Pentax’s first ‘pro-sumer’ DSLR, the K-7, is compact, weatherproof and has a host of novel features, including a self-levelling sensor. Find out in the Pentax K-7 review whether these qualities make it attractive to out-and-about enthusiasts

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Pentax K-7

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Pentax K-7 review


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One of the criticisms often levelled at Pentax SLRs is that their autofocus system is slow and noisy. While the SAFOX VIII+ 11-point autofocus system in the K-7 is an improvement upon earlier versions, it struggles with less than perfect targets and the familiar ‘zzz-zzz’ sound of the motor is still present at these times.

In good light, AF adjustments are conducted quickly and surprisingly quietly, considering the noise produced 
when the lens hunts.

Although the nine cross-type AF points positioned around the centre of the imaging frame can usually be relied upon to find their target even in quite low light, in the very overcast conditions I experienced during some of this test the outer two linear AF points were almost useless. Further testing conducted once the firmware upgrade (V.1.01) was issued suggests that this has been significantly improved. The situation is also much better in brighter weather and with high-contrast subjects.

When set to continuous AF, I found that the K-7 does a reasonable job of keeping track of moving subjects provided one of the central cross-type AF points is selected and the target doesn’t move too quickly. Although it managed to keep up with children bouncing on a Bungee trampoline (elasticated ropes help them bounce higher and descend more slowly), it struggled with the faster, more random movements of swans at close quarters. I think the K-7 is unlikely to be the camera of choice for sports photographers, despite the 5.2fps maximum continuous shooting rate.

As we now expect with new DSLRs, the K-7 has both contrast and phase detection AF in its Live View mode. The contrast detection system is on a par with that used in most other DSLRs. Sharp focus is achieved, but not quickly enough to use it with moving subjects. There’s also a face detection option, which is good at recognising that there is a face in the scene but it’s slow to focus on it.

When set to its movie mode (via the main control dial), the K-7 can only focus automatically before the shutter release button is pressed to start recording. Once video shooting has been started, the focus can only be shifted manually using the lens focus ring. This is generally preferred by experienced videographers, but it 
may not be so popular with those 
who are more familiar with small, mass-market video cameras.

This shot, taken using the smc Pentax DFA Macro 50mm f/2.8 lens on the K-7 at ISO 400 and an aperture of f/2.8, has plenty of detail. However, the out-of-focus area bokeh looks rather unnatural, as there appear to be sharp halos or bands around some of the edges of this crocosmia flower

  1. 1. Pentax K-7 at a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. White balance and colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Resolution, noise and sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, live view and video
  10. 10. The competition
  11. 11. Our verdict
Page 6 of 11 - Show Full List
  • Roberta

    Well Carl,There are many readers inlducing myself that look forward to what you write ..Your right on with the DP1, the more I use it, the more I love it and depend on it. Pushing to 1600-3200 is easy and still provides great images .Waiting on your next project .take care Don

  • Emrullah

    Sorry but I disagree with the whole coecnpt of women in combat, the same as in the cops. Ken, Grams & I saw you blow thru the obstacle course. The women were allowed to run around the cinderblock fence and avoid any other parts that were like the tire jumping part. Legs were too short. Also, they must be given Days off when they are PMSing or some other female peculiar ailment. I doubt the Iraqis are carrying around MIDAL just in case . They demand equality then yell for special treatament because I am a woman and can’t deal with it.Be really fair, democratic etc . let Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid lead the first charge and develop a draft for women . You would see how quickly the baby must have its mother’s milk pumping. Just out of bullet range and heaven help the Major who ordered the Mom to hang the baby in her backpack ready for next feeding.. If they want to fight, neuter them first.I have a REAL problem with minorities getting promoted ahead of better qualified and deserving to pay the quoto debt.Don’t get me started. We have lost a lot of excellent men in our peacekeeping effort for no real good reason. Should have sent some whiney women instread.