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08-16-2009, 10:11 PM   #1
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Happy with K-7: a write up of the experience and a few things you haven't heard

K-7, me and you are going to get along just fine

Hey everyone! So, after successfully selling $1100 of stuff I had sitting around I decided it was time to bankrupt myself and get a K-7. Gotta give credit to Pentax Marketing, that road tour convinced me! But wow, for once I feel that buying at the base MSRP is completely justified for this camera. I'm going to be taking a different angle in talking about the K-7 here. For the most part, I'll focus mostly on what the experience of shooting with the K-7 is like and how well it works as a photographic tool. I'm also going to be writing several things which I feel haven't been addressed.

Let’s start with the biggest upgrades over the K10D for myself: the overall handling and feeling of the camera. This is obviously subjective but maybe some of this might ring a chord with some of you if you feel similarly. With the K10D, I just never really felt I had a solid grip on the camera without the extra grip attached. That extra contour on the top of the K-7 and the additional size reduction really does wonders; this camera just feels so comfortable to hold. I don’t think it can be really emphasized enough that this camera just looks awesome. I was walking in the back country of San Jose today and met a random lady who thought that I was shooting with a film camera. It really combines the classical SLR with the modern DSLR look, it’s quite stylish. In fact, I feel so much better carrying this around than my K10D with a grip. This camera looks especially great with DA limited lenses attached to it; I swear this camera was made to be paired with those. I even attached a classic SLR strap that my uncle had laying around to it, check it out:

(btw: should I worry about the metal of this scratching the K-7? I’m going to put plastic screens on the top and bottom lcd to avoid this, should that be good enough?)

Moreover, the camera just has a tangible feel of higher quality throughout it. The buttons are noticeably more firm to push, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences. In most cases, such as the shutter and e-dails, I felt this was an improvement. I’ve heard some complaints about how the mode wheel locks but that is actually kind of useful for me since I have had some instances of changing that around accidentally. However, I found that switching metering on the top left of the camera was a little too cumbersome to move. Likewise, removing SD cards seems a little more difficult for some reason. These are my biggest complaints though and each of these are practically nothing. The AF switch is thankfully reduced and easier to flick, the one of the K10 was a little ridiculously large. Also, I really like that the button lineup has been minimized, it’s a lot less obtrusive but still very functional.

The way this camera handles makes it such a joy to shoot with. Any part of the camera that used to be loud has been made noticeably quieter. The shutter is amazing! There’s something intangibly satisfying about hitting the shutter on this camera, it has such a pleasant sound to it. And yes, it is noticeably dampened and there is a bit less vibration in the camera. The camera no longer has the rattle when turning on, just a subtle high pitched sound.

The most underrated feature of this camera has to be the huge improvements when using old MF lenses. The green button is now silent, before it would really catch the unwanted attention of my subjects because it was so friggen loud. ALSO, it’s great that it is moved down the camera right next to my thumb. On the K10D it was right next to the shutter, meaning that the index finger had to first hit the green button, then also hit the shutter with my index finger. On the K-7 I can simply hit the green button with my thumb and then the shutter with my index finger, which eliminates about any delay. Most importantly, from my first day of shooting I can almost safely conclude that the K-7’s metering using the green button is much improved. All my shots were spot on, whereas I would have to adjust the settings myself on the K10D to really nail the right exposure. Actually, metering in general is quite an improvement. Some have complained a bit about overexposure but I would add overexposure on my K10D most of the time anyways so it works out for me. I feel that the K-7 hits the right exposure a lot more frequently though. I haven’t tested it but just from the % of correctly exposed images I got on the K-7 compared to the K10 I feel that this might be the case.

I’d also like to emphasize how GREAT it is to have a 100% viewfinder. I hated having to guess what would/wouldn’t be included in the frame. This really did ruin some of my compositions or at least made me have to take a few attempts. As far as improving my photography goes, this was the largest improvement of moving to the K-7. The lcd is brilliant as well, I really feel that I have a much better idea of how my shots will look than I did on the K10D. And amazingly, the live view is actually quite useful. It’s great to set up those low angle shots, though don’t use it as an excuse for getting down and dirty!

As for everything else that has been obsessed over; AF is better, 5fps works, high ISO is great, IQ is obviously fine and indistinguishable from every other DSLR I’ve used, it makes videos, blablabla.

So overall, color me an impressed! If you are going to buy one of these, remember that you are buying it for the craftsmanship, handling, style, size, and feeling just as much as any of the upgrades. Basically, you aren’t just buying performance but a more enjoyable shooting experience. I think I'll be shooting with the K-7, LX, and an Olympus XA as my main setup for a considerable time. Not bad for being 22, huh?

Oh and pictures! Here’s some shots from my first day shooting with my K-7 in Morgan Hill/San Jose. I’m not being as selective about what I’m putting up here as I normally am, but I really liked how these turned out. I'll be heading to Germany and France in a few days so this camera will certainly get pushed through its paces. Until next time, keep pushing your photography and private property isn’t really private!

Edited shots-


Last edited by messthetics; 08-18-2009 at 10:59 AM.
08-17-2009, 01:02 AM   #2
Damn Brit

Nice writeup Matt, it's great to hear the positives. I look forward to hearing more about your experience wwith the K-7.
08-17-2009, 03:23 AM   #3
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Not only is it a top essay, you've got some exemplary pics to support it.
Well done and thanks for sharing.
08-17-2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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Very nice review, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your Europe pictures.

08-17-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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I've had nothing but positive vibes from the K-7. Nice to see other people feeling the same way! Great photos!
08-17-2009, 10:31 AM   #6

Congrats on the K7 Matt... I really like the photos, you have this down, and you make the K7 look really good. That leaf shot in the water 'pops'... And I like the last one a lot.

The horizon looks off on the second shot with the lake being lower on the right. Were you using the level or horizon correction funtion on the camera? Or was that a PP choice?
08-17-2009, 11:32 AM   #7
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Anticipation is setting in....

Nice write up! Now can you invent a time machine so I can go forward 2 weeks and I will have my new K7 to compare the article to?

Seriously, this is great information and great examples. Thank you.
08-17-2009, 07:55 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone!

Gus- I haven't tried the horizontal correction yet, that was just my own fault. There's just too many new features to try on this!

I was walking around Berkeley today snapping a bunch of shots and this camera is great for urban portraiture. It's really fast to pull up your camera and snap a frame or few due to the reduced weight and improved speed. I really felt that my photography stood out a lot less than before. I feel a little more comfortable using AF in this type of environment, I almost always just MF"ed with my K10D which worked fine anyways. I probably shouldn't get too used to the idea of using AF more though since I like to feel that I can competently MF quickly when needed.

08-17-2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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Excellent write up and that you like your copy of the body...

you mentioned concern about the metal clips, rings, whatnot that attach the strap scratching the body, here is a product used to add a rubber-like coating to your tools that should do a great job at coating and protecting the body from the metal bits.:

Plasti Dip Protective Rubber Dip Coating Product Plasti Dip International

It can be had at almost any hardware store or even Walmart (I think) and it's not expensive. When I finally get my K7 I was planning on using it to coat my strap attachment hardware.
08-17-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Excellent! Thanks so much for the tip brecklundin, I'll pick some of it up tomorrow! This forum just always seems to have the answers
08-18-2009, 07:44 AM   #11
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cool....have fun and hope it works. A word of caution..."dipping" can be almost as addictive as first you "dip" because you want to, after a while you "dip" because you have to!!

And please resist the urge to dip your cat's paws or tail...or the noisy neighbor child or yapper dawggie...hehehehe....

Seriously the stuff is really useful to have around. I have a utility sink with really nasty somewhat corroded knobs so I cleaned them really well then "dipped" them and now they are really nice all the time and much easier to turn. I even got so carried aware I tried it on some old shoe lace tips but that "din't work so good"...
08-18-2009, 08:04 AM   #12
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Definitely going to be my next upgrade as I have always said before!
08-18-2009, 08:10 AM   #13
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The 100% viewfinder is actually great as I have been use to that when I was shooting Nikon F1,F2, and I like to frame and compose my shot right the first time without ever cropping.
As for the metal on the strap, you should also worry about it rubbing on the body as in time it would produce a scratched body surface which would smoothen in time as it rubs on it over and over again.
08-18-2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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Good hearing your thoughts on it. Will be looking forward to your shots from France and Germany
08-18-2009, 06:23 PM   #15
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Very nice work

I enjoyed your article a great deal even though I'll be using my K10D for quite a while (I hope!)... I'm very happy with it. Still, I like what the present and future have in store from Pentax.

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