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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    K10D or K20D for lanscape/nature?


    I’m a soon-to-be Pentaxian looking for some advice. I’ve been photographing for nearly 20 years, early on with SLRs and most recently with some Olympus and Canon prosumer digital P&Ss, but now I’m looking to take the dive into digital SLRs. My photography is primarily outdoor nature, often black and white landscapes but sometimes color nature/wildlife including some macro (flowers, insects, etc.), as well as outdoor stills of old buildings, streets, etc. I do very little action/sports/movement photography.

    I don’t have the budget for (or probably the skill to extract the performance from) an expensive pro system, but I’d like something beyond the entry-level offerings.

    After reading some pieces emphasizing the importance of sensor size/pixel density over the “race for simply more megapixels,” I did a fair amount of research into specs, reviews, etc. for various models and narrowed my choices down to the Nikon D70 (older camera with only 6MP but very low pixel density) or D90, Canon 450D/xsi, and the Pentax K10D or 20D. After comparing some sample images (e.g. the ‘comparometer’ at Imaging-Resource), it seemed the 20D really stood out (10D samples weren’t available). I was also impressed by the nearly-unanimous very positive user reviews for both the 10D and 20D compared to the other models.

    So I have 2 basic questions I’d appreciate some input on:

    1. Is the 10D or 20D a better overall choice for my photographic needs?
    2. What are your lens recommendations for either the 10D or 20D (particularly a wide-angle for landscapes and a decent macro, either Pentax or 3rd party), including whether it makes sense to spend the extra $75 for the kit lens rather than just the body (it would seem to for only $75)

    In favor of the 10D I’ve noted the following:

    • Roughly $175 less expensive (more $$$ for glass!)
    • Lower pixel density (2.7 compared to 4.0 for 20D)
    • One reviewer was of the opinion that in his experience, the 10D was better for landscape/macro since he felt the CMOS sensor/greater pixel density of the 20D created slightly more noise than the 10D
    • Higher DxOMark Sensor rating from DxO labs (66.9 compared to 65.4 for 20D)
    • Greater dynamic range, tonal range and SNR (DxO labs)
    • Slightly higher Amazon user average rating
    • Slightly higher DPReview average overall user rating
    • Higher average user rating

    In favor of the 20D I’ve noted:

    • Greater ISO range (100-6400 compared to 100-1600 for the 10D)
    • Greater Color Depth (DxO labs)
    • Greater low-light ISO figure (DxO labs)
    • Slightly higher Smartratings composite score
    • Higher DPReview rating (8.5 compared to 7.5 “Just” Highly Recommended)
    • Slightly higher DPReview average image quality user rating
    • Higher Cameralabs image quality rating and overall score/ranking
    • Higher DigitalCameraHQ Editor and user ratings

    I think ultimately either the 10D or 20D would be a great camera for me. But since I can make the choice I’d like to get some input from the Pentax community.

    Thanks in advance for your time and help!

  2. #2
    Kentucky Wildlife
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Marion, KY

    Re: K10D or K20D for lanscape/nature?

    Sounds like you've done your homework and know a lot more about it than me, but I have been shooting a K20D for about six months, and have some advice about lenses.
    The kit lens, 18-55 f/4, is fine for the average shutterbugs, but it is slow and only works on AF. On MF it is clunky and unreliable. I thought the extra $75 was a good deal, but you can buy a new one separately for only a little over $100. If I had it to do over, I just buy the body and purchase a good lens separately.
    Pentax makes some excellent lenses. I have a 200mm f/2.8 that is amazing. Depends upon the quality you want, but their DA* lenses are great, and I'm saving for a DA* short lense to replace the kit lens.
    The extra pixels of the K20D may be overkill for you. I shoot for publication, but for prints and posting on the internet, the K10D has more than enough.
    Unlike other companies that require a whole new set of lenses with an upgrade, you can use any Pentax lens with their new cameras, so lens choice is the same for both.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Sandy UT

    Re: K10D or K20D for lanscape/nature?

    With either body, skip the kit lens. My personal recommendations for lenses include the Sigma 10-20mm for landscapes and tight places, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for good medium reach and very sharp pictures, and the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 for an ultra-sharp prime lens.
    Jim R

    Canon 5D mkII - Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L, Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

  4. #4
    Senior Member danic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Perth, WA, Australia

    Re: K10D or K20D for lanscape/nature?

    I was about to post the very same question, so I'm glad you posted this Coyotefred.

    Personally, I'll probably end up with a second hand K10D, due to a lack of money for all things photographic. I'm tossing up on whether to sell my film kit to help finance a K20D.

    Either way, let us know how you go

    George Zimbel: Digital diahhrea is a disease for which there is a simple cure. Take one frame of a scene. It is exquisite training for your eye and your brain. Try it for a month. Then try it for another month…then try it for another month…..


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