The Pentax K7 is the company's first pro-grade DSLR, and it's been a long time coming. This review is of a pre-production sample fitted with firmware upgrade 1.0.0

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Pentax K-7

Overall score:86%
Image Quality:85%


  • 35 years worth of compatible Pentax lenses, 100% viewfinder, intuitive camera layout, HD movie, best AF system (with AF illuminator) to grace a Pentax camera


  • Underexposed images, no AF in Movie mode, slow AF in live view, in-camera HDR a disappointment, tough competition to compete against - ought to be cheaper


Pentax K-7 Review


Price as reviewed:


Pentax K-7 review – Design

Anyone familiar with Pentax’s DSLR design will be comfortable with the format of the K-7. Like the K20D before it, the layout is highly familiar. The marginally smaller K7 body makes some minor adjustments to the right hand side grip in order for the AF illuminating light to have enough space to operate. Otherwise it’s very much Pentax business as usual – and that’s no bad thing; the Pentax system, given the company’s years in the business, is intuitively laid out and wont spring any nasty surprises.

On top of the K7 there’s the mode thumbwheel to the left, which locks down when a mode is selected. It takes the other hand to depress a button on top of this wheel before a new mode can be selected. Whilst useful to not slip accidentally into another mode, it can slow down changing between shutter and aperture priority, or any of the other settings. To the right of the K-7 there’s the shutter with on/off bezel, and two buttons – one for exposure compensation, the other for ISO settings, both controlled by the rear thumbwheel when held. The quick-reference ISO button is an absolute must and will be commonly used in changing light. Furthermore the K7’s light-up display panel is a very fetching green colour that’s easy to read in all light sources – from bright to total darkness – and displays all the need to know key information for shooting when not looking through the viewfinder.

Pentax K-7 full production DSLR with firmware 1.00 review sample image

The rear of the K7 is adorned by the high resolution LCD to the left hand side, with the viewfinder above. The dioptic correction is just above here and, for glasses wearers, offers an excellent way to ensure you needn’t necessarily remove your spare eyes. The rubber eyecup is surprisingly comfortable should you happen to wear your own lenses or not. To the right of the rear there’s a d-pad formation for quick control of white balance, self timer, flash and colour settings. Above is a quick access live view button, a metering selection turnstile, auto setting, live view AF control, AE-L and the rear thumbwheel which pairs up with the front equivalent for the majority of controls.

The Pentax K7 feels good in the hand, intuitive to use and, thankfully, will keep you out of menu digging most of the time due to the use of quick-access options. The general menu is a less impressive fare given the amount of up/down scrolling you’ll find yourself doing to find various ‘hidden’ options – but the majority, such as card formatting, tend to be best left as hard to find options. Describing movie modes in their megapixel equivalents is one example of how such options become confusing – with so much manufacturer clout and media coverage, the standard HD 720 (often ‘HD Ready’) and HD 1080 (often ‘Full HD’) have missed the brains at Pentax, instead opting for ‘0.9M 16:9’ to describe what to most is simply ‘720p’. Confused yet?

Overall though, the Pentax K7 is well designed and is easy to use for the most part. Whether an existing Pentax user or brand new to DSLR photography, it takes no time at all to pick up the system – it’s a legacy of intuitive layout.

Pentax K-7 review pages:


– Page 1: Pentax K7 DSLR review – Features
– Page 2: Pentax K-7 full production model review – Design

– Page 3: Pentax K7 full firmware review – Performance
– Page 4: Pentax K-7 review – Image Quality & Value for Money
– Page 5: Pentax K7 full first review – review specifications / specs
– Page 6: Pentax K7 DSLR review Verdict

Pentax K7 review – other What Digital Camera links:

– Compare the Pentax K-7 with other prosumer DSLR reviews
– Pentax K7 review – product images
– Pentax K-7 review – sample test image gallery

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