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Friday, 04 September 2009


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Pentax K7 and Limited Primes = digital nirvana for an old timer like me. I mean come on these LTD prime lenses from Pentax still have DOF markings on their metal lens barrels.
And the best part they are not priced like Leica.

Where's the DA15 review?


If I were hauling my equipment for miles through the wilderness for a year, I might settle down to two prime lenses myself. I got myself down to three when hiking for a day in the Lake District 15 years ago. 21mm and 70mm seems like quite a spread, but if you're only taking two, any two will seem like that.

Sneak preview? I might buy one tomorrow :)

I still don't see how Mike hasn't snagged one of these yet for himself.

Unfortunately, looking at his comments, it appears he's having focusing issues with his K-7, possible second thoughts...Hopefully just a unique situation, but perhaps leaving it the rain for 2 hours wasn't a good idea?

I read the focusing issue slightly different. Autofocus starts to break down as it gets dark, the same as all my cameras.

He was able to fix the problems with the 21 using a feature built into the camera instead of having to send the camera and lens off to the manufacturer.

I love his review. It's funny.

Smaller companies like Pentax and Olympus both claim that their prosumer and above cameras are weather sealed.

Neither Canon nor Nikon make the same claims for their top of the line pro-cameras.

I don't buy it that an E-3 is tougher than a D3 or a 1Ds Mark III.

My theory is that since Olympus and Pentax sell at a smaller volume than Nikon or Canon, both are willing to cover water damage under their warranty.

Canon and Nikon, on the other hand, would go broke, since there are so many pro-photographers who use both. Nikon's and Canon's pro cameras are simply more likely to get beaten up. So neither Nikon nor Canon claim they're weather sealed because they don't want to pay for repairs.

For Pentax and Olympus, claims of "weather sealing" is great marketing. For Nikon and Canon, it's a potential money hole.

Dear I'm Curious Grey Scale, while your hypothesis would make for a great conspiracy movie, the truth is Pentax's upper end cameras are weather sealed, as are their top-of-the-line DA* lenses, and their two new kit lenses. I'm sure Olympus doesn't lie about their weather-sealing either.

I have shot my weather-sealed Pentax in the rain and snow with no issues. I know a Canadian Pentax wedding shooter who's shot many a wedding under the rain.

Pentax's weather-sealing is not a gimmick, and is not that difficult to implement either. If Canon and Nikon don't do it on their below-pro models it's because they want you to lust over (and buy) a more expensive body.

I have to say, I seriously thought about switching from canon for those limited and pancakes.

But the 7D is a cheaper route, and I think I will start building my compact kit with the GF1, I don't need extreme ruggedness.

Nikon has a rubber gasket on their cheap 18-70mm kit lens.

I haven't handled the K-7 but the K20D felt like a toy compared to the D200.

So why exactly is a K20D and one of their weather sealed lenses tougher than a D200?

Once again, I don't buy it. I think it's about the warranty. Nikon doesn't even claim that the D3 is weather sealed.

But come on, I've shot for over an hour in a relentless downpour with a D2H and an 80-200mm/2.8D without taking any precautions to protect it and it worked fine.

The Olympus E-1 and E-3 are indeed weather sealed. My wife was shooting with her E-1 near the Golden Gate when a rogue wave topped the breakwater. She was literally drenched to the skin, through a heavy coat and pants. (Unfortunately, I did not get the shot.) That cut short our afternoon shoot. We went home, dried her off, rinsed the camera thoroughly under a faucet, and both spouse and camera were working fine in a hour, spouse taking somewhat longer to dry out. I regularly shoot on the beach and have been caught more than once waiting a bit too long trying to get the perfect shot as a large wave breaks in front of me. A rinse under the faucet after the shoot is all the camera requires. Snow and rain are a non-issue compared to sea water.

The Olympus weather sealing is one of the main reasons I bought the system, as I knew I like to shoot in adverse situations. 6 years later and not even a hiccup from either camera. I have never had to clean dust off of the sensor either, despite shooting in dusty arid backcountry and changing lenses whenever necessary.

I applaud Pentax for weathersealing their cameras. It is good to not have to limit one's shooting to environmentally safe situations.

I can't find a Pentax in the Twin Cities. I'd kind of like to look at one, but failing that, could somebody give me an idea of how big it is in practical terms? Is it as small as an M Leica? How does it compare to a D200 or D300? How about to a Panasonic G1? How is it compared to some of the smaller Nikons and Canons that I can see at a Best Buy, like a Rebel, or a D5000? Anybody know?


I've spent hours, or even days, with my Pentax K10D and my DA* 50-135mm under rain. Don't buy it if you don't want to. You don't have to. I did.

I saw one day a man starting screaming because his daughter spilled her Coke on his precious (Nikon) camera. I spilled one day my own Coke on my K10d, and just rinsed it under the faucet. End of the story ...

How does Carl Bretterall plan to charge his four batteries during a year in the bush? The part of his blog that I read took it for granted that this problem was solved. Solar panels? Frequent R&R stops?


Finally a camera review that cares about the important stuff and discards all the rest, I didn't even think that possible anymore!

I am mainly into mountain climbing photography, so if I could replace my D90 + 18-50 2.8 by something half the weight, it would make a huge difference... To think about, I guess.

About the conspiracy theory: Olympus doesn't guarantee anything. You get water damage on your camera, you pay for the repair, simple as that. I'm pretty sure their legal department went over marketing claims word by word to indemnify them against any such claims.

That being said, my E-1 and E-3 have been splashed with beer, subjected to rain etc., and they work perfectly. And this one rich kid, he bought an E-1 (well, daddy paid for it) and left it outside through the night in pouring rain. The camera didn't skip a beat.

As to toughness, I managed to dent my Canon 1D Mark II back when I was shooting Canon. The E-1 and the E-3? Not a scratch. Hardly scientific data, I know, but still.

"Nikon has a rubber gasket on their cheap 18-70mm kit lens."

The fact of something having gaskets does not mean it is weatherproof or waterproof. . Gasketing has to be certified to fullfil some standars. Hence the distinction between weatherproof, waterproof and stormproof. Each level provides a different kind and a different way of sealing. And that is an important fact.

"I haven't handled the K-7 but the K20D felt like a toy compared to the D200."

I have to thouroughly disagree. The fact of a camera being made of plastic does not mean it is a lower quality camera. Polycarbonate is a very tough plastic and, indeed, a very stable one but for being more brittle than carbon fibre. Were the camera made of carbon fibre, everybody will be raving about the quality of it. Not true. Carbon fibre is yet another plastic. Incidentally, the "best" plastic nowadays is a form of nylon, the very same stuff is mixed with the cheap T-shirts. The Pentax feels distinctively hefty when compared to the D200 and D300. It does not rattle [nor does my *ist DS after some +20.000 actuations and five years, which is not that impressive, but I have not that much time to shoot. Key being here the five years, Lapland and Arkangelsk in winter, Monegros and Barcelona in Summertime, and Netherlands within autum]. Plastic is a wonderful material per se, as it can be engineered to precisely meet the requirements. It can be mixed, and can be made as inert as possible.

"So why exactly is a K20D and one of their weather sealed lenses tougher than a D200?"

Because it is FULLY gasketed ["fully" being the key word], as the E3 is [there are miriads of videos in youtube on Pentax and Oly cameras UNDER THE SHOWER].

"Once again, I don't buy it. I think it's about the warranty. Nikon doesn't even claim that the D3 is weather sealed."

Were Hoya and Oly having to have back those cameras, they will go bust faster than NiSoCa. However, only the camera divisions of those two companies are small. Remember that Pentax, Hoya and Oly are HUGE players on optical equipment. Specifically, spectacles and medical equipment [as Konica-Minolta is]. And, depending on the country, the warranty does not only affect the companies, but the shops as well. Meaning that, for instance, in most european countries, the compulsory two year country is split in two, first year being manufacturer warranty, second year being a legal bind for the shop.

"But come on, I've shot for over an hour in a relentless downpour with a D2H and an 80-200mm/2.8D without taking any precautions to protect it and it worked fine."

I´ve done the same with my *ist DS and the 43 LTD. None of them is even gasketed, and the very tight tolerances of the LTD will guarantee that sand will scratch and ruin the lens just like that. And done the same with an extremely cheap 35-80 4.5-5.6 with gaps as tight as the distance between your fingers and your toes.

My *ist DS is five years old and works fine, thank you, as the LTD does [it did have issues with the autofocus mechanism BEFORE shooting in showering rain].

I have to admit I tend not to pay too much attention to the machines I work with. Mainly, because they are tools which are supposed to serve me, not the other way around.

"I can't find a Pentax in the Twin Cities. I'd kind of like to look at one, but failing that, could somebody give me an idea of how big it is in practical terms? Is it as small as an M Leica? How does it compare to a D200 or D300? How about to a Panasonic G1? How is it compared to some of the smaller Nikons and Canons that I can see at a Best Buy, like a Rebel, or a D5000? Anybody know?"

1-It is bigger than your wristwatch, or your phone, but smaller than your car.
2-When has a Leica ever be small, but for the Panasonics? None of the M leicas have ever been THAT small.
3-Smaller and tighter. Slower [considerably] but more accurate. Better metering [with a caveat] and MUCH better WB if you want to reflect the reality, not if you want a spectacular photo.
4-No idea. I can´t compare it with a DVR ; P
5-Well, it does compare as a 1500 EUR camera can be compared to 600 EUR cameras.

But, there is a catch 22 for that comparison.
Whenever I step in at FNAC, for instance, I can find that the cameras are sorted according to price, not capabilities. Hence, you can find a K20d next to a EOS 1000d. Or a D300 next to a A900 [because the kit lens of the D300 is much more expensive].

As for that:
Go buy a small Olympus, such as the 620.

I thought my K-7 had a focusing defect until I had my routine eye exam. After I got new glasses and contacts, the K-7 mysteriously began to focus perfectly. It's as if it somehow knew. Amazing!


JC: There is a size comparison on page 4 of the DPReview preview (now that's something you don't want to say twice):
Page 4 (about a third of the way down)

It's pretty much the size of an entry-level dslr despite the much higher feature set (and price).

Odd that it's so hard to find in the Twin Cities -- In Canada it seems easily available in specialized camera shops.

Excited for the TOP review of the K7!

Check out dpreview's review of the K-7, page 4. Should give you a good idea of its size.


I'm sorry, but Adam Mass is wrong. The K-7 is just as thoroughly weatherproof as the K20D (which is, incidentally, more so than the D200 & D300).

Carl states in a comment on his review page "But as long as the seal between the camera and lens is not breached, I think the Limited lenses would hold up just fine."

Well, that's just it. The DA* and WR lenses have a rubber gasket on the lens mount that forms a seal between the camera and lens. Other lenses do not.

I resist commenting because this is starting to resemble a dpreview forum thread, But I do have to chime in with a question about where featured commentor Adam Maas gets the idea that the K-7 is less well sealed than the K10D/K20D were. I've never read that anywhere else and I'm wondering where your information comes from. You write like someone who has conducted empirical tests on a number of DSLRs. Have you? That would be great because everything else I've ever read on the subject has been strictly anecdotal.

I bought my *ist DS at a local Super Ritz Camera. For a change, they had the lowest price. They had a good selection lenses as well, but that was a while ago.

This is a digression, but after buying a K10D, I sold the K10D and kept the *ist DS because I preferred its IQ.

(Thanks to Nic)

My pleasure Mike, you're very welcome.

John Camp, you'll have trouble buying a Pentax DSLR at a brick and mortar store in the US. Pentax decided some time ago to sell through online retailers only. B&H, Amazon and Adorama (all of which Mike has links to, providing him with some cash) will happily take back your K-7 if you decide you don't like it. Playing with it for a week at home sure beats a few minutes of handling it at a store with an impatient clerk breathing down your neck :-)

I've been watching this camera ever since it was mentioned here on TOP. My ist*DS has been serving me quite well, but there are a few things about the K7 that really excite me (the weathersealing - more a matter of dust for me than rain; the body stabilization).

I've been using Pentaxes since I switched to TTL cameras and I continue to love them. The controls are easy to use, the optics large and bright, and most importantly, they are small compared to their Nikon brothers and Canon sisters. I have small hands and slender wrists, and those other cameras are just too damn HEAVY.

Referring to featured comment, there are 3 other lenses that are weather sealed, the 60-250 zoom and the 2 new kit lenses. I expect that now they have filled the pro level lenses and the kit lenses they will go about updating or releasing the mid range with seals.

With 8 weather sealed lenses, that is surely competing with the number that Olympus have? They certainly don't have low priced sealed lenses...

It's a little strange to think about. You think the guy would rack up some experience with the camera, before dedicating a year of his life to trekking through Alaska taking pictures.

@Acliff: Olympus has 12 current weather-sealed lenses out of a 21 lens lineup. All of their non-consumer grade lenses are sealed.

@Richard Bellavance: Compare the sealing at the card and battery doors between the K10D/K20D and K-7. The K10D/K20D have gaskets, the K-7 uses limited labyrinth seals but no gaskets, resulting in good sealing but not the same level as the K10D/K20D. Outside of those two areas the K-7's seals are likely every bit as good as the K10D/K20D and it gets much less fiddly battery and card door access from the change.

Pentax has 8 sealed lenses, up until now.

The DA * series, which is weather and dust resistant, is comprised of 3 zooms and 3 primes, and all have SDM (in lens motors):

DA* 16-50mm f/2.8
DA* 50-135 f/2.8
DA* 60-250mm f/4
DA* 55mm f/1.4
DA* 200mm f/2.8
DA* 300mm f/4

The DA WR series, which is weather resistant (maybe not dust resistant), at the moment is comprised of two zooms:

DA 18-55mmm f/3.5-4.5 WR
DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 WR

These two sell for US$ 199.00 and US$ 249.00, and are reissued WR versions of two kit zooms (optically identical).

Both series are expected to grow. There's a rumoured DA* 400mm on the horizon (there was a supertele on the roadmap some time ago) and before the two DA WR were launched Hoya stated that the lens line would be more better matched to the weather sealed bodies (K10, K200, K20, then, and now the K-7 too). So more WR versions of existing lenses may be launched as well as new ones.


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