Pentax K-7 Review

4.5
June 24, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

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#1 Mark Olwick

Did you have the auto CA correction turned off in your sample images?  I hope so as it’s very noticable in the ISO 800 postcard shot.

Also note that they AF Micro-adjust is only available with DA and DA* lense, not FA

4:27 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#2 Mark Goldstein

Yes, auto CA correction was set to Off (the K-7’s default setting) for our sample images, so what you are seeing is the worst-case scenario.

4:32 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#3 Ndm

Thank you for the review.

It wasn’t too difficult to not notice that you had a beta test version of the camera right from the start with the mention that the shutter sounded too loud. Many testers have mentioned the supreme quiet of the new K-7’s shutter. Several things will likely look different depending upon which of the beta cameras you had. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see that the production camera will be even better.

All in all though, a good review. Thank you.

4:43 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#4 Ndm

Also, unlike the K10D and K20D before it, the K-7 has a new Autofocus assist light now positioned near the grip… there is no need to raise the flash to enable the AF assist. :-)

4:52 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#5 GerryL

Nice and looks like an unbiased review!
Looks like Pentax really has a winner here.
More bang for the buck!

5:29 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#6 NYC

Why are the main rivals entry level offerings? Is this an entry level camera?

5:32 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#7 London

Especially since you write this in the introduction: “Going up against the likes of the Canon EOS 50D and Nikon D300, the 14.6 megapixel K7 certainly has a lot to offer on paper, surpassing its main rivals in many ways.”

5:34 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#8 name

Great review though I do not agree about loud shutter. Right K20d was really loud but i saw few clips on youtube where k7 was put on hi continuous shooting mode and that was damn silent. Even there is live comparison between K20d and K7 and K7 is very very silent, in fact I did not hear so silent shutter

5:44 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#9 Steve

Mark Olwick -> No, the micro adjust works for all AF lenses. By pentax or other brand. The CA and distorsion correction is limited to the DA-lines.

6:30 pm - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#10 zuseher

A good and very detailed Review.

Only three small corrections:
1.) Shutter is very quiet, over all and specially versus the K20D.
2.) AF-Fokuslight like #4 says and not working in AF-C, maybe there you got wrong.
3.) In video-mode ist no more AF possible,with FW 1.0, not automaticly or with the AF-Button. (FW 0.0 hat have AF on video)

I wonder, one option you don´t name in any way, for High-ISO-Picture your have on Menu C19 a Four-Step-Noise-Redution witch is set only on 1 (medium) to keep as most Details at possible, chancing it to 3 (strong) gives you the lock that we all know from other brands. ;-)

Exept these points the best review i have read so far.

I am a German Pentax-Owner (*istD/K10D/K20D) and one out of ten Pre-Tester, having a K-7 in my hands right now. In my picture-gallery are some K-7-Sample-Pictures including long AF-C-sports-series and noiseredution from 1000 to 6400 IO with all four possible setting.

Sorry for my bad english-writing, I hope you unterstand most of it, I´m a bit out of pratice in writing english.

3:21 pm - Thursday, June 25, 2009

#11 Vincenzo

Excellent review… 
until I read the page “main rival”.   
I wonder how do you compare K-7, a top of the range camera Pentax (pro / semi-pro), with a range of entry level dslr. Absurd. But today is the size to make the class for a machine…very strange time….

11:48 pm - Thursday, June 25, 2009

#12 George

“upgraded to a new 11-point wide-frame AF module with 9 cross sensors and 2 line sensors”.

Even my *istDs had that!

12:59 am - Friday, June 26, 2009

#13 zuseher

@George

So What?
Still it´s complete redesigned and much better than all other Pentax-DSLR bevor, believe it, try it out at two or three weeks or look at that:

http://www.hh-muc.de/4i/categories.php?cat_id=199

8:11 am - Friday, June 26, 2009

#14 KBL

I do not agree that K-7 should compare with the ‘main rivals’ that you suggested.

Are you giving misconception to the general readers that top-of-the-line Pentax DSLR has just reached the standards of the entry-line-levels of Canon, Nikon and Sony?  That’s nonsense.

You should highlight rivals of comparable performance and specification, rather than on the comparable prices.

6:29 am - Saturday, June 27, 2009

#15 Adam

Main Rivals: Canon EOS 500D, Nikon D5000, Olympus E-620???? :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Eos50d and d300

11:51 am - Saturday, June 27, 2009

#16 Prem

I think this is a g8 DSLR with an almost satisfying wishlist many amatures have in mind.But if it can’t
put a very good performance at high ISO;I don’t think K-7 will have to share the same shelf with A-900 ; causing no big threat to neither Nikon or Canon especially in a situation where Nikon D5000’shigh ISO are exceptionally good as per every reviews.AF speed of K-7 is yet another concern for me.

Personally i think no DLSR manufacture will be able to build a LV system or a HD video keeping the mirror box inside.So can never expect performace for Lumix GH-1.

5:13 pm - Monday, June 29, 2009

#17 Prem

(there was a typing error)...this is wht i meant

But if it can’t put a very good performance at high ISO;I think K-7 will have to share the same shelf with A-900 ; causing no big threat to neither Nikon or Canon especially in a situation where Nikon D5000’shigh ISO are exceptionally good as per every reviews.AF speed of K-7 is yet another concern for me.

5:17 pm - Monday, June 29, 2009

#18 ronald

This camera has the worst image quality of all dslr on the market today, lack of sharpness and contrast, high iso 1600 and 3200 are unusable. Video is full of artefacts and there is no AF, no controls. Add this to the insane price rise of pentax lens and sure you have a winner.

12:38 am - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

#19 McDonald

Wow another canon/nikon fanboy. If you think this blogs author is bias, Ronald… Go grab a copy of American Photo July/August edition, Pentax K7 is Advance SLR camera of the Year along side Nikon D90.

11:09 am - Thursday, July 2, 2009

#20 Roger

“The Pentax K-7 has a traditional eye-level optical TTL viewfinder which offers an impressive 100% scene coverage, beating both the Canon EOS 50D and Nikon D300.” That’s not true, the D300 also has 100% coverage. The 50D only has 95% though.

6:09 pm - Thursday, July 2, 2009

#21 Bev

Reading through the K7 review it seems to be a pretty good camera, as for the review it’s well above the average and 100% better than these “Real World” two paragraph test that a lot of the current
mags offer, no meat or substance with a half page image of the camera which of course is totally useless to anyone. It often amazes me the small amount of time people spend handling a camera at the shop counter before parting with their cash, me I take or buy a F/card and try every lens available before making a judgment and if i’m not satisfied I will leave it. Most of the time people are too embarrassed to ask, don’t be and nothing beats handling the camera.

8:03 pm - Thursday, July 2, 2009

#22 IcyPepsi

First of all, this is the best Review of the K-7 I’ve read, before it arrives.. esp. gives a good sense of how it feels to use. One thing you may have missed “..lthough a histogram is still conspicuous by its absence”. Well, there seems to be a menu option to enable a histogram for the Live View (http://www.dpreview.com/previews/pentaxk7/page10.asp)

I have been wondering how the images will be with the CA option ON. I have seen those of Nikon’s D90 and they do an excellent job getting those color bands out.

The K-7 seems to be a union of the features of Canon 50D and Nikon D90/D5000. For me it’s a wishlist come true. I wish Pentax gave a software to use it from the computer, like what Canon 50D comes with. But, I’m gonna buy the K-7 for sure.

9:16 pm - Thursday, July 2, 2009

#23 Markku Autero

I’m an 60 year old guy from Finland. I was really interested on photographing in 1970-1990, and from those years I have still some Minolta and Pentax SLR:s left with some amount of lences for them.
I bought Sony A700 to get the Minolta lences in use, and I for sure will buy Pentax K7 to get also those Pentax lences in use.
I hawe often wondered why camera makers make the cameras with high resolution censors even the lower figures would help to make the bits bigger and the noise lower, same now with the Pentax K7 and also with the Sony A700.
I hope that the new censor will be better conserning the noise level.
Do anybody have any experience with older lences in new DSLR:s?
Sorry about my poor english, I hope you can understand my writing.

3:36 pm - Saturday, July 4, 2009

#24 Pete Dee

How can you do such a quality review and then put such wrong cameras in the “Main Rivals” section, quite stupid really.

11:48 pm - Saturday, July 4, 2009

#25 Markku Autero

There are a lot of comments conserning wrong “Main Rivals”, could some one tell which are the right rivals for Pentax K7?
Because of quite high noise level in K7, I could accept even some simplyer rivals if their noise level is as good or better than in the K7.
Good noise level is anyway a really important thing for a DSLR, which can not be compensated by a list of many functions.

4:42 pm - Sunday, July 5, 2009

#26 superduper

I tend to agree with Markku, the final image quality is the most important in a dslr. The noise is very pronounced even at base iso in shadows.
Moreover, there is now many images available showing some pattern noise and vertical banding randomly. K20D was already prone to theses problems and the new sensor is no better (even worse).
Samsung sensor suck IMHO. The buzz around this camera is not worth it, they had plenty of time improving it but they failed miserably. I’ll keep the K10D and look at canon or nikon for my upgrade.

6:16 pm - Sunday, July 5, 2009

#27 Markku Autero

I’m not close the knowledgement as superduper, but his opinnions can be easily accepted.
To be honest, I want to know which dslr body I should buy to take in use my old Pentax lences?

8:15 pm - Sunday, July 5, 2009

#28 superduper

Markku, you can use any Pentax DSLR (K100D, K200D, K-m, K10d, K20d, K7…) for your old lens, they will all work. Just authorize diaphragm ring in advanced menu and then even M lens will work. What lens do you have ?

9:15 pm - Sunday, July 5, 2009

#29 mir

what about the fine-tuning autofocus option like k20d?

11:36 pm - Sunday, July 5, 2009

#30 Markku Autero

Yes, I know that I can use all lences in all Pentax dslr bodies, but with which of them I could get best picture quality.
I have lences like 4/20mm, 1,8/85mm, 4/100mm Macro etc. From those I want to take in use the fast short tele and the macro.

6:41 am - Monday, July 6, 2009

#31 Hobbyist

Um the main rivals for the Pentax K-7 is correct, this is a semi-pro body not an entry level body. It’s weather sealed, shoots video, and has 11 AF focus points, I really don’t know how you can be confused. If you are please continue doing your DSLR homework.

9:28 am - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

#32 nicos

To Markku’s question about usability of old Pentax-lenses on Pentax-DSLR’s :
I’ve a comprehensive collection of old SMC-M lenses that I’ve tested on different bodies (K100/200/k-m) and had to realize, that - despite all of them are usable - there is an evident tendency to CA’s with most of them, especially with the longer tele lenses (2.5/200 and 4/300).
The only exception was the 2.5/135 (a K-lens), and, hard to believe, 2 adapted M42-lenses (a 4/200 Pentacon and the 4.5/300 Russian lens from the Photosniper).

10:28 am - Sunday, July 19, 2009

#33 Max Gaston

“...is now the time for Pentax to go for gold and achieve the kudos that has been otherwise lacking in its digital age?”
No it is not. Because of dishonest review like this one. You associate this top notch body, designed to compete with the likes of the Nikon D-300 but with the advantage of being much more portable, it with a bunch of entry level cameras. Dishonest journalism.

4:05 pm - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#34 Mark Goldstein

OK, I think I need to answer all the comments about the Main Rivals page.

We launched a new site redesign in March 2009. All of the cameras that we’ve reviewed since then can be included on the Main Rivals page. It just so happens that we reviewed all of the K7’s main rivals before March, and for technical reasons that I won’t bore you with, we can’t include those cameras on the Main Rivals page.

Which is why we pointed out the K7’s main rivals a couple of times within the other pages of the review, and included all the similar cameras that we’ve reviewed post-March on the Main Rivals page.

I hope that clears things up. We’re not being misleading or dishonest - it’s solely down to a site technicality…

4:18 pm - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#35 Markku Autero

CA (Chromatic Aberration?) is for sure a porblem if the level is high.
I have understood that a film is not so sensitive from which direction the light is coming, but digital cells are, so is this CA problem coming because of that difference?
It would be very good to know are the older lences really usefull with DSLR cameras, or is that possibility only a possibility, but nothing to do with high quality pictures?

5:18 pm - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#36 SpartanWarrior

Nice review but also think that the main rivals should have been 50D, D90, the K-7 is much better than the main rivals you have, anyway I am down to 2 cameras either the K-7 or the D90 which would you choose thanks;)

7:26 am - Thursday, July 23, 2009

#37 Mike

Spartan, I had the same dilemma.
I chose the K-7. The main reason was the in-body SR (a biggie for me!), with other large positive points being:
- a weathersealed, magnesium body
- better bracketing options
- per-lens AF correction setting
- I like the green button
- 100% viewfinder coverage
- flash X-sync port

The in body SR means you can buy really well priced, bright lenses (Tamron 17-50, Sigma 70-200…) and they will benefit from the stabilisation.
With Nikon you either get stabilised but dark and low quality consumer glass, or ridiculously expensive pro-grade bright and stabilised lenses. My budget is between the two - I can afford bright, third party non-stabilised lenses. On a Pentax, they become bright AND stabilised :) (I will not go into the performance of in-body vs in-lens stabilisation systems. I cannot afford the latter on the kind of lenses I want - enough said)

One weakness of the D90 is that some really simple software features were omitted from it blatantly to make it less of a competitor to the D300.

The things Nikon has going for it are:
- a very ergonomic control setup (I have not got my K7 yet, so I cannot compare, but the D90 is a very comfortable and well laid-out camera)
- Nikon’s remote flash control system is the best, period.
- More accessories, lens choice, more current-generation used lenses on the market
- Probably better high-ISO performance

1:36 am - Friday, July 24, 2009

#38 SpartanWarrior

Thanks Mike, i will choose the K-7 also as i had the K20D and sold the body and kept the DA 17-70, DA 55-300, and 35 2.8 Limited Macro and they are all fine lenses, but you know what made me change my mind for the K-7 is in dpreview forums all i hear is how the ISO is not that good so i am hoping they are wrong as i have seen ISO 3200 shots that are good,, since you have one how do you find it? thanks;)

6:01 am - Friday, July 24, 2009

#39 Mike

Don’t have my K7 yet - it’ll be a couple of weeks before I receive it (long story).

As for noise - people were expecting a revolution from the K7, mostly because Pentax have hyped the K7’s new sensor so much. The K7 has *almost* the same noise characteristics as the K20D, the differences probably being a different anti-aliasing filter.

The huge threads on dpreview mostly came from people underexposing images and not realising that the K7 doesn’t have it’s in-camera noise reduction on by default, unlike the K20D, and It snowballed into a gigantic debate, over what I see as very little evidence. Then there are those people who were expecting full frame sensor performance from a cropped sensor - it will never be able to do what a D3 can.

The K7 *is* noisier than some competitors, but mostly because of higher noise reduction being applied by other brands by default. The sensor will probably be a bit worse than the D90 for high-ISO, as that is the class leader afaik, but I’m not sure the difference will be worth writing home about.

If you don’t mind a bit of post processing and are happy with the output of your K20D I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
It is disappointing that the K7 is not a high-ISO powerhouse, but I don’t think its worth abandoning your lenses over, u less you have other reasons swaying you towards Nikon.

For myself, I’m concerned more about a “true” ISO 100 setting. I do care about high ISO performance, but it’s more of an emergency setting for me, when bright lenses, stabilisation, a tripod or off-camera flash fail or are not practical.

9:58 am - Friday, July 24, 2009

#40 Wastl

There seem to be some dead or hot pixels on some pictures (e.g. picture 7 first row: Building and windows), that seems to be a real problem at pentax cameras (also appears on my ist ds) and i heard also on the k20. Hoepfully this will be resolved on the final version of the camera!

10:22 am - Friday, July 24, 2009

#41 Mike

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=32484668

This is probably the most useful review I have seen so far. Note he is a pro, and comparing the ISO and DR behaviour to Nikon’s flagship pro-grade camera.

10:55 am - Friday, July 24, 2009

#42 Markku Autero

I’m becoming more and more interested on K7.
I have also left some Minolta SLR bodies and lences, and because of that I bought Sony Alfa 700 body.
Could anyone compare those bodies, or are there some web sites where they have been compared?

2:44 pm - Friday, July 24, 2009

#43 Geoff

I think many of these posters are borderline retarded (or Nikon/Canon fanboys, as if there is a difference).

It is quite clear that this camera is aimed squarely at both the Nikon D300 and Canon 50D. Good review.

5:04 am - Saturday, August 8, 2009

#44 Paul

I agree with Geoff.  This reviewer has done a great job and knows the market, comparing on several occasions to D300 and 50D.  Those complaining about comparisons to 500D and D5000 have missed the fact that the “Main Rivals” tab in this review is clearly an auto selected range of cameras based on price only.

4:27 pm - Thursday, August 13, 2009

#45 Frank Stanton

Regarding Mr. Goldstein’s comment about the “technical reason” for listing “Main Rivals” which are about two rungs below the K7 rather than real rivals like the Nikon D300, well that is not good enough. You need to get off your butt and rewrite the K7 article to reflect the real rivals so the readers can make informed buying decisions. Your telling readers to just rummage around your site to figure out who the correct rivals are is lame and shows a lack of journalistic integrity, okay? There is a symbiotic relationship between the reader and the website that calls for trust, not lame excuses. I caught an American website, Imaging Resource pulling the same shenanigan as this one. It put up Nikon’s D5000 and Canon’s Xti as main rivals to the K7 and the Panasonic GH1 (which is more vidcam than serious photographic tool). These are cameras meant for casual photographers. The K7 is the Pentax flagship. What is at stake is your website’s credibility. Seeing the same misinformation from two large sites like yours and Imaging Resource could lead one to believe you may have a sweetheart deal with Pentax and that ain’t good.

7:28 am - Saturday, August 22, 2009

#46 Aristophanes

The whole Main Rivals complaints is nonsense. You have to compare the K-7 and ALL cameras on a continuum. It does compare with the D300 and with the D500, and with the T1i, Oly 620, and Panny GH-1.

Internally, it compares to the other Pentax offerings, both current and legacy.

The K-7 may be a flagship to YOU, but not necessarily to the entire market. It is the reviewer’s job to place it on the continuum and let YOU decide where it fits.

I am comparing it to eh D5000, D90, the T1i, the Oly Pen, and the Panny GH-1. Video is important to me so these models are on the same page. Maybe the K-7 is tops, maybe not. They are comparative.

It is not misinformation to impose your singular, subjective value system on the spectrum of models.

5:46 pm - Monday, August 24, 2009

#47 Grove

to Mr. Goldstein -

Will you be doing a follow up on the Pentax K-7, using the production model? I am very interested in this Pentax K-7, but the noise problem present on the review model is disconcerting on a camera of this caliber and cost. It would be worth seeing if Pentax actually corrected this deficiecy or did Pentax of London just tell you that to make it sound good on paper.

Loved the review!
Grove

1:05 am - Monday, August 31, 2009

#48 Adrian

Hello, forgive me if i change your opinion about D90 but i just took one and has dead pixels in the top right corner…

11:17 pm - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#49 Markku Autero

Grove wrote: “Will you be doing a follow up on the Pentax K-7, using the production model? I am very interested in this Pentax K-7, but the noise problem present on the review model is disconcerting on a camera of this caliber and cost. It would be worth seeing if Pentax actually corrected this deficiecy or did Pentax of London just tell you that to make it sound good on paper.”
This is just like I have said it!

5:35 am - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#50 Y.Kedem

I loved the review.
It seems detached and well written.
I’m interested in this Pentax K-7 and I would like to know if the “problems” got fixed with any Pentax new firmware version, and how does a best Pentax lens should effect some of the review conclusions.

2:33 pm - Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#51 Markku Autero

Can all conclusions be compared directly, example the conclusion of Sony Alpha700 was better than the same for K7, so is Sony A700 a better camera?

3:03 pm - Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#52 Stuart

I am using a Promaster 18-200mm lens with my K7 and have been disappointed with the image quality. Am I doing something wrong or is the lens not compatable with the K7?

11:00 am - Sunday, December 20, 2009

#53 knipser_ger

@ Stuart
An 18..200mm will always be a compromise for being
-> more than 10 times magnification “zoom”-range, front to back focal length (at least @ infinity-focus)
-> not offering much in the sense of fastness in relation to maximum aperture-openig.
-> a brick - literally - in handling.

Less light coming through at “open” aperture (which is not much opening in relation to the focal length, at all) means that any focusing, manual or electronig, will have a hard time succeeding. That’s because less light is coming through AND smaller apertures also mean more depth of field. For placing exact focus, a “faster” lens with a greater aperture is best. The viewfinder and sensor-array stays brighter and because of less depth of field to begin with, the focusing will have an easier time to hit the spot.

So what you will most-likely not achieve using this kind of lens (regardless of brand) is:
-> low depth-of-field portrait-work at the shorter focal lengths than ~80..100mm
-> sharp hand-held shots or those with moving subjects at low available light.
plus there will be all kinds of different distortion-charakteristics throughout the whole zoom-range.

To get rid of these limitations, faster and/or more specialised glas is needed. Bear in mind though, that these technical issues do mean just about nothing in good light. As long as your current lens is not built improperly / damaged from the start, it should serve you for most clear-weather situations - or even tripod work - rather well as long as you are willing to bear with its weight and treat it with respect.
However, if it is maximum (technical) quality you want, then no 18..200mm zoom lens in existence is going to be all things to all men. Chose specialised zooms with less magnification ratio for that or even take a look at some fixed prime-lenses for a specific, if not repetetively planned purpose.

3:29 pm - Tuesday, January 5, 2010

#54 Manfred

Good Review! I have the K-7 since September 2009. A great Camera. The Rival 50D and D300 is correctly and for everybody comprehensible. Good job!
Greetings from Austria!
Manfred

2:41 pm - Friday, April 23, 2010

#55 jim r

I had a Sigma 18-200, it worked great on my 10mpixel Alpha.  I decided that 14mpixels was too much for the all-in-one types; I’m very happy with K-7, DA 16-45 and DAL 55-300.  Excellent results!

It’s too bad we have not seen a follow-up page here, especially since we’re up to v1.1 on firmware that has improved or enhanced the camera’s performance in several ways.

3:07 am - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

#56 J. Paul

I have always supported/used Nikon cameras… However, I just purchased the K7 and compared it to my Nikon D200. Sorry Nikon users, the nikor lens don’t lock, the font size is so small I have to put on my reading glasses every time I made menu changes. Personally, image quality is like purchasing a 10,000 dollar stereo system and then comparing it with a 5,000 dollar system, your ears can’t tell the differences until someone with great hearing points it out to you. It’s like purchasing a 300.00 dollars golf putter vs a 100.00 dollar one, unless you have a steady hand and great eye sight your not going to putt very well with the 300.00 dollar putter… period.  There are some many great features the K7 has over Nikon and Canon cameras (large menu fonts) within the K7 price range, otherwise you’re just the golfer who spends lots on equipment and can’t even win a major (photo) golf contest. I like the K7 and yet I can afford the K5, but I choose to spend my money on the Pentax limited lens. When the K5 price drops then I’ll upgrade.

1:02 am - Friday, November 26, 2010

#57 Vladyslav

It seems to me that you do not know the simple basic use SLR because your pictures show a great resource for your camera, but the results show a lot of mistakes in the management of exposure. In an overcast day is to use UV filter and use a lower sensitivity in larger aperture

11:48 pm - Friday, November 26, 2010

#58 Lightroom Boy

Epic Review!
I love this camera it has superb image quality and like most Pentax cameras is under rated.  I highly recommend it!

2:04 pm - Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 14 megapixel, DSLR, pentax, digital SLR, k-7, k7, Pentax K7, Pentax K-7

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