When Pentax announced the K10D back in 2006, it was a revolutionary camera for serious amateurs and professionals on a budget. The K10D was more rugged and feature-packed than any Pentax digital SLR before it. In 2008, the company decided to update their line with the Pentax K20D, but that camera was more evolutionary than revolutionary... so much so that many Pentax K10D owners never felt the need to upgrade.
The Pentax K-7 answers those complaints by including many features that have never been seen on a Pentax camera before. In-camera lens correction for distortion control, lateral chromatic aberration adjustment, expanded dynamic range with highlight correction and adjustable shadow correction - these are new features that help the K-7 stand apart from previous Pentax cameras.
For those more interested in a CliffsNotes summary of the features and specs on the Pentax K-7, be sure to read our news article about the release of the camera. In short, the K-7 features a newly designed 15.07 megapixel (14.6 effective) CMOS imager with a new primary color filter and integrated Shake/Dust Reduction sensor movement system. The new sensor offers Live View and the ability to capture HD video (a first for Pentax).
The K-7 also features a new 77-segment metering system for more accurate metering under difficult lighting and a dedicated AF-assist lamp to improve autofocus speed in low light conditions. A large, 3.0 inch LCD makes Live View or image and video playback a breeze. A larger, brighter optical viewfinder with 100 percent field of view and 92x magnification is easily the best viewfinder I've seen in a Pentax DLSR.
BUILD AND DESIGN
The K-7 inherits the rugged build quality of the K10D and K20D and goes a step further with its weather, dust, and cold resistant (to 14 degrees Fahrenheit or -10 degrees Celsius) body and environmental seals so that photographers can keep shooting in any weather. It's that extreme build quality and weather sealing that makes the K-7 camera body feel better than any other camera in its price range ($1,299.95).
Ergonomics and Controls
As a "Pentaxian" who's used Pentax system cameras off and on for more than a decade now, I immediately felt right at home with the K-7's deeply sculpted handgrip and numerous controls. That said, if you're coming from other systems or moving up from a lower-priced Pentax, the abundance of buttons and dials might take some time to get used to.
For me, the only control that required me to retrain my brain was the mode dial. Pentax added a locking pin to the mode dial so you have to press a center button to change the shooting mode. This is great since you cannot accidentally change the mode dial, but it's something new for long-time Pentaxians. Once you get used to the new layout, however, you may quickly appreciate that the K-7 seems to have every control you need in the perfect location. The arrangement is definitely similar enough that those seeking an upgrade to their older Pentax cameras won't have much to learn.
In terms of size, advanced amateur DSLRs have to strike a difficult balance: most consumer DSLRs feel too small and cheap, but upper tier, advanced cameras like the Canon 7D, Nikon D300S, and Olympus E-3 are just too bulky for many amateurs. The K-7 features a compact, magnesium alloy body that is one of the smallest (if not the smallest) advanced amateur cameras on the market. Measuring just 5.1x3.8x2.9 inches and weighing only 26.5 ounces with battery and memory card, the Pentax K-7 is visibly smaller and noticeably lighter than similar cameras on the market. I personally prefer larger cameras because I have large hands and don't like it when my "pinky" finger drops below the camera grip. If the K-7 was a fraction of an inch taller, then all of my fingers would be able to fit on the grip.
Speaking of larger parts of the camera, the new 3.0 inch LCD with 921,000 dot resolution is a welcome size increase over previous models and makes the new Live View feature much easier to use. The screen features multiple levels of brightness and color correction to help ensure that your images look exactly the way that you want them to look.
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