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Pentax Optio VS 20

16-megapixel digital camera with 20X optical zoom (Black)

2 Reviews

Item # 815VS20K

This item is no longer available.

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Our take on the Pentax Optio VS 20

This slim, stylish camera is perfect for weekend trips where you want to pack light, but still capture great photos of friends and family. The Pentax Optio VS has 20X zoom, so you don't have to worry about being too far from the action to snap a great shot of a heron hiding in the rushes or a family touch football game on the other side of the field. And the sensor-shift shake reduction helps you get sharp photos even when you're shooting hand-held.

Big zoom in a small, compact camera

This slim, stylish camera is perfect for weekend trips where you want to pack light, but still capture great photos of friends and family. The Pentax Optio VS has 20X zoom, so you don't have to worry about being too far from the action to snap a great shot of a heron hiding in the rushes or a family touch football game on the other side of the field. And the sensor-shift shake reduction helps you get sharp photos even when you're shooting hand-held.

PENTAX Optio VS 20

Two shutter buttons make shooting even easier

It can sometimes be awkward to shoot portrait-style — holding the camera upright, rather than oriented horizontally — and reach around to press the shutter button. But the VS 20 has a second shutter button and zoom lever on the side, making it even easier to shoot from new angles. Framing your shots is a pleasure on the bright 3" LCD screen, and the digital level function helps make sure that your photos are level with the horizon.

    • 16-megapixel (effective) CCD image sensor
    • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 28-560mm
    • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards
    • 20X optical zoom (7.2X digital zoom/144X total zoom)
    • 3" LCD screen
    Special Features:
    • high-definition movie mode (up to 720p resolution)
    • sensor shift image stabilization minimizes blurring caused by a shaky hand
    • in-camera red-eye detection and automatic correction
    • second shutter button and zoom lever for portrait-orientation shooting
    • digital level function helps keep shots level to the horizon
    • manual focus and manual white balance
    • super macro function focuses as close as 1 cm
    Connections and Dimensions:

    What's in the Box:

    • Digital camera (black)
    • D-LI122 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (3.7V/1000mAh/3.5Wh)
    • D-BC112J battery charger (4.2V/0.55A)
    • 24" I-USB22 cable (with Type A USB on one end and a proprietary connector on other end)
    • O-ST122 neck strap
    • MediaImpression 3.1 (Windows) / 2.1 (Mac) for PENTAX software on CD-ROM
    • Quick Guide
    • Pentax Worldwide Service Network sheet
    • Serial Number Card
    • "Do not return this product to your dealer" sheet

    the zoom is a great feature picture quality five star easy to operate great camera for the price"

    mn, mn ca


    Pentax Optio VS 20 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (2 Reviews)


    mn from mn ca on 6/23/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    the zoom is a great feature picture quality five star easy to operate great camera for the price"

    Pros: ease of use options

    Cons: could be a little more compact

    Pentax VS20

    curtisn from NW Alaska on 4/27/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    May be just this unit (?) but very poor contrast when viewing display. Tried adj. but limited range. Very bright and hard to see and when outdoors you have to set on "auto" and just hope for the best and see pictures later on download to computer.

    Pros: Price and 20X zoom lens in compact package. vertical/zoom shutter.

    Cons: Poor display. Have to remember to keep flash clear, hand hold (after using zoom) covers half /all the flash at times. Learning curve here. You see the shots with bright left side and low lite on right.


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size 3"
    Adjustable-angle LCD No
    Wi-Fi No
    Touchscreen No
    Waterproof No
    GPS-enabled No
    Lens 35mm Equivalent 28-560mm
    Optical Zoom 20x
    Digital Zoom 7.2x
    Filter Diameter N/A
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Manual Exposure No
    Built-in Flash Yes
    HDMI Output No
    Internal Memory 16 MB
    Memory Media SD/SDHC/SDXC
    Sensor Size 1/2.33" CCD
    Megapixels 16
    Image Stabilization Sensor Shift
    Highest Resolution 4608 x 3456
    4K Video No
    Video Resolution 1280 x 720
    Width (inches) 4-7/16
    Height (inches) 2-1/2
    Depth (inches) 1-1/2
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 8.3
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    General Features
    Playback and Editing Features
    Battery Information
    Supplied Software

    General Features

    Overview: The Pentax Optio VG20 is a compact digital camera with a 20x optical zoom for capturing faraway subjects. It has dual shutter release and zoom buttons, one on top and one on the side, to give you steady handling for either horizontal or vertical shots. It also has sockets on the bottom and side for horizontal or vertical tripod mounting.

    3.0" LCD Monitor: The camera features a large, bright 3.0" LCD monitor for framing your shots and playing back recorded still images and movies. The monitor's 460,000-dot resolution gives you crystal clear images, and features a wide viewing angle. The camera does not have a separate viewfinder.

    Image Sensor: The Optio VG20 is equipped with a 16-megapixel 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, which delivers high resolution image quality with accurate colors and low noise. It has 16.56 million total pixels and 16.0 million effective pixels.

    Lens: The VG20 has a 20x optical zoom, F3.1-4.8 lens with a focal length of 5-100mm, which is equivalent to 28-560mm in 35mm photography.

    Intelligent/Digital Zoom: Beyond the 5x optical zoom, the camera has an intelligent zoom of 30x at 7M image size up to 144x at VGA. The 7.2x digital zoom combines with the 20x optical zoom to give you a total zoom value of 144x.

    Recording Media: The camera can record still images and movies onto SD Memory Cards, SDHC Memory Cards, and SDXC Memory Cards. In addition, the camera has a built-in memory of approximately 16 MB which will store images when no card is inserted. You can copy images and sound files from the built-in memory to the SD Memory card, or vice versa, at any time.

    Still Image Formats: The Optio VG20 can shoot JPEG still images in three aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1. Image sizes include:

    • 4:3: 4608 x 3456, 3072 x 230, 4640 x 480
    • 16:9: 4608 x 2592 1920 x 1080
    • 1:1: 3456 x 3456

    Movie Recording: High Definition movies can be recorded in the AVI format (Motion JPEG). You can choose from High Definition movies in 1280 x 720 at 30 or 15 fps. Standard def movies can also be recorded at 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels (4:3) at 30 or 15 fps.

    Focus Modes: The Optio VG20 offers six focus modes:

    • Standard AF: When the distance to the subject is approximately 16" to infinity, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • Macro: When the subject is 4"-20" away, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • 1cm Macro: When the subject is 0.4" to 8" away, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • Infinity: This mode is used for taking distant objects. (Flash is set to Off)
    • Manual Focus: This mode lets you set the focus manually, using the four-way controller.

    AF-Area Modes: You can set the range of the Auto Focus Area (AF Area) to one of three options: Multiple (normal AF area), Spot (small AF area), or Tracking (AF area moves with subject).

    Drive Modes: The Optio VG20 offers several options for shooting single and multiple images at once. You can choose from the following Drive Modes:

    • Single Frame: Photos are taken one at a time with each press of the shutter release button.
    • Continuous/Burst: Photos are taken continuously as long as the shutter release button is pressed:
      • Continuous Shooting Mode: Photos are taken at up to the highest resolution at approximately 1 frame per second until the shutter release button is released or the memory is full.
      • Burst Shooting Mode: Resolution is fixed at 5M (2592 x 1944), and photos are taken continuously in low or high speed bursts.
    • 16-Frame Shooting: With one press of the shutter release button, the camera takes 16 pictures continuously at 1/7.5 frames per second. Each photo is fixed at 640 x 480 resolution and are saved as a single 5M (2560 x 1920) image in 4 x 4 rows. Images are played back continuously like a movie.
    • Self-Timer: A single photo is taken after approximately 10 seconds to allow the photographer to get into the picture. A 2-second self timer can be used to avoid camera shake when the shutter release button is pressed.
    • Remote Control: Using the optional remote control, the shutter is released immediately after the shutter release button on the remote is pressed. A 3-second delay Remote Control setting is also available. Pentax offers the optional Remote Control F, Remote Control E, or Remote Control Waterproof O-RC1.
    • Auto Bracketing: You can take three consecutive images at three different exposure levels when the shutter release button is pressed once. Three images are saved with each release, one at standard exposure, one underexposed, and one overexposed. You can select the exposure change interval from +/-0.3 EV, +/-0.7 EV, and +/-1.0 EV.

    Shooting Modes: The VG20 has a variety of shooting modes that let you take pictures or record movies and sound in different situations simply by choosing the right mode for the particular situation from the Capture Mode Palette. You can select from the following:

    Auto Picture* Program Natural Skin Tone Handheld Night Snap
    Night Scene Portrait Night Scene Digital Panorama Landscape
    Blue Sky Sunset Flower Digital SR
    Kids Pet Portrait Food
    Fireworks Surf & Snow Sport Fish-eye
    Sketch Miniature Text Frame Composite

    *The Auto Picture mode automatically selects the optimal mode for capturing the subject: Standard, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Sport, Candlelight, Portrait Blue Sky, Portrait Backlight, Portrait Sunset, Group Photo, Text, Blue Sky, and Sunset.

    EV Compensation: You can deliberately overexpose or underexpose a picture using EV Compensation. The compensation value can be set between -2 and +2 EV in 1/3 EV intervals.

    Pentax Shake Reduction: The Optio VG20 offers three types of shake reduction to ensure sharp, blur-free images and videos, even in dim lighting: Sensor Shift, Digital (ISO 3200-6400, 5M), and Movie.

    White Balance: White Balance is a function for adjusting the color of an image so that white objects appear white. You can choose Automatic White Balance (AWB), or a preset White Balance depending upon the lighting source: Daylight, Shade, Fluorescent Light, Tungsten Light, or Manual.

    ISO Sensitivity: You can set the sensitivity to suit the brightness of the surroundings. The sensitivity can be set to ISO AUTO or manually to ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, or 6400. The ISO Auto can be set to a range of 100-200, 100-400, 100-800, or 100-1600.

    Flash: The VG20 has a built-in flash for use in low-light situations. There are several Flash Modes to choose from:

    • Auto Flash: the flash automatically fires based on brightness of the scene
    • Auto + Red-eye Reduction: the flash fires automatically with a pre-flash for red-eye reduction
    • Flash On: the flash fires regardless of the brightness
    • Flash On + Red-eye Reduction: the flash fires regardless of the brightness with a pre-flash for red-eye reduction
    • Flash Off: the flash does not fire regardless of subject brightness

    Playback and Editing Features

    Magnifying Images: Single images can be magnified up to 10 times in playback mode. You can gradually magnify the image in steps starting at 1.1x. While the image is magnified, you can use the 4-way controller to move around in the magnified area.

    Slide Show: The Pentax Optio VG20 allows you to play back still images one at a time in slide show fashion. You can adjust the interval (3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec, or 30 sec) and the screen effects (fade, wipe, checker, or no effect). A sound effect can be added during slide transitions, if desired.

    Thumbnail: You can display multiple thumbnail images on the LCD monitor. You can choose the number of images to be displayed in the monitor: 4 or 9. Images can also be displayed by folder or in a calendar display.

    Image Editing: The Playback Mode Palette lets you perform playback and editing functions on recorded images and movies. Some of the functions include: Slideshow, Image rotation, Stretch Filter, Small Face Filter, Digital Filter, Frame Composite, Movie editing, Red-eye Compensation, Resize, Cropping, Image Copy, Protect, Start-up Screen, and DPOF.


    PC/AV: The proprietary PC/AV terminal can be used to connect the camera to your computer via the supplied I-USB122 cable or optional I-USB7 cable. The terminal is USB 2.0 High-Speed compatible. You can also connect the camera to a TV using an optional I-AVC7 AV cable. The cable has composite video and mono RCA audio plugs. The AV output can be set to NTSC or PAL.

    Battery Information

    Lithium-Ion Battery: The Pentax Optio VG20 is powered by the D-LI122 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V/1000mAh/3.5Wh). The battery charges in approximately 120 minutes using the supplied D-BC122 battery charger. An optional AC adapter kit (K-AC122) is available from the manufacturer for connecting the camera to household current, if desired. The recording capacity with a fully charged battery is as follows:

    Normal Shooting Movie Recording Playback Time
    200 images 100 minutes 180 minutes

    Supplied Software

    MediaImpression 3.1/2.1: The Optio VG20 comes with MediaImpression 3.1 (2.1 for Macintosh) software for Pentax on CD-ROM. With the software, view, manage, and edit the images and movies.

    Compatible Operating Systems: The MediaImpression 3.1/2.1 software for Pentax is compatible with the following operating systems:

    • Windows:
      • Windows 7
      • Windows Vista
      • Windows XP (SP3)
    • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Staff Reviews

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

    Tweet for attention

    Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 4/10/2012 11:28:00 AM

    I was a little surprised when I fired up the Optio VS 20 for the first time — the camera tweeted at me. That's the audio signal you hear every time the camera's powered up. It's not a bad thing, but definitely something to be aware of if you're trying to surreptitiously get a candid shot of a bird, baby, or other skittish subject.

    The Optio VS 20 has a nice, solid feel to it, and felt very comfortable in my hands. The weight helped me hold it steady. It's a good choice if you're ready for something more than a basic point-and-shoot camera.

    What are the Labs?