Despite having recently reviewed the Canon EOS 40D and Nikon D300, the Pentax K20D still managed to impress me straight out of the box. It's one of those few cameras that immediately feels right as soon as you hold it. Like most previousPentax SLRs it's very light and compact compared to its rivals, measuring 141.5 x 101 x 70mm and weighing 715g minus battery or card. Compare this to the Nikon D300 (147 x 114 x 74 mm and 825g) or theEOS 40D (145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm and 740g) and you get some idea of how easy the K20D is to handle. The only recent semi-pro model that is lighter is the Sony A700 (142 x 105 x 80mm and 690g).
The body design is based on the K10D, which is no bad thing. It has a large and comfortable hand-grip with a textured rubber coating that is repeated on the back for the equally ergonomic thumb-grip area. The body feels very tough and durable, and the card and battery hatches have locking catches and water resistant rubber seals. The control layout appears complex, but is actually very intuitive and self-explanatory for anyone with any SLR experience. Main exposure and metering modes are selected by a simple dial on the top left, including a preset User option and an X-sync flash setting. It also has a feature which is, as far as I know, unique to Pentax cameras, a sensitivity-priority exposure mode. On the right of the top plate is a large and well-lit LCD data display with a range of shooting information, although I would have liked to see a bit more information on this, such as a permanent display of ISO setting or colour space.
Like most high-spec DSLRs it has a dual control wheel system for exposure and setting adjustments, with a separate D-pad for menu navigation. The menu system is divided into two parts; a quick function menu for custom colour settings, white balance, flash mode, ISO setting and drive/timer mode, and a main menu for all other camera settings. Also in common with other high-endDSLRs the K20D has a huge range of customisable features so you can set the camera up just how you like it. Options include four different JPEG compression settings, a choice of eitherPEF or Adobe DNG RAW modes, multi-exposure, interval shooting, and sRGB or Adobe RGB colour space.