May 22, 2009 PENTAX has announced its new flagship DSLR camera, the K-7. The K-7 brings welcome updates to the PENTAX digital SLR line, and now offers many of the features that photo enthusiasts have come to expect from a high-end DSLR, including a redesigned body, a new 14.6-megapixel image sensor, and the ability to shoot HD video.

The K-7 has a magnesium-alloy body that is both smaller and lighter than the previous K20D. The new body looks sleeker, but users with larger hands may want to add the optional D-BG4 battery grip for easier handling.

PENTAX says it designed the new 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor from the ground up. The APS-C size sensor should minimize noise, features four-channel output for fast image capture and can capture HD-quality movies. The K-7 can capture HD movies up to 1280x720 resolution, with a 16:9 aspect ratio at 30fps (equivalent to 720p).

The camera’s mechanical shake reduction feature is designed to compensate for approximately 2.5 to 4 shutter stops and can be used in movie mode. Because it's in the body, the stabilization mechanism works with all the company's interchangeable 35mm lenses.

A dedicated AF-assist lamp has been added to improve autofocus performance in low light conditions and the "Three-shot in-camera HDR" (high-dynamic range) capture mode is also new. This is designed to optimize detail in all exposure areas by capturing of three images and combining them in camera.

PENTAX recommends the use of an external microphone, and includes a stereo mic jack for this purpose. For playback, it offers a HDMI port with output up to 1080i - another first for the K-series.

Other notable changes and new features on the K-7 include:

  • Greater-coverage viewfinder
  • 3.0in (76.2mm) VGA (920,000 dot) LCD
  • Continuous shooting up to 5.2fps
  • New shutter mechanism with 1/8000th shutter speed
  • 77-segment exposure metering sensor
  • Electronic level indicator for perfectly horizontal shots

New dust removal system

  • Embedded copyright information
  • PENTAX also announced two new DA model lenses developed specifically for its DSLRs. The smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR and the smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR lenses both feature weather-resistant seals for protection against the elements.

    The K-7 camera body, D-BG4 battery grip, and the two DA lenses are available for pre-order and will ship in July. Pricing has been set as follows:

    • K-7 body only: USD$1299.95
    • D-BG4 battery grip: USD$229.95
    • smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR lens: USD$199.95
    • smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR lens: USD$199.95

    For more information visit the PENTAX web site, or check out the PENTAX video overview below.

    Alan Brandon

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