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05-06-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
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A Summer of Adventures With A K-7...

I get to play with a new toy for a while...

A certain military gentleman and Pentaxian sent me his much traveled K-7 to borrow for a few months while I am saving up for my K-30 or K-5 so I could actually try out a more professional level WR cam than my K-x and maybe take a few more lucrative assignments that didn't have me avoiding dust, dirt, and water in fear of losing my precious K-x for a while. (The deal is I kill it I have to pay for it!) I've mostly been playing with it around the house, getting used to it, as my first job since getting it isn't until later this week actually. But I am going to take both that and the K-x with me and see how it goes. Next week I may actually do something I have never dared do with my K-x, go to the beach and take some fabulous shots of the birds, and some really scantily clothed and maybe even wet people!!!

I am hoping I'll have a model or two (not pro) to go with me and I can get some sexy outdoor portraits done to add to my portfolio. I'm negotiating that as I type, and since they won't be clients, just people I will be swapping with, I might actually be able to share some of that day's work with you all. If I pull it off there will be pics here. This thread will be ongoing, basically about me exploring using a K-7 over the Summer to see if maybe I might want a K-5 instead of a K-30.

Thoughts on the K-7 so far?

This sucker is awesome but truly HEAVY compared to my K-x. For some reason it just feels like a brick in my hands compared to the K-x. The alloy vs plastic thing, I guess? I like it, like it's fuller capacity, but it's a big change from my little K-x in terms of handling. It's funny. It doesn't feel so much larger in terms of how it works in my hands, my hands still fit all the buttons okay, but the muscles in my arms and hands sure notice it more after a shoot. If the K-5 is like this think I will have to start lifting heavier weights if I want to get one! I feel like a bit of a wimp when carrying this cam around. It's been rather like carrying my original SP and the heaviest old zoom lens I own. Not impossible but it certainly takes more heft and has me using a tripod a bit more than I like and am used to.

I think compared to the K-x the K-7 is actually a more usable, no nonsense cam. It's been a bit of a step back in term of the iso, true, but really it's not been that much for me. I just don't shoot above 800 anyway so that lack of a really high iso just doesn't bother me. Worst comes to worst I've got the K-x for that anyhow, though that cam is not going anywhere near water ever again. (One near dunk in the pool was enough warning for me, grr.)

I was tempted after a couple of hours using this one to just call it a day, grab a K-7 and be done with it. That combo K-x, K-7 I could do what I have to do with that, so easily and I'm almost there with what I have saved. Another $100 or so in the kitty and I could have my own K-7 in my bag, but the K-30 and WR 18-135mm is still calling me pretty hard. I don't think the K-30 will be as heavy as the K-5 and I really want that lens. The K-7 it's much better than I thought. I'm really quite surprised by how much it can do. So far, I like a lot. Maybe a little too much, lol. I'm going to cry when I have to hand this baby back unless by then I have something even better to replace it with!

Consider this thread a sort of Summer diary, complete with pics....

05-06-2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Yep, I agree with all the above.
Actually, I think the high ISO problem is only with in-camera jpegs. If I shoot raws, they process in Pentax Photo Gallery software very well with the default settings, up to about ISO 2000-ish, depending upon the light. I think people should try the software that comes with the camera, it gets good results and it's 'free'!

I have been inspired to buy smaller lenses with my K-7, the limiteds go so well with the body. I say, spend the money on lenses, the K5 /30 will only get cheaper, lenses won't.
;-)
05-06-2013, 06:18 PM   #3
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+1
The K-7 at low ISO is still a great camera. It is solid, WR and its handling is first class. (Let us remember that the K-5, K-5ii and K-5iis re-used the same body, viewfinder and control system..... It says a lot in my opinion.)

I am no longer bothered by the weigth. It comes with allow body and it is re-assuring IMHO.

Thanks for sharing your nice experience with an oldie but a goodie.

Last edited by hcc; 05-11-2013 at 02:28 PM.
05-06-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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I didn't notice much of a weight thing when I stepped up to the K-7. It has been awhile since I had a K-x though to be honest haha. The camera, like you said, is pretty damn amazing except for the ISO performance. I stepped up to the K-5 and am enjoying the boost in low light performance. I haven't noticed much between the two functionally besides that. Before I got the K-7, I restarted my kit with a K100d since my K-x kit was stolen... Guess there's another Pentaxian out there now at least. Going from that to the K-7 was a night and day sort of thing. I think you got the right idea with a K-x and K-7 kit. You could, technically, sell the K-x and put that towards some glass and a K-5 but with the K-X and K-7 combo, you've got a backup in your kit. I've been trying to sell off my old K-7 since that was the original plan when I get the K-5 but I haven't had any biters for awhile so I'm thinking of just making it a backup camera. The IQ is quite similar outside of noise handling so it wouldn't be a bad idea.

I'm looking forward to your camera diary!

05-06-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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When I was looking for my 1st digital SLR, I compared the K7 to equivalent Canon and Nikon products and found it to be the lightest and smallest of the bunch. This worked well for me having smaller hands. Since I do shoot in situations needing higher ISO settings, I ended up later getting the K5II but kept the K7 as back-up.

One advantage that the K7 has over the K5 is that the image playback rotates in portrait mode whereas the K5 doesn't. Not a big deal but I can see it being more important if you take a lot of portraits.

Enjoy your K7 while you have it.
05-06-2013, 11:01 PM   #6
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I haven't noticed a whole lot of difference between shots taken at 800 iso with the K-7 in raw and with the K-x in raw at all and I have been comparing since that is basically the highest iso setting I tend to use. I never shoot in jpeg so that is not an issue at all. I firmly believe in investing in as many memory cards and batteries as I can afford and carry. I'm done living with limited storage space. I did that with 2GB spread over 4 cards for 7 years with my Fuji and it sucked. I think I have like 100 gig's in memory cards now spread out between 10 cards and I have 5 sets of rechargeable AA's and 3 batteries for the K-7. First thing I did was go out and order 2 more generics on Amazon. Even for a Summer it was well worth it. I only spent $12 and now I have near triple the battery capacity. Portrait shooting is 98% of what I do. That's my top priority, not a high iso. I mean it's nice being able to go to a higher one if I need to, but I've actually never needed to. Not in the whole time I've used my K-x. I think once I tried 800 then 1600 because I was shooting nearly in the dark.

I'm not at all inclined towards selling my K-x. I love that cam and I fully intend to use both for awhile yet. The K-x is the perfect studio backup no matter what WR cam I end up with. As low as they are priced these days, $235 is a pretty normal price for a used body these days from what I can tell, I see no reason to go there. The K-30 and 18-135mm kit has dropped almost $300 since it first came out. If I can get enough extra work this Summer using the K-7 I want to get that kit, I think, and by then likely it will have dropped even more. The K-5 tempts me too, admittedly and I would not mind eventually picking one up used to use as the 2nd work body sometime in the distant future, but I still would not sell my K-x to get it. The end choice is K-30 or K-5, maybe K-7 if I decide to be frugal. Probably won't with the K-30 hitting under $500 soon. I know I can get a K-30 body under $500 early this Fall, it's just whether or not I'll be able to afford the K-30 whole kit with the 18-135mm or not that is still in question.

I had to turn down a fair bit of work over the Fall and Winter because I couldn't risk the K-x near water. Now it's getting hot again and most of the work I will get from late May till Sept will likely be indoor work because of the heat. At least from next month on. Few people want to do a photo shoot outdoors in 98% humidity, 98 degree heat during the Summer here and I can't say I blame them. Between that and the bugs it's hard to get people who actually live here outside. Only the tourists from cold climes fry themselves in the dog days of Summer here. The rest of us go from air conditioned houses and offices et all to air conditioned cars and back again! :P My prime season for beach and pool shoots ends in late May and while I plan on taking full advantage of it while I can I don't expect miracles. I think I can make enough extra for a K-30 or K-5 body and at that point I would still consider myself head of the game. If I can make more, enough for that kit? I will be very happy indeed but I'm not counting on that, just hoping. Ideally I'd like to have a K-30/K-5 combo, that 18-135WR and maybe the 55-300 someday but that's probably pushing it given my budget and how tough it can be to get paid work here outside of doing a ton of weddings. Not going there. Physically that's too much for me and I admittedly do not have the temperament for working with the Bridezillas besides. I'd sooner eat snails every night for a month and FYI, I loathe escargot.
05-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
This sucker is awesome but truly HEAVY compared to my K-x. For some reason it just feels like a brick in my hands compared to the K-x. The alloy vs plastic thing, I guess? I like it, like it's fuller capacity, but it's a big change from my little K-x in terms of handling. It's funny. It doesn't feel so much larger in terms of how it works in my hands, my hands still fit all the buttons okay, but the muscles in my arms and hands sure notice it more after a shoot. If the K-5 is like this think I will have to start lifting heavier weights if I want to get one! I feel like a bit of a wimp when carrying this cam around. It's been rather like carrying my original SP and the heaviest old zoom lens I own. Not impossible but it certainly takes more heft and has me using a tripod a bit more than I like and am used to.
I know how you feel. I went from using a *ist 35mm to the K-7 and it was a world of difference in terms of weight. Nevertheless, I got used to it and, at the same time, came to appreciate the reassuring heft and sturdiness of the DSLR.

Although it means adding yet more weight to your setup, I'd highly recommend considering a battery grip. A friend with a Canon SLR demonstrated the benefits back when I still used the *ist, and the usefulness of that accessory carried over to my K-7. Shooting in the portrait orientation feels much more natural, composing is faster (IMHO), and getting straight horizon lines is easier. Of course, there is the extended battery life, as well.

It sounds like taking a step backward, but the battery grip option is one of the reasons I encourage people to look for used K200Ds. Although they are of an older vintage, the K200D is like a cross between a K20D and a K-x. Small and light, yet weather sealed like the K20D and K-7/5/etc. with the battery grip available if you want it. Really, it's the lack of a battery grip option gives me any kind of major pause when it comes to the K-30, which otherwise is a nicely speced camera...

Happy shooting!
05-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Thoughts on the K-7 so far?
You can find good qualities and things to like in just about any camera. I had a K-7 once. I took a picture of a person next to diffused light by a window at low ISO. The interior side was dark. The dark part had so much ugly noise in the RAW file I think that was the last time I used it. It also has poor focus speed, not so good low light focusing ability and overall slow.

While I liked the body size and all, it could not deliver the goods I wanted. Of course everyone has different needs and expectations. And for the dirt-cheap price you can pick up a used K-7, I guess it is now a good value. But compared to what I have today, it really is like the difference between night and day.

YMMV.

05-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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I almost can't believe you're talking about the same camera, seriously. I have had no problems focusing the lens I have on it right now in any light including low light. I am so impressed with this lens and the camera actually. My K-x is okay under normal light but most lenses in darker situations it ends up searching far more than I'd like and I end up using 800 iso and flash more than I'd like indoors and in the evening. So far the K-7/16-50 DA combo has been fast to focus, and very accurate. Far better than the lenses I am used to. I think it's pretty posh compared to my Tamrons. I haven't tried those on the K-7 but I am about to this afternoon. I want to see what happens when I use those same lenses on the K-7 vs the K-x.
05-07-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
to borrow for a few months
Enjoy the "loaner" and I look forward to your summer images being delivered here almost blog style.
05-07-2013, 12:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I almost can't believe you're talking about the same camera, seriously. I have had no problems focusing the lens I have on it right now in any light including low light.
...
Then you haven't experienced what other cameras (brands) can do compared to the K-7 is my guess.
05-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #12
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I've played some with Nikons and Canons actually. My one teacher has a whole room full of various cameras, lenses and such and when I was out there visiting with him again he let me play with a couple of Nikons and Canons in the studio. Honestly I was not all that impressed. I don't like the Canon menus at all. I find their cameras too big for me and clumsy to use. Nikon is a bit better and if I ever had to add a second DSLR for work that was not Pentax, likely I'd go there. But I would not have said that the cameras I tried were all that much better than a Pentax K5 which I also handled in too many ways. There are a lot of things that matter to me in terms of what I like in a camera. A fast, accurate focus is of course one of them but IMHO where it most counts for me is ergonomics and ease of use and that's where Pentax kicks butt compared to Canon or Nikon. I just don't like the feel or the menu set ups for their cams at all. The focus may be better in some Nikon/Canon cams but I'm usually too busy noticing how awkward and big they are by comparison to my Pentax DSLR's to even care. Using the K-7 is still harder for me because it weighs more than I'd like, but the reach of the camera, the buttons and menus and all that, still really works for me, and honestly I'm quite impressed with this combo. It's been a lot faster than my K-x/Tamron combo, for sure...
05-07-2013, 05:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I've played some with Nikons and Canons actually. My one teacher has a whole room full of various cameras, lenses and such and when I was out there visiting with him again he let me play with a couple of Nikons and Canons in the studio. Honestly I was not all that impressed. I don't like the Canon menus at all. I find their cameras too big for me and clumsy to use. Nikon is a bit better and if I ever had to add a second DSLR for work that was not Pentax, likely I'd go there. But I would not have said that the cameras I tried were all that much better than a Pentax K5 which I also handled in too many ways. There are a lot of things that matter to me in terms of what I like in a camera. A fast, accurate focus is of course one of them but IMHO where it most counts for me is ergonomics and ease of use and that's where Pentax kicks butt compared to Canon or Nikon. I just don't like the feel or the menu set ups for their cams at all. The focus may be better in some Nikon/Canon cams but I'm usually too busy noticing how awkward and big they are by comparison to my Pentax DSLR's to even care. Using the K-7 is still harder for me because it weighs more than I'd like, but the reach of the camera, the buttons and menus and all that, still really works for me, and honestly I'm quite impressed with this combo. It's been a lot faster than my K-x/Tamron combo, for sure...
I'm not a touchy-feely person when it comes to cameras. I don't need them to feel good to give me inspiration to take pictures. But the bottom line my FF Nikon takes the shot immediately when I push the shutter button and hardly misses. As far as low light focus goes, yes, it's way better. I know this because I use the proportional modeling light preview on my studio strobes ( the modeling light is proportional to the strength setting ) and the K-7 could hardly focus with them and was slow. My Nikon doesn't miss a beat and is fast.
05-08-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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The K-7, K-30 and K-5 are listed within 20 grams of each other here, so I think arm workouts are in your future. After a while, instead of the K-7 feeling heavy, the K-x will feel light.
05-09-2013, 06:22 PM   #15
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Well we do have a free gym such as it is where I live. Some old weight machines and free weights. Usually I stick to the treadmills and 3-5lb weighs but I might just have to step up my game a little if I want to heft a K-5 or K-30 from now on. Last few days I've been getting used to it. I have a shoot Saturday and I wanted it to be effortless using it, wanted to know all the different settings I'm not used to. But I tell you, I'm feeling it in my forearms like I was lifting in the gym, lol. Is the K-30 really this heavy? I was thinking that one would be a bit lighter being part plastic even with WR. For some reason I just thought K-x light, almost....
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