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07-15-2009, 10:03 PM   #1
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honeymoon over, bring on the divorce

Well, despite my initial (and to some extent continuing) enthusiasm for the K7, I finally packed it up and it'll go back tomorrow. It is a great camera and in fact I went and handled a900, 5Dmk2 and D700 the other day out of frustration and frankly the Pentax just feels "right." And the Pentax glass keeps me here...

But in the end the new form factor just isn't comfortable for me to carry (again, I have a very particular style/approach so ymmv and take my opinion with a salt lick). As I never have really complained about the iq for the K20d, there wasn't much of a bump from the K7 other than much better AWB indoors. I also have gotten used to the AF performance of the K20d and anticipate pretty well. After shooting a lot of comparisons what I found was that there were some images where I preferred the K7, but an equal number where I preferred the K20d (all shot raw and developed in either Aperture or Raw Developer). I could almost always tell which was which, and the K7 is probably more "accurate" with metering but I actually like the way the K20d exposes for what I shoot. Part of that could just be that I'm used to the K20d look.

The other big feature of the K7, video, turned out to not send me. While I have seen some great examples, the reality is that my DLux4 captures HD video with excellent low light performance. I also have Canon HD miniDV cams, and I've come full circle back to my original arguments against video on dSLR. I do a lot of run and gun and while a camera like the XH-A1 is much larger, it is easier to shoot with, does handheld well, and has built-in robust sound capabilities. And I'm lazy - the less I have to think about what I'm doing other than seeing the shot, the better.

My take at this point is that there are a variety "still cam" video implementations out there, so for quick and dirty my DLux4 will do the job, and for more serious the XH-A1. The dSLR does give the DOF advantage so if that is important to what you're trying to capture then the K7 is great. Or if you just want to carry one camera and grab occasional video it is great. In my case I'd likely just carry DLux4 and K20d to cover my bases as I can pocket the DLux4. As I said, I'm lazy. Shooting video on a dSLR is just too much work at this point

At any rate, I certainly think the K7 is a great camera and I can see why most (all?) are very happy with it. But to go along with that, the K20d is a great camera as well. And for me, the form factor is a better fit. For instance, the 50-135* certainly balances better (again, to me) on the K20d than on the K7. But any of the DA or FA ltd primes on the K7 creates a small/tough/elegant package that frankly I don't think Canikon can touch. I was thinking today a 15/43/77 with K7 would be an amazing travel setup.

In a perfect world I'd have both K7 and K20d depending on my mood, but I'd rather buy some more glass and keep shooting the K20d while looking for the "ultimate" street cam in-between the DLux4 and K20d.

For those with K10 or earlier, I think the K7 is a "no-brainer" upgrade, especially if you want video and some of the other features. If price is an object, I think the K20d is a great choice if you're actually willing to learn how to work with the camera, and use fast glass.

07-15-2009, 10:27 PM   #2
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The AF performance is really what attracted me to the K-7. I feel that I miss expressions even in good light when the camera doesn't focus fast enough :/ Handling IS a big deal though.

Have you used the camera for as long as youc ould before refunding it? maybe you'll warm up to it in time...
07-15-2009, 11:17 PM   #3
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You gonna miss all the fun with the K-7.......

To be honest, if a K20D user feels no strong reason to upgrade to the K-7, that's understandable; just shows you how good the K20D is to start with.

Not everybody needs/ wants all the new and improved stuff which the K-7 offers.
Hey, if low-light AF was a priority, I probably wouldn't have bought Pentax to start with....but its nice Pentax got it right on the K-7.
07-15-2009, 11:29 PM   #4
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Good objective observations there.
The K-7 and K20D do differ in many ways, but not too much in the things that are of most importance - as you say.
The K10D/K20D will always be great cams, AF performance notwithstanding...

07-16-2009, 12:17 AM   #5
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Got your point.

I shoot video too and I usually work with the Panasonic HVX200 for HD video. The K-7 will allow me to get better DOF control, but I'll still rent the Pana P2 for handheld and shoulder shots work.

Upgrading from a K20D to a K-7 probably isn't such an improvement for some people. Sure the AF is faster, the body is better built and the user interface is improved, but for people not looking for such improvement, the upgrade might not be worth it.

That's not like upgrading from a K10D to a K-7, something I'm about to do (only a few days more)!

Let's face it, unless you expose very accurately, the K10D is pretty bad at ISO 1600 and its AF is sluggish in low light, not to mention often inaccurate (and with no possibility to correct that inaccuracy).

The way I see it, K20D is a corrected K10D: same great value, but with better ISO 1600 and usable ISO 3200, slightly improved AF and the possibility to correct the AF BF/FF issues with the AF lens adjustment feature.

Even more important, ugrading every time a new body is available means changing your DSLR every 18 months. For me, it's just too fast-paced to keep up, at least money-wise. I'd rather upgrade every other generation or so...

So just keep your trusty K20D and wait for the K-7 successor (or its small brother) before you upgrade, should you decide to do so.

That way, it will be another 18 months before you have to spend another $1000+ on a new DSLR (money that you can spend on good glass in the meanwhile)!

07-16-2009, 01:13 AM   #6

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I understand you reasoning except for one element. The exposure. I can understand that you like slight underexposure in some scenes, and as such the K20D produces better images out of the box, but more the accurate metering in the K-7 should be better for those scenes as well (*if* this doesn't result in blown highlights) esp if you shoot RAW. IQ should be better when you do the underexposure in PP rather than in camera. But the difference may be subtle in most cases and as such I can see that you don't want to change exposure for every shot in PP if the camera does it fine for you most of the time.

The K-7 is a very different camera to hold, and who knows since I haven't held one myself yet, I might end up agreeing with you and returning mine after trying it out and sticking to my K20D as well. The odds for this happening are small, but it's possible...

Thanks for your open minded post!

07-16-2009, 02:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
Well, despite my initial (and to some extent continuing) enthusiasm for the K7, I finally packed it up and it'll go back tomorrow.
Amazing how you can not like something and send it back. Down here in the Antipodes, shops would get a good laugh from that.
07-16-2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Thanks for the very fine expose, it is an interesting perspective of the ongoing dilemma of many Pentax users.

07-16-2009, 03:41 AM   #9
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You know, the points you make are really valid. From all I have read, the K7 is not a one 'size' fits all. I have my reasons I will be moving to it but the size concerned me from day one when i read it was smaller than the K20D. So, for certain a grip is going to be a must have for me as my K20D turns out to be at the limit of how small I can manage w/o discomfort. I did buy a grip for the K20D but I am so used to the thing w/o a grip now I have only mounted it a couple times. Of course I only have smaller lenses so far in the 50-135, 35ltd and 77ltd. But when I buy my Sigma 100-300 I have no doubt the grip will help with balance a great deal. And if I opt for a Sigma 20-200 f2.8 over a DA* 200mm f2.8 the grip will also be important. But those additions are months away so I am not gonna worry for a while.

Thanks for the's well thought out and covers some things one might not consider in all the excitement of ordering.

I am finding the K20D is keeping me quite happy right now...but I really despise the Live View is truly cumbersome to use as charitable a descriptor as I can. Live View is one of the most used features for my product shots. I find it takes me a good 3x longer than my 40D did.
07-16-2009, 05:43 AM   #10
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it's a no brainer for a k10 to k7, but how about a k2000 to a k7?

i "downgraded" from a k10 to a k2000 for the more accurate and fast AF. for my use, I don't really miss the extra buttons or features on the K10

so far, my k2000 is holding up pretty well, but the k7 is surely enticing, not for the video, but for the other stuff. to me, the video is added icing on the cake.

so to answer my own question, yes. it's a no brainer to upgrade from a k2000 to a k7.

time to save up....
07-16-2009, 08:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by opiedog Quote
it's a no brainer for a k10 to k7, but how about a k2000 to a k7?

i "downgraded" from a k10 to a k2000 for the more accurate and fast AF. for my use, I don't really miss the extra buttons or features on the K10

so far, my k2000 is holding up pretty well, but the k7 is surely enticing, not for the video, but for the other stuff. to me, the video is added icing on the cake.

so to answer my own question, yes. it's a no brainer to upgrade from a k2000 to a k7.

time to save up....
If you like the form factor of the K2000, then the K7 will feel very good (albeit heavier) and you'll get a bump in performance. That said, I briefly used a K2000 and found it to be surprisingly good in performance but it was *really* small for my hands. Also the reality is that there is a resolution jump between the two and you'll see it if you pixel peep or print large.

I may be in the minority but I found the difference between the K10d and K20d to be significant. In my hands the K10d wasn't that usable whereas the K20d got me a lot of great shots (again remember - me lazy). Not sure if that was just learning curve (I didn't have the K10d for very long) or what but to me the upgrade from K10d was K20d was imperative. And I paid full pop for the K20d. If the K20d hadn't come out I would have ended up going D300 as I was moving from a D70 setup. But at the time I found the K20d and ltd primes to be a compelling choice.
07-16-2009, 09:38 AM   #12
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I love my K-7, but nostatic's decision makes another point. The k-7 would have been even more compelling if it was a drop-dead, no-brainer advance in IQ. I know we're at the upper limit of what this sensor can supposedly do, but this camera's overall build and features, joined to an immediately apparent, profound improvement in IQ (for those who really need that), would have stormed the market.

Even the noise thing being clearly better would have helped.

I'm happy with my K-7, but I hear these issues as well.
07-16-2009, 09:54 AM   #13
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FWIW, I've had essentially nothing to say one way or the other about the K-7, but your comments make total sense to me. I think the K-7 looks great as a first Pentax, as an upgrade from any model other than the K20D, or for someone who wants "pro" features in a smaller body. But for K20D owners who *like* the form factor of that camera, there wouldn't seem to be a lot of reason to make the change, unless you've just got to have video, or find that X% increase in focus speed, frame rate, or whatever is worth $1000 to you. And that's fine - I don't think Pentax *should* be depending on most K20D owners upgrading to this camera in order for it to succeed (if that was their intent, they brought it out too soon and too similarly spec'ed).
07-16-2009, 10:10 AM   #14
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I think there is a reason that they are still selling the K20d - it is a different camera. I could see Pentax going "all compact" as the K7 and K2000 are similar form factors. That would mean the K20d just fades into the distance, but maybe they are going to keep a larger form factor for FF (ha!) or just be "compact" APS and the 645. Who knows. Right now I'll just happily keep shooting with the K20d, am pondering a 16-50* for general wide use, and see what happens. And I've thought of picking up a second backup K20d as I still think they give the best color and "look" of any comparable camera. Other than GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), there really isn't a "need" for me to upgrade at the moment. Though I am eyeing an E-P1 as a street cam...GAS is hard to kick
07-16-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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I did find the K10d to be very "usable," and have found the K20 to be even better. I'd probably like the K-7 as well, but so far the temptation has not risen to the point of dropping $1,300. It's good to hear a dissenting view now and then just so we know that the emperor really has clothes.

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