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07-04-2013, 01:16 PM   #1
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New to me K-7: happily upgraded, anybody else still using their K-7?

A wonderful opportunity arose last week- I have (had now!) a good copy of a K series 30mm f/2.8 that I bought six years ago along with a 28mm f/3.5 M series, when I first purchased my K100D Super and was looking into manual focus lenses as per recommendations on PF and other photography sites.

As time went on in developing a style of shooting (after an ungodly long hiatus from photography) I discovered that these focal lengths were not suited to my style- in fact I sold the 28mm within a month of buying it for 25.00 more than I paid for the two lenses. As well, the recent acquisition of an M series 35mm f/2.8 made me feel "good" in the short end of manual focus primes, and I quite like the lens. So, the 30mm K was languishing for years- I knew of its rarity and its value, thinking of selling it with a few other closet languishers to fund a new body. Ideally a K-5 or K-30. But I know even though the 30mm is often seen selling on ebay for BIN prices of 500.00, the average price is around 300.00 if I'm lucky.

So, the wonderful opportunity arose when scouring local Kijiji ads, I came across someone selling a K-7 body. I have been following the evolution of all Pentax DSLR's since I purchased my K100DS, and so I know of the "weaknesses" of the K-7. I downloaded several RAW files at ISO 1600-3200, though, and worked them a bit with PP NR, finding that decent results can be obtained. The idea came that if the seller of the K-7 was still shooting Pentax, perhaps a trade could be arranged between us: K-7 for K series 30mm. Initial thought was "yeah, right"- but the seller does still indeed shoot with Pentax and so was very interested. The deal was made (he even came to MY house, how wonderful) and now I'm the PROUD OWNER of a K-7, and the 30mm is in the hands of a fellow Pentax shooter who really likes to shoot with shorter focal lengths.

Initial wonderfulness is overwhelming- such an upgrade from the K-100D super in so many aspects. Handling, external controls, the HUGE display screen, shooting speed, customization, autofocus, BATTERY LIFE, digging live view, silent shutter- this camera makes me feel like shooting again! With the K100D super I loved to shoot, but there were always these little things in the back of my head to think about, consider, etc. With the K-7 and its features I just go for it, access external controls when I need them and shoot.

Image quality thoughts
It's different than the K100DS, that's for sure. Different sensor tech and twice the image size. Images feel so much more detailed (they should be at twice the image size!). I ONLY shoot raw, so I won't comment on jpeg quality, etc. I do find that even the RAW files are more contrasty when imported into Lightroom. As I said, to me it's just a different kind of image all together, but I find I can get colors and feel more "dreamy" like the K100DS rendered with PP. Can't go the other way with the K100DS files.

As far as high ISO goes I've noticed a couple of things: first, you can manage the noise quite effectively in PP and not loose tons of detail. I've shot some tests up to ISO 2250, and have been able to get very good results with a happy medium of slight noise being retained in the darker tones yet holding onto a LOT of detail. Even with increasing exposure and lifting shadows.

A big improvement in the ISO department over the K100DS is the incremental steps of ISO available on the K-7: no direct jump between 800-1600 and 1600-3200 as on the K100DS. Sometimes you just need a bit more sensitivity, and now I can dial it in as needed to get good exposure.

Secondly I find the SR system to give my more latitude than it did on the K100DS- it "feels" like the camera gives me another stop of SR room . That's nice- so I can shoot around ISO 1250 with a stop more light available which would equal ISO 2500. That's darn close to what the K100DS gave me with SR on at ISO3200, and believe me, those images couldn't be cleaned up with PP NR as well as ISO 1250 images from the K-7.

That's the other point- the K100DS images didn't hold up to aggressive NR in PP. Even if an image has less noise as exposed than the K7, the lower resolution of the file means that you can't lift shadows and clean up the noise as well as with the K-7's higher resolution and image detail. Aggressive NR just turns the image to mush.

So as time goes on I may change my mind, but right now I'm incredibly pleased with the K-7. I NEVER would have thought that six years ago when I purchased the K 30mm I would have been able to trade it straight across for a new to me camera body! I think that given it's current price used, it's an amazing buy!

07-04-2013, 02:12 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Sounds like a good deal.
I have a K-5 which, apart from the sensor, is much the same. It was a big step up from my K-x and I love the ergonomics and controls. Its a camera you can really grow into I think with logical control layout. I get the feeling it should last too. I bough my K-5 second hand and very pleased with it.
07-04-2013, 03:29 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Well, they kept the body and software for three (K-5, K-5II, K-5IIs) newer bodies and that tells a story about how good it is.
07-04-2013, 03:50 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I still rock my K7 and its still my #1 despite grabbing a K01 recently. I will probably hold onto it for life now as it is my first SLR (digital or otherwise) so is part of the family!
It will still be a long time till I out perform the camera and more likely to grab a new body just for the two body aspect than anything.
The thing with Pentax cameras is there are so many small but fantastic features that just make life easier but if asked you couldn't list them and definitely won't find in a marketing brochure.
And finally the evolutionary approach across the bodies evident since your K100 and probably more so with the Km and K10 Have kept whats great and not messed with what works too much and finesse new features into the design while keeping the price point competitive.


Last edited by Tonto; 07-04-2013 at 03:59 PM.
07-04-2013, 04:39 PM - 1 Like   #5
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K-7 was my first and so far, only DSLR. What a lot of people seem to forget is that when it was released it was the flagship of Pentax. Learn to live within it's limitations and it will give you years of faithful service.
07-04-2013, 06:30 PM - 1 Like   #6
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The K-7 is a great camera. Welcome to the K-7 family.

I have used my K-7 for 4 years and still enjoy it. The only limitations is the poor high ISO performances that I overcome with a series of fast primes lenses (f1.4, f1.8). With a fast prime, the K-7 is a great camera in low light especially if you keep ISO below 800.
07-04-2013, 09:39 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I just went over 20,000 shots with mine while shooting fireworks tonight. (Interval timer, long exposure, let it rip.) I was taking photos earlier today in a stream with water spraying on the camera. (WR, live view to frame a shot with a 9 stop ND filter on, 2 sec. delay.) I took shots of my wife and I (12 sec. timer). I took a couple hundred just ordinary shots besides. Yeah, if I was buying today I'd get the K-5 but the K-7 is extremely competent.
07-05-2013, 01:13 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I even have the predecessor, the K20D, which is identical in terms of imaging quality (has the same Samsung sensor as the K-7), but just didn't offer video or ultrasonic sensor cleaning yet (just rattle cleaning).

If you are a day-active photographer, or even an occasional night photographer with a tripod, then you don't miss out anything with our models. Our autofocus is fit for purpose, at least mine never produces OOF-blurred shots. That's a reason why I didn't bother upgrading to the K-5 yet. Anyway, these days, the autofocus wouldn't be limiting factor, as lens properties are probably much more limiting (e.g. where the front/backfocus isn't constant, but changes across F-stops and/or across the zoom range, and/or the object distance range) (surely some lenses are more affected here, than others).

Nevertheless I'm looking forward to this autumn, where Pentax traditionally introduces new models? Shouldn't the K-5 successor have sensational innovations (i.e. not substantially more than just "some more megapixels" and 100 body color options), than I wouldn't bother neither (unless the K-5 new or used prices drop surprisingly severely, making it just too tempting to go for those...)


Last edited by Frater; 07-05-2013 at 12:59 PM.
07-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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Thanks to all who have chimed in and related their experiences, thoughts, opinions! I'm having a blast with this guy- shot a few with my K 55mm indoors at ISO 1000, with good exposure shots looked great, just cleaned them up a bit in PP and wow! As well was fun with the M 35mm at 1 stop down (between 2.8 and 4.0, what's that, 3.4??) and with SR on got some nice shots at ISO 1600. I don't feel limited, I've got good glass and the images clean up well!

I did have to tweak the AF settings for my entire set of 2 AF lenses (original kit with the 100DS and the Tammy 28-200mm), both at +7. Body seems to have a bit of a back focus issue. But they're both spot on now. I have a great little set of MF lenses that I enjoy so much, and with the pentaprism viewfinder at 100% I find focusing much easier. I have a KatzEye in the K100D with the magnifying eye piece, but I've been forced into glasses since last summer and that wasn't working so well. With the K-7 I find I can just leave my glasses on with no magnifying eyepiece and get good MF without a focusing aid at all.

Good to know that some people still consider this a viable body and are still using it with enthusiasm.
07-05-2013, 11:27 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
Thanks to all who have chimed in and related their experiences, thoughts, opinions! I'm having a blast with this guy- shot a few with my K 55mm indoors at ISO 1000, with good exposure shots looked great, just cleaned them up a bit in PP and wow! As well was fun with the M 35mm at 1 stop down (between 2.8 and 4.0, what's that, 3.4??) and with SR on got some nice shots at ISO 1600. I don't feel limited, I've got good glass and the images clean up well!

I did have to tweak the AF settings for my entire set of 2 AF lenses (original kit with the 100DS and the Tammy 28-200mm), both at +7. Body seems to have a bit of a back focus issue. But they're both spot on now. I have a great little set of MF lenses that I enjoy so much, and with the pentaprism viewfinder at 100% I find focusing much easier. I have a KatzEye in the K100D with the magnifying eye piece, but I've been forced into glasses since last summer and that wasn't working so well. With the K-7 I find I can just leave my glasses on with no magnifying eyepiece and get good MF without a focusing aid at all.

Good to know that some people still consider this a viable body and are still using it with enthusiasm.
Bit late joining the party ...

I am still using my K7 quite a bit, especially for landscape and portrait shots.
I have recently added an ee-s focusing screen to make life easier with the Zeiss 85/1.4 and that makes the K7 even more "acceptable" than I thought.
The DA*16/50 and DA 15mm Ltd are also part of the gear.
I try to keep the ISO as low as possible and the results are still quite gratifying.

I plan on using the K7 for quite some time yet, for as long that the electronics hold on ... which could well be a few more years!

Cheers!

JP
07-05-2013, 11:44 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I have a loaner K-7 I am using. So far I am really enjoying it. I've been shooting with a K-x for a while and love that cam, but I'm seriously thinking of buying this cam from it's owner after the Summer is over. I eventually do want a K5II and I'm actively saving up for that and the 18-135mm. But I think as a second body this camera would just rock and since I need at least two for work likely I will do that. Buy the K-7 as well and relegate my K-x back to personal cam status instead of working it hard till it's dead. Other than a bit of noise when shooting over 800 iso, something I rarely if ever do anyway, I think this camera is just superb. Even that I can easily process out most of it in Camera Raw or with a noise plugin. It's a much heavier cam than I am used to, but I have even more control with it, and the whole WR thing just works for me. Where I live it's hot, humid, and it rains a lot. As much as I love my K-x it's just not up to taking the abuse that this K-7 is. I shot in the rain the other day, something I've never wanted to risk with the K-x, and I just loved being able to do that, actually finish getting my shots even if it was starting to drizzle.
07-05-2013, 09:38 PM   #12
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magkelly- I'm very excited to go shoot in the rain as well- unfortunately it may be a while before I can get even the kit lens in the WR version, but we'll see! Another thing I was always hyper-aware of with the K100Ds, not letting a drop of rain touch it. As far as MF goes, things have been so much better for me with the K-7 with the stock screen with the K 55mm f/1.8 and my Tamron 90mm SP at 2.5 (which is a super-bright focusing lens, I must say.
07-07-2013, 02:57 AM - 1 Like   #13
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The K-7 is great..

Only negatives is ISO above 800 (as mentioned) and I think the DR is a bit better on the K-30/K-5 sensor.. minor point as well the O-GPS1 doesn't work with it either (astrotracer)

In good light it is very good..

I've found with good light + DA 15mm or FA 35mm and the results are good...
07-07-2013, 02:46 PM - 1 Like   #14
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While I wait for my desktop to process some panoramas from my vacation shots, some more about the K-7. The 77 segment metering is a big improvement over the 16 segment system. Yes, I have to compensate for it sometimes but it's more consistent. I will go above ISO 800, even to 3200, if I need to. For those shots, I am very careful about focus (because the lens is open as far as I can) and exposure. The dynamic range starts to fall off rapidly above 800, and brightening shadows means increasing noise, so shots that are poorly exposed are not fixable with processing. Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3 or newer has noise reduction in Adobe Camera RAW that works pretty well even at 3200. My shots at 6400 show the poor DR but sometimes are good enough or I convert to black and white. With fast lenses, I can avoid 6400 until it's really dark. I like using the interval timer for lightning or fireworks. I have even used multi-exposure. Infrared shots work if you have 15 seconds and block the viewfinder.
07-07-2013, 07:46 PM - 1 Like   #15
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To add to the ISO talk, since I 'got over' not using a flash, my K7 now has NO weaknesses! ;P
I set my auto ISO to 400 and let rip!
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