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Pentax K-7 dslr
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Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Pentax K-7 dslr on 05/20/2009 15:56:56 MDT Print View

While I hesitate to extol the possibilities offered by a 26-ounce camera body, this new Pentax offers an unmatched suite of features, which is no small feat in the ultra-competetive dslr marketplace. It's also quite dinky for a full-featured dslr. For hardcores, it's weather sealed and has a metal chassis and skin--maybe you can pound tent pegs with it.

What I found of special interest, and to my knowledge this is a first: in-camera HDR. They "borrow" the incredibly useful Oly E-30 digital level and provide a nearly one-million dot screen (fixed, sadly). Other notable features: in-camera IS (every lens is image-stabilized), live view, optional Adobe DNG RAW (at last!), in-camera lens correction (for system lenses), in-camera copyright marking, pentaprism (not a pentamirror), user-changeable focusing screens, mirror lockup.

If you care (I don't) it has 1080i HD video and HDMI output. Pentax is also rolling out weather-sealed *kit* lenses (which even Oly doesn't have at present) to pair with this sealed body.

It's a monstrous leap from the waterproof consumer digicams to a weatherproof dlsr setup, but for anybody shooting for extended periods in the elements who wants pro-quality images, a dslr it must be (there are no waterproof prosumer digicams). The similarly sealed Oly E-3 is a quarter pound more and lacks the Pentax's gaudy feature list (although watch for the E-3 successor later this year). Oly does lead the pack in weather-sealed lenses, however.

Pentax is a generally "forgotten" company but this effort should gain them a good deal of press. Hopefully the images will match the promise.

Edited by halfturbo on 05/20/2009 16:06:31 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Pentax K-7 dslr on 05/20/2009 17:43:58 MDT Print View

Hi Rick
Possibly this is the swim or sink year for Pentax.
It always has produced very decent value for money cameras with the occasional gems. Here in Australia it was for a long time the dominant brand often with more than 50% of the total SLR market. ( that was when most cameras were sold by specialists, now that supermarkets sell DSLRs Canons,Nikons and Sony sell themselves...)
Its "problem" was always that it never had a serious Pro contender and most beginners buy the same brand Pro use, totally missing the point that what they buy has not that much in common with the top of the range namesake. In fact often enough the amateur lines (Nikon for example) came out of unrelated factories , not only different bodies but different lenses made under licence.
Sony I think had the first kind of HDR with the "Dynamic Range Optimization" of the A100.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Pentax K-7 dslr on 05/20/2009 18:17:59 MDT Print View

Very solid set of specs, and the k20 which it follows on from is a very nice camera indeed. Mostly not too different to what you get with the latest Canikon, but it is weather sealed and has in-body stabilisation. But mostly people shoot Pentax these days for the quality of the prime lens lineup. One negative is the flash sync speed is still limited to 1/180. There were expectations in the community that it would be stepped up to 1/250 on Pentax's flagship slr. I will be very interested to see whether the video usability is much better than what is offered on canon/nikon.

If you're looking for a quality weather-sealed dSLR then this should certainly be contender. They have some very nice lenses, particularly if you shoot primes. Their range of pancake primes are very small and light and good quality.

Edited by ashleyb on 05/20/2009 19:21:28 MDT.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Pentax K-7 dslr on 05/20/2009 18:28:36 MDT Print View

BTW, it doesn't do proper 1080p video. The video modes are:

Video at 30 frames per sec (fps) in either 1280×720 resolution (HD 720p 16:9 apect ratio), 1536×1024 (3:2 aspect ratio) or 640×416 (3:2 aspect ratio)

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
HDR mode on 05/20/2009 19:31:08 MDT Print View

The in-camera HDR sounds better than I was expecting. It's nothing that you can't do yourself on a computer, but it seems like a great time-saver when you want to take some HDR pics and not both going through the whole merging process. Output is in jpg, and you need to use a tripod (obviously). Here are some examples and a discussion about the K7's HDR mode on adorama's blog.