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02-19-2009, 04:51 PM   #1
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2 questions on the K20D-about to purchase

After selling my Nikon D300, I'm considering a switch to the K20D. I'm impressed by the overall features, the weather sealing, and recently, the low price w/rebate.

Two questions I have not been able to get straight in my head:

1) There seems to be general complaint about the AF speed...trying this out in the limited venue of a camera store I did not notice anything particularly slow. I do some photography of sports, mostly snow skiing and want input as to just how slow the AF is compared to other cameras, such as a Nikon D90 (the other DSLR I am considering)

2) The K20 D I used at a local store took 4-6 seconds for a photo to appear on the LCD screen after being taken. I tried various settings, but got consistently the same result, and the camera sales guy (who admitted he didn't know Pentax cameras well) had no explanation. The memory card was 'reasonable' , a 1GB PNY I think. Is this an issue with the D20? All the DSLR's I've ever used displayed a photo on the back LCD very quickly, and the K20 D was horrible in this regard.

In this economy, price is really an issue (at least for me). The K20 body, a serviceable 18-250 lens, battery grip, and spare battery can be had for about $1400, which is a huge plus compared to Nikon, Canon, et al.

Thanks for any input on the two issues I mentioned, or anything else on the K20D in general.

02-19-2009, 04:56 PM   #2
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Well, if you were shooting in lower light ( which indoors at a store might have been ) probably what was happening was the noise reduction was kicking in. That is ONE complaint people have about the K20D, if I remember correctly, you can NOT turn it off. (Note: I do NOT own a K20D, but I read up on it a lot, as I may be upgrading when the newer K30D comes out, the prices should drop like a rock on the K20D )

I know on my K10D, if I am shooting in good light, the image displays on the LCD pretty darn fast..
02-19-2009, 05:25 PM   #3
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AF speed is good in good lighting and poor in poor lighting as with any other brand. The main difference between Nikon and Pentax sits in the continous area. Nikon I think is predicting the focus, which means it can actually focus on fast moving objects. I have never managed to use AF for that on a Pentax, it is not built for that. On the other hand the AF is very excact, and you will get a high rate of sharp pictures if the camera get enough time to focus.

The slow LCD i can almost bet was because of a poor SD card. I bought a no brand, and my camera went to a crawl. Use a Sandisk or other card testd with the camera and the photo will appear immediately.
02-19-2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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1) AF speed depends a lot on the lens. A lens with internal focusing (IF) is fast, a lens with a heavy metal barrel that needs to be moved back and forth is slow(er). Anyway, the K10D/K20D are plenty fast for me.

2) I have not noticed any delay in the image on the LCD unless at night where the noise reduction kicks in.

02-19-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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the noise reduction on my k10D is set to activate on at slow speed shooting by default; may be it is the same for k20D. The slow appearance on the LCD after the shot is taken is mostly due to slower write speed on the SD card

AF speed may be slower on Pentax but I don't recognize too much difference in my shooting style; however, the focus accuracy percentage yield is higher in comparison to my friends Fuji S5 pro or Nikon D200.
02-19-2009, 06:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sundance62 Quote
After selling my Nikon D300, I'm considering a switch to the K20D. I'm impressed by the overall features, the weather sealing, and recently, the low price w/rebate.
You are to downgrade?

QuoteQuote:
Two questions I have not been able to get straight in my head:

1) There seems to be general complaint about the AF speed...trying this out in the limited venue of a camera store I did not notice anything particularly slow. I do some photography of sports, mostly snow skiing and want input as to just how slow the AF is compared to other cameras, such as a Nikon D90 (the other DSLR I am considering)
See this for what people are talking about the slow AF of the K20D - hunting:

RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: AF Speed Difference of K-m Vs K20D


QuoteQuote:
2) The K20 D I used at a local store took 4-6 seconds for a photo to appear on the LCD screen after being taken. I tried various settings, but got consistently the same result, and the camera sales guy (who admitted he didn't know Pentax cameras well) had no explanation. The memory card was 'reasonable' , a 1GB PNY I think. Is this an issue with the D20? All the DSLR's I've ever used displayed a photo on the back LCD very quickly, and the K20 D was horrible in this regard.
With Pentax DSLRs, you get no speed, so what are the true reasons you are considering a *Pentax*?

QuoteQuote:
In this economy, price is really an issue (at least for me). The K20 body, a serviceable 18-250 lens, battery grip, and spare battery can be had for about $1400, which is a huge plus compared to Nikon, Canon, et al.

Thanks for any input on the two issues I mentioned, or anything else on the K20D in general.
The Pentax 18-250 has been discontinued. There might be a replacement soon or not. If you want to save cost, just get the almost the same Tamron or the cheaper Sigma or even Tokina for cheaper offerings. The Pentax might have better coatings though (SMC).
02-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #7
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Don't listen to RiceHigh, he does this all the time, he has some kind of problem with Pentax.....And by the way, he doesn't have a K20D, so take his words with a HUGE grain of salt....
02-19-2009, 07:59 PM   #8
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I'm using a class 6 sandisk sd card and my preview screen takes a lot less than what you describe... more like a second for my image to show up on the lcd. I have to think that the problem you were having has to be due to a substandard card. Regarding auto focus speed, I find that it is quick in daylight and depending on which lens I'm using, it can hunt in low contrast areas (so if I'm pointing the camera's focus point at a couch made with plain material or at a person w/ a solid, dark colored shirt it will hunt; whereas if I focus on a hair line, or the edge of a pillow, it focuses quickly - this is something that took me a bit to learn). I find my Pentax 43 f/ 1.9 focuses quickly as does my Sigma 24-60 f2.8 and Tamron 28-75 f2.8. My fa50 f1.4 is pretty slow to focus even though it is called a "fast" lens - "fast" has more to do with the ability to have fast shutter speeds in low light rather than focus speed. Another thing that can help focus speed in low light is having a flash w/ the focus assist in it; my pentax 360 flash has this feature and it helps a lot. I wish Pentax had this feature in the body like Nikon though...

One thing that I like a lot about the k10d and the k20d (I have both) is the built in shake reduction. I can take sharp shots indoors at lower shutter speeds than a camera/lens combo without this feature. My trip to the museums in Washington DC was much more successful because of this feature; I could bump the shutter speed down without cranking up the ISO too much which tends to add noise/static to the picture (this is the main reason I upgraded to the k20d though... much better high ISO performance).

02-19-2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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The dealy in writing is the card, it's much faster than that. The AF will take some getting used to when tracking moving targets .... be a little careful here.
02-19-2009, 09:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Don't listen to RiceHigh, he does this all the time, he has some kind of problem with Pentax.....And by the way, he doesn't have a K20D, so take his words with a HUGE grain of salt....
Unless I am going blind, why did you write this if RiceHigh didn't even respond in this thread?
02-19-2009, 09:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sundance62 Quote
After selling my Nikon D300, I'm considering a switch to the K20D. I'm impressed by the overall features, the weather sealing, and recently, the low price w/rebate.

Two questions I have not been able to get straight in my head:

1) There seems to be general complaint about the AF speed...trying this out in the limited venue of a camera store I did not notice anything particularly slow. I do some photography of sports, mostly snow skiing and want input as to just how slow the AF is compared to other cameras, such as a Nikon D90 (the other DSLR I am considering)
Coming from someone who actually CAN give you a true comparison (Pentax K20D vs Canon D50 - the closest Canon model). AF speed is 'faster' on the Canon in normal conditions. I put it in quotes because #1 it's more of a feeling than an actual measurement and #2 the difference (IMHO) is negligible (even in sports venues). Now, here is the caveat... the Canon is much better at focusing in low light... I just did some tests (for the purposes of this posting).

In subdued lighting, I have a lot of trouble getting a focus lock with the K20D, however, the Canon D50 has absolutely no trouble on the same scene.

TO BE FAIR (or if it matters): Although I performed both tests at f5.6, I used an 8 year old lens on the Pentax (good quality but not designed for the K20D) and the Canon lens is specifically designed for D50.

QuoteOriginally posted by Sundance62 Quote
2) The K20 D I used at a local store took 4-6 seconds for a photo to appear on the LCD screen after being taken. I tried various settings, but got consistently the same result,
I think others may have already picked up on this one.... suffice to say, it's not the Camera. Even the worst SD card that I own (which is still a class 4) are super quick with virtually no delay. The SDHC class 6 are nearly instant when writing in RAW mode (or at least 1 second or less).

If it was a 1GB card, chances are it is old and slow. Remember, JPGS are much larger (8 - 14mb and RAW about 24mb) than Nikon.
02-19-2009, 10:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Well, if you were shooting in lower light ( which indoors at a store might have been ) probably what was happening was the noise reduction was kicking in. That is ONE complaint people have about the K20D, if I remember correctly, you can NOT turn it off. (Note: I do NOT own a K20D, but I read up on it a lot, as I may be upgrading when the newer K30D comes out, the prices should drop like a rock on the K20D ).....
You are referring to DFS (Dark Frame Subtraction) but that is definitely not kicking in on non-BULB photos of anything less than 15 seconds. You are correct, it cannot be switched off.

I am quite certain that the slowness the OP has described is due to a old/slow SD card.
02-20-2009, 09:05 AM   #13
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Oftentimes display cameras are finicky, as well. People who don't know much about cameras think they look cool, pick them up, and essentially abuse them. Usually not so much the pentax display cameras (they get handled less) but I've played with D90s and 50Ds that would have given me the impression of being extremely flawed and hard-to-work-with cameras, including a similar problem with the photo taking a long time to review, but having messed around with the same cameras in a store that actually kept them maintained those problems dissapeared.
02-20-2009, 10:56 AM   #14
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thanks for all the good input....everyone seems to agree this is an SD card issue, compounded by a demo camera that is probably in need of a serious 'system reset'.

It also seems the K20D is adequate for most non-pro level sports photo use, both in terms of AF and FPS. I never used the full speed FPS of my D300 anyway - a few frames a second is good enough for my intended purposes.

I am still debating between the D90 and the K20D. The video features of the D90 are cool for a quick demo, but without any form of autofocus, the feature is limited to usage where I'd probably opt for still images anyway.

One thing I won't be doing is waiting for a new Pentax DSLR - the price will be too high, and I don't really need megapixels or full-frame.

Thanks again
02-20-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
Unless I am going blind, why did you write this if RiceHigh didn't even respond in this thread?
post #6 in this thread

for Sundance, I have a K20D, having previously had, (or still have), a K10D, a K100D, and a *istDs. I have noticed that the write speed of the K20D is slower than with the K10D. Might be the noise reduction kicking in, as has been mentioned. It is just a minor frustration and one I've resigned myself to live with because in all other ways, the camera is pretty darn good.

It also might be the size of the files. I shoot RAW+ (meaning that I shoot either DNG or PEF in addition to writting a full-sized JPEG image). Also with the larger pixel size, you're writing a whole lot more data than other cameras do.

I've also shot a lot of sports, and have takes some pretty good shots. But, realistically, for a dedicated sports camera, Canon is the best of the bunch. The AF is just too slow for very fast action. I just take pictures like they did in the old days, anticipate action and pre-focus. It really helps if one knows the sport, as you do with skiing. You'll know instinctively where to point your camera for the best angle and shots and will be ready when the skier flies past you.

---

forgot to mention...when I'm shooting sports, I turn off RAW and only go with JPEG. The JPEG files are pretty good as they are and RAW really isn't needed. I get the faster write speeds and with continuous mode, grab all the frames I want/need.
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