A Great Travel Camera

Pentax K20D DSLR

Our camera resides on a shelf directly behind the drivers seat so we can grab it and take at shot from the window if we pass anything interesting. It lives in a properly designed camera bag and bounces around unrestrained doing pretty much what it wants.

We travel in some truly inhospitable country. We have spent whole days following a worn animal path through the Pilbara and taken nine hours to cover 15km negotiating a dry creek. We recently spent eight days exploring the Gibb River Road and our Pentax took the same pounding as we did.

So far the camera has taken over 5000 shots in the worst possible conditions and has performed flawlessly. From being left in the car while the daytime temperature has reached 49.1 degrees (+120F) to being dropped, battered and rained upon it hasn’t missed a beat.

The Unit
pentax camera

The Pentax K20D is a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. In a DSLR camera the photographer views the image through the interchangeable lens. Different lenses can be used for different effects and to cover different viewing distances, from very close up macro photography to taking long distance shots of animals or sport.

Essentially a DSLR offers a range of flexibility and creativity that regular point and shoot cameras can’t address. We also have a small compact camera we carry when it’s inappropriate or inconvenient to carry the DSLR but we use the Pentax when we want to take a quality shot of something special.

The Pentax was a no brainer for us when we were looking for a new camera that could stand up to the rigours of a touring lifestyle. The Pentax site has a wealth of specifications on their camera range. We are only going to cover those things we were looking for in a DSLR camera.

Made For The Job

The Pentax K20D sports 72 rubber seals designed to keep out dust and moisture. This is uncommon in most modern cameras and was vital for us because of the places we take cameras. The electronic and watch like mechanics of a DSLR camera are susceptible to the ingress of dirt and water and every bit of protection helps.

Lenses were another positive. Pentax began making spectacle lenses in Japan in 1919 and went on to develop camera lenses and cameras. Unlike many manufacturers virtually any lens ever made by Pentax will fit one of its modern cameras. When you buy a particular brand of DSLR camera you are really buying a camera system with the body - lenses and accessories all being important components. The second hand market is full of quality lenses which can be used on a new Pentax. With a new lens costing anywhere from $300 -$10,000 buying Pentax with its backwards compatibility makes good sense.

Modern DSLR cameras usually come with some form of image stabilization capability. Image stabilization compensates for you and me wobbling around while we try and take a shot. Unlike some other manufactures the K20D shake reduction is handled in the camera body and not the lens, meaning any lens you fit will benefit from image stabilization.

Takes A Great Photo
pentax camera seals

Pentax has generally resided in the elitist shadow of the big guns from Nikon and Canon. That means the smaller players like Pentax, Sony and Olympus often offer a better feature range for the money.

Currently selling for around a thousand Australian dollars complete with an 18 – 55mm lens the Pentax sits in the highly competitive mid/semi-pro level.

Cameras at this price point are capable of producing images of remarkable quality and with a class leading 14.6 megapixel sensor and an impressive range of features the Pentax K20D is no exception.

great weather and dust sealing on the Pentax DSLR range ‣

Differences between cameras at this price level are largely a matter of preference and things like button position, menu layout, look and feel can often be the deciding factor when purchasing. Image quality between the major brands is largely subjective. Image sample tests ‘proving’ one manufacture over another can be found all over the web.

Factor the in-camera lens stabilization, backwards lens capability and weather proofing and the Pentax K20D starts to look a serious proposition.

Images of the Outback shows some photographs of outback Australia taken with the Pentax Camera.

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