Rear of camera controls
The K-7 has a completely revised rear layout which may take existing Pentax users a while to get to grips with. It's not that its behavior is awkward, just that it's been substantially re-worked. Like the K10/20D, the K-7 has a large number of direct access controls, whether it be for AF point selection mode, AF mode or metering. It gains dedicated Live view and ISO buttons, which should make the shooting process faster, once you're used to it.
The most obvious change is that the four-way controller now has a function assigned to each direction - on the K10/20D you had to press the Fn button to access these functions. This means the controller is used in all AF point selection modes, rather than just in Select mode. The trade-off is that you now have to press the OK button before you can start moving the AF point when in Select mode. However, once you've pressed OK to switch to AF point selection mode, that choice is retained until you switch back, even if you turn the camera off. AF point selection is also displayed in the viewfinder so you'll know, even with the camera to your eye, whether pressing the four-way controller will move the AF point or give you direct access to shooting features.
Another improvement is in the White Balance menu, where there is an additional CTE preset for retaining the color cast that makes sunset scenes so photogenic. Another interesting option is a custom setting (c.12) that lets you define whether you want the Incandescent white balance setting to completely correct for the lighting conditions or would prefer it to leave some of the color cast to retain the atmosphere. This is the first time we've seen a manufacturer attempt to address the dichotomy between the technical and artistic requirements of white balance.
AF point selection
Sets auto focusing to the center point only.
The camera automatically selects the AF point or points and indicates these by lighting them briefly on the viewfinder view.
|AF||AF start/stop button
Can be used to start or stop the autofocus process for fast shooting.
Buttons (shooting mode)
Enters playback mode
|AE-L||Auto Exposure Lock
Takes a light meter reading and locks the exposure accordingly. (Exposure compensation can be applied to this locked value)
Something of a Pentax tradition, the green button re-sets the exposure back to the chosen program line. In manual exposure mode, for instance, it's a way of jumping straight to the metered exposure, allowing you to react more quickly if you need a sudden change in exposure.
Enters Live view mode
Enters a menu screen to select from the different shooting modes:
Single shot mode
Continuous Hi (5.2 fps)/Continuous Low (3.3 fps)
Self-timer: 12/2 sec
Remote control: Immediate/3 sec delay/Continuous
Bracketing: Immediate/Timer/Remote (Dials control no. of frames and interval size)
Mirror Lock-Up: Immediate/Remote
Enters a menu screen to specify how the camera compensates for the lighting conditions. Fine adjustment available in both the Amber/Blue and Green/Magenta axis for all settings. Turn preview rocker to see the effects of the setting, press AEL button to save this preview.
Fluorescent: Daylight Color, Daylight White, Pure White, Warm White
Manual: Create preset or specify Color Temperature (K)
|Custom Image settings
Jumps to the Custom Image setting menu, allowing the setting of a host of detailed image processing parameters. [Covered in the Menu pages]
Enters a menu screen to specify flash behavior - Rear dial sets flash exposure compensation
Flash on with Red-eye reduction
Slow-speed sync with Red-eye reduction
Trailing curtain sync
Wireless flash mode
|OK||OK/AF Point Selection
Toggles the action of the four-way controller between the four functions defined above and direct selection of AF point (When AF selection switch is turned to SEL). Confirms selection in menus and sub-screens.
Switches to an icon-based menu of key settings to specify key shooting parameters, including turning Shake Reduction on and off.
Enters or leaves the menu mode [Covered later in this article]
Buttons (play mode)
Turn the command dial to the left to switch to a thumbnail view (number of thumbnails can be defined by pressing the INFO button). Rotating the dial again shows a folder level view. Use the four way controller to move around this index of images or folders.
Turn the dial to the right to magnify the displayed image, available magnification steps are: 1.2x, 1.4x, 1.7x, 2x, 2.4x, 2.8x, 3.4x, 4x, 4.8x, 5.7x, 6.7x, 8x, 9.5x, 11x, 14x, 16x, 19x, 23x, 27x and 32x. You can preset the initial zoom step to something more than 1.2x. A magnified image can be scrolled using the four way controller and image changed with the front dial.
|Protect / Un-protect
Allows you to protect (set the file system read-only flag) or un-protect the selected image or all images.
Enter or leave the camera 'Main Menu'.
Delete the currently displayed image.
Left and Right arrows scroll through different images.
The Down arrow enters the image adjustment screen [described later in the article] which includes options to correct image alignment, apply digital filters, take a manual white balance from a saved image, or enter compare mode.
Toggles through the four play display modes:
Image with file type & file number
Image with file type, file number & histogram (press up or down on the four-way controller to switch between luminosity and RGB histogram)
Image thumbnail with detailed information display (press up or down to see Photographer and Copyright Holder information)
Front of camera controls
Allows the flash to pop up.
Changes the file format the camera is shooting in. User definable, depending on which format is currently being shot. Also configurable depending on whether you want to switch modes for a single shot or until the button is re-pressed.
AF mode switch
Autofocus will continually attempt to refine focus while the shutter or AF button are pressed.
Lenses must be focused manually.