Pentax K-7

    leadpic_Pentax_K-7

    Photo Review 8.5
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    Pentax K-7

      In summary

      A sophisticated DSLR camera with controls and functions for knowledgeable photo enthusiasts.The K7 enters the Pentax range as a high-end model targeted at photo enthusiasts because its complexity makes it most suitable for experienced SLR photographers. Featuring a solid metal body, weatherproof sealing and a wide range of user-adjustable controls, it also supports high-speed continuous shooting at up to 5.2 frames/second and HD video recording at 30 frames/second. Pentax has also improved many of the components and functions that made earlier models attractive buys. . . [more]

      Full review

      leadpic_Pentax_K-7

      The K7 enters the Pentax range as a high-end model targeted at photo enthusiasts because its complexity makes it most suitable for experienced SLR photographers. Featuring a solid metal body, weatherproof sealing and a wide range of user-adjustable controls, it also supports high-speed continuous shooting at up to 5.2 frames/second and HD video recording at 30 frames/second. Pentax has also improved many of the components and functions that made earlier models attractive buys.
      The K7's body is made from a durable but lightweight magnesium steel alloy, which overlies a high-rigidity stainless-steel alloy chassis. A total of 77 special seals make it weatherproof, dustproof and cold-resistant, enabling it to be used in temperatures as low as -10°C. The shutter unit, which is also new, is rated for 100,000 cycles and supports a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second plus a high-speed continuous shooting mode of up to 40 JPEG images at approximately 5.2 frames per second.
      Slightly smaller and 45 grams lighter than the K20D, which we reviewed in March 2008, the K7 has a larger, higher-resolution monitor. It also records to SD or SDHC cards although, unlike the K20D, the new model's card compartment on the right side panel lacks a lock, but is adequately weather-sealed. (The battery compartment in the base of the camera still has one.) Inserting cards is relatively easy but removing them can be tricky because there's not much space between the slot and the lift-up cover.
      The front panel layout on the new model is essentially unchanged, with focus mode lever and Raw button on the left hand side of the lens mount. An AF-assist light has been added between the lens mount and grip, a feature many photographers will welcome. The grip feels a little deeper and very secure; you could easily shoot one-handed. The self-timer lamp, which is located in the grip, is slightly lower than in the K20D.

      Pentax_K7_angled-front

      The front panel of the Pentax K7. (Source: Pentax.)
      The rear panel control layout has been re-designed to accommodate the new monitor and buttons for the Live View shooting mode and auto exposure mode are added. The AF point switching dial and AF button have been shifted from the arrow pad surround to become a separate entity. The menu and Info buttons now lie below the arrow pad, leaving only the playback and delete buttons in the top left corner.
      The K7 sports a new optical viewfinder with a glass pentaprism and fixed Natural-Bright-Matte III focusing screen. It covers close to 100% field of view with 92% magnification and is dioptre-adjustable via a slider along the upper edge. The soft rubber eyecup is comfortable - with or without glasses.

      Pentax_K7_back

      The rear panel of the K7 showing the larger LCD monitor and re-designed layout. (Source: Pentax.)
      Some subtle changes have been made to the top panel controls. The mode dial now has a central locking button to prevent inadvertent re-sets. It also carries an extra shooting mode covering video capture. Moving the Green (full auto) button to the rear panel provided space for two new buttons, one accessing exposure compensation and the other ISO settings.
      Pressing the relevant button and turning the rear e-dial adjusts the associated function and you can link different functions to the front and rear e-dials in the Custom menu (items 22 to 27 inclusive). The default setting in the P, TAv and M modes is for the front e-dial to control shutter speeds with the rear adjusting apertures.
      The shutter button is surrounded by the on/off lever. Moving the lever further right engages the Digital Preview function that was also provided on the K20D. In front of the shutter button is the second e-dial, which can be set to adjust aperture, shutter speed or exposure compensation settings or used for program shift adjustments. (Five options are available for both e-dials on page 4 of the Custom Function menu.)

      Pentax_K-7_top

      The top panel of the Pentax K7. (Source: Pentax.)
      The left side panel carries the compartment containing the interface connectors. Inside you find ports for DC In, PC/AV Out and HDMI mini cables. A large rubber cover presses into the port to prevent moisture entering. It's tethered by two short straps. Above this port is a small socket for connecting an external microphone. It has a circular rubber cover that is easily dislodged.

      Pentax_K7_side1_open

      Side view of the Pentax K-7, showing the RAW button and interface ports. (Source: Pentax.)
      Camera Controls
      Many controls for still image capture have been carried over from earlier models, providing the basis for a host of new additions. The standard Pentax 'green button' is still provided for full-auto shooting and the same three-second Guide display appears each time you switch the camera on or change a mode. This clarifies current settings for users, providing a quick way to check control status. A new tabbed menu design makes most menu functions more accessible than they were in the K20D.

      K7_guide

      The Guide display that appears when the camera is switched on and when modes are changed.
      The K7 supports the same shooting modes as its predecessor, with Program AE and manual exposure control plus priorities for aperture (Av), shutter speed (Tv), sensitivity (Sv) and a 'TAv' mode that lets photographers set both the aperture and shutter speed while the camera will adjust the ISO setting. The User mode, which lets you retrieve exposure combinations you have saved via the Setup menu, is also provided.
      However, the 'Fn' button, which formerly provided quick access to the drive, flash, white balance, sensitivity and Custom Image processing settings in the shooting mode or the DPOF, Digital Filter, slideshow and Raw display settings in playback is gone. Drive, flash, white balance and Custom Image settings have been re-assigned to the arrow pad buttons in shooting mode, while sensitivity has its own dedicated button on the top panel. Custom Image settings include a new Muted mode, in addition to the K-m's Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant and Monochrome settings.
      In playback mode, the rear e-dial controls playback zoom, while the front e-dial toggles between one image and the next. The overall menu design is unchanged from the K20D, with white lettering on a black background, which isn't particularly easy to read in bright sunlight. The playback menu has been simplified, although most of the functions provided in the K20D - including Digital Preview, Live View and Instant Review - are accessible outside the main menu.
      Pressing the lower arrow pad button in playback mode opens a menu of selections including image rotation, digital filter, resizing, cropping, raw development, manual white balance capture, index display, image comparison, protection and DPOF tagging.
      Pressing the menu button in playback mode lets you play shots as a slideshow or delete images. In playback mode you can also display shots with a histogram overlaid, brightness and RGB histograms or exposure warnings.
      New Features
      Pentax has re-designed the dust removal mechanism for the new camera and now uses a piezoelectric element to vibrate the low-pass filter in front of the sensor. 'Supersonic speeds' claimed for this mechanism argue for higher efficiency in preventing dust from appearing on images and the built-in dust-alert system, inherited from the K20D, lets users check the status of the filter before shooting.
      Like its predecessor, the K7 comes with body-integrated SR (Shake Reduction). However, the K7 has a second-generation system that uses angular velocity sensors to detect camera shake and magnetic forces to adjust the light path in compensation. Pentax claims up to four EV of shutter speed advantage with this function.
      The SR mechanism is compatible with all Pentax interchangeable lenses and can keep the image-sensor unit level regardless of the camera's inclination. Selecting Horizon Correction in the Record menu (page 3) uses the shake reduction mechanism to shift the sensor to compensate for slightly off-kilter horizons. However, it can only provide one degree of compensation in either direction. An associated function, Composition Adjust, enables users to tilt the image by the same amount when the camera is tripod-mounted. It's useful for surfaces that aren't quite level.

      K7_Comp-adjust

      The Composition Adjust cautionary alert.
      If you switch on the Electronic Level display (just above Horizon Correction in the menu), a small bar graph is displayed in the viewfinder or on the Live View screen, showing you how much - and in which direction - the camera is tilted. This function works whatever the camera's orientation and is handy both for hand-held shooting.
      The K-7's Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch from the P mode to the S or A mode by simply turning the e-dials on the grip. Pressing the green button returns the camera to the Program AE mode. The menu also contains a Program Line setting that allows users to prioritise certain functions. Six settings are available, offering the following characteristics:

      Setting

      Characteristics

      AUTO

      Camera determines the appropriate settings

      Normal

      Basic Program AE (the default setting)

      Hi-Speed Priority

      Program AE prioritising high shutter speeds

      DOF Priority (deep)

      Program AE with closed aperture for maximum depth of field

      DOF Priority (shallow)

      Program AE with open aperture for shallow depth of field

      MTF Priority

      Program AE with the best aperture settings for a DA, DA L, D FA, FAJ or FA lens

      The K7 also has a new 77-segment multi-pattern metering system. The standard multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot metering patterns are available via a lever switch below the mode dial (which is rather hard to move). A Custom setting (#6) lets you link the exposure and AF point in the focusing area during multi-segment metering. You can also set the exposure metering time to 10, (the default), three or 30 seconds in the Custom menu.
      Also new is the SAFOX VIII+ wide-frame autofocus system, which has 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors in the middle of the array). Improved algorithms and the addition of light source types to the data handling range make it faster and more accurate than the previous system. In addition to the AF-assist light, an AF-assisting spot beam projector in the built-in flash unit improves autofocusing accuracy in the dark.
      When AF area selection is enabled (by moving the AF lever to SEL), a display superimposed on the monitor shows the AF point array. Pressing the OK button on the arrow pad calls up a frame around it with directional arrows. You can move the AF point by pressing the arrow pad keys and the selected AF point will glow red in the viewfinder. The system stops working if you turn the mode dial or adjust the AF mode or press the OK, play, menu, info or Live View buttons.
      Multi-exposure capture is also available on page 2 of the shooting menu. It works in most shooting modes (but not in full auto, movie, extended bracketing, HDR capture or with Digital Filters). Users can set the number of shots to be superimposed anywhere between two and nine and enable the camera to automatically adjust exposure levels to produce a correctly-exposed result.

      K7_Multi-exp

      The Multi-exposure menu.
      Another new multi-exposure function is the HDR (high dynamic range) Capture setting in the menu, which records three frames in rapid succession, one underexposed, the next with correct exposure and the last overexposed. The camera must be kept still for at least 1/8 second while these exposures are captured or the shot will be blurred.

      K7_HDR

      HDR menu selections.
      The images are combined in the camera to produce one composite image with an extended dynamic range. Processing takes approximately half a minute, during which time the camera locks up. This mode is only available for JPEG images and can't be used with flash. Two settings are provided: Standard and Strong.
      The K7's menu also carries a D-Range setting adjustment that lets users apply separate highlight and shadow correction, the latter with three levels. In camera lens correction is also provided, with automatic adjustments to counteract distortion and lateral chromatic aberration. No fine-tuning is available for either setting. Corrections will only be applied to DA, DA L or D FA lenses (but not fisheye lenses). Adding a close-up ring or tele-converter disables this function.
      Noise reduction processing is now separately available for long exposure and high ISO shooting in the Custom Functions menu. For slow shutter speeds, it can be switched on or off, while for high ISO there are three levels: low, medium and high (plus off). You can also set the sensitivity level at which this processing kicks in.
      The K7's white balance control is basically the same as the K-m's but includes a new CTE mode to enhance sunset scenes. The Custom menu contains a setting for adjusting the tungsten correction between Subtle and Strong. Adjustments for fluorescent light white balance are contained within the white balance sub-menu, where there are four options: Daylight Colour (approx 6500K), Daylight White (approx. 5000K), Cool White (approx. 4200K) and Warm White (approx. 3000K).
      The K7 also provides the digital filters that were introduced with the K-m, adding a seventh filter that replicates a fish-eye lens. As in the K-m, these effects are fully-adjustable. The adjustments provided can be seen in the K-m review.
      Dust Removal is located in the setup menu and lets you choose when the sensor vibration system engages. The default setting is to turn it on each time the camera is powered up. However, you can engage it manually, if required. Selecting Sensor Cleaning locks up the reflex mirror, exposing the sensor surface for cleaning.
      Also available in the setup menu (page 3) is a new Copyright Information function that capitalises on the fact that the camera name, settings, shooting conditions and other information are embedded in Exif metadata.
      Photographers can set the K7 to embed copyright credits automatically in recorded images using the arrow pad buttons to call up an alphanumeric display for keying in this information. This can be a big time-saver for anyone who posts images on public websites.
      Sensor and Image Processing
      Driving image capture is a new 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 14.6 megapixels. Although offering the same resolution as the K20D, Pentax claims this sensor is new and promises lower noise levels than the previous chip. As in the K20D, it features four-channel readout and supports an ISO sensitivity range from 100 to a maximum of ISO 3200 plus extension to ISO 6400 via a custom function.
      Coupled to the sensor is a new PRIME (Pentax Real Image Engine) II image processor, which provides faster data-processing speeds and produces images with richer gradation and more accurate color rendition. As far as we have been able to determine, 12-bit processing is used.
      As in other Pentax DSLRs, images can be recorded in JPEG or raw file format and users can choose between the Pentax proprietary PEF or 'universal' DNG raw file formats. Typical image sizes and compression ratios are shown in the table below.

      Image size

      Quality

      Premium (1/2.8)

      Best (1/4.5)

      Better (1/8)

      Good (1/16)

      4672 x 3104

      RAW (PEF)

      25.6MB

      RAW (DNG)

      25.6MB

      JPEG

      14.2MB

      8.8MB

      5.0MB

      2.5MB

      3936 x 3104

      JPEG

      10.0MB

      6.3MB

      3.6MB

      1.8MB

      3072 x 2048

      JPEG

      6.2MB

      3.8MB

      2.2MB

      1.1MB

      1728 x 1152

      JPEG

      2.0MB

      1.3MB

      0.7MB

      0.4MB

      The digital filters introduced with the K-m are replicated in the K7 with the addition of a Fish-eye distortion filter and a Custom setting that lets users adjust contrast, focus, tonality, shading, hues and distortion to varying degrees. Some of the effects that can be created in this mode are shown in the illustration below.

      K7_Digital-Filters

      Examples of digital filter settings: top row from left: no filter, Toy Camera, Retro; middle row from left: High Contrast, Extract Colour, Soft Focus; bottom row from left: Fish-eye, Invert Colour, monochrome via Custom Filter.
      Video
      The video capabilities in the K7 are based on its Live View system, which has been carried over from the K20D. The larger, higher-resolution monitor in the new model makes this function more pleasant to use and photographers can employ contrast-detect autofocusing, much as they would with a compact camera. Although faster than the normal phase-detection AF system, which requires the mirror to be raised for distance measurement, it's significantly slower than AF using the viewfinder.
      The Live View display can be maintained for up to five minutes, depending on ambient temperature. Because it generates heat - and uses battery power - the camera may switch off Live View before this time elapses. Users can display a data or grid overlay on the Live View or superimpose a small brightness histogram and the Electronic Level display can also be applied.
      Face detection is provided in the new camera, along with magnification of two, four or six times for focus checking. The Live View system works best when the camera is tripod-mounted and the photographer takes a more considered approach to picture-taking. This approach is also best for shooting video because, like most other DSLRs, the integration of video in the camera is far from ideal.
      To shoot video, the mode dial must be set to the movie mode and Live View capture must be used. Recording starts and stops when the shutter button is pressed. Audio is recorded monaurally, although users can connect a stereo microphone to the 3.5mm diameter terminal on the camera if they wish to record stereo sound.
      Scenes must be pre-focused in still capture mode or by pressing the AF button before starting to record video clips as the AF system does not operate while clips are recorded. This means moving subjects can't be tracked and are likely to be unsharp if they approach the camera. The flash is also inactivated and sensitivity defaults to auto. White balance and some Custom Image settings can, however, be used.
      Unlike other manufacturers, Pentax hasn't made a big fuss about the video capabilities of the K7 - and only six-and-a-half pages in the user manual are devoted to shooting and playing back video clips. The camera uses the AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format to record video clips with a frame rate of 30 fps. Three sizes are supported: 1536 x 1024 pixels and 1280 x 720 pixels with a16:9 aspect ratio and 640 x 416 pixels in 4:3 aspect ratio. Three quality levels are also provided. The table below shows typical capacities for a 2GB SDHC card.

      Size

      Recorded pixels

      Best

      Better

      Good

      1.6M

      1536 x 1024

      3 min. 45 sec.

      5 min. 16 sec.

      7 min. 28 sec.

      0.9M

      1280 x 720

      4 min. 48 sec.

      6 min. 47 sec.

      9 min. 29 sec.

      0.3M

      640 x 480

      16 min. 15 sec.

      22 min. 45 sec.

      31 min. 2 sec.

      The camera can record video continuously for up to 25 minutes with a clip length limit of 4GB. Recording will stop when the memory card is full and the camera will save the recording. Depending on the clip length, this locks the camera for between about 20 seconds and more than a minute.

      Playback and Software
      All the standard playback modes offered in previous Pentax DSLRs are provided, including the normal single, index and zoom options, the latter supporting up to 32x magnification. Index thumbnails can be displayed four, nine, 16, 36 or 81 to a screen. You can also join a number of saved images together and display them as an index print, which can itself be saved as a new image.
      Calendar and Folder displays are also provided and pressing the Info button displays shooting data with selected images. Pressing the Menu button in play mode lets you select slideshow playback of images on the memory card. Intervals between images can be set to three, five, 10 or 30 seconds in slideshow mode and fade, wipe and zoom transitions can be included.
      Pressing the bottom arrow pad button in playback mode opens a sub-menu that accesses functions like image rotation, resizing and cropping, along with the standard protection and DPOF tagging. You can also copy the white balance setting from a selected image and save it as a manual white balance setting.

      K7-Play-palette

      The Playback Mode Palette, which is accessed by pressing the bottom arrow pad button.
      Side-by-side comparison of two shots is also supported and raw files can be 'developed' in-camera and saved as separate JPEG or TIFF files (Pentax doesn't specify the bit depth for TIFFs but we suspect they are 8-bit). The in-camera digital filters can be applied to selected images in playback mode, along with additional processing options that include Water Colour, Pastel, Slim, Miniature and HDR adjustments.
      Base Parameter Adjustments provide +/- 87 levels of brightness adjustment plus +/- 3 levels each for saturation, hue, contrast and sharpness. Finally, the K7 includes a Custom Filter setting with eight adjustable parameters covering various aspects of contrast, focus, tonality, shading, colour and distortion. Some examples are shown below.

      K7-digital-filters

      Some of the digital filters provided in playback mode, top row from left: Toy Camera, Monochrome, Fish-eye; middle row from left: High Contrast, Water Colour, Pastel; bottom row from left: Slim, HDR, Extract Colour.
      You can also connect the K7 to a TV set or video projector with an HDMI terminal or video IN jack and playback images on the memory card using the camera's playback menu. No software was supplied with the review camera so we're in no position to evaluate the software bundle. However, it seems from the Pentax website that this has also been updated and now contains the Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, which includes a raw-data processing application based on the previously-used Silkypix processing engine developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory plus a browser application.
      The Kit Lens
      The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR lens supplied with the review camera is a new weather-resistant lens that was announced at the same time as the K7. It includes six sealing gaskets to protect the internal mechanisms against humidity and dust. The front element also has a fluoride-based SP (Super Protect) coating that is static-resistant to repel water and dust. It also resists fingerprinting. This lens also features a Quick Shift Focus system that allows users to focus manually without switching out of AF mode.
      Constructed from 11 elements in 8 groups, it includes one spherical (AL) optical element and a super-low-dispersion glass optical element. On Pentax DSLR cameras it covers the equivalent of 27.5mm wide angle to 84.5mm moderate telephoto in 35mm format. Maximum magnification is 0.34x and minimum focusing distance is 25 cm.
      The table below shows maximum apertures for the five focal length settings.

      18mm

      24mm

      35mm

      45mm

      55mm

      f/3.5

      f/4

      f/4.5

      f/5.6

      f/5.6

      A narrow, dimpled focusing ring, located at the front of the barrel, lies just behind an engraved distance scale with marks in feet and metres ranging from 0.25 metres to infinity. The section between the 0.25 metre and 0.35 metre marks is highlighted with an orange line to denote the close focusing zone. The focusing ring moves through a quarter of a turn.
      Behind it is a 30mm wide zoom ring with a 21mm wide dimpled rubber grip that moves through roughly a third of a turn. Internal focusing and zooming movements mean there is no need to re-adjust polarisers and graduated filters when changing focus or focal length.
      The trailing edge of the zoom ring carries engraved settings for the 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, 45mm and 55mm focal length settings. There's no aperture ring, no zoom lock and no stabilisation (it's built into the camera body).
      Compared with the quiet ultrasonic motors on Canon and Nikon kit lenses, the focusing motors in the review lens were relatively noisy. However, autofocusing was fast and, in most cases, accurate, although it became noticeably slower for our night shots.
      Slight barrel distortion was evident at the 18mm focal length but little evidence of distortion was found at longer focal length settings. Vignetting at wide apertures was close to negligible at all focal length settings and backlit shots were seldom seriously affected by flare. Bokeh was typical of cheaper kit lenses and not outstandingly attractive.
      Lateral chromatic aberration varied with focal length much more than aperture setting. Best results were obtained at the 55mm and 45mm focal lengths, where CA remained in the 'negligible' band. The 35mm and 24mm focal lengths saw CA creep into the 'low' band, while at 18mm it was well into the 'moderate' category. In the graph below, the red vertical line represents the boundary between 'negligible' and 'low' while the green line separates 'low' from 'moderate' CA.

      K7_CA_graph

      Our Imatest findings were confirmed by test shots. Enlargements from shots taken with the 18mm focal length showed slight coloured fringing while those taken with the lens at 55mm were effectively free of this defect. Examples are shown in the Sample Images section below.
      Performance
      The review camera was generally comfortable to operate and, once you get used to the complexities of the menu system it becomes reasonably easy (though not exactly simple) to use. Metering was consistent with all metering modes, although we noticed a tendency for the review camera to under-expose by approximately 1/3EV with low-contrast subjects.
      Pictures taken with the test camera were acceptably sharp and had natural-looking colours, although outdoor shots in bright sunlight were a little contrasty when the Bright Custom Image setting (the default) was used. In indoor shots, the colour balance was a little warm with this setting. The Natural setting produced shots in which overall contrast was slightly lower and the colour balance closer to normal.
      This was confirmed by our Imatest testing, which revealed slightly elevated saturation in reds in both JPEG and processed raw files plus a general above-average saturation level for JPEGs. Imatest also showed resolution to be slightly below expectations for a 14-megapixel camera. This was true for both JPEGs and DNG.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw with no additional processing.
      Edge softening was detected at most aperture settings, with the greatest differences between centre and edge resolution occurring at the 24mm focal length. Best performance was around f/8. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.

      K7_Res-vs-FL_graph

      Imatest showed only a slight decline in resolution as sensor sensitivity was increased. However, test shots showed visible noise at ISO 800 and very obvious colour and pattern noise at ISO 6400. Long exposures were more noise-affected than flash shots, regardless of noise-reduction processing and colour shifts were found in exposures over 20 seconds. Dark-frame subtraction processing roughly doubles image capture times when slow shutter speed noise reduction is engaged and users have no control over the degree of processing applied. The graph below shows the results of Photo Review's Imatest tests.

      K7_Res-vs-ISO_graph

      Flash performance was generally very good and the built-in flash provided even illumination of an average-sized room throughout the camera's ISO range. Flash exposures were also well balanced for indoor close-ups for which flash provided the main illumination and image noise only became visible at the top two ISO settings.
      Auto white balance was average with traces of green remaining in shots taken under fluorescent lighting and an orange cast in shots taken in incandescent lighting. However, both pre-sets came close to neutral colour rendition and with adequate scope for in-camera tweaking of colour balance, this issue is largely irrelevant for serious photographers.
      Video quality wasn't quite as good as clips from the Nikon D500, although we obtained some detailed pictures at the highest resolution setting, particularly when using the 1.6M (1536 x 1024) resolution setting. The 0.9M (1280 x 720) resolution also produced some good-looking clips. However, strange coloured banding was seen in some clips at this resolution where subjects had a wide brightness range. An example is reproduced below.

      K7_video_1280x720_2

      A still frame from a video clip shot with the 0.9M resolution setting. Areas with coloured banding are circled in red.
      Sound quality from the review camera was unimpressive - as was the quality of VGA video clips. Best results were obtained with the two 'widescreen' modes, particularly when the camera was tripod-mounted and with slow-moving or stationary subjects.
      Camera response times were occasionally slower than competing DSLRs. Although the review camera powered-up smartly in a little less than one second, the average capture lag of 0.5 seconds is significantly slower than most recent DSLRs we've tested. With pre-focusing, this lag reduced to less than 0.1 seconds, which is par for the course. It took an average of 3.8 seconds to process each high-resolution JPEG image and 4.2 seconds to process DNG.RAW and RAW+JPEG paired files.
      The high-speed continuous shooting mode didn't perform quite to specifications; we could only make it record four frames per burst in our tests and shots were captured at intervals of just over 0.1 seconds. It took 12.4 seconds to process this burst when JPEGs were captured or 12.8 seconds for DNG.RAW files and RAW+JPEG capture.
      The low-speed mode recorded shots at intervals of just over 0.2 seconds but was also restricted to four frames per burst. Image processing times were the same for the different file types as the high-speed processing times.

      Buy this camera if:
      - You're seeking a capable DSLR with a wealth of in-camera adjustments - including some creative filter effects.
      - You're interested in in-camera processing to obtain special effects with JPEG files.
      - You'd really appreciate the Live View shooting capabilities.
      - You want a wide range of post-capture, in-camera image adjustments.
      - You want the option of shooting raw files - and RAW+JPEG.
      - You'd enjoy shooting the occasional video clip for viewing on a widescreen TV set.

      Don't buy this camera if:
      - You're upgrading from a digicam and want a simple DSLR camera.
      - You want autofocusing while shooting video clips.
      - You require fast autofocusing and focus tracking in Live View mode.
      - You require superior high-ISO performance.

      IMATEST GRAPHS

      JPEG image files

      K7_IMGP0062_colorerror_JPG
      K7_IMGP0062_colors_JPG
      K7_IMGP0062_YBL75_ca_JPG
      K7_IMGP0062_YAR24_cpp_JPG
      K7_IMGP0062_YBL75_cpp_JPG

      Raw image files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.

      k7_IMGP0062_colorerror_RAW
      K7_IMGP0062_colors_RAW
      K7_IMGP0062_YBL76_ca_RAW
      K7_IMGP0062_YAR32cpp_RAW
      K7_IMGP0062_YBL76_cpp_RAW

      SAMPLE IMAGES

      K7_IMGP0154_AWB_tung

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      K7_IMGP0159_AWB_fluoro

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      K7_IMGP0012_night_ISO100

      30-second exposure at f/4; ISO 100, 21.3mm focal length.

      K7_IMGP0017_night_ISO3200

      10-second exposure at f/6.3; ISO 3200, 21.3mm focal length; no noise reduction.

      K7_IMGP0275_lowloght_ISO6400

      Available-light photograph taken in near darkness with ISO sensitivity set at 6400. Note the colour and pattern noise and banding.

      K7_IMGP0026_flash_ISO100

      Flash exposure, ISO 100; 55mm focal length, 1/100 second at f/5.6.

      K7_IMGP0030_flash_ISO3200

      Flash exposure, ISO 3200; 55mm focal length, 1/100 second at f/5.6.

      K7_IMGP0129_wide

      18mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/200 second at f/8.

      K7_IMG0129_fringing

      Crop from the above image, enlarged to 100% to show visible coloured fringing.

      K7_IMGP0130_tele

      55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/250 second at f/8.

      K7_IMG0130_fringing

      Crop from the above image, enlarged to 100% to show negligible coloured fringing.

      K7_IMGP0132_flare

      Lens flare at 24.4mm; ISO 100; 1/200 second at f/8.

       

      K7_IMGP0151_distortion

      Rectilinear distortion at 18mm; ISO 100; 1/25 second at f/8.

       

      K7_IMGP0137_close

      Close-up at 55mm; ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/8.

      K7_IMGP0001_Close

      Bokeh at 55mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/8; spot metering.

      K7_IMGP0002_Close

      Bokeh at 55mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/5.6; spot metering.

      K7_video_1536x1024

      Still frame from video clip recorded with the 1.6M resolution setting.

      K7_video_1280x720

      Still frame from video clip recorded with the 0.9M resolution setting.

      K7_video_640x416

      Still frame from video clip recorded with the 0.3M (VGA) resolution setting.

       

      Specifications

      leadpic_Pentax_K-7

      Image sensor: 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor with 15.07 million photosites (14.6 megapixels effective)
      A/D processing: 12-bit
      Lens mount: Pentax KAF2 bayonet mount
      Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
      Image formats: Stills - JPEG (8-bit, Exif 2.21), PEF/DNG Raw (12-bit); RAW+JPEG available; Movies - AVI
      Image Sizes: Stills - 4672 x 3104, 3936 x 2624, 3072 x 2048, 1728 x 1152 pixels; Movie - 1280 x 720p, 1536 x 1024p, 640 x 416p, all at 30 fps
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift mechanism, 2.5 to 4 stops correction
      Dust removal: Image sensor vibration and SP coating with Dust Alert
      Shutter speed range: 30 to 1/8000 second plus Bulb; X-synch at 1/180 sec.
      Exposure Compensation: +/-2 EV (0.5EV steps or 0.3EV steps)
      Exposure bracketing: 3 frames within range of +/-0.5EV, +/-1.0EV, +/-1.5EV (0.5EV steps) or +/-0.3EV, +/-0.7EV, +/-1.0EV (0.3EV steps)
      Self-timer: 12 or 2 seconds delay
      Focus system: TTL phase-difference 11 point (9 cross) wide autofocus system (SAFOX VIII+)
      Focus modes: AF.A (auto), AF.S (single, with focus lock), AF-C (continuous), Manual focus; AF-Assist lamp via dedicated AF assist lamp with SAFOX VIII+ system
      Exposure metering: TTL open-aperture 77-segment metering (coupled with lens and AF information); multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot modes
      Shooting modes: Auto (Green Mode), Hyper Program (P), Sensitivity Priority (Sv), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Shutter-Aperture Priority (TAv), Hyper Manual (M), Bulb (B), X-Sync (X), User and Movie
      Picture Style/Control settings: Custom Image function with 7 Image Tone modes (Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Monochrome, Muted), all with adjustable saturation, tone, contrast and sharpness plus key and contrast highlight/shadow adjustments
      Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
      Custom functions: 37
      ISO range: Auto, Manual: 100~3200, ISO 6400 via Custom Function
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, CTE (emphasising the colours of sunsets) and Incandescent-Tinted Fluorescent light, Manual setting, with WB fine adjustment (Green/Magenta and Blue/Amber)
      Flash: Built-in retractable P-TTL auto pop-up flash; GN 13 (ISO 100/m); x-synch at 1/180 sec.
      Flash modes: On, redeye, slow sync, slow sync + redeye, trailing curtain sync, wireless
      Flash exposure compensation: -2 to +1 EV in 1/2 steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. approx. 5.2fps for 40 JPEG frames , 15 frames PEF.RAW, 14 frames DNG.RAW
      Storage Media: SD/SDHC memory cards
      Viewfinder: Fixed pentaprism with Natural-Bright-Matte III focusing screen; approx. 100% field of view; magnification 0.92x (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity); dioptre adjustment -2.5 to +1.5 dpt.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch TFT IPS (In Plane Switching) colour LCD with 920,000 dots; brightness/colour adjustment; wide angle view
      Live View modes: Real-time Live View with contrast AF and Face Recognition, engaged via dedicated LV button; continuous shooting supported in Live View mode
      Video Capture: Yes; 640 x 416 pixels, 1536 x 1024 pixels or 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps
      Data LCD: Yes, with Electro-Luminescence (EL) backlight
      Playback functions: Single, Continuous (Hi, Lo), Self-Timer (12s, 2s), Remote (0s, 3s, continuous), Bracketing (standard, timer, remote), Mirror Lockup (standard, remote), HDR Capture, Multi-Exposure, Interval; Continuous FPS; - 5.2 FPS (40 JPG Continuous Hi, 15 RAW PEF, 14 RAW DNG); - 3.3 FPS (unlimited JPG Continuous Lo, 17 RAW PEF/DNG)
      Interface terminals: USB 2.0 hi-speed, AV out, HDMI out, DC in, cable switch, 3.5mm stereo microphone; Video out: HD (1080i30, 720p30, 480p30), NTSC/PAL
      Power supply: D-LI90 high-capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion battery; Pentax rated for 980 shots (without flash)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 130.5 x 96.5 x 72.5 mm
      Weight: approx. 670g (body only)

       

      Retailers

       

      CamBuy

       

      www.cambuy.com.au
      Digital cameras, lenses and accessories with 100% genuine Australian manufacturer's warranties.
      Ph: (02) 9029 2219

      Camera House

       

      CH_Logo120

      www.camerahouse.com.au
      Ph: 133 686
      The largest speciality photographic retail chain in Australia.

      Camera Pro

       

      www.camerapro.net.au
      CameraPro Pty Ltd
      Suite 607, 180 Queen St, Brisbane 4000
      Tel: 07 3333 2900
      Australian owned and run company based in Brisbane.

      Camerasdirect

       

      CamerasDirect133

      www.camerasdirect.com.au
      Retailer of digital camera equipment and more.
      Secure online shopping and delivery across Australia.
      Ph: 1300 727 056

      Camerastore.com.au

      Camerastore.com.au
      Ph: 1800 155 067

      Camera-Warehouse

       

      camera-warehouse120

      www.camera-warehouse.com.au
      Comprehensive range of digital cameras and accessories online (www.camera-warehouse.com.au) and an online print service (www.royalexpress.com.au).

      Digital Camera Warehouse

       

      www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au
      174 Canterbury Road 367 High Street
      Canterbury Northcote
      NSW 2193 VIC 3070
      Ph: 1300 365 220

      Electronics Warehouse

       

      www.electronicswarehouse.com.au
      1300 801 885
      Australian retailer of Vapex rechargeable batteries offering factory direct prices and fast, free shipping Australia wide.

      Greg Smith's Photo Accessories

       

      www.dvdreamtime.com.au
      1800 50 80 82
      Big range of photographic accessories, Australia-wide shipping.

      Paxtons

       

      www.paxtons.com.au
      285 George St
      Sydney NSW 2000
      Ph: (02) 9299 2999

      Photographic Equipment & Supplies - Retail & Repairs. Click here for list of stores.

      Ted's Cameras

       

      Teds-Logo120

      www.teds.com.au

      1800 186 895
      Big range of cameras and photographic products with stores in most states and online.

      Rating

      RRP: $1749 (body only); $1999 with Pentax DA 18-55 f3.5-5.6 AL WR lens

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.0
      • Image quality: 8.5 (stills); 8.0 (video)
      • OVERALL: 8.5

      BUY

        No