Pentax has announced the new mid-range DSLR: K-7, let's say an evolution of K20D.

Here are the noticeable aspects of the new model:

  • video: nowadays it is mandatory (given the competition) to include video shooting capabilities. There are three video resolutions are offered: 640x416 or 1536x1024 (these have standard 3:2 aspect ratio of 35mm film, so not the classical VGA standard of 640x480) and an HD mode at 1280x720 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The frame rate is 30 frames/sec for all video modes. Very interestingly, a socket for an external microphone is provided (it costs little but few models provide that).
  • HDR mode: the camera can shoot 3 images with different exposure (under-exposed, correctly exposed and over-exposed) and combine into a single image with High Dynamic Range. Very cool, since this process is done on the PC with other cameras and involves quite a bit of patience.
  • image body stabilization: as in Pentax philosophy (while Canon and Nikon provide lens stabilization). Long debates on which is best, basically body stabilization is better for being applied to all lenses (that can be cheaper ;) ), while lens stabilization is more effective on long focal lenses (tele) and the effect is visible thorugh the viewfinder.
  • sensor: 14.6 megapixels, CMOS sensor, APS-C size (crop factor of about 1.5 with respect to 35 mm size). More pixels would have implied more noise, in this sometimes crazy pixel race between manufacturers.
  • viewfinder: 100% coverage, good;
  • sealing: 77 seals for weather, dust and cold-resistance. Very good for this level of camera.
  • shutter: 100'000 cycle life and up to 1/8000 second. Good.
  • lens correction: in-camera automatic correction of lens distorsion and lateral chromatic aberration (the one that you would correct in Photoshop), probably just for JPG while for RAW you need the dedicated Pentax software.
  • continuous shooting: 5.2 frames per seconds limited to 40 JPEG/15 PEF/14 DNG, or 3.3 frames per second unlimited. Good.
  • LCD: 3 inches, 920'000 dots, good, nowadays a standard.

In a few words, a very promising model, with some very interesting innovation with respect to the competition (like the HDR mode and chromatic aberration control).

Initial price should be around 1300 $ in the US and available from July.

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