Pentax K-7 Reviews, Samples and References

First published on: Monday, 15 June 2009

Last update (Nov 30, 2009): Pentax K-7 review by Peter K. Burian at Photocrati.

Pentax K-7

This post is a compilation of links to the following resources on the Pentax K-7 digital SLR camera:

  1. Professional and user reviews, owner opinions and experiences, tests, ratings, conclusions and feedback.

  2. Sample photos and examples, image galleries and user pictures, movie / video clips and footage.

  3. Latest price, availability, in-stock and pre-order information

  4. References and other resources.

The Pentax K-7 was announced on 20-May-2009. You might like to read the DPReview’s version of the press release.

Professional and user reviews, owner opinions and experiences, tests, ratings, conclusions and feedback

Pentax K-7 review by Peter K. Burian at Photocrati

Peter’s field test report of the Pentax K7 is a good summary of the various capabilities of the camera, covering features such as AF (autofocus) performance in Live View and Movie Mode to producing HDR (HDR Imaging) images in capture mode vs using the HDR digital filter in Playback mode.

In addition to recommending his book, Magic Lantern Guides: Pentax K-7, Peter concludes:

This is definitely the best Pentax DSLR to date in terms of versatility, ruggedness, speed and viewfinder coverage. Sure, the K20D was already packed with capabilities, but the K-7 targets an even more experienced photographer with additional amenities. While the many advanced functions make some aspects of operation complicated, it’s worth taking the time to reach a high level of proficiency with the camera.

Pentax K-7 First Look Review at

Justin Serpico, on using the Pentax Wireless Remote Control C with the K-7:

Browsing the six-page, 37-function custom menu system, the Pentax K-7 eliminates one of the fears I had. It appears Pentax added a feature I’d been wishing for some time—the IR remote isn’t just a press and fire remote, but it can be set to trigger the shutter to open on the first press, and close on the second while in bulb mode. Coupled with the auto bracket mode and interval timer carried over from the K20D this should eliminate the need to use the cable release port very often. It should now be possible via the menu to shoot almost any scene without the need to use a wired cable release. A distinct advantage of this is no more cable release to dangle and keep track of while the wind is blowing, and no more open port doors for long exposures.

Pentax Wireless Remote Control C

Pentax K-7 Digital SLR Review at ePHOTOzine

Overall rating score: 9 / 10, and the review states:

I’m liking the noise results from the Pentax K-7, not only because they’re among the best I’ve seen from a Pentax model but also because the control that the new processor is commanding over the noise is excellent. The best noise control I’ve seen so far from a Pentax DSLR is on the K-m, which has 4Mp less, and although noise appears relatively early on, it doesn’t even get aggressive at the higher settings which is nice to see.

There are also several image samples and ISO noise performance tests embedded in the article.

Pentax K7 DSLR full review at What Digital Camera

Mike Lowe, the reviewer, says:

The standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens comes boxed with the K-7 and its performance is ample. As with most standard kit lenses you’ll likely feel somewhat restricted by its aperture and focal length limitations, but attach one of many other lenses, new or old, and that’s where the fun starts. Using both a 100mm f2.8 macro and 300mm f4.5 telephoto lens entirely changes the way of working, as any photographer knows. So whilst the kit lens provides sturdy image quality, keeps chromatic aberrations to a minimum and is fairly sharp, it’s the box of other goodies that should rouse some excitement in the potential that the K7 has – especially considering those lenses for movie modes or quick burst continuous shooting.

An overall score rating of 86% was assigned to the camera.

Here’s a DPReview forum reaction to the review.

Comparative noise study K-7 vs. K20D

In his test, Falk Lumo concludes:

The noise from the K-7 and the K20D almost look the same. If there is a slight advantage, then it would go to the K20D. But the difference is so marginal that I say:

There is no significant difference in noise from black & white subjects in raw files from the K-7 and the K20D.

12-page Pentax K-7 preview on DPReview, May 2009

This preview will become the final review in due course.

For now, here’s some of what I found to be the more interesting aspects of the camera, as revealed in this article.

Prime lenses for the APS-C format: Pentax is alone among the major makers of DSLR cameras in having an extremely attractive range of super-sharp, super-small and super-light prime lenses. Some of them are pancake lenses, which will appeal to the photographer who want the highest quality possible in the lightest package available.

Some of their more attractive prime lenses are the Pentax 70mm f/2.4 DA Limited, smc DA 15mm f/4 ED AL Limited, DA 35mm Macro Limited, DA 40mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact (the thinness of this lens has to be seen to be believed — many have mistaken it for a lens cap), and SMC-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited (another extremely thin lens from Pentax).

Together with the announcement of the K-7, Pentax has made available updated versions of the DA 18-55mm and DA 50-200mm kit lenses, now designated as DA 18-55mm WR and DA 50-200mm WR. WR stands for weather resistant. These new lenses have the same optics as their older counterparts, but have a simplified weather-resistant construction that offers greater protection against moisture and dust ingress.

New AF assist light: The K-7 now has a built-in lamp (just like Nikon DSLRs) to help with autofocus in low-light conditions. This is, in my opinion, way better than using the strobing light pulses from the built-in, pop-up flash method that’s implemented on Canon DSLRs.

Movie capture: You can now record video clips on a Pentax DSLR. The K-7 has a dedicated movie mode on the exposure mode dial. Sound can be captured via a built-in mono mic that is located on the right side of the mirror box, or via an external microphone that can be plugged into a mic socket.

At the time of writing, the Canon 5D Mark II (digital SLR) and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) are the only other cameras on the market that allow for the use of an external mic.

In-camera RAW conversion tool: New in the K7 is the ability to correct chromatic aberration and lens distortion, add shadow adjustment and output the converted image as a TIFF.

Smaller and lighter than the K20D: Given the sheer increase in features and build quality and ruggedness, it’s impressive that Pentax managed to reduce the bulk and weight of the K-7 relative to the Pentax K20D.

• Pentax K-7: 131 x 97 x 73mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
• Pentax K20D: 142 x 101 x 70mm (5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 in)

Weight, including battery and SD / SDHC memory card:
• Pentax K-7: 754g (26.6oz.)
• Pentax K20D: 802g (28.3oz.)

This image shows the K-7 and K20D side-by-side.

DPReview has a large image showing the K-7 from the front, rear, right and left sides. On the build quality:

The K-7 is a huge step forward for Pentax cameras of this level. The K20D was a reassuringly solid-feeling camera but the K-7’s magnesium alloy body lends it the kind of confidence-inspiring feel and sense of solidity that is only matched by the very best in this class. And yet that alloy body also allows it to be made smaller and lighter, while enhancing the impression of high quality build.

There’s also a comparison of weight and dimension data (plus side-by-side images) of the K7 vs the Canon 50D, Nikon D300, Olympus E-30, and Sony DSLR-A700.

Viewfinder: Coverage is 100%, while magnification is 0.92x. See this image of focusing screens available for the K-7.

On-demand electronic gridlines, a feature found on the Nikon D5000 and up, is not available on the K-7.

Battery life: The K-7 uses the new D-LI90, which has a higher capacity in a smaller pack compared to the older D-LI50 that is used in the K20D.

CIPA standard tests shows the D-LI90 to offer 740 images on the K-7, compared to 530 shots on the K20D.

Flash sync speed: 1/180 seconds, just like on the K20D.

PENTAX K-7 Introduction

Pentax K-7 DSLR short review at WIRED

Jackson Lynch, the reviewer, made an interesting observation about the AWB / Automatic White Balance performance on the K7:

Beyond its unimpeachable durability Pentax has gamely tackled one of digital imaging’s biggest bugaboos — white balance. At times even the highest end pro models struggle, especially with fluorescent lighting. In our testing, the K-7 gives those heavyweights a lesson when it comes to getting the color right. Even in the toughest mixed-lighting conditions, the Pentax achieved excellent color reproduction. Plus the K-7 includes four unique fluorescent light presets and postsets, so you can tune the color temperate to either your eye or the temp of the bulbs.

Sample photos and examples, image galleries and user pictures, movie / video clips and footage

Full-resolution Pentax K-7 test and sample images at DC.Watch (Google’s English translation)

Full-resolution Pentax K-7 test and sample images at DC.Watch-

A pretty comprehensive range of tests were performed. HDR and ISO noise performance were tested.

The following lenses were used:

  1. DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR

  2. DA Fish-Eye 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED [IF]

  3. DA 55mm F1.4 SDM

  4. A Macro 50mm F2.8

  5. FA 80-200mm F2.8 ED IF

Here’s one sample 18-55mm WR portrait.

Re-sized ISO 3200 comparison on DPReview forum: K-7 vs D90

This is not a controlled test by a long shot, but the K-7’s higher-resolution sensor seems to perform better than the sensor on the Nikon D90 in terms of detail, color and resolution at ISO3200.

Pentax K7 DSLR review sample photos at What Digital Camera

What Digital Camera is one of the first review sites to post full-resolution images taken with a Pentax K-7 running production-level firmware.

K-7 final firmware and tungsten high iso noise

Falk Lumo provides some sample DNG RAW files from a Pentax K-7 running final firmware v1.00. The images were “… shot at ISO 400-6400 in tungsten light (2900/2950 K, using Auto WB).”

References and other resources

Full Specifications

I like the format in which DPReview presents the full specs of the Pentax K-7. Indications are also provided as to the feature that’s new, upgraded or updated relative to the Pentax K20D.

Development of the Pentax K-7

Hanamura Hisahiro of Pentax Imaging Systems Division talks about how the K-7 was conceived and developed. The original article is in Japanese, so here’s an automatic Google translation for those who would like to read it in English.

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