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07-06-2009, 11:01 PM   #1
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First shoot with the K-7

I did a model shoot with the K-7 today. I was a bit unfamiliar with the camera but the model was very understanding of my lacking of eptitude and I was getting the hang of the camera by the end of the shoot.
So, where to start.
The K-7 is much smaller than the K10/K20. More so than what one would think.
It feels much more compact in the hand, And I found I was often over
reaching for the 4 way controller.
More on that fiasco in a moment.

I shot almost everything today with the 70/2.4, though I did some shooting
with the 55/1.4
The vertical grip is amazing. It balances perfectly with both the rather
petite Limited lens, and the much larger DA* lens. Shooting horizontal felt
a bit cramped, I often found myself getting lost on the 4 way switch and
pressing the liveview button instead.
Shooting vertically, the 4 way is a reach if I use my index finger on the
shutter, switching over to using my ring finger for pressing the shutter
worked a lot better.

Now, about the 4 way controller.
Unless I've missed something, the 4 way controller is broken. By default, it
provides access to the various functions, and one has to press the OK button
to get it to work as an AF point selector. Unfortunately, it won't bloody
stay as a focus point controller when set to that function. It takes every
possible opportunity to revert to function control.
Check your exposure with the instant review, when you go to take a picture,
you've lost access to focus point selection. Let the camera go to sleep, its
back to function select when you wake it up. Turn it off and back on, it is
on function control again. I believe I had it revert a few times just
because, and not for any reason I could fathom.
There is a little icon in the viewfinder that lights up to tell the operator
that the focus point controller is active, but I still found it to be really
annoying to have to be constantly resetting the function

Note to Pentax: Please put an option in the remembered settings to allow one
to choose what the 4 way switch defaults to.

The user mode is still broken as far as I am concerned. I would really like
the user mode to allow me to lock in a shutter speed and aperture
combination by programming it in manual mode.
It would also be nice to have multiple user setups available like the istD
had.
However, to get that I'm not willing to give anything else up.
I have my user mode set up to do HDR's, since I likely won't use it for
anything else.

Autofocus with the 70mm lens was quick and accurate enough most of the time.
The end focus point struggled a bit if I had the lights a too far away, but
the more central AF points were quick to lock with very little hunting all the time. I'm quite certain that a timed test would show an improvement in AF speed with this lens anyway. The 55/1.4 is another story. AF was about as fast as with the K20.
The camera showed no focus inaccuracy under the incandescent modeling
lights, and the auto white balance is just about perfect.

I shot a grand total of 1641 images in just over 2.5 hours. That works out
to one shot every 5 seconds or some such. Other than the 4 way controller
issue, the camera was flawless for the entire shoot. The camera is quiet and
competent and very easy to use. There are a few major differences between it
and the K20 that I found a bit confusing. As an example, I wanted to check
the ISO before starting, and drew a complete blank for half a minute
regarding where to find it (the button conveniently marked ISO is a good
place to look).
Using an Extreme III 8gb card, the file writing light flashed for perhaps a
second and went out after taking a picture. The camera does write files much
quicker.
Interestingly, my DNG files are between 11mb and 12.5 mb.
This is about half the size of a K20 DNG, so I must presume that Pentax has
decided to compress them in camera. I hadn't heard anything about this
during pre release discussion.
Perhaps I slept through that class.
Oh and, the camera doesn't use power. I did the entire shoot with the
battery that came with it. After a while I kept expecting it to die on me,
but it just kept going. Well over 1600 shots on a single battery using AF
lenses, and I could have kept going.
I do keep my chimping to a minimum, but this is still pretty impressive.

The 70mm lens is one that I haven't used very often. I think that is about
to change though. It is a very pleasing little lens to use, and returns
really nice pictures. I have been finding manual focus under studio light to
be a struggle lately, even with the 85/1.4, so I elected to go with AF. The
lens performed flawlessly with the camera, I don't think it missed focus
once.

To compare the K20 & K-7 cameras on paper, the K-7 looks somewhat better.
The reality is that the K-7 is a much improved camera in most every respect.
Fix the 4 way controller problem and the K-7 is pretty much the perfect
camera.


Last edited by Wheatfield; 05-09-2011 at 09:24 PM.
07-06-2009, 11:38 PM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
The 55/1.4 is another story. AF was about as fast as with the K20.
The camera showed no focus inaccuracy under the incandescent modeling
lights, and the auto white balance is just about perfect.
Dang... that was probably one of the reasons I wanted to get the K7: AF speed of the DA*55. Still slow, huh?

I tried out the K7 myself in the store (just some hands on to see what all the hype is about). AWB is no superbly amazing, even in tungsten as you mention. No more super yellow cast like on my K100D/K200D.

Great review and definitely gives me a good idea of what to expect if I decide to get one. Thanks for sharing!
07-06-2009, 11:40 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Fix the 4 way controller problem and the K-7 is pretty much the perfect
camera.
Pentax will fix the mess soon, by adding a menu option allowing to select the default operation of 4-way controller (either "Function recall" or "AF point
selection").

Dario

Last edited by Dario; 05-09-2011 at 11:02 PM.
07-07-2009, 12:21 AM   #4
Ash
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Great practical observations Wheatfield.
I was also apprehensive about the 4 way controller though the other features just seem to make the K-7 a winner anyway.
Thanks for sharing this info.

07-07-2009, 12:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dario Quote
Pentax will fix the mess soon, by adding a menu option allowing to select the default operation of 4-way controller (either "Function recall" or "AF point
selection").

Dario
I certainly hope so, it is a nuisance the way it is currently set. The frequency I change focus points outweighs the frequency I wish to access functions.

I will be giving mine a thorough workout tomorrow photographing a work function.
07-07-2009, 12:31 AM   #6
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Wow, 1641 shots and not one posted image?
07-07-2009, 12:39 AM   #7
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DA*55 lenses are slow, not Pentax K-7

Here some info: http://www.informatik.uni-bremen.de/foto-ag/DA55/DA55.html
07-07-2009, 12:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by krypticide Quote
Wow, 1641 shots and not one posted image?
they don't call them keepers for nothing,

same here. I'm not yet ready to share those photos myself. I'll post them when I'm done measurebating them.

07-07-2009, 12:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
Dang... that was probably one of the reasons I wanted to get the K7: AF speed of the DA*55. Still slow, huh?
Sorry , I just wanted to clarify because I've never tried out the DA*55.
Is it a slow focusing lens to start with on the K20D?

The OP comment was that focusing is no faster on the K-7, but may or may not be problematic.
07-07-2009, 12:52 AM   #10
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Thank you for the extensive report! Very interesting!

One thing though: having to press the OK button to activate AF point selection doesn't strike me as such a bad idea. I agree that I will find having to press it every time bothersome, esp in the beginning when getting used to the new camera, but I expect it will soon turn into an automatism. I always use AF point selection and currently I'm frequently frustrated by having to move back to the AF point I selected for a previous shot because I accidentally moved the AF point to the other end by unintentionally touching the 4way controller. This is one frustration that won't happen to me again with the K-7...

Wim
07-07-2009, 01:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
.... I always use AF point selection and currently I'm frequently frustrated by having to move back to the AF point I selected for a previous shot because I accidentally moved the AF point to the other end by unintentionally touching the 4way controller. This is one frustration that won't happen to me again with the K-7...

Wim
Same here. I've simply lost count of the number of times I've unintentionally moved the AF-point when trying access the various Fn selections.
07-07-2009, 01:36 AM   #12
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Wheatfield

on the four way controller.

My thoughts are that it is a safety measure to have to press "ok" to activate it and if no other features are used you need to ok button again to remove, if other features are used as you mentioned above it is de -activated... if it did stay on all the time there is the chance of moving the focus point unknowingly.

The manual states the following
page 124

The position of the AF point is stored even if the camera is turned off or the AF switch is moved to point or auto

when the following operations are performed changing of the AF is cancelled.

The main switch is turned off
The Mode Dial is turned
The AF point switch is turned
The OK button right arrow button, menu button, info button, or LV button is pressed.


Seems to be along the lines of the need to push the button down on the mode dial.

There is by the way a focus point display bottom right of the lcd screen as well to make settings without looking through viewfinder, it also indicates on or off by a highlight feature of white arrows

Neil

Last edited by nulla; 07-07-2009 at 01:43 AM.
07-07-2009, 04:41 AM   #13
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Thanks for the great review report!

The 4-way controller could default to AF point select if the AF-dial is set to "SEL" anyway. Or it least, made to work this way via a custom setting.

Personally, I only use AF selection on a tripod. Otherwise, as long as AF selection doesn't use eye ball tracking, it is too slow for me. I focus and recompose. But you're right, shooting model poses almost is like using a tripod
07-07-2009, 05:17 AM   #14
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wheatfield

great review.

as for the "minor flaws" I also found the focus selection a bit "interesting" I am sure it is doing exactly what is programmed but it was not intuitive, which is unusual for pentax, usually things are so well defined you don't need the book.

As for user mode, I will disagree. User mode is called MODE for a reason, you select a Mode i.e. Tv, Av, M, etc I don't disagree it may be nice to have a favourite settings button but mode is mode. On the K10 I used it to set up a different lighting scenario, so you could visit a setting in advance, work out lighting and WB etc, and then be able to come back to it directly. It was nice that you coould do that. Setting an exact shutter speed is a little too confining.


As for the size, I was a little skeptical when I first tried it out. It is about the same size as my *istD, but the grip is better designed. I have never gone for a vertical grip, and on the *istD the small size took some getting used to. this grip is more like the K10/K20 in feel.

one thing that I wish pentax had deciced on by now was the location of the green button, 3 bodies, 3 locations, although the location on the K7 is much like my PZ-1 and the exposure button on it.

One thing I played with was the extended dynamic range, and protection of shadow detail. I have not done thorough testing but it seems to have compressed the stops below neutral exposure a little, so light shadows are about +1/2 stops, but when you get down to the bottom, below 25 grey scale, it lifts these details about 1 full stop. I plan to spend some time to characterize this, but it is useful to have, once you know how much it will do.
07-07-2009, 06:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
it is useful to have, once you know how much it will do.
Yes. It is a pitty that the user manual gives no quantitative details, esp. with all the new settings. Why isn't all the info sitting on the developer's desks be put into an appendix, or being made available online, by Pentax?
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