Pentax’s first ‘pro-sumer’ DSLR, the K-7, is compact, weatherproof and has a host of novel features, including a self-levelling sensor. In our Pentax K-7 review we find out whether these qualities make it attractive to out-and-about enthusiasts
Build and handling
Thanks to its stainless-steel alloy frame and magnesium alloy body, the K-7 has a tough, durable feel that is matched by the presence of 77 seals to make it dustproof and weather resistant. I find it an extremely comfortable camera to hold and use. The contours of its grip are almost perfect for my hand, so it feels secure and easy to carry for several hours.
Pentax K-7 Control buttons
There is plenty of direct control via buttons and dials, which are all sensibly arranged and lie within easy reach. While these buttons and rubberised dials have a well-made, dependable feel, I was surprised that the lettering on the Info button had started to rub off by the end of this test.
Although the K-7 has 37 customisation options so that, for example, it is possible to decide which of the two dials is used to select the exposure settings in each of the exposure modes, there is no menu customisation. There is no option to save preferred or frequently used menu options to a separate screen and, frustratingly, there isn’t even an option to make the menu open at the point where it was last used. This can mean quite a bit of navigating through the menu. It’s an oversight that I hope will be addressed with a firmware upgrade.
I would also like a quicker route to the Shake Reduction control, which can only be accessed via the fourth screen of the shooting menu. Ideally, this should be turned off when the camera is used on a tripod, so quick access is an advantage.
Pentax K-7 Image finishing tone
Pentax has given the K-7 an impressive number of ways of varying the look of an image, with the Image Finishing Tone options providing control over the saturation, hue, brightness, contrast and sharpness of colour images. Coloured filter and toning effects can also be applied to monochrome images. Tone adjustments are saved by overwriting the original, but the default settings are easily found again as the marker turns green rather than yellow.
A preferred image tone can also be stored as part of the User settings, which, once saved, is accessed via the main mode dial. This option saves a large number of the camera settings for future recall. It may not always be desirable for the camera to be reset to the user’s default setup, just to use the saved image tone.
Pentax K-7 Control panel
In keeping with many camera manufacturers today, Pentax has provided the K-7 with a control panel that is displayed on the main LCD screen. This panel is made up of two screens that are accessed via the Info button, and it provides a quick means of checking the camera settings and making adjustments.Apart from the lack of menu customisation and a few issues with the viewfinder (see ‘Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video’ opposite), the build quality and handling characteristics of the Pentax K-7 are very good.
Pentax K-7 Build and handling: Score – 8/10