: 7.66 (Excellent), 7.98 (Excellent)
Noise
ISO 100 1.15 (very low), 1.22 (very low)
ISO 200 1.15 (very low), 1.49 (very low)
ISO 400 1.40 (very low), 1.76 (low)
ISO 800 1.70 (low), 1.64 (low)
ISO 1600 1.95 (low), 2.60 (moderate)

Highlt/shdw detail: very high, high
AF speed: Identical (which is understandable. No need to quote the numbers here)

So I'm feeling a lot better about my k10d. It doesn't have the resolution of the 14mp k20d, but I don't think I have ever used the 10.1 mp of the k10d to it's full potential. (I don't do alot of poster-sized prints) I was really surprised that the k10d was better at all iso levels except 800. k10d is actually better than 40D at iso1600. If I had anything older than my k10d, I would go for the k20d in a heartbeat, but I now feel comfortable waiting for the next generation (or later) Pentax.


Last edited by PentaxPoke; 03-03-2008 at 07:49 PM. Reason: Error in numbers re. 40d
03-03-2008, 03:58 PM   #2
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Yeah, it's that little tingle of envy, then you look at the numbers, and how great the K10D truly is, and it's a no-brainer. Besides, all my new APS-C lenses won't do much for me if I got the K20D.
03-03-2008, 04:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
k10d, k20d

Image Quality: Excellent, Excellent
Color Accuracy: 7.66 (Excellent), 7.98 (Excellent)
Noise
ISO 100 1.15 (very low), 1.22 (very low)
ISO 200 1.15 (very low), 1.49 (very low)
ISO 400 1.40 (very low), 1.76 (low)
ISO 800 1.70 (low), 1.64 (low)
ISO 1600 1.95 (low), 2.60 (moderate)

Highlt/shdw detail: very high, high
AF speed: Identical (which is understandable. No need to quote the numbers here)

So I'm feeling a lot better about my k10d. It doesn't have the resolution of the 14mp k20d, but I don't think I have ever used the 10.1 mp of the k10d to it's full potential. (I don't do alot of poster-sized prints) I was really surprised that the k10d was better at all iso levels except 800. Same with k10d vs C 40D. Better at all iso levels. If I had anything older than my k10d, I would go for the k20d in a heartbeat, but I now feel comfortable waiting for the next generation (or later) Pentax.
Im skeptical about whether those numbers mean anything in relation to one another. I have used both the K100 and the K10 in various shooting situations. Here are the specs i took from popPhoto on the K100.

ISO200 = 1.40
ISO400 = 1.45
ISO800 = 1.53
ISO1600 = 2.01
ISO3200 = 2.53

My point is, if these numbers tell you that the K100 exhibits more noise at ISO 800/1600 than the K10, then i would have to disagree (on a subjective, but empirical account, of course).
03-03-2008, 04:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rormeister Quote
Besides, all my new APS-C lenses won't do much for me if I got the K20D.

What do you mean?

03-03-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
QuoteQuote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rormeister View Post
Besides, all my new APS-C lenses won't do much for me if I got the K20D.
What do you mean?
yeah, what do you mean?
03-03-2008, 04:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
So I'm feeling a lot better about my k10d. ... I was really surprised that the k10d was better at all iso levels except 800. Same with k10d vs C 40D. Better at all iso levels. If I had anything older than my k10d, I would go for the k20d in a heartbeat, but I now feel comfortable waiting for the next generation (or later) Pentax.
Hey, Pokey! These are numbers from Popular Photography, right? I have the March 2008 issue in front of me with the review of the K20D, but I don't have the issue with the numbers for the K10D to compare. I'm surprised to see it being claimed that the K10D outperforms the K20D at ISO 1600. My impression is that most who have the K20D feel this is not the case.

I'm afraid I do not understand how they do these tests. One of the things I really don't understand is, what difference does the greater resolution of the K20D make to these tests--and to the way that things look in the end? I mean, I gather that, other things being equal, more pixels generally = more noise per pixel. But if you get more data to start with, and then reduce the size of the image, say, for printing or display on the Web, it seems to be the case that res trumps noise and you might get less noise. In other words, the K20D might actually be noisier than the K10D, but its images clean up better. Am I making any sense?

I happen to have the December 2007 issue of Pop Photo here, too, and it pains me to read the numbers for the Canon 40D.

.ISO . Canon 40D vs Pentax K20D
.100 . 0.8 .xlow .. 1.22 vlow
.200 . 0.95 xlow .. 1.49 vlow
.400 . 1.15 vlow .. 1.75 .low
.800 . 1.49 vlow .. 1.64 .low
1600 . 2.0 .mlow .. 2.6 . mod
3200 . 2.9 ..mod .. 3.8 . bad

The 40D also has dramatically better numbers relating to auto-focus speed (not a big issue for me, but it is for some), and it looks like the 40D does better in the area of highlight and shadow detail, too.

On the other hand, both cameras get "excellent" ratings in the image quality department, and "extremely high" image quality at iso 3200--which I find frankly incomprehensible, since they claim that the K20D's noise at 3200 is bad (their word is "unacceptable").

Pop Photo concludes that the K20D can indeed challenge the Canon 40D, although I don't see what in their tests gives them the right to say this, and they do qualify their praise by adding that the K20D challenges the 40D "except at the upper ISO limits and in extremely low-light AF challenges." Since the 40D costs $100 LESS than the K20D at the moment (Amazon.com prices: $1150 vs $1250), in what was does the K20D compete?

So I'm stumped. I need to sort this out before hit the "buy" button on a K20D....

Will

P.S. Using your numbers, the K10D is NOT better than the Canon 40D at all ISOs, as you say. K10D seems to be better at 1600 and 800, a little worse elsewhere.
03-03-2008, 04:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
Im skeptical about whether those numbers mean anything in relation to one another....
I find the numbers surprising, too, but gosh, if they can't be compared between cameras, then why in heaven's name does Pop Photo bother with them? I'm sure they have published their methodology somewhere.

But I agree, I am finding these numbers fairly hard to make sense of.

Will
03-03-2008, 04:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I find the numbers surprising, too, but gosh, if they can't be compared between cameras, then why in heaven's name does Pop Photo bother with them?
umm, to sell magazines so people will buy new gear?

I find almost all of these "tests" to be mostly crap and hot air. At the end of the day, I have one question: did I get the shot?

The more I read stuff on the interwebs, the less I actually care and the more I realize that the industry seems geared towards people who read spec sheets and take photos of newspapers than those that actually go out and make art or work.

I actually took back the K10d because I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it. I am close to picking up a K20d to replace it because I feel like the tweaks they have done might get me a little closer to what I want (ie resolution and iq that will blow my Leica p&s out of the water). I can read stuff until I'm blue in the face, but until I shoot with it and decide whether I want to learn with it, I won't know. That is the other part of the equation...any good tool is going to take time to learn and grow comfortable with, and if I'm going to spend that time I want it to be with something that I'll be happy with for a number of years. Maybe it was just a timing thing but to me it seemed reasonable to spend an extra $500 for the current technology and just buy one less lens for now rather than investing in something that is already a generation old. If I'd bought a month or three ago it would be a different story, but with cash in my hand now that is the choice I'm faced with, and the way I'm leaning.

Either way, I'm going to shoot and see what feels/looks right rather than pixelpeep. Nobody every asked me for a picture of a newspaper, so I don't think I'll take any photos of the LA Times today

03-03-2008, 05:07 PM   #9
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I asked why Pop Photo bothers with the numbers if they can't be compared, and nostatic replies:

QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
umm, to sell magazines so people will buy new gear?

I find almost all of these "tests" to be mostly crap and hot air. At the end of the day, I have one question: did I get the shot?
At the end of the day, I have the same question you have, but I'm not so cynical about the mags and their reviews. I have been writing reviews for Macworld for many years (have a couple due at the end of this week, in fact). I have worked with several editors and have always been encouraged to (a) be fair and (b) be honest, in that order, which seems to me just right. It's true, the mags seldom print downright bad reviews. But they do sometimes, and the rest of the time you have to read between the lines--or look at the numbers.

Will
03-03-2008, 05:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I have worked with several editors and have always been encouraged to (a) be fair and (b) be honest, in that order, which seems to me just right. It's true, the mags seldom print downright bad reviews. But they do sometimes, and the rest of the time you have to read between the lines--or look at the numbers.

Will
That's because you're dealing with Mac people (he said, typing on a MacBook Pro ).

I do a lot of reading and writing, and have gotten pretty good and looking between the lines. I can't begin to tell you what I think the "real" text should be for most of these articles. That being said, the reality is that technology is pretty good at the moment, and most cameras will do fairly well. The problem is that some (many? all?) are now designed to get numbers instead of photos. It is part of a larger problem with living digital but I won't digress there at the moment. Numbers do indeed tell a story...about numbers.

Having been around the block as a researcher I can tell you that most trained scientists barely know how to design a decent, reproducible experiment and even less understand data analysis. I trust magazine reviewers even less than phd scientists (though not much less ).

I guess my main point would be to take all of this with a big salt lick. Getting the shot requires more than technology or numbers. There are intangibles that can't be calculated, and factors that don't have good metrics. The reviews generally try to do a good job and relaying what they can, but it seems that some (many?) will take the data as gospel and extrapolate to the nth degree, making sweeping pronouncements about x better than y, etc. I have just burned out on all that in a remarkable short amount of time, and just want a tool that I bond with that will help me get what I see. Much of the K10d "works" for me...the interface is very intuitive and there are usability aspects that click with me. That is more important than the numbers to me. However IQ still rules the day in concert with usability, and I'm hoping that the K20d ups the IQ enough to make me quit wondering, "what if..." (or what Nikon).
03-03-2008, 06:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJB DIGITAL Quote
yeah, what do you mean?
I was of the understanding that my Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO was designed for the APS-C, and wasn't aware it would be compatible with the K20D CMOS. Please don't tell me it is...or I'll be back to BBA again.
03-03-2008, 06:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rormeister Quote
I was of the understanding that my Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO was designed for the APS-C, and wasn't aware it would be compatible with the K20D CMOS. Please don't tell me it is...or I'll be back to BBA again.
Sure, i won't tell you IT IS.

the K20D CMOS is still aps-c sized.
03-03-2008, 06:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
Sure, i won't tell you IT IS..
Well Pucker My Aperture. Always good info here. Thanks for clarifying!
03-03-2008, 07:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rormeister Quote
Well Pucker My Aperture. Always good info here. Thanks for clarifying!
That is funny !! lol
03-03-2008, 07:11 PM   #15
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Why not ask them directly at Popphoto.com forums? NT.

NT - - - - - -- ----


QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Hey, Pokey! These are numbers from Popular Photography, right? I have the March 2008 issue in front of me with the review of the K20D, but I don't have the issue with the numbers for the K10D to compare. I'm surprised to see it being claimed that the K10D outperforms the K20D at ISO 1600. My impression is that most who have the K20D feel this is not the case.

I'm afraid I do not understand how they do these tests. One of the things I really don't understand is, what difference does the greater resolution of the K20D make to these tests--and to the way that things look in the end? I mean, I gather that, other things being equal, more pixels generally = more noise per pixel. But if you get more data to start with, and then reduce the size of the image, say, for printing or display on the Web, it seems to be the case that res trumps noise and you might get less noise. In other words, the K20D might actually be noisier than the K10D, but its images clean up better. Am I making any sense?

I happen to have the December 2007 issue of Pop Photo here, too, and it pains me to read the numbers for the Canon 40D.

.ISO . Canon 40D vs Pentax K20D
.100 . 0.8 .xlow .. 1.22 vlow
.200 . 0.95 xlow .. 1.49 vlow
.400 . 1.15 vlow .. 1.75 .low
.800 . 1.49 vlow .. 1.64 .low
1600 . 2.0 .mlow .. 2.6 . mod
3200 . 2.9 ..mod .. 3.8 . bad

The 40D also has dramatically better numbers relating to auto-focus speed (not a big issue for me, but it is for some), and it looks like the 40D does better in the area of highlight and shadow detail, too.

On the other hand, both cameras get "excellent" ratings in the image quality department, and "extremely high" image quality at iso 3200--which I find frankly incomprehensible, since they claim that the K20D's noise at 3200 is bad (their word is "unacceptable").

Pop Photo concludes that the K20D can indeed challenge the Canon 40D, although I don't see what in their tests gives them the right to say this, and they do qualify their praise by adding that the K20D challenges the 40D "except at the upper ISO limits and in extremely low-light AF challenges." Since the 40D costs $100 LESS than the K20D at the moment (Amazon.com prices: $1150 vs $1250), in what was does the K20D compete?

So I'm stumped. I need to sort this out before hit the "buy" button on a K20D....

Will

P.S. Using your numbers, the K10D is NOT better than the Canon 40D at all ISOs, as you say. K10D seems to be better at 1600 and 800, a little worse elsewhere.
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