Pentax Imaging Company announced today the launch of the much-rumored Pentax K-7 digital SLR camera. The newest Pentax K series camera is designed for advanced photographers seeking high-end design and features without the cost of a professional DSLR system with similar features. The Pentax K-7 features a rugged new body design with an all new 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor capable of HD Movie Capture and a range of new, unique-to-Pentax camera controls.
Like every Pentax DSLR that came before it, the K-7 is compatible with every Pentax lens ever made. However, the big news here isn’t the camera’s backward compatibility. Rather, the Pentax K-7 includes several unique features that have never been offered before in any K series digital camera, and in some cases any camera:
- A compact, magnesium alloy body that is one of the smallest in the advanced photo enthusiast category to reduce bulk and allow users to travel light while maintaining durability and build quality (seven percent smaller than the K20D and up to 25 percent smaller than other cameras in the same class).
- A new 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor rebuilt from the ground up to minimize noise, adds four channel output for fast image capture, and the ability to capture HD quality movies.
- A new 77-segment metering system quickly and accurately determines exposure for even the most complex and dynamic lighting situations.
- HD Movie capture features adjustable quality and resolution settings, aperture control, as well as mechanical Shake Reduction, and an external microphone terminal for recording stereo sound. The K-7 will capture video at the default 1280×720 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio (720p), 1536×1024 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio, or 640×416 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio (equivalent to VGA quality), all shot at 30 frames per second.
- An HDMI port with selectable output resolution (1080i, 720p, 480p, and auto) offers high resolution playback of images and video on modern high definition TV’s.
- A new dedicated AF-assist lamp further improves autofocus response and accuracy in low light conditions.
- An Electronic Level function ensures that images have truly level horizons to minimize post-capture editing.
- In-camera Lens Correction function that electronically adjusts for Distortion and Lateral Chromatic Aberrations to maximize image quality with DA series lenses.
- A dedicated Mirror Lock-up function eliminates image blur due to mirror movement during long exposures.
- A High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture mode captures three images then combines them in camera to widen the exposure gamut to bring out detail in all exposure areas of images.
- A composition adjustment feature in Live View allows minor shifts in the framing and composition of images using the Shake Reduction mechanism without having to physically move the camera when mounted on a tripod.
- A programmable embedded copyright function helps identify image ownership during capture in metatag data.
A variety of K series camera features that are significantly improved in the Pentax K-7 include:
- A large 3-inch LCD with 921,000 dot resolution is perfect for detailed image or movie capture and review using the Live View function.
- A weather, dust and cold resistant (to 14° F or -10° C) body makes the K-7 the perfect camera for use in any environment, inside the studio or when travelling in any weather.
- Fast 5.2 frames-per-second shooting with a new PRIME II Image processing engine, which features fast circuitry and 4-channel output that is ideal for sporting events or any fast action situation.
- A top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec freezes even the fastest action in well lit settings.
- Live View mode, now with contrast AF, Face Detection, and optional histogram, grid, and bright/dark area display, allows you to quickly compose your images without having your eye against the viewfinder.
- A new 100 percent field-of-view viewfinder (92X magnification) and bright focusing screen are ideal for accurate image composition and focus.
- The Pentax 11-point autofocus system features improved focus algorithms over previous generation K series DSLR cameras, providing faster, more responsive AF.
- The Pentax-original Shake Reduction system now compensates for rotational sensor movement improving the sharpness of your images at the moment of capture.
- The K-7’s Dust Reduction system, improved over previous K series cameras, features a piezo-ceramic vibration action to the sensor’s low-pass filter for dust-fee image capture.
- A new high capacity battery features extended battery life, ideal for travel photography or video work.
- Advanced image capture settings, digital filters, and aspect ratio provide outstanding flexibility and creativity while minimizing the need for computer image manipulation.
- Custom Image modes with advanced parameter settings including new Key adjustment allow users to customize the processing mode to suit personal creative style.
Along with the new K-7, Pentax announced a D-BG4 battery grip. This battery grip may be used in combination with the camera’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery to double camera’s battery life. The D-BG4 also accepts 6 AA batteries in an alternate battery tray so photographers can find batteries virtually anywhere in the world. With a vertical shutter-release button, e-dials, AE-lock and a new focus button, the grip features the same weather-resistance, dustproof and coldproof construction as the Pentax K-7.
In order to get the most of the weather sealing in the K-7, Pentax also announced two new affordable weather-resistant lenses. The smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR and the smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR kit lenses feature weather-resistant seals and promise to be the most affordable weather-sealed lenses on the market.
Pentax has been generous enough to let us take a look at a pre-production K-7 model. For our first impressions and a few sample photos, check out our article.
The Pentax K-7 body only will ship in July 2009 for $1,299.95 USD. The Pentax D-BG4 battery grip also will ship in July 2009 for $229.95. The new weather-resistant lenses will be priced at $199.95 for the DA 18-55mm and $249.95 for the DA 50-200mm. These products also will ship in July 2009.