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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivities)

When looking at the K-7's high ISO output it is obvious that Pentax, despite deploying an updated version of the K20D sensor in the new model, hasn't made a huge step forward in terms of noise reduction processing. In the samples below the K20D shows more chroma noise than the K-7 but at its default settings noise reduction is switched off while on the K-7 it is set to 'Medium'. Activating it on the K20D will get you very similar results to the K-7.

In comparison to the competition on this page Pentax opts for a laissez-faire approach towards luminance noise which results in a grainier image that also shows slightly more chroma noise than the competition. The EOS 50D and to a lesser degree the Nikon D300 are more heavy handed on the luminance noise which results in cleaner but also visibly softer, slightly less detailed images.

If you change custom setting 3, the K-7 will shoot at up to ISO 6400 but the top two ISO settings should ideally be reserved for taking images for web-use or small format printing.

ISO 800

Pentax K-7 Pentax K20D
Nikon D300 Canon EOS 50D

ISO 1600

Pentax K-7 Pentax K20D
Nikon D300 Canon EOS 50D

ISO 3200

Pentax K-7 Pentax K20D
Nikon D300 Canon EOS 50D

ISO 6400

Pentax K-7 Pentax K20D
Nikon D300 Canon EOS 50D
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