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08-14-2009, 09:20 AM   #1
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To K7 or not to K7

As a SLR photographer for over 30 years and a user of digital PNSs for many years (from 3mp to an advanced PNS 10mp) I have been reluctant to invest the money in a DSLR. All of my quality lens are Nikon so I have been monitoring the camera review sites for years -- hoping upon hope that Nikon could bring their cameras to at least to Canon quality. I know Nikon owners all believe theirs are much better than Canon (and Canon owners feel theirs are the best) but to me, the proof is in the review sites that offer side by side images taken of the exact stationary object in the exact lighting with the capability of showing the actual enlargement -- this stuff doesn't lie! And IMHO, Nikon has a long way to go -- even for their $8k camera! My feeling is if I am going to plunk down $5-8K I want near perfection in both exposure and sharpness -- and nothing less. I do not feel I should have to rely on software to bring out the best in an image. Quality should be there out-of-the-box, and any improvements from PS should be nominal or to alter what I already have. Nikon touts their incredible 'practically noiseless' image at high ISO -- and I admit, maybe that is where they have the edge -- but as a nature photographer (and an old SLR-person) I prefer to use what I have been using for decades: 100 ISO, sometimes 200 because these were the best for sharpness and grainlessness for ages and it is what I feel most comfortable with. Sure once in awhile I may play around with the higher ISO, but it would not be the reason to buy a certain DSLR.

Anyway, so why am I telling you guys in a Pentax forum about this?? Because a few days ago I stumbled upon an article about the K7 and because I had nothing better to do at the time, I read the article and curiosity prompted me to check it out in a review site. I guess it was also out a nostalgia, as well -- my first camera in 1971 was a Pentax Spotmatic (although it's rather dusty and has not seen the light of day in years, I still have it! ). Anyway, first I checked out the image reviews and was quite surprised that a $1300 DSLR could perform as well as it did. Still not believing what I was seeing, I pulled the images' side-by-side enlargements and compared it to the Nikon D3x -- their top of the line $8k model. It was clear that what I have feeling all along, that no one agrees with me, is true -- Nikon images are soft. I seriously could not believe the quality of the Pentax K7 compared to the Nikon, especially in sharpness. Is this possible? Is the K7 a best-kept secret?? Now reading in your forum few of you are bragging about incredible images -- all seem pleased with your $1300 camera but none compare to the excitement that I have heard, and I guess would expect to hear, from the Nikon/Canon owners. But yet it sure appears to me that you have the better camera -- but since it does not seem possible (as a firm believer of you get what you pay for) I am hesitant to spend the money for the Pentax as I know I will then be spending as much, if not much more, to purchase a good selection of quality fast lenses to allow the camera to be utilized at its full potential -- if it truly has that potential. I would love to hear from professional/semi photographers who have the K7 and what you think of it; your story, etc. Thanks all!!

08-14-2009, 09:32 AM   #2
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I am a keen amatuer so I will not try to answer your questions, but there are some proffessionals that are Pentax shooters and members of this forum.

I took the liberty to post the link to the homepage of 3 of them, representing different type of work (fashion, nature and wedding/journalism)

Best regards,
Haakan

Benjamin Kanarek Photographer ftvstudio.com featured member
Marc Langille Photography - Adventure, Nature, Travel & Wildlife Images
peiweddingphotography - PEI Wedding Photography Prince Edward Island Wedding Photographer Serving the Maritime Provinces
08-14-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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If you don't like the output from a D3x then either your expectations are too high or whoever made the samples screwed up. That isn't to say that NIkon (or anyone else) is perfect, and I personally don't care for Nikon colors, but the D3x by all accounts is a top notch camera.

The K7 will produce as good an image as any other APS-C sensor camera. While there may be complaints about high iso noise, etc, the reality is that for most uses you won't be able to tell the difference. But it also depends on what you like.

To me the criteria around a dSLR purchase is ergonomics and lens selection first. Image quality is less of a concern because unless you're pixel peeping you likely won't notice much of a difference. But you have to handle the camera to get the shot, and if you don't like the button placement or the balance or the menus then you'll get frustrated. Also "lens selection" to me doesn't mean the one with the most models. It is the brand that has the lenses that I like to use. I love using the FA ltd lenses and don't care about zooms or long telephoto. So my bias is towards Pentax.

Take everything you read on the interwebs with a giant salt lick. Official "reviews" are often biased and sometimes incompetent. People speak with authority yet have zero first-hand experience with things. And isolated problems get posted/reposted/repostedAgain until people think they are widespread tragedies.

If you want a small dSLR that is weather proof, handles well, and like what Pentax has to offer in lenses (especially any of the ltd primes), then the K7 is almost a no-brainer. If you want 400mm lenses, need 8fps, want T/S lenses, etc, then there are better choices. And also realize that APS-C and FF will give different results especially if you're pixel peeping. There is no free lunch.

Pentax has strengths (weather resistance, ltd primes) and weaknesses (lack of B&M retail outlets, arguably lower AF/fps performance than competition). Figure out what is most important to you and start shooting.
08-14-2009, 09:40 AM   #4
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Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of Canikoners for owning a K-7...

Sorry, just having fun...

There is no need to brag about the K-7's image quality - the images speak for themselves.
The question you need to ask yourself is: do I really need to spend >$3k for a camera that does not produce any better images (even with all the range of glass there is) than the K-7.

In fact, you'll find the K20D just as good as the K-7 in terms of image quality...
Something to ponder about - though don't take it from me, a mere amateur.
Let the pros tell you...

08-14-2009, 09:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Haakan Quote

I took the liberty to post the link to the homepage of 3 of them, representing different type of work (fashion, nature and wedding/journalism)
one more:

chasing light...
08-14-2009, 11:35 AM   #6
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my advice is to rent or borrow one if you can and see if you like it.

regardless of what you read in reviews you might really like or really hate it once it's in your hands and the images are on your screen.
08-14-2009, 11:35 AM   #7
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I'm not a professional even tho i do make money shooting real estate. The K20D was a very good camera and competed easily with my fellow shooters nikon d200. I like the K7 even better. there is not much IQ difference in most of the current offerings up to about 400 iso. If you don't need it or want it, why spend more than the price of the K7? As for lenses, it all depends on what you need and 3rd party lenses are less expensive and very good when you have built in shake reduction.
08-14-2009, 12:10 PM   #8
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Hell I'm rockin out pretty hard on a couple of K10D's. They have their limitations, but I can keep noise just about invisible whilst shooting in the dark. Colors are great and controls too.

K7 is two steps up....I cant WAIT to get a couple of those....

08-14-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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Switching from full frame to APC-S you'll lose the shallow depth of field (or gain deeper one - depends on your preferences :-) ). Obviously, K-7 end even K20D would be much smaller and lighter than Nikons. If you like the big bodies, you might need/like the battery grips. For me K20D was already too bulky, but for K-7 I might eventually spend another two hundred bucks for the grip.
Pentax produces very good optics and people (myself included) go crazy about fixed focal lenses, esp. the limited ones.
And, yes, you should enjoy the camera - get your hands on one, even in a store.
Hope you like it :-)
08-14-2009, 04:13 PM   #10
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I took arms ....

against the sea of troubles and, by opposing, ended them.

I hope.

I'm on my way to the local shop to pick up my just-arrived K-7.
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