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Friday, August 1, 2008

D-SLRs For The Landscape

Choose the best camera for your landscape photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Click To EnlargePentax K20D
Landscape photos tend to look good big, and the K20D’s 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor provides the resolution to print them that way. Featuring the most megapixels you can get in an APS-C-sensor D-SLR and a weather-resistant and dustproof body, Pentax’s flagship model lets you shoot in the harsh field conditions that accompany many great landscape photo ops without fretting about your gear. The new SDM lenses share the camera’s weather-resistance and dustproofing, so they’re great choices for such work.

Sensor: 14.6-megapixel CMOS, 1.5x
LCD: 2.7 inches/Live View
Anti-Dust: High-frequency vibrations
Stabilization: Sensor-shift
ISO Range: 100-6400
Spot Metering: Yes
Estimated Street Price: $1,300
Other features of interest to landscape shooters include sensor-shift Shake Reduction that works with all lenses for much sharper handheld and monopod-mounted shooting, high-frequency vibrations that remove dust from the image-sensor assembly each time you switch the camera on and an Enlargement of Dynamic Range function that provides more detail throughout the image in high-contrast shooting situations. The 2.7-inch LCD monitor has a Live-View function that shows 100 percent of the actual image area for precise compositions and provides digital preview capability. You even can activate reference grid lines to help keep that horizon horizontal. The two-second self-timer includes a mirror-lock function that lets mirror vibration settle down before exposure is made. Unique to Pentax, the K20D (like its K10D sibling) lets you record images in either of two RAW formats, Pentax’s PEF or Adobe’s “universal” DNG. A RAW button lets you instantly switch from JPEG to RAW recording at a touch.

The LCD monitor features Live-View composition The dial (AF point switching dial) on the camera back is used to choose the AF point. It can be set at auto, user selection or center spot. The K20D has built-in anti-shake, which you can turn on with the shake-reduction switch beneath the AF point switching dial. Because anti-shake is built into the body, it works with a range of lenses. The body is weatherproof, which many landscape shooters will enjoy in misty or rainy conditions.
The mode-selection dial and metering-mode level are positioned on the top, right of the camera

Current Pentax lenses range from a 10-17mm fish-eye zoom (equivalent to 15-25.5mm on a 35mm camera) and 12-24mm superwide zoom (equivalent to 18-36mm on a 35mm camera) to a 300mm ƒ/4 supertele, including three 1:1 macro lenses. The K20D can use virtually all Pentax lenses, even old screw-mount models and lenses for Pentax medium-format SLRs, via adapters, albeit with the loss of some operating features.

Alternative Landscape D-SLR

Camera: Pentax K200D
10.2 MP/1.5x
2.7 inches
Sensor shift
Spot Metering:
Estimated Street Price:

Click To EnlargeLineage: The K20D shares many features with the K10D, including weather-resistant, dustproof construction and dual RAW formats, but ups the resolution to 14.6 megapixels (vs. 10.2), features a 2.7-inch LCD monitor with Live-View capability (vs. 2.5 inches) and adds new Custom Image and Expanded Dynamic Range functions.

Cool Factor: Sensor-shift Shake Reduction works with any lens mounted on the Pentax K20D, enabling sharp, handheld shots two to three shutter speeds slower than would be possible otherwise.


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