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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:13 am 
I picked up a K-7 a couple of weeks ago. I think it was the £100 cashback on the K-7 + 2 lenses kit that did it for me. I have been pleasantly surprised by the K-7 and these are my initial impressions of the camera.

Build and Handling
The first thing that caught me by surprise is how small the K-7 is. It's a lot smaller than the 40D/50D and if I had to guess I'd say it's also smaller than the Sony A200 I used to own. This is good because it's a lot less conspicuous in public. I've found that the K-7 + 18-55mm draws a lot less attention than the 50D + 24-70mm. This is a good thing.

Another good thing is the way the shutter is damped. On the Sony A200, the shutter sounded loud and confident. You clicked the shutter and it went "CHUCK!!" and everyone in the county would know you've taken a photograph. The 50D's shutter in contrast was slightly quieter and had a more "flimsy" sound to it, sounded like a "flip". The K-7's shutter is even quieter, a very quiet "chuck" coupled with some (very faint) electronic whizzing. I admit it took a while for me to get used to it, but now I find that the shutter of the 50D is loud in comparison.

I won't go into detail about the build quality, the weather sealing, etc as these have been covered in detail elsewhere. Suffice to say, the K-7 with the kit lens attached feels like a very solid and professional piece of kit. I'd say you could even knock someone's teeth out with the K-7 and you'd be alright - it is weather sealed.

I like the way the mode dial has a lock. I can't count the times I've had the mode dial on my other cameras change from A to M as I fumble around changing lenses. True, it could be me that's the problem but it's good to know that this is not going to be a problem with the K-7. We'll see how this works out in practice at my next shoot sometime in January.

The main annoyance I have with the K-7 is the lack of a multi-select control. This is fantastic when you want to manually select your AF points. It also surprises me that when you shoot in AV/TV mode, you have to hit the EV button before you can make exposure changes. You can configure it so that the secondary control dial automatically does this, but why wasn't this the default setting in the first place?

Autofocus
It comes with a green AF assist beam! Canon had this on the EOS D60 but they removed it when they introduced the 10D. It has remained removed ever since. Even entry level Nikons like the D3000 have an AF assist beam.

Other places have complained of the sluggish Pentax AF. To an extent, this is accurate. If you leave it up to the camera to select the AF point, it hesitates a bit every time you take a picture. Given that it does this with static subjects, I can see it being a bit of a problem if you've set AF to continuous and are trying to track a moving subject. Good luck with that. On the other hand, if you manually select the focus point or just use the centre one it works fine. This is a workaround, and I hope that Pentax fixes this issue in the future. It doesn't affect the work I do, but I can see why some people are truly bothered by this.

The K-7 supports AF microadjustment, so it can correct minor front focusing and back focusing. I haven't had to use this with the supplied kit lenses, but it means that I can buy Sigma/Tamron lenses with confidence.

Exposure and Image Quality
Pentax includes a setting that allows the camera to correct chromatic abberations and lens distortion. The good news is that this works! The bad news is that this adds about 3 seconds to the time it takes for the camera to display the image on the LCD after you've pressed the shutter button. If you disable this option, it takes about 1 second from the time you release the shutter to the photo appearing on the LCD. If you enable all correction options, it takes 4 seconds. This is highly annoying! Fortunately, you can still take photos while the camera is busy processing an image so this would not affect your continuous shooting speed and it has little impact on the way I work. However, this does make the camera somewhat useless at "chimping" (i.e. take a quick snap to check exposure). Realizing this, Pentax have included a "digital preview" setting that is triggered by flicking the power switch next to the shutter release. This causes the camera to take a low resolution image that appears instantaneously on the rear LCD with a histogram and the blinking clipped highlights/shadows that photographers find useful. It's a band aid, but it does solve the problem.

With that gripe out of the way, I'm very pleased with the image quality. The automatic exposure is very highlight friendly, scenes where I'd normally have to key in -0.7 EV on the 50D just work fine on the K-7. The automatic white balance under tungsten lighting and energy saving fluorescent lighting works phenomenally well. You don't get a nasty colour cast and the images are slightly warm.

The high ISO performance is decent. Where the 50D would sacrifice detail for a "smooth" image, the K-7 produces more grainy images. This is not a problem for me as they look fine in print and on the web. If you're viewing at 100%, you'll have a grainy image where as with the 50D you'd have a smooth image with very little detail. Pick your poison.

Summary
I've been very pleased with the K-7 so far. It compares very favourably to the 50D and I'm toying with moving to the K-7 as my primary camera. I'd probably have to sell my Canon gear to fund the purchases the DA* lenses I'm after. In the short term, I'm hoping to buy the 16-50mm f/2.8, 50-135mm f/2.8 and the 60-250 f/4. That's a lot of money and will only happen once the Canon gear is sold.

I'm off to Australia for two weeks so that'll give me more of an opportunity to get to grips with the camera. Then come January I'm attending a few courses and doing a few studio shoots so will definitely be able to flex this camera's muscle then.

Hope this was useful for someone :)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:59 am 
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Works for me :lol:
Not sure what the reason could be I am reading all the differant reviews on this camera body for :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:38 pm 
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I always seem to read really +ve reviews from Pentax users. I always feel a little warm glow when I see someone shooting with something other than Canikon.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:21 pm 
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Bonsoir pgtips,

Thank you for your review :!:

I've always been a Pentax dSLR user, so I can hardly make a comparison with other brands. I don't know what happens when a Canon or Nikon user switches to Pentax :shock:.

I'm very happy with my Pentax K-7, but I feel safer when a Canon former user points out some features I really enjoy :wink:

@kpr
Don't think twice: you expect Uncle Santa to bring you a K-7 :idea:

Best regards,

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:17 pm 
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Certainly an interesting read. While it's easy to look at the headline specs, it's the little details like these you don't appreciate unless pointed out or found in actual use.

pgtips, if I could ask, what would you say are your main shooting types now, and how does the operation of the K-7 compare with Canon in that?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:33 pm 
Hey popo, most of the shooting I do these days are portraits. For some reason, I'm turning into a baby and young children's photographer though I'm not sure that's the direction I want to take long term! I have a few weddings in the new year, so that's where my photography is at. For fun, I tend to wander through cities taking photos of architecture and people who interest me.

The K-7 was annoying the life out of me with inconsistent flash metering. When bouncing the flash off a surface, I was used to having to key in +0.7 EV on the Canon to get the correct exposure. With the K-7, it was anything from -1.0 to +1.0 and it didn't appear consistent at all. Did a Google search and found this "Advanced" setting call "Link AE to AF point". Enabled it and now my photos with flash are consistently exposed. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this should be enabled by default for all portrait shoots. What it does it is use weighted metering, centered on the AF point. This ensures that the subject that's in focus is going to be correctly exposed. You can fiddle around with the Canon to do this, but having it work out of the camera with the K-7 is a nice plus.

Anyway, I'm off to take more photos of Melbourne. More comments to follow.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:44 am 
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rei_vilo wrote:

@kpr
Don't think twice: you expect Uncle Santa to bring you a K-7 :idea:



Oh I think if my Santa finds out I'm even thinking of another upgrade so soon...I might be in need of some first aid maybe...lol

I think when she sees me reading the manual she'll figure out whats happened soon enough.

Easier to beg forgiveness than get permission sometimes :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:05 pm 
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kpr wrote:
Easier to beg forgiveness than get permission sometimes :wink:


That's strategy :!:

Tactically speaking, prepare her a little something to ease her forgive :wink:

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Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Congrats on your K7, how are you liking it so far? I had the k7 and really liked it but the only thing I didn't like was high ISO as they were to noisy, and sold it to buy the 7D. What I miss on the K7 was the small size and am really mixed up maybe I made the wrong move to come back to Canon again but the 7D is a great camera and if the K7 had that sony sensor like the Kx i would of held on to it.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:13 pm 
3 months, 3 new lenses and a few practice shoots later...

Build and Handling

The small grip is fine for small lenses like the kit lenses (18-55mm and 50-200mm). If you start attaching professional quality glass like the DA* 16-50 and 50-135mm, I started to notice that the grip could be a little bit better. When you attach a flash gun to your camera in addition this setup, the camera is no longer comfortable to hold.

Buying a battery grip fixes this.

I'll add more thoughts on the image quality when I get more time. I'm a little busy with various "projects" right now.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:45 pm 
On a Pentax forum, some were complaining that their raw files weren't very sharp. Not as sharp as the K20.
What's your view on this please?
Are the raw files of the K7 softer than the raws from the likes of canon and nikon?
If this were the case it rather makes one less inclined to purchase better lenses.
thanks,
brad.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Er, when youre shooting RAW, sharpness is done in Photoshop etc?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:33 pm 
True enough, but in comparisons of some raws from other cameras, some have been concerned that the raw files started out less sharp.
I would think that it's better to have as sharp a raw file as possible to start with.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:22 am 
If there is a sharpness difference, it's not noticeable unless you're pixel peeping. I'm a photographer, not a pixel peeper and I have not found any problem with sharpness.


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 Post subject: Sharpness
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:39 am 
Thanks Phillip, appreciate your comments.
I really like this camera, though admit, I haven't laid hands on it. It's beautiful looking, it looks like my idea of a camera. It's got great build quality in that it's weather resistant, shouldn't all cameras have weather resistance...
On paper, it's specs lead the field in it's class.
But for me like many, image quality is king, and sharpness is at the top, so if anyone brings into question the integrity of a camera sharpness, then i'm my ears are going to prick up.

In reading reviews and studying image samples, I find that all the chatter about noise, is unfair, and allot of reviews seem to be based upon the pre-release model, before Pentax made some changes to the firmware and the sensor. The noise is less than the Canon 50d, a camera that's accepted as a great performer.

However the sharpness question, is still an open question in my mind. Your reply, as an experienced user goes some way to answering my question.

Here is one review, an experienced reviewer that brings into question it's image quality and sharpness.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/k7-hands.shtml

to quote the paragraph on image quality
'The camera isn't compelling for any reason. In marketing terms it doesn't appear to offer a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Almost every aspect of the camera is competent, and there are only a few failings. But it also doesn't really excel at anything. It isn't the fastest, the sharpest, the highest resolution, the smallest, the lightest, the fastest focusing, or have the fastest frames rates.

In other words, the Pentax K7 is like a middle child who gets lost in the shuffle in a large family, between the cute young ones and the mature and smarter older ones, or the really attractive sibling that garners all of the attention.'


Would appreciate your comments.
thanks,
Brad.


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