Pentax seems to have found a groove for competing at the edges of the Nikon/Canon empire. Pentax cameras (when they create a winner) are smaller and less expensive while retaining semi-pro ruggedness and adding experienced photographer features. In this case, the new K7 is a $1300 body, but with magnesium alloy construction and 77 seals. Pentax adds HD video (with focus on the fly and shake reduction), dynamic range enhancement and a 100% viewfinder among other goodies. Here is the unboxing of our test camera:
The box. Note the sticker advertising rebates (good until the end of 2010) on lenses and flash (5 lenses and 2 flashes). Pentax wisely wants to help you get into their system.
Standard box contents.
Body with the 27-375 equivalent zoom attached. Note the second LCD on the top deck. ISO and exposure comp buttons are direct access.
White balance, flash, drive, metering, focus, RAW (1 at a time) are direct access in various places on the back, top and front.
The body feels solid as a rock, like the Nikon D300 or Canon EOS 1D series. The K7 is smaller than such cameras, though, so you don't get quite the feeling of world domination that the heft of larger cameras brings. Of course, you get less backache with the K7.
The K7 is smaller than, say, a Nikon D300. It is even smaller than an Olympus E30. But it is still an SLR and much bigger than the Olympus E-P1 that also arrived this week. This lens comparison isn't fair (27-375 vs. 28-84mm), but note that the Olympus barely extends to the lens flange on the Pentax. There is small, and then there's small (beyond that, there is tiny of course).
From what I can see so far, this is a very nice camera. Too bad Pentax didn't stick with the "small" theme when they did the AC adapter. A separate cord seems unnecessary.