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Old Oct 7, 2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default K-7 Review by Luminous Landscape

For your perusal:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...k7-hands.shtml

Any thoughts, K-7 owners?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 3:59 PM   #2
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Perhaps if I owned a ton of different cameras, I'd feel the same way. The K-7 is neither the fastest nor best in its field. It does some unique things (the in-camera HDR for one, weather sealing at a cheaper price for another) but mostly it does what it does in a solid, well-done manner. The image quality is excellent but not better than its competitors. It's a solid, workman-like camera that gets the job done easily and I like it's feature set better than the K20. If I were looking for a camera and didn't already have a lot invested in Pentax, I'd look at it but might not buy - it doesn't have huge, fancy figures to separate it from all of the other cameras. Its marginally cheaper than its competitors, but not cheap enough to really stand out against the entry level dSLR cameras (which it would).

I disagree with him on the ergonomics, but then my hands are small and I don't want anything bigger or heavier. What will work best for me might not work for the next person.

I don't really agree with him on access to commonly used features - the info button works great for me, better than previous Pentax cameras, and with the various ways of customizing how the camera is set up (wheels can control different things), I don't find any frustration about not finding what I want quickly. But I suppose someone who only has a camera to test for a week probably isn't going to hunt through all of those customizable menu screens to see how to set it up to work best for them.

Another complaint he had was that he preferred a joy-stick for changing things over the wheels. I happen to prefer to use the wheels, for me they are easier to reach and change things like aperture and shutter speed without taking my eye from the viewfinder. And I find the info button menu, with the flick of a wheel really quick for going back and forth between settings - I use two fingers. Again, that's personal preference.

The one thing I do agree with is the placement of the Live view button - like him, I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally turned it on when reaching for a different control. I wish it were in a slightly different location, more apart from everything else. On the other hand, it is easy to find.

What I took away from his review is that the camera doesn't work for him. Not every camera is going to satisfy everyone (the reason for different cameras in the first place). What is unfortunate is that so many people will read that he didn't like it and think the camera is a lousy camera (its not, and he said that it wasn't at the beginning).
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biro View Post
For your perusal:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...k7-hands.shtml

Any thoughts, K-7 owners?
That hardly qualifies as a review in my book - just a bunch of subjective impressions from someone who, by his own admission, didn't spend enough time with it to get really familiar with it, and a lot of equivocating, too. The thorough Imaging Resources review he refers his readers to for comparison shots is far more what a real review should be, and it is far more favorable. I couldn't really tell what this person actually thought about it - not much , I gather. But, then, he didn't give it much (thought, that is), either.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:50 PM   #4
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That hardly qualifies as a review in my book - just ........ The thorough Imaging Resources review he refers his readers to for comparison shots is far more what a real review should be, and it is far more favorable.
Actually as a neutral outsider I had issues with both. I can see why the IR review would be preferred - it's high on praise but low on how the camera stacks up against the competition. In short, it was a lot like a Pop Photo review.

The initial review had potential because it was supposedly based on real-world shooting by an actual photojournalist. I am infinitely more interested in real-world shooting experience than lab results. I don't take photos of test patterns - I take photos of people, landscapes, animals, etc... I think there are a few good kernals from both reviews. But that's the problem with reviews - one says this is the greatest camera out there at it's level and one says it's squarely in the middle of the pack. But that's the problem with professional reviews. If a reviewer has a camera for a month I'd like to see several galleries of images. The review above mentioned using it for sports - where are all the sports photos? Where are any of the real-world photos?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 8:08 PM   #5
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I think Michael Reichmann is coming from a perspective that is not shared by a lot of people, that of a pro who has used, and is used to shooting top end Pro bodies (read Canon and Nikon, not to mention Leica and Hassy). The LL review tends to downplay or miss some of the K-7s features (and price/feature ratio), and failed to give the K-7 a chance to possibly exploit perhaps its best feature, the one that does make it unique -- its size.

Combine the K-7 with some Ltd primes, and I think that he might have been more impressed, and would have grabbed it instead of some of the other cameras that he was testing at the same time. The DA12-24 and DA*50-135 are exceptional zooms, but (although I don't own any) the Ltds more closely define Pentax's identity as a DSLR mfg, IMO. If he were writing a review for pros (which, IMO he did), I'd think that among this class of users there would be more interest in the K-7 w/Ltds as a small sized alternative system. By choosing the zooms, I think that he missed the boat.

If he were writing for consumers, then mentioning the feature/price ratio should have been a priority.

IMO, LL was a fair review -- from a limited perspective. If, when compared to pro bodies (which are all more expensive), the K-7 stands up as being "competent" without any glaring flaws, then I think this is actually a pretty good result -- I like competence. The K-7 isn't the end-all in any performance category, but it's a significant step up for current Pentax users in speed and features, so I think the IR review is more informative from a consumer's point of view.


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Old Oct 8, 2009, 10:53 PM   #6
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I think the IR review is more informative from a consumer's point of view.
Scott
Agreed -- and that is the whole point of these reviews, isn't it? A pro isn't going to base a decision on these, but a consumer might.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 10:59 AM   #7
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I have to agree that while Michael Reichmann is technically correct in most of his observations, it's clear that a lot of what limits the K-7's appeal for him has to do with personal preference. Like many of us, he doesn't spend a lot of time with lab tests and charts - preferring real-world results. And, again, while he did note that the K-7's noise levels might be a bit higher than the very best of its competition, image quality wasn't a problem for him. It was autofocus and controls/ergonomics.

I don't own the K-7 yet... but as a Pentax owner I think most of us might understand what he was talking about when it came to the autofocus. The K-7 is clearly better than Pentax's other DSLRs in this area. And the (occasional?) slowness Reichmann observed was so minor as to be unquantifiable. But it was there nonetheless. I suspect one wouldn't even notice it unless one were shooting something demanding like sports. This probably doesn't come as a shock to most Pentaxians.

In the end, I remain interested in the K-7. So far, my K200D hasn't been a problem for me and I have a number of Pentax lenses. So the K-7 remains in my sights - unless an eventual K200D replacement suits my needs better.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 11:26 AM   #8
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Biro - you raise an interesting point. For any DSLR review, you really have two major audiences looking at the reviews:
1) People currently in that system that are looking for replacement/upgrade
2) People looking to get into DSLRs and haven't yet chosen a system

So, it's useful to know from a review how well a camera does against the model it's replacing and against other models in the lineup (this is especially interesting when a new 'lower level' camera comes to market and inherits many of the features of a higher-end model in the same system).

But, it's also good to know how it compares to the competition. The target market for the K-7 contains a lot of wildlife and sports photographers IMO. I believe Pentax is on board with this because they made improvements to frame rate and focus accuracy.

As to 'unquantifiable' - that's part of the problem when you're shooting birds in flight or athletes moving. You can't really time things well - it's often a 'feeling' that camera A snaps to focus faster or hunts less. So, you're never going to get lab-quality data for those types of tests. What is missing however is any comments on 'keepers'. For example, these are additional data points which are useful - especially for sports (i say sports because it's easier to test then wildlife because you always know where the game is going to be - wildlife is trickier to repeat):
1) % of keepers - for example did Camera A produce a similar % of keepers as Camera B or was it noticably more or less
2) quality of those keepers - this goes to tolerances - for example you could say Camera A got more keepers but the quality of the keepers camera B produced was higher. So, the lesson there is Camera A has better focus tracking in general but not as precise (which may be the camera OR lens quality issues).

What makes this type of analysis tough is the LENS plays a huge part. If you're testing a Nikon D300 with 400mm 2.8, what are you testing the Pentax with? You need lenses with the same optical quality AND the same focus speed. One way this COULD be achieved is using a 3rd party lens with mounts in both systems (like the Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM). But, chances are slim a tester would ever get 2 such lenses to test with. Again, these types of tests are easier Canon vs. Nikon because they both have pro sports glass and Sony does as well.

As I am a person who shoots sports - my takeaway from his impressions is the K-7 felt better as a sports camera than previous Pentax cameras but didn't feel up to the Canon, Nikon and Sony prosumer competition (50d/7d; D300, A700).

But some of that MIGHT have to do with lenses too. Tough to say.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 5:11 PM   #9
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As I am a person who shoots sports - my takeaway from his impressions is the K-7 felt better as a sports camera than previous Pentax cameras but didn't feel up to the Canon, Nikon and Sony prosumer competition (50d/7d; D300, A700).
I think you're exactly right. Because I have already bought into Pentax - and really don't have any major problems with the system (other than rising lens prices) - the K-7 remains a legitimate option for me. But if I were someone puchasing my first DSLR or intentionally moving to a new system, the competition you mentioned would be hard to ignore.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 7:17 PM   #10
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But if I were someone puchasing my first DSLR or intentionally moving to a new system, the competition you mentioned would be hard to ignore.
Especially since Pnetax is so poorly represented in brick and mortar stores where an interested first time buyer could try one.
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