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08-16-2009, 08:32 PM   #1
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My thoughts on quickly testing the K7

So as luck would have it about 3 weeks ago I wrecked my K10 pretty good...

It was sitting on top of my desk and I got up caught the strap and sent it into the ground at about 50 miles an hour.... this probably would not have hurt the camera in of itself except I had my flash attached and it landed flash first, therefore ripping off the hotshoe and resulting molding underneath and also ruining my flash as well...

so I was hoping to win a new K7 at the miami tour event... ( that did not happen ) which started off rough because the hotel was not aware of the event... either way got to play with a K7 for a little while with battery grip attached...

Here are my thoughts:

1. Wow, much smaller, but it looks like they engineered it so the grip is basically the same as the K20 or K10, so my thoughts were this is like a mini K10 or K20d..

I did remove the battery grip and felt that the camera still felt good in the hands.. the af button on the back is easy to access... seems like the rear wheel seems slightly more to the left than my hands are used to...

Cameras for me come down to how they feel in my hands.... before I settled on a Pentax I was going to get a 40d.. because I liked simply how it felt in my hands...

2. Lighter camera, I did not notice all that much about whether the camera was better built or not but it felt a lot lighter...

3. I had the new 55 1.4 SDM attached to the camera and we were in a hotel room in shaded light with only half the lighting up, the camera seemed to focus quite fast even with the SDM lens attached.... I should have brought my tamron lens to see how that performed... but i've read from the measurebaters on here that the SDM lenses seem slower to focus and I did not find that much of a problem at all... in a low lit room.... I was pretty impressed with the new focus speed.... this would be the number one reason for me to spend an extra 600 dollars over the 20d... that and:

4. Maybe the K20d and K7 offer 1 more greater stop of noise? Not sure, I could not really tell using a simple LCD ( the new one is great btw ) but 20% views showed a bit of noise...

5. One thing I thought was odd and I am not even sure I was using a production model was that pentax seems to have flipped the focus mode switch from up to down? Why? I think I prefer it in the up....

Anyways with the destruction of my K10d, I'm sure the cost to fix the hotshoe ripping out of the camera is more than the camera is actually worth I find myself at a crossroads... My goal is to jump more into wedding photography but to do that requires a considerable investment in equipment and lenses ( I'd go the D700 / triple play lens route ) and I can't really afford that right now

So I'm at a crossroads of whether to get a K20 or a K7 or just bail from Pentax all together, I have loved my K10 and it has served me well but I think per my goals I may need to jump systems...

Any thoughts are welcome

08-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #2
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If you're not a serious pro photographer yet why not just get either the K7 or the K20D for now so you can use all of the equipment you have for the system, and then if/when the money starts rolling in you can go FF if you need to or keep the Pentax equipment if it works for you.

If you don't NEED the D700 now and don't have a ton of expendable cash to throw at switching to a FF system I would stick with Pentax. The K7 is great, and there are several people on here that get by just fine shooting events professionally with Pentax. If you invest $5000+ in new Nikon gear and your jump into wedding photography doesn't pan out like you hope it will you may regret the investment. If you have the money to spend on the Nikon stuff go for it, as I'm sure it will be more than capable of producing great images both in the paid environment and hobbyist realms.

If money is tight and you don't already have multiple paying gigs lined up it may be more prudent to stay with Pentax. You will likely want at least 2 cameras for photographing weddings and with the money you would spend on a D700 you could almost buy 2 K7s, or 2 K20Ds and a 1 or 2 great lenses. If you add on to that some pro quality Nikon glass you could get a full stable of Pentax bodies and lenses. Or you could start out with a D90 or D300(s) and plan on moving up in the Nikon system as cash flow from photography starts to materialize.

The bottom line is, you know what will best work for you. If you think Nikon will cover bases for you that Pentax can't, then by all means, it would probably be better to switch systems now before your investment in Pentax gets any larger. If you think Pentax will likely be able to do what you need, the K7 is a hell of a camera, which also seems to be the case with the K20D, although I have not used one.

Sorry for the long windedness.
08-16-2009, 11:27 PM   #3
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Don't like Nikon color, esp. D90. Skin is yellowish and I could not get it just right. Love Pentax pink skin color and nice green and blue. But on D700 you may use D2x colors which is the best I have seen for Nikon.
08-17-2009, 04:23 AM   #4
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Just a little comment on the noise question. I have a K20 and K10 and at low iso (100, 200), the K10 has less noise. Not that you notice the noise on the K20, but it is there if you look (ie pixel peep). On the other hand, the K10 is not really useable above iso 800, whereas the K20 looks good at least up to iso 2000. I guess it is the difference between the CMOS and CCD sensors. I would think from a wedding standpoint, the K7 would be quite useful. The faster auto focus, improved metering would come in handy to say the least.

08-17-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
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I just wanted to say that I shoot weddings "professionally" (I get paid for it) and I only use Pentax gear. I have never had a problem with my setup: k10 w/ 16-50mm and k20 w/ 50-135mm and I keep flashes and the 50 1.4 in my bag/on my cameras.

I think that having to use canon or nikon to shoot "pro" level stuff is beginning to become an outdated thought. My only complaints about Pentax are in the CAs present in most of their SDM glass and that they won't buckle down and call their bodies "pro" yet. I absolutely love the color rendition (more so than the Mk IIs we shoot on at the newspaper and the d300s I've tried) and I intend on eventually having three bodies with 5 primes, because prime lenses is what pentax does best, honestly.

Although my site is under construction, you can see some of my work at Brandon Labadie | brandonlabadie.com
08-17-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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I know people hate to run systems from two different brands, but as another option I think a Pentax K-7 and Nikon D700 combo would be an excellent two camera wedding setup, complimenting each others strengths and weakness.
08-17-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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Don't think there is a need for wedding photographers to have FF. A lot of the users on here are very successful wedding photographers. Invest in some better glass, like maybe the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 or Pentax FA-35mm f/2 or the DA 14mm f/2.8.

And sorry about your camera. Put it up on the market place and see how much it might sell for!
08-17-2009, 01:35 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the comments...

I wanted to point out one other thing I noticed about the K7 that I absolutely loved ( specifically from a photojournalist perspective ) was how silent the shutter is.... very velvet like. I could not believe the improvement there.... this is especially helpful in a discreet environment where you might hear a pin drop... You really barely hear it..... a huge improvement from the K10/K20 to the K7... especially in the context of weddings...

Let me elaborate on my thoughts about considering the jump to a Canon or a Nikon system versus staying with Pentax....

First I'd like to think with the glass that I have, I have almost mastered using the K10d. I've learned to shoot around its limitations. I have a Tamron 28-75, and a Pentax 18-250, and FA 50 1.4... I know the strengths and weakness of each lens pretty well.... my tamron is soft at 75 and 2.8 but ok at 28 and 2.8 but ridiculously sharp at f4... my 18-250 is my tourist lens, but I used it for wide shots.. and my 50 is good at 1.7 and above....

Almost every single time the main problem in shooting a wedding is that unless you are lucky or have a very high end bride who is investing tons of money into her wedding for lighting setup... most weddings are in very low contrast areas especially the reception....

As photographers we all face the same issues and for weddings its no different how to stop a shot, have focus, and low noise for the highest quality image possible...

Brides are pretty sophisticated now, and down here in miami the competition is literally cutthroat.... it is either low end or high end and almost nothing in between... Brides who spend hours looking at Bridal magazines can generally tell the difference between someone who just flashes a frame away versus a photographer who has the best equipment and uses the camera and the glass to make the best use of natural light to capture the ambience...

Here is a sample from a recent wedding I was shooting:



The settings are k10/ Tam 28-70 / f4 / 1/30 / ISO 800 with onboard manual flash diffused to add in fill....

Now I know that I cannot zoom in at 70 and f2.8 with my Tamron because then the results are too soft but I also know that I cannot go past 800 ISO with the K10d... so I set to f4 because I know if the focus hits the picture will be decently sharp I up my flash by a stop and keep the ISO at 800....

Now there is nothing if you were to think about this from a technical point of view wrong with this process. YOu can make the argument that the K10 or K20 or K7 is more than adequate to shoot weddings.....

maybe... but the other camera systems make it easier and you have to think less.... because the cameras are more capable and give you more flexibility... How far would you push your ISO on the K20 or K7? I mean you can always argue that you can fix it in post.... but the idea is to save time not add more work...

Using a D700 or a 5d mark ii I could have easily jumped 2 stops to ISO 3200 ( and maybe even 6400 ) and frozen the action better with a speed of 1/120th to offset camera shake.... the ISO advantage allows you to use a longer lens and still stop the action as well..... Canon rules here because they offer the fastest glass imaginable with the lenses.... If you've ever seen Jeff Ascough's work witht the 24 1.2 II then you'll know the difference between using a system to get by versus having one that allows you to take shots that were previously only available by using a flash.... and thats my point....

I mean if I am looking at different photography sites and I come across 2 different phtoographers and one has a Canon 5d with a 24. 1.2 and another has a K20 with some 2.8 lenses the types of shots available to the different systems is the distance of a lake.. and I think generally with the sophistication of many brides now they can perceive this...

Now don't get me wrong I am not saying there is anything wrong with the Pentax. I absolutely love my K10 and think the K7 is a good step forward... but with all the issues people have been having with it plus the issues with the glass is it the best tool for the best competitive edge in a very stiff market? Thats kind of what I was getting at...

08-17-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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In the end, get what YOU want, though none of the most recent flagship models of any brand will disappoint, including the K20D/K-7.

Pentax's CMOS sensor DOES provide a significant high ISO advantage as previously mentioned. For the shots that count, I've never gone above ISO 1600 with my K20D at weddings, and I ensure that there aren't any lost shadow detail to allow unsightly noise to creep in.

Having said this I've also shot indoor events where lights were turned down/muted and have had to resort to ISO 3200, still giving me acceptable results as long as I got exposure right in camera. Even AF performed just fine in these conditions (using my FA 100/2.8 macro and Tamron 70-200/2.8).

Overall, I don't think there really is anything to 'worry' about when capturing weddings with a K20D/K-7 system (after all, they're not all that fast action to need shutter speeds of 1/1000 and less!) - you've done fine thus far with your K10D, you'll have just that more versatility with a K20D/K-7.

All the best in your decision.
08-17-2009, 02:20 PM   #10
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Paul, sorry about your K10. I am not in your league professionally. I do own the K10, the 20 and the K7. After a month of using the 7, I would recommend you save the money and buy the 20. I find it a much more reliable and consistent machine than the K-7. Just when I think I'm getting the hang of the 7, it blows me aways with hot spots (gross overexposure), off color renditions, and, in general, my photos from the 7 require much more post processing, which is one of your stated no-no's. I find the 20 more consistent and reliable and frankly, I think the build is more robust and in the Pentax tradition. I haven't put my finger on it yet, but I just get the impression there are compromises built into the k-7 that had I know from the start, I would have by passed it for the next generation. It has some nice features, but it is quirky. I also own a Canon G10 as a backup for quickies, and honestly, it's more reliable in terms of shot-to-shot integrity than the k-7.

You've got some decent Pentax/Tamron glass in your stable, so I would advise you to take advantage of it find a good buy on the K-20 which is already at bargain prices.
08-17-2009, 02:35 PM   #11
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Shutterbob that is very frustrating news to hear the K7 is having so many damn issues....

I'd definitely would upgrade due to the better af because that is such a tangible benefit for wedding photography but with all the issues it almost makes the 1000 dollar more D700 seem like a requirement!!

....... sigh....... I'm caught in between a rock and a hard place financially..... but I don't want to spend more money on a system I think will limit me either....
08-17-2009, 03:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulsoucy Quote
Shutterbob that is very frustrating news to hear the K7 is having so many damn issues....

I'd definitely would upgrade due to the better af because that is such a tangible benefit for wedding photography but with all the issues it almost makes the 1000 dollar more D700 seem like a requirement!!

....... sigh....... I'm caught in between a rock and a hard place financially..... but I don't want to spend more money on a system I think will limit me either....
I use Canon 1DmkIII, K20D and K-7 for weddings and sports. I have NEVER noticed an AF benefit from the Canon for a wedding (different story for certain sports of course). As long as the bride keeps it under 20mph the Pentax systems are more than up to the job . I've only had K-7 a few days now (only a small number of pictures from one wedding) so I am reserving judgement for now but the K20 is just so damn good (no i'm not kidding) that you can't expect much more from the new body.

And I know I'm a hypocrite for saying this but running 2 systems for a wedding is not advisable. So if you can't afford 2 nikon bodies, 3 lenses and at least 2 flashes you are going to be in trouble.

Anyway - its OK to admit that you just want to move away from Pentax but the comparisons you have made here are not reasonable (i.e. your $300 Tamron lens that has to be stopped down to F4 vs getting a 5D that can shoot ISO 6400 in low light - or comparing the fast Canon 24mm prime lens vs Pentax 16-50mm zoom lens... ) and that seems to indicate that you are looking for an excuse to spend more money on a more expensive system. If you can afford it - go for it. I continue to use Pentax because I like the glass but to each his own...
08-17-2009, 03:35 PM   #13
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You aren't limited to using f2.8 lenses with Pentax. There are a multitude of options faster than that(FA* 24 and 85; FA Ltd 31, 43, and 77; DA* 55; and the list goes on, especially if you look at manual focus and 3rd party lenses). Canon and Nikon do have larger lens selections, but there are plenty of options with Pentax too, you may just have to look on the used market.

If I were making the decision the lens selections for the various brands would not be what swayed me one way or another. The high ISO capabilities of FF would be. I would only be concerned with preventing motion blur in low light. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have an 85mm 1.2, but I think better image quality at high ISO would trump max lens speed for me. If you think you need FF to actually make it big shooting weddings then go for it. It will cost you a premium(probably around $10000 for what you seem to be interested in), but if you think it will allow you to get crucial shots you can't with an APS-C Pentax then it should be the obvious choice.

Also, I haven't had any issues with the K7, outside of expected limitations(images get noisy at higher ISOs, etc.). I also have no gripes about my Pentax lenses. In my opinion the top of the line Pentax glass I own is not just top of the line in Pentax land

One last thing. I think that looking at what other photographers do with particular equipment and buying based on that may leave you disappointed. It is the photographer that composes the photo. The camera and lens merely collect and capture the light.

Good luck making the decision.
08-17-2009, 03:37 PM   #14
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Paul I hope you're not basing the K-7's performance on one unfortunate user with exposure problems - you need to go to a store and test it out for yourself under different conditions. I'm not so sure many other K-7 users would share this same frustration.

Ultimately you get the choice as you're spending the money, so make the choice that's right for you - the clients won't really know otherwise...
08-17-2009, 05:35 PM   #15
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My solution for the K10 is basically to put a piece of black gaffer or electrical tape on top of the camera where the hot shoe was previously over the hole in the molding: one to prevent dust from making its way in, and two to block light from the top which screws up the metering ( by almost 5 stops if you can believe it ) every else about the camera is fine... I can continue to use it just without the flexibility of flash..

but I doubt the cost to fix it is less than the camera is worth... I've had it for about 2 years now and am at about 50,000 actuations, it has served me pretty well and besides focus ( in low light and some front / back focus issues ) and high iso noise nothing has ever been wrong with it..... the SD dore is cracked as well... and should a job come along I don't want to part with it unless I have another camera... so thus the question: the 20d or the K-7

At the moment I certainly do not have the money to switch over to Nikon or Canon and I am not looking for an excuse to really just being honest about what I want for the kinds of images I want to take...

I searched for awhile for an image I thought would help illustrate my position on having faster glass combined with excellent high ISO ability that would allow a certain type of shot to be captured...

Here is one from the wedding above, despite the blur this actually was one of my favorite images from the day, I deliberately dragged the shutter to let in the background so the image would have some context, I knew that the flash hitting the bride would also bounce slightly off the groom who was moving, but I wanted to see the crowd in the background as well...... Now my point about canon/nikon systems is this.... the extra ISO ability of those cameras would have allowed me to just increase the ISO and shutter speed equally but still keep the same effect and still get a clean image all at the same time.... at ISO 800 and pushed some this image is not clean as far as noise goes... shutter is 1/10th f-stop: 4



The shot before was the same but at 1/60th and I suppose that was ok but the I wanted to bring out the background a lot more, I am a fan of using flash only to balance it with the light already present so very often I use much lower shutter speeds rather than the usual max sync speed so to avoid the whole flash dark background look, I think it creates a more artistic and contextually relevant picture to bring out the background, but this is just me...

Now seriously is someone going to tell me that if I had the 24 L 1.2 II on a 5d Mark II I would not have had more flexibility when taking the photo? I could have opened to f2 ( which is stopped down twice for that lens ) the bride would have been in perfect focus as she was parallel to me, f4 to f2 is already two stops more light difference so my shutter could have been 1/40th now go from ISO 800 to 3200 and I gain another 2 stop advantage all while still getting a clean image, fast enough shutter speed and the increased light from the background I want to set up the shot... this is what I was trying to compare with... Its not just the ISO ability of those cameras, its the ISO ability combined with the fast glass... it opens up a new kind of flexibility....

If we are going simply off screen peeking, there is no comparsion to a K20d and D700 or 5d mark ii ISO 3200 shot... you are paying for that advantage which can be huge in certain circumstances......

DON"T GET ME WRONG I LOVE MY PENTAX but with the increased MP count the noise at the higher ISO's on the K20d and K7 goes backwards compared to what the full frame cameras are offering.........

I'm just saying, I appreciate everyone's fierce defense of Pentax and i would be the first to defend them as well.....

My main concern goes like this:

Pentax offers a lot for the money, but how long will it last and how consistent and reliable is it given that I am forced to use my camera and equipment like a workhorse... no doubt I can take my K10 to the Grand Canyon while my fingers are freezing off and the camera continues to operate but if I invest in say a 16-50 DA* and some idiot accidently lightly hits it at a wedding and my SDM fails what is the point? ( I've been reading about the failures and a couple of times that seems to be the case ) At the very least I know the Nikon while 3 times as much is built like a tank and has 5 year pro service behind it...

My main concern is just pouring more money into a system that is buggy at best... why not just go the extra mile and really pay for something I know there will hardly be a reliability issue about...

Can you imagine the problem that would ensue for a wedding job if I purchased a K7 only to find that in half my shots I was getting a green line ( see busted sensor thread ), or there were hot spots or whatever, I would be SO SCREWED!! My reputation is on the line....

So these are just some of the considerations I am facing now having to upgrade and get a second camera... its almost feels like buying a sub at the local supermarket, already a foot long is 6 dollars, which is a bit much for a sub if you ask me but for only 2 dollars more you get much better tasting meat..... so if your going to spend 6 why not just go 20 or 30 percent more and really get the good stuff, same with the camera systems...

no doubt on paper the K7 wins because it is sooooooooo feature rich but I really just need equipment that allows me to do the job and not necessarily so feature rich.....

Just my thoughts
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