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12-30-2008, 09:14 PM   #1
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K20D Arrived, my humble first impressions

Let me start off by saying that what I am about to say has probably been said before here many times, never the less I offer my opinion, for what that is worth.

Quick history, I have a complete lineup of Sony Alpha gear as my main system. I am adding the K20D to fill a specific niche in my photography needs (professionally ). What I was looking for took quite a bit of market research. The user interface on the Alpha's specifically the A700 I find are far and away one of the easiest I have ever to use and remains in my eyes the user interface to beat, which also means the K20D has a lot to live up too.

Often when getting a new camera (or reviewing one), I like to see how quickly I can get to know it and just how far before I need to reach for the manual. Minus one or two items I was quickly able to find all I needed in the K20D. Overall the user interface is good to very good, and pretty intuitive. Good enough by far, for my high expectations.

I just spent the last couple of hours getting a hands on tour of the K20D (very easy to do for the basics). Each item of interest/requirement I have for dslrs has been checked off one by one with and "impressive" mark thus far.

I have used many brands of dslrs, but chose the Pentax as a brand I know would pass my very picky demands of handling and user friendliness. I passed on Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc.... for various reasons but they all had in common one nasty trait... they had pretty difficult user interfaces or a lack of dedicated buttons that I like to get quick access to menu changes on.

Other items that impressed me immediately are were the build quality (simply masterful, I could go on and on about it), the fast screw driven auto focus (quieter and faster than the Sony's at least with the 18-55 kit lens), the size and weight, the very decent viewfinder, and the way above average kit lens (in every way).

So, for me the Pentax was up against a heck of a test. And I'm happy to report ..so far so good overall, and it should only get better from here on out.

Pentax is a unique product, and seems to prioritize the photographer. The K20D gives a user the utmost control, and I like that Pentax don't assume I (the photographer) am an idiot... which is wholly refreshing.

Carl Garrard

12-30-2008, 09:58 PM   #2
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Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I am looking forward to reading your impressions as you get to know the camera better.

Steve
12-30-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the initial impression, Carl. One thing that you may not have found yet that took me a while to stumble upon (yes, I hate reading manuals as well): holding the OK button in while turning the front e-dial will change the ISO in most shooting modes. Really helps for certain situations. The K20D is feature rich and capable.

Jack
12-30-2008, 10:19 PM   #4
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Welcome, Carl!

Might I ask how specifically you'll be using the K20D, and what lenses (if any at this time) you have in mind?

(PS, took a look at your portfolios - impressive stuff!)


.


Last edited by jsherman999; 12-30-2008 at 10:26 PM.
12-30-2008, 10:22 PM   #5
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And which Sony alpha systems are you using? I'm particularly interested in the a900 as a number of people I know (virtually) are very happy with it. Evidently while it doesn't do high ISO like the Canikon, the files have a different "look" that many seem to like.
12-30-2008, 11:22 PM   #6
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Steve-thank you, I look forward to sharing them as I go along .

Jack- That isa helpful tip, thank you! And I agree with you about the K20.

Jsherman999- Specifically I will be using it for landscape photography going deep into the Sierra Nevada mountains (and other such long enduring hikes). I wanted a camera I could bring with me with some sharp and light primes that could basically handle all kinds of weather conditions that had excellent resolution in a fairly small and lightweight package. The K20d seems to be exactly that camera. Live view (for 100% compositions and focus check) and it's other features are all icing on the cake. The extra resolution, live view/focus check , and superior sealing give it a slight edge over my A700. Thank you for the comments on my photography, I do appreciate that very much.

Edit: (sorry forgot the lenses) I ordered the K20 with the kit (II), 35mm f2.8 Macro, 40mm f2.8, 55-300 f3.5-f5.8 (passed for now on the 16-45mm). I intend on getting a couple of small primes next starting with the 21mm LTD.

Nostatic- I currently own an A100,200,700 and have an A900 available on loan (whenever I wish), I have about 22 minolta and sony lenses (many are collectables) and a couple of flashes. I also have the Maxxum 9,7,5 (and other) film cameras that I keep in my rotation.

The A900 is a real notch for Sony, it offers a lot for the buck if you want/need full frame. It could use some tweaks on a firmware upgrade, but it is solid overall with arguably the best feature being that huge and bright viewfinder (have to be honest it is rather impressive).

>>>>>

On another note, I am viewing some files I have already taken with the K20D now, once I get used to the footprint of the images and make my tweaks, Ill take it out for some fun test shooting tomorrow.

Cheers,

Carl

Last edited by Rush2112; 12-31-2008 at 12:32 AM.
12-30-2008, 11:48 PM   #7
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Carl:

Welcome!

I enjoyed this post--thank you. I do a lot of hiking, year round, and bought a K20 to meet my landscape needs here. Of course, it meets many other needs as well, but it sure does feel great to have this in my backpack and not have to worry more about it than I do myself--especially while winter hiking.

Best Regards
12-31-2008, 12:46 AM   #8
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First ISO 1600 shot

Running through some early shots I took a peek at this one (having forgot what ISO I used), honestly thought it was an ISO 400 image. Impressive.

ISO 6400 doesn't look good at all but I rarely even go as high as 1600 so I really could care less.

Final edit (sorry about that!)




Last edited by Rush2112; 12-31-2008 at 08:50 AM. Reason: getting my link posting act together
12-31-2008, 06:40 AM   #9
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12-31-2008, 07:40 AM   #10
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Hi

It would be very interesting how you find the "exposure" rendering of the K20D compared to your Sony cameras.

The Pentax has been constantly whinged upon (by various detractors) for its 1. Its inconsistant exposure reading 2. Its tendancy to always under expose, even in uniformed lit lighting conditions

Regards

Dylan
12-31-2008, 07:53 AM   #11
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I've seen it in certain lighting situations underexpose already a bit, it seems to prioritize highlights, but for my own objective final opinion... it's a bit early yet to make a conclusion. I'll just keep shooting with it

C
12-31-2008, 08:30 AM   #12
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What do you guys do for hiking packs? I've found that the camera ones (Fastpack, Sequence, etc.) are mostly for storing camera gear and aren't even big enough to carry extra clothes when you get to the top or food, water, etc.
12-31-2008, 08:54 AM   #13
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I have 3 different packs. My favorite day pack ironically is my most least expensive which comes with a waterproof cover inside the pack that wraps up and around it. Its 1800 CU, which gives me plenty of room for food and some clothes but I wouldn't use it for an overnight pack at all. It is made by Hi-Tech, and has a frame and all. Small light and very comfortable. When I get home ill post the model # and such. I actually bought this one from Big 5 Sporting goods (my last resort for outdoor gear, it is close and convenient is all).
12-31-2008, 09:08 AM   #14
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How do you stuff camera gear in that pack? Padded case? I was thinking regular pack and a chest camera pack would be the most viable thing to do if you want to do more than a 30min hike.
12-31-2008, 09:13 AM   #15
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Interesting to hear your first impressions from someone that shoots another platform. We all think it's a pretty decent platform but then we're biased. Now you need to give one of the weather sealed lenses a try. The DA*16-50mm or DA*50-135mm might be a good place to start. The Limited series of lenses are stunning performers as well . The 31mm being at the top of the list but you got the 35mm and that's a very similar lens (optically). It will be interesting to hear what your impressions of these lenses will be.

Great shots on the web site and I like the design of the site as well.
Welcome to our little 'club'.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 12-31-2008 at 08:00 PM.
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