Pentax's profile deserves a boost if the new ‘armour-plated' 14.6 megapixel Pentax K20D DSLR is anything to go by.
Constructed from tough magnesium alloy in preference to the usual plastic, the body has been sealed against the intrusion of dust and water in 72 places. While the Pentax K20D is weighty at 715g without an 18-55mm zoom lens attached, the impression given is of a robust consumer DSLR rather than lead weight. And you can use it come rain or shine.
Inwardly, the Pentax K20D's feature set also suggests a possible semi-pro user base, with 11 auto focus points, light sensitivity stretching from ISO100 to ISO6400 for natural-looking results under dimmer conditions, built-in pop-up flash and hot shoe for additional flashgun, 3fps continuous shooting for up to 16 Raw or unlimited JPEG files, 2.7in LCD screen with 230k dot resolution and Live View, built in sensor shift image stabilisation and dust prevention system. Images are saved to SD or SDHC removable media, so budget for a high-capacity card too.
Flick the on/off switch that encircles the shutter release button and, left on auto settings, the Pentax K20D is lightning fast to determine focus and exposure - visibility for composition aided by a nice large and bright optical viewfinder.
While use is not as intuitive as a less well-specified camera, a mode dial on the top of the Pentax K20D lets users point and shoot if required. Unusually, the supplied kit lens provides better than average results in terms of sharpness, and colours are appealing; rich and warm straight out of the camera.
While nearly £900 is not cheap for a consumer-targeted camera, the Pentax K20D's build and performance go some way to justifying the price tag. Speaking of which, the K20D has a doppelganger in the recently introduced Samsung GX-20. Since the two companies share a development deal it’s 99 percent the same camera. Potential owners should therefore make their choice based on which currently offers the best price deal.