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02-17-2009, 10:36 AM   #16
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QuoteQuote:
Decent low light performance
The k20d is quite noisy. On the other hand it retains good detail and the SR works with fast primes as well. And yet the AF system in low-light is lame at best, even with the super-annoying flash strobing.
QuoteQuote:
Affordable 50mm/f1.4 lens
50mm on APS-C, or 35mm? Pentax doesn't have any f1.4 normal prime, the closest you can get is the 31mm f1.8, which, at $800, I wouldn't call affordable.
QuoteQuote:
Bright viewfinder
Bright for APS-C, but still difficult to use in daylight and impossible in low-light.
QuoteQuote:
Solid feel
Solid as far as plastic DSLRs go, yeah. Not quite as solid as Olympus cameras (P&S or DSLR) or ancient SLRs.
QuoteQuote:
Well designed manual controls and overrides
Mostly ok, except for the focus mode switch. Dedicated controls for ISO, shutter speed and aperture would be nice as well.
QuoteQuote:
...works well with old style manual focus lenses I can buy off of eBay
for various values of 'works well' It's certainly difficult to focus with the small VF, and getting m42 lenses on and off is so involved their real-world use is... questionable.

02-18-2009, 10:50 AM   #17
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My experience with the K20D is that it's not quite noisy. In fact, Pentax turns off noise reduction and you can dial it up as much as you'd like. The trade-off, of course, is loss of detail, which is what you'll find in all these other cameras that are supposedly less noisy. Shoot raw, and you can coax whatever you want out of it. Here's an example:



This was shot at 135mm, f/2.8, 1/180s and ISO 2000. The noise (wherever it is) doesn't bother me. Also, in addition to being dim, the action was fast, yet my K20D and DA*50-135 managed to nail it.

I've also shot my daughter at an indoor skating rink with the K20D and DA*16-50, and had little trouble locking focus, even though it was so dark I couldn't even read under that light.

Now, would another brand focus faster? I don't know, but I guess so. I do know that the K20D is fast enough for me.
02-18-2009, 10:53 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
The k20d is quite noisy.
You might want to peruse the thread here. Lots of examples to the contrary.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/27927-pentax-k20d-...o-gallery.html
02-18-2009, 02:50 PM   #19
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Can't agree about the lens thing...

QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Since you mention budget as a concern, I will chime in with my usual advice pointing out that one need not buy new lenses. There are millions of perfectly fine used Pentax lenses out there.

Though they are not for everybody or for every situation, you may find that M42 (screwmount) lenses provide excellent quality coupled with extreme affordability. I could have paid $200~300 for a new lens to take the same shots, but I hardly see the point.
I would have agreed before my recent foray into older lenses with a Pentax-M f/2.8 28mm; yes, the IQ and cost were good, but it's only fair to point out that I had to give up a couple of things like auto focus and matrix metering (at least on a K100) to get that inexpensive quality. I am among those who think AF and metering options are important, and if I paid money for a camera with those features I want to use them, and so would rather pay more for modern lenses that allow access to those features. Just another way of looking at the issue,
Brian

02-20-2009, 03:26 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
I would have agreed before my recent foray into older lenses with a Pentax-M f/2.8 28mm; yes, the IQ and cost were good, but it's only fair to point out that I had to give up a couple of things like auto focus and matrix metering (at least on a K100) to get that inexpensive quality. I am among those who think AF and metering options are important, and if I paid money for a camera with those features I want to use them, and so would rather pay more for modern lenses that allow access to those features. Just another way of looking at the issue,

Brian
Assuming you didn't gloss right over the part where I clearly pointed out "they are not for everybody or for every situation" then you actually don't disagree with me at all.
02-20-2009, 04:30 PM   #21
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I read this and I had to wonder 1) why do you own a Pentax and 2) are we actually using the same camera?


QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
The k20d is quite noisy. On the other hand it retains good detail and the SR works with fast primes as well. And yet the AF system in low-light is lame at best, even with the super-annoying flash strobing.
As someone mentioned above check out that high ISO thread and you'll see some great examples. I've shot some stuff at ISO 1600 that I was amazed at, but just like anything else at the extremes you have to expose correctly.
Examples:
Northern Cardinal photo - palmor photos at pbase.com
Ash at Home photo - palmor photos at pbase.com

QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
50mm on APS-C, or 35mm? Pentax doesn't have any f1.4 normal prime, the closest you can get is the 31mm f1.8, which, at $800, I wouldn't call affordable.
Assuming that the OP wants more of a 50mm field of view then the FA 35 f/2.0 would probably do very well and at ~$300 would fit into his budget. Not to mention that there are probably a lot of good used options out there.

QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
Bright for APS-C, but still difficult to use in daylight and impossible in low-light.
I think this really depends on the person. I have no problems with the view finder.

QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
Solid as far as plastic DSLRs go, yeah. Not quite as solid as Olympus cameras (P&S or DSLR) or ancient SLRs.
Only the outside is plastic, the frame of the camera is metal and very solid.

QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
Mostly ok, except for the focus mode switch. Dedicated controls for ISO, shutter speed and aperture would be nice as well.
I'm not sure where you get that there are no controls for those things. You can setup to have the front/rear dials do any of those.. and you have have a combo with the OK button do something else. Or do you want additional controls for all those things for some reason?

QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
for various values of 'works well' It's certainly difficult to focus with the small VF, and getting m42 lenses on and off is so involved their real-world use is... questionable.
What is so hard with the M42 lenses? You put the adapter on and screw your lenses on and off... there really isn't much else you could do there. If you are having trouble with the adapter I bet it isn't a genuine Pentax version, some of the non-pentax versions have a habit of not coming off.
02-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #22
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02-20-2009, 05:58 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by mickey Quote
shuttervox, like the thread.
Found it interesting the comments you got.
I guess they're like has been mentioned, "fanboys".
The fanboy won't give you a photographers perspective, rather you will get the opinion that matters with the equipment only he/she uses.

Maybe you could say that about us Pentax users, too. But from the requirements you posted, the K20D would be a good camera to choose.
Thank you for that honest statement!

There are a whole lot of fan boys in this forum that can't/won't admit they are.

To the OP, you have to consider that there are as many opinions as there are... um.. you know.

In your opening, you quoted someone stating that no camera under $5000 can perform will in low light but that is entirely nonsense. Canon, for instance, is well known for high performance in low light. That is why several of their models (all under $1300 and some, half that price) are the preferred cameras for amateur astrophotographers.

I am afraid that if you are seeking a DSLR for low light, no Pentax can compete with the Canon 40D or 50D.

Your thread title mentions low light, but your stated criteria doesn't. If low light is important, possible the best camera (in your stated budget) is the Canon 40D but if high pixel count is important, the Pentax K20D is a good choice at a good value. If you want the best of both worlds, for about $1250.00, you can buy a Canon 50D.


Last edited by pentaxmz; 02-20-2009 at 06:22 PM.
02-20-2009, 06:18 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
Solid as far as plastic DSLRs go, yeah.
Are you referring to the K20D?

There is some plastic on it but the rest is metal, isn't it?

Wow! I thought it was a magnesium body (like my MZ-S). I sure felt like metal but now on closer inspection I realize it is not!

So the Canon 50D (and its predecessors) is definitely more solid after all because it does have a magnesium body.

I'm not putting down my K20D but I am expressing surprise at this "discovery".
02-20-2009, 06:31 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
Thank you for that honest statement!

There are a whole lot of fan boys in this forum that can't/won't admit they are.

To the OP, you have to consider that there are as many opinions as there are... um.. you know.

In your opening, you quoted someone stating that no camera under $5000 can perform will in low light but that is entirely nonsense. Canon, for instance, is well known for high performance in low light. That is why several of their models (all under $1300 and some, half that price) are the preferred cameras for amateur astrophotographers.

I am afraid that if you are seeking a DSLR for low light, no Pentax can compete with the Canon 40D or 50D.

Your thread title mentions low light, but your stated criteria doesn't. If low light is important, possible the best camera (in your stated budget) is the Canon 40D but if high pixel count is important, the Pentax K20D is a good choice at a good value. If you want the best of both worlds, for about $1250.00, you can buy a Canon 50D.
The reason they're preferred by astrophotographers is the low level of long-exposure noise. That doesn't necessarily translate into good low-light performance in normal situations. Not saying that those cameras don't have that kind of performance, but that's not incredibly relevant evidence in this case.

fwiw, having played with files from both the K20D and 50D, the K20D is better at high ISO. In RAW they're both actually pretty messy at high ISO, with about the same noise levels, but the thing is the Canon still feels a bit smeary even with noise reduction all the way off while the K20D keeps better detail. The 40D has a little less noise but a little less detail all the way through. That said, the differences between each are all very small (except for the higher resolution of the K20D and 50D at low ISO over the 40D).

Any of them can make a nice enough 8x10 at 3200. The K20D might require more NR in post (the 40D and 50D look cleaner because they do more NR in-camera) but the end results are the same.
02-21-2009, 11:28 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by er1kksen Quote
fwiw, having played with files from both the K20D and 50D, the K20D is better at high ISO. In RAW they're both actually pretty messy at high ISO, with about the same noise levels, but the thing is the Canon still feels a bit smeary even with noise reduction all the way off while the K20D keeps better detail. The 40D has a little less noise but a little less detail all the way through. That said, the differences between each are all very small (except for the higher resolution of the K20D and 50D at low ISO over the 40D).
Okay, high ISO in normal lighting.... hmmm... I will do some testing this weekend.

However, I have seen some mighty fine high ISO action photos, taken with the K20D. Someone in this forum created a thread just about this topic. Darn it, I cannot find that recent thread.
02-21-2009, 02:29 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
Okay, high ISO in normal lighting.... hmmm... I will do some testing this weekend.

However, I have seen some mighty fine high ISO action photos, taken with the K20D. Someone in this forum created a thread just about this topic. Darn it, I cannot find that recent thread.
There's a link to it in post #18 of this topic.
02-21-2009, 04:00 PM   #28
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Here are a bunch of ISO 3200 photos I took today of a dog agility practice. I had to use ISO3200 to even come close (and really didn't) to a fast enough shutter speed to freeze some action. Just looking at the noise levels though I am really impressed with how the came out.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/51861-iso3200-dog-agilit...tml#post497826


JOhn

QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
Okay, high ISO in normal lighting.... hmmm... I will do some testing this weekend.

However, I have seen some mighty fine high ISO action photos, taken with the K20D. Someone in this forum created a thread just about this topic. Darn it, I cannot find that recent thread.
02-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
and getting m42 lenses on and off is so involved their real-world use is... questionable.
I have about 25,000 exposures that say otherwise.

I'm not one of the people who takes a M42 lens out for a spin every once in a while just as a lark. My Takumars are my daily shooting lenses.

What on earth is so "involved" about swapping M42 lenses? They take a few seconds longer than do K-mount lenses to swap but there is nothing particularly complicated about it.
02-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #30
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So I'm guessing that you make these assertions based on what? A magazine? I see K20D in your signature but any K20D (or K10D) owner knows that there are dedicated Av, Tv and ISO buttons on the outside of the camera. Actually so easy to use that you don't have to take your eye from the VF.

Noisy? Not as noisy as you might think if used correctly. Dial in some Ev and this camera can perform very well at high ISO's I disagree on the low light AF as well. I've shot hundreds, no thousands of low light shots (at weddings and other events) with K10's and K20's and not had a big issue. It depends to some degree on the quality and speed of the lens you have. I do agree with the Flash assist though. Fine at a party, but that's it. Normal primes? Well maybe but to name one option, the Sigma 28mm f1.8 is very good. The road-mapped 30mm is coming as well.

APS-c VF? The k20D has a very good VF and has often been commented on how good it is. It's not an old film style VF but damn close and certainly doesn't loose anything to any other cropped sensor cameras.

Plastic body. With err, a steel chassis! Tough and durable. I know a few Canon owners that won't take their magnesium bodied cameras anywhere near a beach or salt water. Look up the reason why. I'll take the Poly carb, weather sealed steel chassis any day against any model.

I completely disagree with the M42 lens comment. These are incredibly good lenses that are easy to use, easy to add or remove and really have great value in real world use today. Get a couple and actually shoot for a day or 2. You'll change your mind.


QuoteOriginally posted by denisv Quote
The k20d is quite noisy. On the other hand it retains good detail and the SR works with fast primes as well. And yet the AF system in low-light is lame at best, even with the super-annoying flash strobing.
50mm on APS-C, or 35mm? Pentax doesn't have any f1.4 normal prime, the closest you can get is the 31mm f1.8, which, at $800, I wouldn't call affordable.
Bright for APS-C, but still difficult to use in daylight and impossible in low-light.
Solid as far as plastic DSLRs go, yeah. Not quite as solid as Olympus cameras (P&S or DSLR) or ancient SLRs.Mostly ok, except for the focus mode switch. Dedicated controls for ISO, shutter speed and aperture would be nice as well.

for various values of 'works well' It's certainly difficult to focus with the small VF, and getting m42 lenses on and off is so involved their real-world use is... questionable.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 02-21-2009 at 07:23 PM.
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