posted on Jul 3, 2009 at 3:13AM
New Pentax K-7 DSLR AnnouncedBy Emily Raymond
On May 12, Pentax announced its latest 14.6-megapixel DSLR: the K-7. The K-7 echoes many of the specs of the K20D, in its image sensor and LCD Live View mode, for example. The new K-7 does however, make some big improvements over its sibling, including HD video capability. Of course, you will pay for these improvements: while the Pentax K20D sells for $799, the new K-7 is going for $1,299.
The Pentax K-7 is one of the smallest DSLRs in its class, about 25% smaller than the average, according to the company’s press release. The 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.9-inch K-7 is 7% smaller than the K20D and is also lighter with its magnesium alloy chassis at 22.9 ounces unloaded, compared to the K20D’s 25.2 ounces. The K-7 does, however, lose out in smallness to the compact Canon T1i DSLR, which measures 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 inches.
In addition to sharing the K20D’s weather and dust resistance, the Pentax K-7 adds cold resistance to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). The Pentax K-7 and K20D both have 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensors, but the new model’s sensor “offers improved noise control, four channel output for faster image capture and movie capture capabilities,” according to the May 20 Pentax press release.
Indeed, the new K-7 has a much faster burst mode than the K20D. The older model shot 3 fps, but the new K-7 clicks away at 5.2 fps. Movies record in high-definition at resolutions of 1280 x 720 pixels and 1536 x 1024 pixels, both at 30 frames per second. There are adjustable quality settings along with aperture control, shake reduction, and an external microphone jack. This feature competes with the likes of the $899 Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i, which shoots 1920 x 1080-pixel HD video at 30 fps.
Pentax expects the K-7’s compact form and Live View LCD to attract consumers who currently own compact digital cameras and are looking to move up to a new model. The Pentax K-7 is compatible with SD and SDHC media, the memory cards most commonly used in compact cameras.
“The K-7 will appeal to many current Pentax SLR photographers who have been asking for more advanced features, but in a smaller, solid, comfortable-to-hold body,” said Ned Bunnell, president of the Pentax Imaging Company. “We also believe the combination of the K-7’s smaller, high-quality construction coupled with the growing line-up of our Limited compact prime lenses will appeal to serious shooters who currently don’t own or previously hadn’t considered adding a Pentax to their camera bag.”
The K-7 introduces a host of new features to the Pentax DSLR lineup including 77-segment metering, an electronic level function, a lens correction function, a mirror-lockup function for long exposures, and an embedded copyright feature. Along with plenty of manual control, you get options for multiple exposure and interval shooting. The Pentax K-7 is also outfitted with a much-improved 3-inch LCD screen that has 921,000 pixels on it.
With its KAF2 bayonet stainless steel mount, the Pentax K-7 is “compatible with every Pentax lens ever made,” according to the company’s press release. Pentax has also added two more lenses to its expansive lineup: the Pentax smc DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR and the smc DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED WR lenses. The smaller 18-55mm zoom lens will sell for $199 and will likely be included as a kit lens in some packages with the K-7 DSLR. The 50-200mm lens will sell for $249. Both lenses are equipped with rubber seals, which designate them as “weatherproof.”
Finally, Pentax announced a battery grip that fits exclusively onto the Pentax K-7. The vertical grip will sell for $229 when it, the camera and the lenses, go on sale in July.