The Pentax K-7 is the company's first pro-grade DSLR, and it's been a long time coming. What Digital Camera tests out the K7...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Pentax K-7

Overall score:88%
Image Quality:85%


  • 35 years worth of compatible Pentax lenses, 100% viewfinder, intuitive camera layout, weather-sealing, best Pentax AF system to date


  • Kit lens is a let down, underexposure can be an issue, AF isn’t as snappy as it should be, high ISO image noise


Pentax K-7 Review


Price as reviewed:


Performance page 2

Pentax K-7 review – Performance page 2

Pentax K-7 review – Live View

Pentax K-7 review test sample image firmware 1.01Live View offers a number of info options – it’s possible to shoot with a histogram, grid, info overlay and bright/dark area display. Autofocus consists of Face Detection AF, which recognises faces with relative ease but can struggle to focus unless the subject is still. While Contrast Detect AF is also slow, the faster option of Phase Difference AF drops out of live view, attain focus, then jumps back into live view mode accurately re-focused.

Manual focus is by far the best way to use live view, and for landscape, architectural and still life work you wont need to worry about autofocusing. The info button on the back of the camera provides up to 6x magnification to assist with pin-point fine focusing, though the visible noise on the screen at such a magnification can be a little distracting.

At the time of writing there is also an issue in using live view and flash together. Using two separate camera bodies to verify the issue, when the battery is half depleted and the flash deployed, it may on occasion show ‘battery depleted’ on the LCD and automatically turn the camera off. However, upon turning the camera back on it is possible to continue shooting as normal, albeit not in live view with flash, with the battery still showing as half full.

Pentax K-7 review – Virtual Horizon


One of the K-7’s quirks is the way it pulls in many more subtle features that enhance its use. The virtual horizon, which acts as a kind of spirit level to assist you with holding the camera dead straight, is one such feature. Whether using landscape or portrait orientation through the viewfinder or in live view, it’s a nice touch that can even move the sensor itself by up to one degree as a means to compensate. Very clever stuff.


Pentax K-7 review – Kit lens:


The standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens that comes boxed with the K-7 provides ample performance. As with most standard kit lenses across the board you’ll likely feel somewhat restricted by its limitations, namely that images are a little less than sharp, despite the success of the sensor’s resolution. In accordance with the K-7’s rugged makeup the lens does tick all the dust and weather sealing boxes, perhaps a gesture to where some future lenses may be headed from camp Pentax.

Attach one of many other lenses – new or old – and that’s where the fun starts. Using an old 100mm macro it was possible to take some interesting close-up shots, though there was notable chromatic aberration from this lens in particular, and not just to the edges. This is where the lateral chromatic aberration adjustment option comes to the rescue, which, once switched on from inside the camera’s menu, very successfully removes purple fringing.

Pentax K-7 review – In-camera HDR effects & filters


Perhaps less in keeping with the ‘pro’ title is the inclusion of a variety of in-camera modes – much like those found in current Olympus DSLRs. Amid the usual Black & White, Sepia and colour modes, there are others such as pseudo Fish Eye, Toy Camera and Retro that apply various colour, vignetting, distortion or other effects. In moderation there are a number that are useful, plus their very presence further extends the K-7’s appeal to an even broader market.

A slight oddity is the inclusion of an in-camera HDR (high dynamic range) mode. When switched on, the mode takes three photos (underexposed, correct exposure and overexposed) and processes them into one image in camera, at your choice of ‘standard’ or ‘strong’. Processing isn’t immediate and takes a few seconds. Don’t expect to get successful use from this when handheld – the images wont align and the technology isn’t quite advanced enough to match up frame to frame. As it’s only possible to press or use a remote to fire the shutter, there may be some slight camera movement and a tripod is an essential. Successful results will appear very ‘pronounced’ in HDR terms when using strong, and whilst ‘standard’ is certainly milder, the general lack of user-defined control should keep this as something for post-process rather than in-camera. <!–

Pentax K-7 review pages:

– Page 1: Pentax K-7 review – Features & Design
– Page 2: Pentax K-7 review – Performance
– Page 3: Pentax K-7 review – Performance (cont.)
– Page 4: Pentax K-7 review – Image Quality & Value
– Page 5: Pentax K-7 review specifications / specs
– Page 6: Pentax K-7 review verdict

Pentax K-7 review – other What Digital Camera links:

– Compare the Pentax K-7 with other DSLR cameras
– Pentax K-7 review – product images
– Pentax K-7 review – sample test image gallery


  1. 1. Pentax K-7 review - Features
  2. 2. Performance page 1
  3. 3. Performance page 2
  4. 4. Image Quality & Value
  5. 5. Verdict
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