The Pentax K20D: a RAW review

Who's it for?

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Fig. 29: 1600 ISO handheld

The most likely reason you're reading this review is that you are considering purchasing the K20D and you want to figure out whether you should or no. So let's recap some fairly objective factoids:

The 14.6 mp number jumps out as the current lead in the semi-pro class. You can confirm for yourself that this is not just an empty number by looking at the full-size JPEGs or RAW files available in this review. Many have theorized that the K10D's class-leading 10 mp RAW resolution might be attributed to a weak anti-aliasing filter; if so, this surely continues to be true for the K20D.

The K20D is really two cameras in one body. At ISOs up to 800 and shutter speeds down to 1/100th or so it provides medium-format-like detail and colour in a far more portable handholdable package. At higher ISOs, the hit of its unexceptional noise levels turns the K20D into something like an 8 to 10 megapixel camera. But combine that with its in-camera image stabilization applied to any lens you care to stick on it and you have a fabulous resource for low-light handheld photography.

What the K20D is not is a third camera – the one fast-action shooters, who need top-notch AF and demon FPS but don't need 14.6 megapixels, however superb, are looking for. For all we know Pentax could be cooking up something like that even as you read this.

Other resources

Here are some other reviews covering some of the more conventional aspects of the camera:

If do buy the K20D, here are some Pentax K20D tips & tricks for RAW shooters and Post-Processing tips for K20D RAW images.

To give some idea of the type of photography the K20D is suited for, here is a portfolio of pictures I've taken with it in the month following writing this review.