Pentax has officially announced the new 14.6 megapixel K20D, which makes Pentax the very unlikely leader in sensor resolution in its class.  This is a significant update to the current K10D, and the K20D rumors have been circulating for several weeks.   In comparison to other Advanced Amateur (Prosumer) Digital SLRs, the new Nikon D300 and Sony A700 models feature 12.2 megapixel sensors, while the new Canon 40D features a 10.1 megapixel sensor.  Of course the big question is whether the 14.6 megapixel Pentax sensor manages this high resolution while keeping noise levels comparatively low. 
 
The K200D, a 10.6 Megapixel entry model was also announced. The K200D replaces the current K100D family. Significantly, BOTH new cameras will feature dust and weather sealing, which for the K200D will be something of a first in the entry level Digital SLR market.
 
 
The K20D is the flagship model of the Pentax DSLR line and features: 
  • 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor, compared to the 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor of the K10D
  • Live View with Auto-Focus and the options of a Grid Array and 4X or 8X zoom for critical focusing
  • 2.7 inch LCD monitor. This is larger than the K10D 2.5 inch but smaller than the 3.0 inch LCD featured on the Nikon and Sony prosumer models.
  • Options to adjust color representation on LCD screen.  This can be used to match the LCD more closely to the image.  This is a unique feature not seen on any other DSLR.
  • Enhanced low-light sensitivity with ISO options to 6400
  • Improved Shake Reduction system over previous models, based on a lighter-weight sensor
  • Custom Image functions that allow users to select between six presets to further adjust saturation, hue, contrast, and sharpness
  • Improved Dust Reduction system that features Dust Alert to pinpoint the exact location of sensor dust
  • PC Sync socket for photographers using studio lighting
Pentax data sheets state that the new 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor was codeveloped with Samsung. The sensor is manufactured by Samsung.  This was widely expected since huge resources are required to develop digital imaging sensors, and partner Samsung has those resources.  Some speculated that the new sensor might be a wider version of the Sony 12.2 megapixel sensor, but the Press announcements detail the sensor as standard APS C dimensions of 23.4x15.6mm (3:2). Since this is a completely new sensor it looks as if we will have to wait to PMA and later production samples for more details about this new sensor with the highest resolution available in prosumer DSLR cameras.
 

The K200D updates the K100D with a 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor (up from 6 megapixels) and a larger 2.7 inch LCD. The sensor appears to be the Sony 10 megapixel sensor used in several other entry-level cameras and in the current Pentax K10D.  The K200D also features the Anti-Shake and Dust-Reduction improvements of the K20D.

Pentax also announced five new lenses to be introduced with the new cameras:

  • PENTAX DA* 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM will ship in March 2008 for $1099.95
  • PENTAX DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM will ship in May 2008 for $1299.95
  • PENTAX DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED will ship in May 2008 for $399.95
  • PENTAX DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited will ship in April 2008 for $599.95
  • PENTAX DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II will ship as a kit lens with PENTAX K200D in March 2008 (value $199.95)

The PENTAX K20D (body only) will ship in April 2008 for $1299.95, while the PENTAX K200D will ship in March 2008 for $799.95 for the Kit with the new 18-55mm lens.  

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