Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Closed Thread
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-18-2010, 12:26 PM   #16
Veteran Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Posts: 535
Pentax K20D Camera Review

Pros WR, customisable, K mount
Cons too large for me, poor high ISO performance, poor low light AF
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1000
Years Owned 2

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
great value, packed with features, weather resistant, great built

Camera Review
Since this is a review of the K20d in 2010 (almost 2011), I'll try to put it in today perspective (but also depict my past experience).
First of all, I have to say that the camera was a sort of a let down for me. Why? I bought it for all the wrong reasons. This was my first DSLR and as all n00bs do, I spent most of my money on the body which, in the end, was too advanced for me. It would have been a lot better If I went with the k200 and a DA 40 Ltd.

What were "all the wrong reasons" ? Well, I thought every DSLR had great AF under low light and great high ISO performance. It doesn't. The K20d didn't. It was almost useless for me under low light with the kit lens. In those conditions, white balance was mostly off also. These are my main 2 gripes with it. My third gripe was that It was too big for me. Because of that It was mostly left at home. Notice how buying a k200 and a DA 40 Ltd would fix all my problems with it? Newbies learn from my experience! Put your money in lenses, not body!
Also, by even by 2008. standards, it is slow (3fps) and lacks video implementation.

What was good about it? The colors. I love Pentax colors. LOVE em! It does a great color rendition of skies and rocks and has nice greens. Also, AF under good light was good. Under good conditions, the image quality was great. It has a great build (you can feel the quality). WR was a bonus, since I hike and shoot climbing. It has 2 dials. Can't imagine having a camera without 2 dials now.

So, now would be a good time for a conclusion. As I said, It was a "sort of" letdown for me. But not a complete one. We had good moments and it introduced me to Pentax.
Today, in 2010/11, would I recommend a K20d. Yes! To who? To anyone who want's to learn photography on the cheap. It's a great body, and coupled with a M42 converter and some M42 glass, it's a winner combo. Just don't except to shoot low light indoors with fast AF.
Also, by even by 2008. standards, it is slow (3fps) and lacks video implementation.

12-19-2010, 11:41 AM   #17
New Member

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Pentax K20D Camera Review

Pros build quality, image quality, ergonomics, look & feel
Cons viewfinder
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 600
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
great value, exceptional build quality, perfect ergonomics
every feature you need for professional photography
very good image quality, lots of details, good af

Camera Review
After two years of using K200D and occasionally Pentax ME Super I decided to switch to K20D. With K200D I was too limited in certain areas and I knew exactly what I want.

This camera is certainly not for everyone. I do not consider myself a professional photographer as I treat photography as my hobby but Iím sure It was designed for knowledgeable users that are perfectly aware of what an aperture is, how to use external flashes, what reflector to use when, and so on... More importantly it was designed for people who work with a photography (think before releasing a shutter) and not just take snaps.

Handling & Ergonomics - 10/10 - I use it always with a grip and itís a perfect combination. The balance with small and big lenses is wonderful. I can shoot for hours and donít feel any pain nor discomfort even though I mainly shoot with a 2kg setup in my hands and Iím not the strongest man on the planet. In fact 2kg is 3% of my weight, you do the math. Thereís knob or button for everything I need and I love the layout. I can switch every settings while looking through a viewfinder. A little drawback - a viewfinder - itís too narrow and dim for my taste but only a little. One more thing, itís a tank, the build quality should set an example of how it should be done.

Image Quality & ISO Performance - 8/10 - Also significantly better than K200D but not equally good as the newest gear (no surprise here). Color rendition is really good but sometimes itís better to adjust white balance manually. Just today I had some keepers, shooting at ISO 3200 f/2.8 but normally I donít go higher than ISO 400. Iíd say ISO 1600 is acceptable by a majority of people and that is plenty to work with.

Overall - 9/10 - For studio and on location work this camera is all you need. In right hands it will do wonders. If youíre here to make photographs the way you want them to be Pentax K20D will help you. Itís a workhorse, and a bargain after K-7 and K-5 took over. Highly recommended.

Why not to buy K20D?

1. If youíre overwhelmed by just looking at all those buttons and knobs,
2. If you want to travel light,
3. If you want the camera to take good photographs for you,
4. If you donít know if you need one,
5. If you need to make movies with a DSLR,
6. If you canít live without live-view

donít even think of buying it. This camera is not for you.
12-19-2010, 10:31 PM   #18
Inactive Account

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 4
Pentax K20D Camera Review

Pros Extensive manual control and customization features
Cons Heavy. My copy had a manufacturing flaw that caused manual focus problems.
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) $500
Years Owned Three months
I can recommend this camera: Yes, with qualifications

Value, Features, Performance & Size
* Ergonomics: Like other Pentax products I've owned, I find the K20D more comfortable to grip and secure to hold than competing products.
* Manual control and customization options are great.
* Impressive image quality.
* Useful shake reduction.
* Weather sealed construction.

I would have rated the camera higher had it not had several defects described below.

Camera Review
This is my first DSLR, previously owned, and I had no problem using it right from the start. With time I am learning to use more features, and see this is a camera that I will not outgrow for one or more years. For the most part I am pleased with its capabilities, but my copy of the camera suffers from some operational flaws I have had to work around or repair.

The ability to use my existing legacy Pentax and Tamron prime lenses played a big part in my choosing a Pentax DSLR.

On my copy the multi-segment metering significantly over exposes in most common lighting situations. (I had read about over-exposure before buytin this camera.) The center weighted metering on the other hand is quite satisfactory, and I use it most of the time.

Focus issues
The most annoying issues however have to do with focus. Of my three autofocus lenses, two required significant autofocus correction to obtain desired results.

More troubling were my struggles with manual focus. Even though I bought a split image/fresnel Katz-Eye focusing screen, I could never achieve satisfactory focus except for distant objects. Investigation revealed I had significant front focus that I could only correct by removing the factory installed focusing screen shim that massively overcorrected the camera's minor back focus, and experimenting with ways to optimize the screen position. One and a half thicknesses (yes) of scotch tape on the edges did the trick. I am disappointed that Pentax quality control would ship a camera in this condition.

That corrected, I am quite pleased that I can now use all my tools more successfully.

This camera has impressive features and potential that make it a great photographic instrument. However the multi segment metering and focus problems significantly reduce its potential value. The time spent to address the focus problems has been significant, but once corrected, this is a fine instrument indeed.

Last edited by fine_idea; 12-19-2010 at 10:37 PM.
12-28-2010, 04:36 AM   #19
Community Manager
Loyal Site Supporter
Ash's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 22,695
Pentax K20D Camera Review

Pros Good resolution, Decent high ISO performance, Excellent ergonomics
Cons Difficult to manage chroma noise, poor long exposure performance
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 550
Years Owned 3

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Value for money - has to be up there amongst the highest rated
Features - has all the important features in a well laid out interface; does not have an HDR function, but does OK with the expanded dynamic range feature.
Performance - excellent; slightly less capable with the continuous shooting than the K10D, and low-light AF is troublesome at times, but it does well in all aspects IMO.
Sise - perfect; ergonomically sound.

Camera Review
Unintentionally waiting 3 years before reviewing this great old flagship of Pentax's made me realise this camera's true worth. It still remains my #1 camera after over 3 years, and continues to perform remarkably well by today's standards (late 2010). Much has been said already about what makes it a decent camera, but its build and user interface are excellent works of design and engineering.

Apart from long exposures, there's nothing this camera cannot do well. It's definitely a highly recommended camera in my books.

Closed Thread

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
av, camera, card, dslr, exposure, field, fps, frames, mode, modes, pentax, photography, speeds
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: Pentax K20D Body + Brand New Remote F + Pentax Battery jjdgti Sold Items 2 04-21-2010 08:17 AM
Pentax Battery Grip BG2 for Pentax K10D, K20D Digital SLR's only $79 jacksonpritt Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 6 08-15-2009 08:19 PM
Magic Lantern Guides: Pentax K20D and MasterWorks: Jumpstart Guide for the K20D. Reportage Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10 02-12-2009 10:24 PM
For Sale - Sold: Pentax BG2 Battery Grip for Pentax K10D and K20D Paul Sold Items 4 06-10-2008 04:19 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:26 PM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]