Pentax K20D Reviews, Samples and References

First published on: Thursday, 24 January 2008

Last update (Jun 15, 2009): Photos of the D-BG4 / K-7 combination.

Collected here are annotated links to various professional and user reviews, sample photographs and galleries, reference material and community / forum discussions related to the Pentax K20D digital SLR camera.

Pentax K20D user guide: Download the English language K20D operation manual (right-click the link and save the 4.7 MB PDF document to your hard drive)

As of 23-Jan-2008, the Pentax K20D gives you the most bang-for-the-buck resolution of any digital SLR in the most compact and lightweight package, and at the lowest price. Here are some comparisons with various cameras:

Pentax K20D: 14.6 MP, APS-C sensor, weight without battery: 715 g (1.58 lb), dimensions: 141.5 x 101 x 70 mm (5.6 x 4.0 x 2.76 in), now available for pre-order at $1,299.95. The price has fallen quite a bit since then — look at Pentax K20D Price Watch and Availability for links to the latest prices on the K20D, kit and accessories.

Canon 40D: 10.1 MP, APS-C sensor, weight without battery: 740 g (1.6 lb), dimensions: 146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in), $1,149

Canon 5D: 12.8 MP, Full frame sensor, weight without battery: 810 g (1.8 lb), dimensions: 152 x 113 x 75 mm (6.0 x 4.4 x 2.9 in), $2,099.93

Canon 1Ds Mark II: 16.7 MP, Full frame sensor, weight without battery: approx. 1.2 kg, dimensions: 156 x 158 x 80 mm (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in), $7,046.80

Nikon D300: 12.3 MP, APS-C sensor, weight without battery: 825 g (1.82 lb), dimensions: 147 x 114 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in), $1,798.98

Nikon D3: 12.1 MP, FX (full frame) sensor, weight without battery: 1240 g (2.7 lb), dimensions: 160 x 157 x 88 mm (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.4 in), $5,579

Based on the body alone, it’s clearly obvious that the K20D is the camera to purchase if you want extremely high resolution without breaking the bank.


  1. 14.6 MP (Megapixel) CMOS APS-C (1.5x crop factor) sensor measuring 23.4 x 15.6mm, designed by Pentax and manufactured by Samsung. The K20D had the highest megapixel count in its class at the time of its release, beating the Nikon D300, Canon 40D, Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 and Olympus E3.
  2. 230,000-dot, 2.7-inch LCD monitor. This lags the new generation of 10 MP and greater DSLR cameras which boast 3-inch LCDs

Pentax K20D Reviews, Opinions and Impressions

K20D user review by Maxby

Maxby remains a film guy who likes to shoot street photography, and was asked to test the Pentax K20D plus a Pentax 17-70mm f/4 DA SMC AL IF SDM lens on a trip to Siem Reap.

Read his review, and enjoy the amazing photographs embedded in the forum post.

His conclusion?

This is a capable camera for general photography, like landscape, environmental portraiture, travel, nature, events and B&W conversions. However, it did not hold up very well as a camera for “street photography”.

This camera gives one the best value for money. Pentax is presently the only camera manufacturer that produces pancake lenses. These are great compact prime lenses for travelling.

The DA 17-70mm f4.0 lens was a good range (equivalent to 24 to 105mm) and was nice to use. The internal focusing couple with a fixed focus distance throughout the zoom range was a boon. In order to get it to focus faster, I usually zoom it to the widest angle, locked the focus and then zoomed out.

Overall this is an excellent camera and is able to produce excellent results.

Karen Clanin

Karen probably holds the record for being the first person to receive the brand new K20D, delivery date was 21-Feb-2008. The following are her K20D impressions and photos:

K20D vs Nikon D300 at ISO 200:

*isteve performed this quick analysis of shadow noise, comparing both cameras at ISO 200. 100% crops and standard deviation (SD) figures are given.

Pentax K20D Image Samples

Photos of the D-BG4 / K-7 combination

D-BG4 Battery Grip and Pentax K-7 combination

Thanks to Ned Bunnell who posted eight images showing the D-BG4 and Pentax K-7 combo from every possible angle.

According to the blog post, the photos were taken with a Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 lens mounted on the Pentax K20D.

You might like to read a forum reaction (on DPReview) to these images.

Official samples

Official Pentax K20D images
Head over to the K20D page at to download 3 full-sized images. For convenience, I’ve provided direct links to the full-sized version:

DA 300* Osprey Series

Dale Doram has shared three images photographed with a Pentax smc DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM lens mounted on the Pentax K20D in this forum thread.

He remarks that the DA 300 focuses faster, and is much lighter, when compared vs. the Sigma 50-500mm (Pentax mount) lens.

K20D Pictures of American Football in Australia

Justin, based in Australia, has posted some of the first sports photos, American football, snapped with the Pentax K20D and the Pentax smc P-FA* 200mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens.

Another 3 action images can be found here.

Images were shot in Av (aperture priority) mode, and Justin explains why.

View more of the photographer’s work at his Jeber and Photobucket galleries.

K10D vs K20D high-ISO tests by Joseph Tainter

Joseph lays out the parameters of the test, namely both cameras were set to produce DNG RAW files, conversion done in Adobe Photoshop CS2, and JPEG saved at quality 9. Lens used was the DA* 16-50mm at f/4. Sharpening and noise reduction were turned off. The test images are: K10D & K20D at ISO 1600, K20D at ISO 3200 and 6400. He posts his conclusion and observations here.

High ISO K20D photos

Edvinas posted these resized K20D images, a mixture of portraits and still shots taken at ISO 800 to 1600. Camera settings were Automatic White Balance (WB), JPEG, noise reduction off. The camera used was a demo unit and not available for sale. Lens used was the Pentax SMC DA* Series 50-135mm f/2.8 ED IF SDM Telephoto Zoom Lens. 100% crops of the images are here. Firmware level was 0.20 and the lighting was a mix of fluorescent and window light.

Miscellaneous References

  1. John Sheehy speculates on why the K20D might have better dynamic range at low ISO values compared to the Nikon D3 and Canon digital SLR cameras.
  2. Official Pentax K20d product page at
  3. Official press release and data sheet (for the K20D and K200D)
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