Pentax K-7 Review
Nikon and Canon started the trend with the D90 and 5D Mark II respectively and it was only a matter of time before other manufacturers would follow. Now, with the K-7, Pentax has introduced its first DSLR with a video recording capability.
Like previous video-enabled DSLRs the K-7 does not offer the fast AF or the same degree of control over video capture as a dedicated camcorder would, but the ability to shoot movies with a large sensor (with the shallow depth of field that this brings) and interchangeable lenses no doubt brings a whole range of new creative possibilities to budding videographers.
The K-7's highest available video resolution of 1536 x 1024 pixels is slightly uncommon in so far that it is located somewhere in between the 1080p and 720p standards that have been adopted by other manufacturers. It also means an unusual 3:2 aspect ratio rather than the more usual 16:9. Additional resolution settings are 1280 x 720 (720p) and 640 x 480 (VGA). At all resolution settings video footage is recorded at 30 frames per second. Movie files are saved in the high quality, but very large, Motion JPEG format.
|Sizes|| 1536 x 1024 (3:2 aspect ratio) at 30 fps
1280 x 720 (720p) at 30 fps
640 x 480 (VGA) at 30 fps
|Audio||44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), 3.5mm external stereo microphone jack|
|File size||5.5 MB/sec (1536x1024), 3.7 MB/sec (720p), 2.8 MB/sec (VGA)|
|Max file size per clip||4.0 GB|
|Running time||12 min for 1080p, 18 min for 720p, 24 min for VGA|
Using Movie Mode
Shooting a video on the K-7 is a very straightforward affair. Turn the mode dial to movie mode and press the shutter button to start recording; press again to stop. Once the camera is recording it is doing everything fully automatically and does not react to a press of any button other than the shutter button. AF is not available while recording video, therefore manual focus or pre-focusing by pressing the AF-button before you start recording are the only options. This is not a major disadvantage given that the video-mode AF on all current video-enabled DSLRs is so painfully slow that it is virtually unusable (the mirrorless Panasonic GF1 shows how it should be done). It also means the there are no AF-motor sounds to be recorded by the internal microphone as happens on other cameras.
Aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity are all set automatically. You can however choose to fix the aperture before you start the video capture which gives you a degree of control over depth of field in your videos. In Auto Aperture mode the K-7 will adjust the aperture if the brightness of the recorded scene changes (the click sound is often clearly audible in the recording). In Fixed Aperture mode the camera achieves the same goal by only adapting the sensor sensitivity.
Unlike some other recent video-enabled DSLRs the K-7 does not allow you to take any still images during video recording, you'll have to turn the mode dial to one of the still modes in order to take a picture. You can't change the amount of on-screen information during video capture either. The camera's internal microphone records monaural sound but if sound is important in your video there is also a connector for an external mic. The optical image stabilization is activated by default but can be switched off.
Movie mode displays
|Movie menu showing the three available video resolutions. Shake reduction can be turned on or off.||Aperture control can be set to either Auto of Fixed.|
|Once recording has started the record icon and remaining time are displayed at the bottom of the frame. During recording the camera does not react to any button presses apart from the shutter button which will stop recording.|
Video quality comments
Like most of the video-enabled DSLRs that we've seen so far the K-7 produces very good high HD quality footage with fairly smooth motion even at the highest resolution (although you'll need a fairly powerful computer to play the files smoothly). The K-7's sensor is APS-C size and therefore you can't quite create the same depth of field effects as on a full-frame-camera such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II but you still get a much shallower, more cinematic depth of field than with any digital compact camera. When recording video more or less all functions are automated (you can fix the aperture though) and the use of Auto ISO can, as you would expect, leads to grainy video output in low light. However, the K-7 is not noticeably worse in this respect than any of its competitors.
Like pretty much all other video-DSLRs the K-7 can suffer from distortion caused by its rolling shutter. The readout of the sensor means horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go. The upshot is that verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast - the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. The K-7 is pretty average in this respect. The effect is noticeable but you have to pan pretty quickly to make it too much of a nuisance. An example panning video is included.
All in all we can say that compared to the movie mode on any digital stills camera or consumer camcorder we've used the K-7's video quality is quite impressive. Usability of the video mode is a completely different matter and the area in which a dedicated camcorder is miles ahead. In any case, below you'll find some examples of videos taken with the K-7 for you to download and draw your own conclusions.
Sample video 1
|, 30 fps. AVI (MJPG) file. 9 sec. 44.6 MB|
Sample video 2
|, 30 fps. AVI (MJPG) file 11 sec. 52.8 MB|
Sample video 3
|, 30 fps. AVI (MJPG) file. 15 sec. 81.6 MB|
Sample video 4
|, 30 fps. AVI (MJPG) file 6 sec. 29.9 MB|
Sample video 5
|, 30 fps. AVI (MJPG) file 14 sec. 73.4 MB|
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 What's new
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Operation (Live View)
- 10 Displays
- 11 Menus
- 12 Menus
- 13 Menus
- 14 Performance
- 15 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 16 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 17 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 18 Photographic tests (DR)
- 19 Photographic tests
- 20 In-camera effects
- 21 Movie Mode
- 22 Compared to
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 30 Compared to (Resolution)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Conclusion
- 33 Samples
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service 'the resources that it deserves'.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.
The World Photo Organization has finally revealed the overall winners for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student Photographer of the Year winners.
Venus Optics has unveiled four new lenses that will ship later this year: a wide-angle zoom for Sony FE, a circular fisheye for Micro Four Thirds, a wide-angle lens for the medium format Fujifilm GFX, and a 2x Ultra Macro for multiple full-frame mounts.
The One Backpack is a 5-in-1 modular backpack that can be used as a camera bag, work & gym pack, suit carry backpack, travel pack or tech-backpack.
This highly-specialized lens is perfect for sports, action and wildlife photography. Check out these first sample images for a taste of what it's capable of.
For KFC Hong Kong’s latest ad campaign, New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather used Photoshop to magically morph pieces of flaky fried chicken into fire and smoke in various scenes.
The Android and iOS app from Surpuba AR lets you place animated 3D models in real-world environment using augmented reality technology. You can alter poses and location, insert lighting equipment, and more... right from your phone or tablet.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop Oppo's smartphone camera roadmap, covering optical zoom, depth mapping and other innovative imaging features that dual cameras allow.
Canon is jumping into the portable printing game with the new IVY Mini Photo Printer: a rechargeable battery-powered printer for creating 2x3 prints and stickers of your smartphone snaps on-the-go.
The program first launched last year, but only as a temporary promotion limited to previous-generation GoPro cameras exchanged for discounts on current-generation models. This time around, GoPro is accepting nearly any digital camera in any condition.
One of the most usable 360° cameras on the market is getting even better. With its latest update, Rylo adds a 180° mode, bluetooth remote capture, and a cinematic motion blur effect for your timelapse shots.
Phase One has released the first major update to its Capture One Pro 11 photo editing program. The update adds support for 8 new cameras and 16 new lenses, and includes several new features and functional improvements that speed up workflow.
We recently got our hands on Samsung's latest and greatest smartphone, the dual camera, variable aperture Galaxy S9+, and took it to mostly sunny Southern California for a long weekend.
It's spring, and that means wedding season is upon us! If you're one of the many photographers planning wedding shoots this year, this is a great time to think about including aerial photography in your plans.
The first firmware update for the Sony a7 III addresses an issue in video mode wherein "blinking pixels" would show up along the base of footage recorded with certain settings.
Researchers with Switzerland's EPFL have developed a soft exoskeleton that enables its wearer to control a drone using their upper body. The human-robot interface is said to offer "natural and intuitive control of drones."
Photokina has released an official list of confirmed exhibitors for the 2018 expo, quieting rumors that major brands like Canon and Profoto might follow in Elinchrom's lead and skip this year's show.
For owners of Sony's a7R III, a9 and the new a7 III, there's now an easy fix for the rare but dreaded 'striping' in backlit shots with lots of flare. Click through to learn more.
The team behind the ubiquitous JPEG format has unveiled an all new image format designed to quickly and efficiently stream content across wired and wireless networks alike. Surprisingly, it actually uses less compression than traditional JPEG.
Canon USA has released a promotional video showcasing its latest CMOS sensor technology. Albeit over daraticized, it’s an interesting overlook at the work it’s continually putting into its camera systems.
The large-format digital LargeSense LS911 is the "world's first 8x10 digital single shot camera for sale." The camera features a 12-megapixel 9x11-inch monochrome CMOS sensor, which translates into massive 75 micron pixels.
Pricing and availability have been announced for Tokina's high-end Fírin 20mm F2 FE AF autofocus lens for Sony E-Mount. If you're curious about this lens, you'll be able to pick up your own starting in June for $950 USD.
It's the copyright lawsuit that refuses to die. In September 2017, PETA finally settled its monkey selfie lawsuit with photographer David Slater, but the request to dismiss the case has since been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As part of his ongoing ‘Good Light’ YouTube series, London-based photographer Sean Tucker has created a simple tutorial on how to find good natural light for portraits.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, with the photography awards going to photojournalist Ryan Kelly for image of a car plowing into protesters in Virginia, and the entire Reuters photo staff for a series on Rohinga refugees fleeing persecution.
When it was announced in 2016, the Rokinon AF 14mm F2.8 FE was among the first full-frame autofocus lenses for Sony's a7-series mirrorless cameras. We wanted to see how this affordable wideangle prime performs on Sony's latest a7R III.