Pentax K-7 Review

 
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Pentax K-7 Design

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Front View. Most of the Pentax K-7 front controls are the same as the Pentax K20D.
Pentax added a new AF assist lamp and moved the IR receiver/Self-timer lamp further down the grip.

 

 

Left View. The left of the Pentax K-7 reveals the new microphone jack for use
with an external stereo microphone when recording video, as well as an HDMI video out connector.

 

 

Right View. A wired remote socket appears below the SD/SDHC card door. Note the sculpted indentation for the middle finger on the front of the grip.

 

 

Top View. There are a few changes to the Pentax K-7's top deck control layout compared to the K20D. The exposure mode dial has a new Movie mode position. The Green button has been moved to the back panel and has been replaced by an Exposure Compensation button. An ISO button has been added next to it. You can also see the built-in microphone mounted on the pentaprism housing.

 

 

Back View. The layout of the back has changed significantly from the K20D. Buttons have been rearranged to make room for the larger 3.0-inch LCD, the Bracketing and Fn buttons have been removed, as well as the Shake Reduction switch, and a new Live View button has been added. The four-way controller is now made up of separate buttons which are also used to access specific settings screens.

 

 

Bottom View. Very similar here, just a battery door for a D-LI90 custom lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, battery grip terminal cover for an optional D-BG4 grip, and a tripod mounting socket.

 


Pentax K-7 Ruggedness/Build Quality

Hardbody. Relatively few cameras in its price bracket offer a magnesium-alloy body like that of the Pentax K7.

The previous K10D and K20D SLRs from Pentax were certainly well-built, offering extensive environmental sealing normally found only on pro-level bodies at a "prosumer" price point. As with most of its other features, though, the Pentax K-7 kicks ruggedness up another notch. It now sports a magnesium-alloy body over a stainless-steel chassis, vs. the plastic-over-stainless-steel one used in the K20D, which makes for a more rigid body. Among its immediate competitors, only the Canon EOS-50D has a magnesium-alloy frame; the Nikon D90, Olympus E30, and Sony A700 combine sheet metal and plastic, as did the previous K20D.

In the hand, the Pentax K-7 feels very solid: The K20D was no pushover, but the K-7 feels more solid and rugged, despite the fact that it's roughly 50 grams (1.7 ounces) lighter than its predecessor. It doesn't quite convey the "use it to pound in the tent pegs" ruggedness of a Canon 1D series or Nikon D3 model, but for the price it's a remarkably well-built camera.

Sealed. The entire K-7 system, including the optional battery grip and two new lenses, is well-sealed against dust and moisture.

While the K20D offered excellent environmental sealing, the Pentax K7 goes a bit further, with 77 seals vs 72 on the K20D. The two new lenses introduced along with the K20D (the DA 18-55mm WR and DA 50-200mm WR) also offer weather sealing to match that of the body. Perhaps most noteworthy about the new lenses, though, is that they offer weather sealing at very affordable prices; $199.95 list for the 18-55mm and $249.95 list for the 50-200mm. Normally, weather sealing is only available in pro-level lenses, with pro-level pricing.

The optional D-BG4 battery grip ($229.95 list) is also well-sealed, with 43 seals, so the entire Pentax K7 system is well-equipped to handle whatever Mother Nature might care to dish out. The new ruggedness of the Pentax K7 doesn't end with just dust- and water-resistance, but also extends to temperature extremes. When it comes to temperature, most cameras will operate in temperatures as high as the humans holding them can tolerate, but cold is another story. Humans have the advantage of generating plenty of heat of their own, if they just bundle up. Cameras aren't so lucky, and cold is the enemy of battery technology. While you could certainly expect somewhat reduced battery life in such temperatures, the Pentax K-7 is rated for operation down to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). That's quite a bit colder than most of the competition is rated to withstand: The Canon 50D, Olympus E30, Nikon D90 and Sony A700 are all rated only to 32 degrees F. Even pro-level bodies like the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and Nikon D3 are only rated for use down to 32F.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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