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07-15-2010, 09:37 AM   #1
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Upgrading - K20, K7 or the Next Generation

I’m thinking of upgrading from my K10, which I have used for 3 years now and love, to a K20 or K7.

The K20 shares a lot of features with the K10 which makes it quite attractive to me. It is the same size for one and I prefer the heft and ergonomics to the smaller K7. I shoot manually most of the time and I would be able to swap out my KatzEye screen from the K10 to the K20 saving a lot of money. Apparently the K7 is smaller and won’t accept this screen. In addition I would also be able to share the K10 battery grip with the K20 saving another hundred or so dollars. The K20 evidently has the same size sensor as the K7 which is a bonus but has no video capability which doesn’t bother me at all.

I have heard from other users the K7 meters much better than the K10/20 especially with older manual focus lenses. This is a big plus in my world and might outweigh the ability to swap accessories between the K10 and K20.

In any case I’m soliciting opinions from those of you who have been in a similar situation. Which camera to choose – K20 or K7? Or should a wait for a while and see what the next generation brings?


Tom G


Last edited by 8540tomg; 07-15-2010 at 12:40 PM. Reason: typo
07-15-2010, 10:02 AM   #2
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I'd wait. I'm a bad one to ask about the K20D. A camera I love in terms of design, ease of use, fit and feel and primarily IQ but I just ordered my 4th one. The first 3 have had issues over time and use. The first and 3rd having the exact same problem. I never saw the K-7 as an upgrade but a sideways move. If video is of no interest then not much of a move at all. Yes there were some improvements but it's the same sensor and possibly handles high ISO's worse than the K20D or at least not any better.

If you like your K10D and it's a great camera that was built right. Keep it and wait. The Katz eye is probably going to have to stay in that body though.
07-15-2010, 10:08 AM   #3
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I'm in the same oppinion as Pete.

I've been using a pair of K20's for the past two years for some work and they've been very reliable tools in terms of depandability and use(ISO200 to 6400 all good). Having said that, with the new announcements just aorund the corner, it would only makes sense to wait and see what's to come out of it. IMO. a J7 body with a Kx sensor would most likely be the envy of all Pentaxians for some time to come
07-15-2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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Maybe a K-7, when the next generation comes out.

07-15-2010, 10:11 AM   #5
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On the flip side, if more Pentax cameras are being released, they most likely won't be going back to the K10D/K20D body.

Like you, I too prefer the larger K10D body. If you do get a K20D you get a camera that will take your K10D's grip and battery.
07-15-2010, 10:18 AM   #6
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Next generation. Or perhaps the K-7 will drop a lot in price when the new models are announced.
07-15-2010, 10:18 AM   #7
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I'd lean toward 'wait a while longer,' anyway: the K7's coming down in price according to what seems to be the usual pattern, and I'm not sure the K20s are getting any cheaper at this point.

I adore the K20d: the only things that'd tempt me to upgrade now to a K7 would be the better high-ISO performance, the apparently-incrementally-better AF, and a grip with an AF button.

I wouldn't worry about the focusing screen issues: you'd get a fair price for your old one here, it seems to me.

Not that the price of a K7 is unreasonable at all at this point: but I think whatever choice you make might be a bit cheaper at least in a few months. Either way, I don't think it's a really unhappy choice to be making, even now.

I still think the K20d is a camera that hits one of those 'plateaus' of technology that can give them staying power: this camera does just about what I could do with film, even pushed film: when they came out, I figured, 'The way's clear to get a K10d or K200d: with one of those, I know that I can wait for the K20d to come down to meet me and there I won't be screaming for an upgrade every moment. '

As it happened, the price of the K20d came down faster than I'd expected, and I had a little windfall, so here I am. Still not crying out for an upgrade, in a big hurry. Comfy enough for now.
07-15-2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I'd lean toward 'wait a while longer,' anyway: the K7's coming down in price according to what seems to be the usual pattern, and I'm not sure the K20s are getting any cheaper at this point.

I adore the K20d: the only things that'd tempt me to upgrade now to a K7 would be the better high-ISO performance, the apparently-incrementally-better AF, and a grip with an AF button.

I wouldn't worry about the focusing screen issues: you'd get a fair price for your old one here, it seems to me.

Not that the price of a K7 is unreasonable at all at this point: but I think whatever choice you make might be a bit cheaper at least in a few months. Either way, I don't think it's a really unhappy choice to be making, even now.

I still think the K20d is a camera that hits one of those 'plateaus' of technology that can give them staying power: this camera does just about what I could do with film, even pushed film: when they came out, I figured, 'The way's clear to get a K10d or K200d: with one of those, I know that I can wait for the K20d to come down to meet me and there I won't be screaming for an upgrade every moment. '

As it happened, the price of the K20d came down faster than I'd expected, and I had a little windfall, so here I am. Still not crying out for an upgrade, in a big hurry. Comfy enough for now.

The K-7 is supposedly a step backwards from the K20D on high-ISO performance

07-15-2010, 10:27 AM   #9
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I also think you should wait for the new body announcement, but possibly only to confirm that the K7 is the right move for you. I went from a K10 to a K7 and have always felt that it is a much superior camera, other than the fact that I actually prefer the size of the K10. I have found both the metering and AF to be notably improved over the K10, not to mention the AWB. It's just more satisfying to use. I would skip the K20, but that's just my opinion.

I would wait for the announcement and possibly some reviews/testimonials. If the new body is notably better than the K7, or perhaps is better in an area that is key for you, then you'll have the option to get it. If not, then the greatly reduced price of the K7 makes it a no-brainer in my book. This is similar to my situation. I have decided that I need a second body and it will either be another K7 or its successor, depending on what that is.
07-15-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sebberry Quote
The K-7 is supposedly a step backwards from the K20D on high-ISO performance
I hadn't exactly heard *that.* I've seen what I think are better results than I could get, at least in the 1600-3200 sort of range. Which is *usually* all I need. Though a more-reliably-usable 6400 in monochrome would be pretty nice. I haven't actually seen anything that would *scare me off* of a K7 in that regard, and I do lots of high-ISO: I'm pretty bright-light-phobic, myself, so it's important. Neither, though, am I droolling uncontrollably for a K7: it seems like a significant but not compelling improvement at the ranges I use.

If the OP already had a K20d, I'd say pretty unequivocally, 'Hold out a while,' ... as it is, I say follow the bliss: the worst that could happen is something new comes out that he absolutely must have, and he has to take a hit from re-buying. There will be upgraders selling K20ds (and K7s) soon, seems to be the thing.
07-15-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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I was somewhat "forced into upgrade" because I had the shutter fail on my K10D the week the K7 became available in stores. Odd coincidence isn';t it.

I then determined that the repair price for the K10D was not too bad $325 for shutter mirror assembly and lens mount plus total cleaning and overhaul that I sent it in after picking up my K7.

I chose the K7 over K20 for a variety of reasons, principally the improved metering.

The K10D has the worst metering using legacy lenses with manual apertures (of which I have 20), and when using teleconverters that report aperture direct from the lens without modification. (I use sigma 1.4x and 2x TCs on a sigma 70-200F2.8). the K20D has all the same problems.

Early test reports from forum members showed the K7 metered significantly better, and my own tests since have confirmed this point. metering is greatly improved for manual aperture lenses below F5.6 which also resolves the issue of using teleconverters.

The K7 also has other features which are greatly improved for someone who uses jpegs right out of the camera, including extended dynamic range with highlight and shadow detail protection (when used) and 3 levels of sharpness control.

The other thing to consider is the 77 element metering matrix, (up from 11 on the previous cameras)

All else aside, I don't really think there is much difference between the K20 and K7 in terms of resolution and high ISO performance, after all they both are 14MP CMOS sensors, so that to me is anon issue, although in principle, the K7 should be a little better for noise because it is intended to support video which leaves the sensor powered longer, hence in principle one may expect thermal management to be better.

Having said all that, at this point, it might be interesting to wait, and see what comes next. Except for thelag between *istD and K10D pentax has updated their top end camera annually so we are overdue a little.
07-15-2010, 10:52 AM   #12
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Lowell, do you have an impression of how the newer metering affects the use of aftermarket screens? I'm still using the stock one, and as I get to know the centerweighted pattern, mostly only use the matrix metering when I can't actually see or under other select conditions. (The way I do things is usually to correct by eye or grab an AE-L where it'll feed the camera the right exposure. I still read the light by eye, though it's a lot more relative with age. People used to check their meters by asking me 'What's the exposure on this wall?' These days, I usually need a reading to calibrate myself.)

If I go back to the really-snowy north I might really want the spot metering again, too, which isn't a common need down here for me.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 07-15-2010 at 10:57 AM.
07-15-2010, 11:02 AM   #13
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Tom,

The perennial question, about computers, cameras, cars.

With cameras, it's worth remembering that there is almost always something new just around the corner. If you wait until that's not the case, you'll never buy a camera at all.

Now, if you can wait, that is, if you don't NEED a new camera this week, then wait. I mean, why not? Save your money. But keep in mind that there's an "opportunity cost" involved in waiting. That is, while you wait, you do NOT get to take all those great photos that you might have taken with your new camera. The opportunity cost is small when you already have a good camera whose capabilities are as good or almost as good as those of the new camera.

But you save money by buying a K20D now, while it's cheap. I doubt that it will get much cheaper.

I decided not to upgrade to the K-7. I have a K10D and a K20D and I just didn't see the K-7 as a necessary purchase. When the K20D came out, however, I did buy one almost immediately.

If you've had a K10D and want an upgrade, I think you've provided solid reasons to buy a K20D. You might not have the option to buy a new one for a lot longer. You are certainly right to notice that your focusing screen and battery grip will be compatible with the new camera.

It helps at this point to try hard to immunize yourself against the hype of the marketplace. The K20D is a GREAT camera. If you can't take great photos with the K20D you won't be able to take great photos with a Pentax K7 or whatever comes next, or for that matter, with a Canon 5D MkII or a Nikon D3s. The new camera will have some new bells and whistles and they'll be appealing. TO be honest, I wish my K20D had the higher res display screen found on the K-7. But it's a small thing. I don't take worse photos because of the lower-res display screen.

Good luck with your decision.

Will
07-15-2010, 11:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Lowell, do you have an impression of how the newer metering affects the use of aftermarket screens? I'm still using the stock one, and as I get to know the centerweighted pattern, mostly only use the matrix metering when I can't actually see or under other select conditions. (The way I do things is usually to correct by eye or grab an AE-L where it'll feed the camera the right exposure. I still read the light by eye, though it's a lot more relative with age. People used to check their meters by asking me 'What's the exposure on this wall?' These days, I usually need a reading to calibrate myself.)

If I go back to the really-snowy north I might really want the spot metering again, too, which isn't a common need down here for me.
You didn't ask me, I know, but I thought I could contribute anyway. I recently had a KatzEye with the optibrite treatment installed on my K7 and have found that it doesn't affect the metering whatsoever. I believe that is KatzEye's official directive, also. If I'm not mistaken, they say that it ( a screen w/ optibrite) could affect metering on some bodies, but that it shouldn't on a K7. I'm sure that Rachel at KatzEye would be more than happy to give you personal guidance on this. BTW, I love my screen and I'm really glad I got the optibrite. If one can't focus well with this screen, one may have to give up photography!
07-15-2010, 11:32 AM   #15
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Thanks for the quick responses guys.

Lots of sage advice here and one of the things which make this forum so great. I'm in no rush to purchase anything at the moment. The K10 still works perfectly. I think I'll just keep saving and wait and see what the next generation brings.

Tom G
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