Looking for a smart choice and now a bargain too? Look no further than a Pentax K-7

The Pentax K-7 is the new jewel in the company’s crown, with a long list of specs well beyond any previous Pentax DSLR. Existing Pentax users will be pleased to finally see a much-wanted pro-level upgrade, whereas those familiar with other manufacturers’ systems may also be drawn in thanks to an all-encompassing features list.

The Pentax K-7 has been built from the ground up by Pentax and, unlike the K20D and K10D which had Samsung GX20 and GX10 equivalents, is a standalone venture. The build quality is a key sell; ruggedly made, but following Pentax’s ultimately ‘classic’ design, the body is made from a magnesium alloy that’s both dust and weather-sealed at 77 points. Shooting in sand, getting splashed with rain or other treacherous conditions need not be a bother and, despite this upgrade, the whole camera is even marginally smaller and lighter than the previous K20D. The featured 18-55mm kit lens follows suit, as does the optional D-BG4 battery grip (which offers both AA and li-ion battery options) to complete a fully weather-and-dust-sealed unit in its entirety.

A high-resolution 14.6MP CMOS sensor is at the heart of the K-7’s body, which whilst not a step up over the K20D in terms of resolution, does double the number of output channels. The result? More information can speed through the K-7’s buffer for faster continuous shooting than ever before – a firm 5.2 frames per second sees the K20D’s 3fps barrier officially trounced; ideal for those looking to shoot sports or action photography.

Unlike its key competitors – namely the Nikon D300 and Canon 50D – the Pentax K-7, like many Pentax DSLRs before it, incorporates Shake Reduction (SR) into the camera body itself. Crucially this means even old K-mount bayonet-fit lenses can benefit from this function, and new lenses will not cost as much as their (hypothetical) stabilised counterparts.

A notable – and very much ‘flavour of 2009’ – feature is the inclusion of a 720p HD movie mode, plus the inclusion of a superior 1536×1024 capture that can be output at 1080i, though this is not ‘Full HD’ capture. Mono sound is recorded from the camera’s body, or there is the option to use the 3.5mm jack socket to plug in a microphone and record in stereo. Aperture can be set as fixed via the camera body for recording or there’s an automatic variable aperture mode, which adjusts the aperture according to the amount of light available throughout recording. Whilst in-camera shake reduction can also be used to full effect, it is not possible to autofocus whilst recording – though it is entirely plausible this will be possible in the future, if the clever bods at Pentax fix up the necessary firmware.

In keeping up with the competition, the Pentax K-7 adorns a 920,000 dot high resolution 3in LCD screen. Whilst it’s not a tilt and swivel screen as seem to be creeping into a number of camera bodies of late, it does auto-rotate images on the screen itself and, in keeping with orientation, has a virtual horizon level too – a really nice touch when in live view mode.

With customisable white balance settings, a shutter speed up to 1/8000th second, 77 segment metering system, the new SAFOX VIII+ 11-point AF system with AF illuminator lamp, in-camera HDR, and D-Range shadow and highlight adjustment options, the features list is certainly bulging. The K-7’s viewfinder has the much-sought after 100% field of view too, ensuring what you see is exactly what you’ll capture.

Now it’s your choice: which bargain are you going to take?
It’s either a Pentax K-7 with DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens bundle priced at US $1,104.99 (saving up to 47% over regular price, that’s $979.11!) or the body-only Pentax K-7 priced at $979.00 that’s $320.95 (-25%)!


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