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11-16-2009, 09:27 AM   #1
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Buying advice please: K20 or K7?

A year ago I made the move from Prosumer P&S to a K10D.
Started with kit lense and a Sigma 70-300.
My passion has become wildlife and nature. The 70-300 could not give me what I wanted so:
Splurged on a FMC 300mm DA. And really got into my chosen subject. So much so that the 300mm stays on the camera 95% of the time.
I like to crop my wildlife shots to max the close ups. My 10 mega pixels have served me pretty well but 14+ really sets me to drooling.
The one complaint I have with the K10 is how slow it is in AF.
I have missed many a shot of birds in flight because of the slowness to focus. And to a lesser degree, ground shots of moving animals/birds.
K20 or K7?
The larger sensor appeals and tempts me to either one. Reviews I have read leaves me with the impression that the K20 is not much bette in AF speed than the K10. But I have not had much luck in finding reviews dealing with the K7 AF speed.
Price does matter of course but I would consider biting the bullet if the K7 showed it was a significant improvement. Other wise I guess I would go for the K20 for the larger sensor.
I could get a K20D for $850 Cdn or a K7 for $1200 Cdn (both numbers are approximate with some shipping/taxes added).
After Christmas sales, I expect there to be some reductions and I plan to wait till then to make my move. Unless there's an offer I can't refuse.
In the meantime help me make my decision please.

11-16-2009, 12:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
As AF is an important part of your decision in investing in your new camera, consider the K-7.

The K20D will not offer a greatly improved AF performance to your K10D.
The K-7, on the other hand, is a significant improvement in AF speed and low-light performance. This is one of K-7's big pluses to any of the previous bodies.

The 14Mp can be more useful in times of cropping, but don't expect a world of difference from 10Mp results.

It's quite clear that the K-7 (or even the cheaper entry-level K-x) will suit your needs better than both the K10D and K20D.
11-16-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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I haven't heard k-7 being blazingly fast, or on par with canikon, which is what everybody desires, but "significantly" faster than k10/20ds. I think the AF algorithm is the same, though somewhat "tweaked." Whatever improvement there is, it may be entirely due to faster semiconductor and/or board circuitry, speeding up processing time. But I may very well be wrong and k-7 is indeed a lot faster.

If you could live with the k10d for a bit longer, I'd wait until k-7 drops to ~$850 (bound to happen, sooner than later), when there may be another model out, with a different and/or even further "improved" AF speed, perhaps a different sensor too.
11-16-2009, 09:29 PM   #4
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I'd observe, though, that merely getting faster AF speed is really not going to automaitcally make BIF photography easy - it's tough on a number of levels. Are you already using AF-C?

11-16-2009, 11:00 PM   #5
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Tough call here. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the K7 this year so I picked up a K20D to go along with my K10D this spring. I also had the DA* 300/4. While there are many reasons I would have liked the K7 I have not regretted the K20D in the least. Not all my lenses AF'ed on the money with my K10D and I wanted the per lens adjustment of the K20D. Now I have that capability, but I haven't needed to use it on the K20D. The extra cropping with more megapixels is very handy and the better high iso capability goes great with the DA* 300 giving higher shutter speeds. I carry both cameras out in the woods and keep the 300 on the K20 90% of the time. I like how both cameras handle the same, take the same batteries. etc.
That said I would love the lcd screen on the K7 although it's smaller size isn't that big a deal to me and I just don't know how much I'd use the video capabilities. I tend to manual focus most of the time so the AF issue isn't that big an issue for me although if the camera is gonna have it anyway it might as well be the best it can be. That said the K20's AF has been very good for what I've used it for.
But, if money had not been an issue, I probably would have gotten the K7. IF I already had the lens lineup I wanted. Glass, imho, is still the most important piece of the puzzle. For the difference in price between the K20 and K7, another lens could be added to the arsensal or very close to it. I still need a super wide angle and that has to be taken care of before another body. That was the tough decision for me. I knew I was going to get the K20 but before the wide angle or after? I had dropped the money on a ballhead, tripod and the DA 300 so I went with the K20D for it's cropping ability and not having to keep changing out the 300 for a small lens.
Now that the K7's price seems to be dropping a bit just makes the decision harder. It really comes down to how you're using your equipment and what you're using it for. You need to assess your priorities and budget and decide what works for you:-).
11-17-2009, 06:36 AM   #6
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Beware of the right expectations:

1) First of all, the 14 Mp against 10 Mp actually means:
4672x3104 against 3872x2592 pixels = ONLY 20,6% increase in resolution!

2) The AF speed is dramatically better, I can confirm that.
Even in very low light, my K-7 + DA* lenses focus faster than the Canonikons of my photo friends....

3) Noise: you will gain ~1 stop (ISO 2000 on my K-7 looks like ISO 800 on my K10D).

Further more: faster shutter speed, 720p HD video, lens correction in camera, smaller, lighter, better LCD, auto level, locks on the switches, better user i/f, faster & softer shutter, better grip, AA support in the battery grip, will make the K-7 a much better choice.

Have fun.
11-17-2009, 08:39 AM   #7
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K7 : leading contender.

Thanks for all the advice. It is much appreciated and valuable.
It will help me procrastinate. So many choices.
Not really.
I think my best bet is to wait out the K7 price drop.

I had been inclined to move up to K20. Reason being that I already have extra battery, magnifying eye piece, 2 remotes all of which I know are compatible with the K20, reducing the costs somewhat. And., of course the initial lower price.
K-x looked interesting but, as I am out in all kinds of climate the lack of weather sealing works against it and, I am still hung up on the greater cropping potential of the K20 / K7 sensors.
I shoot RAW and JPEG together and spend time bouncing from one to the other in PS Elements, hacking and slashing with all the emphasis on max close ups.

Marc asked if I use AF C.

I do if I am able to frame before the movement begins. The problem I have with BIF is that I have often have difficulty locking onto the bird to begin with. Made worse by the limited field of view of the 300mm. Which may be my failing rather than the camera’s.
I get lots of sky in the viewfinder but where’s the beast?
I am hoping a faster AF would latch onto the fleeting blur I get to glimpse as I frantically wave around the lens, overhead.

So it will be: wait for the post holiday price drop and economize in the meantime.

I have just downloaded the K7 manual and will study it intensely. Helps me pass the time while the dollars get shaved off the price.
11-17-2009, 10:16 AM   #8
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the way things are progressing, it seems the Nikon D300 would fit your usage better.

If the K7 was 8fps, it would be a no brainer and design wise, it is possible to fit a 8fps mirror system into the K7. At the K7 current pricepoint had it included 8fps and perhaps predictive focusing like Nikon, i dont see a reason not to get one.

My only guess is that either they are working on an accessory that will bump up the speed or there is going to be another body out that will cater to sports photographers which is a very huge market.

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