Pentax VS20

Pentax Optio VS20 front
  • 16MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • Sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 28-560mm (F3.1-4.8) lens
  • 235g - 111 x 61 x 38mm
  • Announced January 2012
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Pentax VS20 overview

Pentax VS20 is Pentax's Small Sensor Superzoom digital camera first announced on January of 2012. The camera uses a 16MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a maximum resolution of 4608 x 3456.

The VS20 places at #177 out of 244 in Small Sensor Superzoom cameras and all around #835 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. Remember to check our Smart camera finder to see camera rankings based on your customized factors.

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The following is a graph of different criteria used in the scoring system.

Pentax VS20 Pros and Cons

Here is a collection of pros and cons of the Pentax VS20 based on aspects that are oftentimes viewed as necessary in a digital camera.

amazing zoom range (28-560mm 20.0 x zoom)
built-in flash
built in image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
decent sensor resolution (16 megapixels)
features tracking focus
focusing manually
good min ISO (100)
great reach (560mm)
lighter than average (235 grams)
pretty wide (28mm)
screen is a decent size (3 inches)
cannot use external flash
doesn't feature selfie friendly screen
does not have HDMI support
does not have headphone jack
does not have mic jack
does not have phase detect auto focus
does not have RAW format
does not have Time Lapse mode
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
lack of manual mode
low quality video (1280 x 720 resolution)
low resolution screen (460 k dot)
max frames per second very slow (1.0 frames/s)
no aperture priority
no moving screen
no shutter priority mode
slow max aperture (f3.1)
sluggish at full zoom (f4.8)
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
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Pentax VS20 Sensor specs

The sensor dimension in the Pentax VS20 is 6.08mm x 4.56mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor has the capability to resolve 4608 x 3456 pixels with aspect ratios of 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9. The camera boasts Image Stabilization (Sensor-shift). Optical stabilization is superior than digital stabilization as the latter may cause cropping.

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The CCD sensor boasts 16 megapixels and supports a standard ISO range of 100 - 6400. Unfortunately, RAW format is not saved therefore you have less margin for error.

The picture below shows the VS20's sensor size in comparison to other popular sizes. The VS20 sensor comes with a crop factor of 5.9 and is displayed in green.

Pentax Optio VS20 sensor size Photography Glossary

To get a sense of specific aspect ratios, you should refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Pentax VS20 dimensions

Pentax VS20 has a weight of 0.52 lb (235 gr or 8.29 ounces) and features exterior dimensions of 111mm x 61mm x 38mm (4.4" x 2.4" x 1.5"). The weight of normal Small Sensor Superzoom camera is 387 gr so the Pentax VS20 is lighter compared to its rivals.

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The following is a visual of the Pentax VS20 beside a softdrink so you're able to have a feel for its size.

Pentax Optio VS20 dimensions scale

The top view directly below will show you the button design on the VS20.

Pentax Optio VS20 topview buttons dials

Pentax VS20 Lens details

The VS20 has got a built in lens giving a focal range of 28-560mm giving it a 20.0 x zoom which is ideal and can allow you to zoom right in.

At it's widest 28mm, the lens will have an aperture of f3.1 and that is quite sluggish and not the best in low light events and you may find it hard to capture a shallow depth of field. You will probably also have to increase your ISO setting which results in noisy images. For the long end, 560mm is exceptional zoom and comes to f4.8 making it fairly sluggish and you will have to use slower shutter speeds.

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Pentax VS20 Connectivity

The VS20 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes

Cameras with NFC and Bluetooth connectivity are able to be controlled wirelessly through smartphones. You can transfer images and oftentimes change settings without connecting straight with the camera.

Several apps also provide a Liveview and click the shutter in case you aren't close to the camera. If the camera contains a HDMI out, it can easily be hooked up to an external display. A lot of cameras will allow you to charge the battery using the USB port.

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Pentax VS20 Video details

The maximum video quality in the Pentax VS20 is 1280 x 720 and it can save in Motion JPEG file format. 720p is terrible by today's standards. You should target at least FUll HD quality for good video. The body doesn't feature a mic and headphone socket which means that you have got zero control over your sound. It is probably best to take a look at a different camera in case you want decent sound in your videos.

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Pentax VS20 Weather Sealing

There is no weather proofing for the Pentax VS20 so you have to be cautious in rainy or dusty conditions.

Pentax VS20 Screen and Viewfinder

The Pentax VS20 houses a 3" fixed screen with a resolution of 460k dots.

Please note that the screen offers no touch support.

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The ViewFinder specs regarding Pentax VS20 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders can be rather beneficial for bright outdoor conditions which might make the camera screen washed out and difficult to view.

Pentax VS20 Shutter details

Pentax VS20 has the capability to shoot continuously at 1.0 frames/s. The maximum shutter speed is 1/2500 seconds.

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Pentax VS20 Flash and Hot shoe details

Pentax VS20 boasts just in-built flash without external flash ability.

Pentax VS20 Autofocus details

Pentax VS20 boasts only Contrast Based Autofocus and doesn't have Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot faster and exact compared to Contrast Based autofocusing.

It boasts 3 focus points to pick from. It also includes Tracking Autofocus for subjects that move. Pentax VS20 has got manual focusing when needed for low light conditions or you want more exact focusing control.

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Pentax VS20 Battery life

The general Small Sensor Superzoom camera battery life is 316. Fujifilm HS35EXR features the highest possible (600) battery life for this class of cameras.

Below is a collection of Small Sensor Superzoom cameras with the highest battery life:

Pentax VS20 for different kinds of photography

The following illustration shows a overview of the Pentax VS20 for different kinds of photography. To find out more, browse to the specific section below.

Pentax VS20 Portrait photography advice

The Pentax VS20 gets a rating of 36 which is subpar, and means the camera is not very good for portrait photography. Taking portrait images favors greatly towards sensor specs, support for RAW files plus the ability to utilize external lighting.

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has manual focus
decent MP (16MP)
no manual exposure
can't use external flash
sensor size is small (1/2.3")
lacks RAW format

Pentax VS20 as a Street photography camera

Getting a above average rating of 61, the Pentax VS20 is a fine fit to use in street photography. A good street photography camera comes with a good balance of picture quality and portability.

Photography Glossary
image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
lighter than competition (235 grams)
no moving screen
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
has no RAW format

Pentax VS20 Sports photography details

A subpar sports photography rating of 44 suggests the Pentax VS20 is not very good for taking photos of sports. A camera needs fantastic focusing and continuous shooting for sports photography.

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excellent zoom range (28-560mm 20.0 x zoom)
has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
resolution is good (16 megapixels)
features tracking autofocus
slow frames per second (1.0 frames/s)
no shutter priority
sensor is small (1/2.3")
no phase detect AF

Pentax VS20 Travel photography information

Size is very crucial in getting a travel camera. On the whole, the Pentax VS20 gets a above average 68 for a travel camera which makes it a good pick to take with you on your vacations.

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lighter than average in class (235 grams)
sensor resolution is decent (16 megapixels)
has built in flash
pretty wide (28mm)
great zoom (560mm)
lack of Time Lapse mode
doesn't feature selfie friendly screen
slow maximum aperture (f3.1)

Pentax VS20 Landscape photography details

For anyone looking to purchase a digital camera for landscape pictures, the most essential factor will be image quality. The Pentax VS20 at it's reasonable score of 47 for a landscape camera is somewhat acceptable among it's competitors.

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you can focus manually
pretty wide (28mm)
decent sized screen (3 inches)
built in image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
decent megapixels (16 megapixels)
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.1)
no manual exposure
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
no RAW files
missing Timelapse recording

Pentax VS20 Vlogging highlights

A camera for vlogging should really have a moving display screen, mic port and ideally IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Pentax VS20 is not very good for vlogging as it receives a subpar rating of 30.

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really wide (28mm)
has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
lighter than competition (235 grams)
somewhat slow max aperture (f3.1)
screen is not selfie friendly
low quality video (1280 x 720 pxls)
missing external mic port

Pentax VS20 Alternatives

If you are searching for alternatives to the VS20, here is a range of the top ranked cameras that fall into the family of Small Sensor Superzoom.

The line chart just below provides you an overview of the VS20 compared to it's highest ranking rivals suggested earlier.

There are a bunch of cameras you may see as alternate options. To browse through a detailed comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Pentax Optio VS20
Small Sensor Superzoom
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.08 x 4.56mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
1:1, 4:3 and 16:9
Maximum resolution
4608 x 3456
RAW support
Maximum native ISO
Min native ISO
Manual focusing
Touch focus
Continuous autofocus
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Autofocus multi area
Live view autofocus
Face detection autofocus
Contract detection autofocus
Phase detection autofocus
Total focus points
Lens mount type
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
28-560mm (20.0x)
Maximal aperture
Macro focusing range
Crop factor
Range of screen
Fixed Type
Screen sizing
3 inches
Screen resolution
460k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch capability
Screen technology
TFT color LCD with Anti-reflective coating
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Slowest shutter speed
4 seconds
Maximum shutter speed
1/2500 seconds
Continuous shooting speed
1.0 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual exposure
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
2.80 m
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Soft
Hot shoe
White balance bracketing
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30, 15 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 15 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)
Maximum video resolution
Video format
Motion JPEG
Mic input
Headphone input
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
235 grams (0.52 pounds)
Physical dimensions
111 x 61 x 38mm (4.4" x 2.4" x 1.5")
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Storage media
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Storage slots
Cost at launch