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02-19-2012, 03:29 AM   #1
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K-7 to K-5 dilemma

I have owned my K-7 since the end of 2009 and very much love the camera - it's a joy to use. Substantially better in every way than my previous DS.

The only area where it is lacking is in the handling of image noise. I will use it at ISO 1600 if I have to get the shot but I much prefer shooting at 800 and below. The noise problem is especially irritating in the shadows of images.

However I find the overall image quality to exceed the DS and noise to be handled pretty simiilarly in terms of intrusiveness.

I am off to California at the end of May for a couple of weeks with friends . I had been considering upgrading to the K-5 for a while and now that it's price has dropped below 700 it's very tempting... I will also be part-exchanging some lenses against a DA* 60-250mm.

I could probably part exhange the K-7 for around 200 -250 off a new K-5 however I just don't know whether to wait and see what Pentax unveils in September.

Is the K-5 that much better than the K-7 in image quality? I know responsiveness should be broadly similar. Is the K-5's new AF system a noticeable improvement over the K-7's?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

02-19-2012, 03:39 AM   #2
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I went from K10D to a K-7 to a K-5. IMHO, the K10 > K-7 was a jump in IQ. The K-7 to K-5 was a huge leap in IQ, especially in high ISO performance.

AF and responsiveness from the K-7 to K-5 seems improved, but I think the increase in image quality is what you'll notice the most.
02-19-2012, 04:10 AM   #3
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I'm in a similar position (own a K7, love it, but am envious of the K5 high ISO / pushed exposure image quality). For me, I am determined to wait until the next DSLR is announced and decide whether to upgrade (probably to a used K5) then, or wait until the new body becomes affordable.

While there is undoubtedly a leap in image quality from K7 to K5, the body is essentially the same, and I would regret it if I upgraded too soon and didn't take advantages of whatever body improvements they cook up on the next model. I would particularly like to see an articulated screen, and focus peaking in live view.

I also have to admit, the K7 is excellent for 90% of my sort of shooting. I sometimes shoot at higher than ISO1000, but the noise isn't critical as those sorts of images are unlikely to need printing at large sizes....
02-19-2012, 04:11 AM   #4
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Moving from a K-7 to a K-5 is easy, layout and controls remain almost identical.
The areas where there are significant differences are IQ and AF.
In terms of resolution there is no big difference. However, the K-5 has a noticeably broader dynamic range, and much less noice at higher ISOs. After using the K-5 for some 15 months now I still sometimes find it difficult to believe my eyes when looking at the IQ the K-5 is producing at ISOs from 1600 up to 12800. Like you, I also found hight-ISO noice to be K-7s only significant drawback. In this respect the difference is striking.
AF has also been improved. AF in the K-7 was definitely a step forward compared to earlier models, but the K-5 is a bit faster and less prone to hunting.

02-19-2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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but the new camera will always be expensive
the successor of k-5 will likely be 1400-1500 at launch
r u willing to pay that much?
if u want the current price of k-5 for the next model, then u need wait another 1 and half year

Last edited by liukaitc; 02-19-2012 at 07:41 AM.
02-19-2012, 07:35 AM   #6
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I was very happy with my K20 - same sensor as your K7. As the price of the K5 came down, the more content I was with the K20 - for some reason. I was just prepared to pass the K5 over to a large extent. I had saved the funds, then one morning I saw a store over in California had apparently a pricing error (it was low and they were an authorized Pentax dealer), and I just ordered (I didn't even think about it - just dialed the telephone) - and they delivered the camera.

For the targeted reasons you listed (noise, shadows, high ISO) the camera delivers. Also it provided lower ISO at 80 with suburb dynamic range. If you are going to be doing landscapes, scenery, beaches, sunsets, etc., then in my opinion it would be well worth it. You really can't go wrong - especially if you can afford it and have the funds available.

Now that I have used it for a few weeks - was my idea of skipping it reasonable. Well its replacement has not been announced, so we have no idea as in possible improvements. Am I happy and pleased - Yes. Will I feel the need to even consider the replacement - not really unless it makes me an Ansel Adams - an that is not likely....

Also, like Liukaitc observed, the price will be higher, and since the K5 stated at $1,700 I would think that it would be that high or a bit higher. Thus, a new K5 (with a Pentax extended warranty) or wait a good year and a half. With the K5's history I wanted the extended warranty's additional piece of mind (which pushed me to new).

Last edited by interested_observer; 02-19-2012 at 07:42 AM.
02-19-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
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Same boat, but now the K-01 is in the mix as well. The proving point for that cam will be usability for chasing my kids with MF lenses on what I expect to be a slightly-more-than-desired delayed and glare-covered LCD with focus peaking. I don't see how that will work...but the rest of the K-01 appeals to me (esp new video modes and focus peaking).

Likely I won't buy a mirrorless until Pentax releases a FF version with top-notch EVF. *crosses finders*

Also, I'm wary of the rumored 24MP APS-C sensor that's been rumored for the K-3. I can't imagine DR and high-ISO will improve with such small pixel density...
02-19-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the helpful replies.

I get the impression that the K-5's noise handling is better to the extent that it will enable you to get shots that the K-7 couldn't get, would that be a fair assessment or is that too extreme?

I would be prepared to pay up to 1500 on a camera but no more. I imagine that the K-5 replacement will be no more than 1100 at launch - assuming that it isn't FF of course. However the K-5 's price is so good right now. As I am not going to California for another couple of months I can wait a few weeks more to make a decision. I was hoping that CP+ might have provided some answers but it hasn't really. Of course the K-R replacement might suit my needs (should it ever appear).

02-19-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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I can speak from experience. I upgrade from k10 to k-7 and now k-5; still have all three cameras. The k10 is only used for testing MF/m42 lenses, the k-7 serves as the backup for the k-5 and used for outdoors primarily; for indoor I use it with hot-shoe flash. There is no argument about the k-5 IQ being the best for all 3 but more importantly the ability to use high iso without much noise (iso6400 is completely useful). With the k-5, I can use TAv mode without hitting the upper-ceiling of iso-range; it is almost a must for no-flash shots such as indoor stage show; this is the case where the use of TAv mode really shines. In my case, I honestly don't think that I need more than k-5 for now and of course YMMV.

If you wait for the k-5 replacement, you are either waiting for the k-5 price to drop or you want to get the k-5 successor which will undoubtedly be better but you will also be paying a bit of premium as an early adopter. With the announcement of k-5 replacement in the future, perhaps, the price may drop a bit further but I doubt it would much lower (may be closer to the k-01 but not lower). Also, I am not sure how much I would gain from an upgraded k-5 (better sensor, better AF and/or better flash may be) but I don't need those improvements for my usage - I only take RAW (22-24 MB files per picture file is large enough already) and I have learned the technique to use AF effectively (anticipation and AF button) and I have no problem using hot-shoe flash to the desired effect. I can wait for the FF whenever it comes but not needed to improve my skills and picture quality, but nothing (APS-C) more at this point.

Last edited by aleonx3; 02-19-2012 at 10:39 AM.
02-19-2012, 10:32 AM   #10
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I am already in California, and just yesterday went on a hike with my K-7. I am halfway through reviewing the results on Lightroom 3 and photo after photo seems superb as shot.

Everyone today seems to need high ISO. I recall the old film days when we were all happy with ISO 100 to 400. And those ranges are fine for most of the shooting I (and probably most of us) do.

However, having said that, I am a gear-head as well and will one day get the K-5 -- not as an upgrade but as an addition. The K-5 won't be better than the K-7 at ISO 100 to 400; so I expect to extend the life of my K-7 by only using the K-5 on dreary rainy-cloudy days when I want to go hiking despite the discomfort and may push the K-5 up above the K-7's comfort zone.

However-however, if I could only afford one camera I wouldn't be upgrading from a K-7 to a K-5 at this point. Most California days, even the cloudy ones, can be handled quite well by a K-7. If I were a one-camera-only sort of person I'd keep the K-7 and get it some new lenses.

Bear in mind that one-camera-only gear-heads have developed excellent rationalizations to justify to their spouses the need to upgrade from the K-7 to the K-5. So do they, you, really need, need, need, a K-5 or do you merely want one. If the latter that's where I am as well, but since I don't need a K-5 I am willing to wait until the price drops a lot lower.

Lawrence (also owner of a K-20d & a raft of Olympus cameras)
02-19-2012, 11:52 AM   #11
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Historicity, the IQ will be equivalent at ISO 100-400 only if the exposure is spot on what you wanted. The K-5 has loads more headroom in the highlights and especially shadows than the K-7, so post-processing (both creative and corrective) will be more flexible. Oh, and I've seen some phenomenal high DR shots from ISO 80 that the K-7 can't achieve. That said, I agree with the rest of your points.
02-19-2012, 12:51 PM   #12
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I feel your pain! Just returned from my local camera store with my new K5!!!! I love my K7 and will keep it until it breaks. My frustration was having to spend too much time and energy applying in camera Noise fixes and PP Noise reduction. I do a lot of low light indoor and outdoor work. Will be heading to England in a year and plan to spend a lot of time in churches etc, so really wanted high ISO capabilities. Battery is charging so will let you know how I do. Can't wait, but worried I may still not be completely satisfied. But from what I've read over the last 2 years, I'm sure I'll be happy! $999 in Canada now.
02-19-2012, 01:08 PM   #13
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Had K-7 sold it. Bought K-5 happy.

02-19-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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Hi Caat,

I am in exactly the same boat as you - K7 is a brilliant camera, but I find that ISO & AF let it down. I mainly shoot sports (rugby or football) and the Welsh winters tend to be dark, damp and dim! Everything I've read, and heard, about the jump from K7 to K5 makes it a definite reality - but when?

The K5 has been on my wish list for ages and will be getting one - I don't crave a FF as the APC crop factor makes a 200mm a 300mm (very handy for sports).

Not sure when I'll get it, hopefully K5 prices will fall once the new DSLR is released!

Cheers now,


BTW - there's a fantastic camera shop not too far from me in Narberth, Pembrokeshire. It's called Celtic Vision & his (Ivan's) prices are as cheap as the net.

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