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Initial Impressions of the Pentax K7


It's the eve of my biggest photo/surf trip.  I'm uncertain if the insomnia is from the worldwide press release of the new Pentax K7,  or the excitement of the upcoming trip.  

A classic look of the K7 mounted to the FA Limited 77 f1.8,  supported by the Joby SLR Zoom Gorillapod.

Pentax K7 mounted to DA 15 Limited

Well it seems many “in the know”, or related to those in the know have taken the liberty to break embargo earlier than usual. Globally, as the official announce time neared, many sources started to leak info like that of a flood. I chose to break news at the official time. Discussion forums were buzzing, and servers were getting jammed up, and you could sense a New Era for Pentax.

 By now, there are many sources (like DPR), which show size comparisons, detailed angles, and discuss specifications. So to avoid being redundant, I will make a few comments about my initial impressions, provide only web scaled small images, and highlight what I enjoy most about the new “K.”  The info you find here is “official”  and over the next few days, I will blog about how I intend to utilize this camera as I float through Los Angeles, Singapore, Japan, Sumatra,  on into my final destination of Kandui and the Mentawai Islands.

Simplified setup for travel editorial assignments: Pentax K7, DA 15, DA* 60-250, DA 35, DA 70, Joby SLR Zoom Gorillapod, Tamrac Express 7 messenger bag, Tamrac N25 shoulder strap


I usually travel with 2 setups, one for water use and the other for land based shooting.  This usually amounts to about 40 pounds of excess gear and a sore back.  On this trip I will streamline the equipment to complete a travel assignment while in Singapore and using only water-based equipment for the Surfing end of the trip.  I intend to use mostly the DA* lenses for their weather sealed designs which are a great utility whole shooting from the channel in a boat. In lieu of a traditional tripod and to save on weight,  I will use Joby Gorillapods.

 

What I really enjoy:

 1. The shutter is well dampened, nearly silent, and solid in its operation

2. 5.2 FPS (40 JPG Continuous Hi /15 Raw PEF, 14 RAW DNG)

3. Viewfinder with 100% field of view

4. Improved low light AF performance and AF algorithms 

5. “Green” almost subdued focus assist lamp (it operates quick and efficiently and more subtle than a bright white light)

6. AF tracking in AF-C is vastly improved

7. The AF point selector toggles faster than on K10/K20

8. The mode dial locks in place with a centrally located release button

9. When in portrait mode, the rear LCD will orient itself in the portrait view as well.  (No more tilting of head to read info.)

10. The dust removal system is now “hypersonic”, no longer a vibration, but a high frequency shake that is almost inaudible.

11. 3” TFT IPS LCD (it’s the same LCD technology used in the best color proofing monitors) improved clarity, anti-glare, and with 921,000 dot resolution

12. Longer battery life 900+ shots per charge

13. Magnesium alloy shell over stainless steel chassis (can operate at temps 14 – 104 degrees F)

14. 77 Multi Segment metering

15. EV comp is +/- 5

16. HD video recording at 720p (1280x720 resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio) at 30 FPS


A sample of speed & focus accuracy:





Sample shots with K7 & DA* 60-250

More to follow...

A Day at Disneyland with an Arsenal of Pentax Glass

Since the waves have been flat,  I took my family to "the Happiest Place on Earth"  and shot casual family photos with a variety of lenses...

Rather than shooting brick-walls, or focus charts,  I simply put the gear through its paces and if it suits my needs I am happy,  if not I either synergize, adapt, or move on.

These are just random samples of the kind of shots that are usable for me in order to preserve the important events that happen in our lives.  The one thing that makes Pentax a pleasure to use is the smaller size and compact nature of the equipment.  I can see myself in the future taking along simply a K-? with an all new Weather Resistant Kit lens to suit all my shooting needs on a typical fun filled family day,  especially for all the Water rides!!  Happy Summer!

All images shot with a Pentax K20 and the various lenses listed

DA* 60-250, 1/250 f4.5 iso 560

DA 35 ltd, 1/125 f3.5 iso 400
DA 35 ltd, 1/1000 f2.8 iso 400
DA 35 ltd, 1/60 f3.5 iso 400
DA 35 ltd, 1/125 f3.5 iso 1100
DA 35 ltd, 1/250 f2.8 iso 800
DA 35 ltd, 1/45 f4 iso 800 + built in flash
DA 35 ltd, 1/45 f5.6 iso 800 (this was malia's expression after being told she was "too short" for the ride)
DA 15 ltd, 1/45 f5.6 iso 800
DA 15 ltd, 1/15 f5.6 iso 800 SR
DA 35 ltd, 1/10 f4.5 iso 800, built in flash
DA 35 ltd, 1/8 f4 iso 800, SR (HANDHELD)
DA 15 ltd, 1/8 f5.6 iso 1100, SR (HANDHELD)


Image Samples with Pentax's DA* 60-250 f4



I have been playing around with my new all weather sealed DA* 60-250.  Yes, this mythical lens does exist.  I've actually had it for a while now,  but only recently started viewing the images shot with it.  

First off,  it has excellent build quality, in-line with all of the DA* lenses,  smooth rotating barrels with the perfect dampening feel, accurate and swift AF (I find the AF start to finish from near to infinity quick and responsive,  much faster than the DA*300) and a useful tripod collar when the weight begins to bear down.

The gem about this lens,  is its functional zoom focal length,  perfect for outdoor sports,  and for me it gives me more flexibility when shooting surfing from an elevated vantage point,  such as a pier.

Being a telephoto zoom allows you to really take advantage of "compression"...

"Modern meets Classic"

Comparison of focal length extremes
60mm:


250mm:


AF tracking,  and action photos to follow...

The Man who can unify the Philippines...


Manny striking a pose “a la Bruce Lee” (my 2 all time heroes in one)

 “Pound for pound, the greatest fighter of all time”.  Prior to last Saturdays mega fight, (which apparently jumpstarted the American Economy, at least for Las Vegas and if only for a weekend) there were mixed emotions on such a bold statement.  However, after seeing the “single greatest knockout punch of all time” –Emanuel Steward/HBO, it is far too hard to dispute this obvious fact.

 

Manny Pacquiao single-handedly saved the sport of boxing, revived pay per view, and gave Las Vegas an Economic boost as never seen before in previous fights.  You have to consider that despite the economic slow down, a time for Americans to conserve, Manny was able to pack Sin City in a way like no other.  For those who made the journey this past weekend, the traffic to and from could be an indicator of the weekend’s success.  Even the CES, Consumer Electronic Show, the largest convention in the world couldn’t sell out Vegas, like what the Manny-Hatton fight achieved.

 

 “Manny’s ability to land a punch and slip a punch at the same time, shows unbelievable coordination and timing... utterly amazing…” –Emanuel Steward/HBO Boxing.  

One thing I noticed about Manny's recent training sessions beginning with the final of the Pacquiao-Morales trilogy until present was that he was attaining technical perfection.  Not only is he the smartest fighter out on the mat,  but he seems to be the most technically perfect boxer,  and at his prime.  As witnessed here,  Manny successfully lands a punch while slipping one at the same time.  It was the type of offense/defense combination that floored Hatton. If you get a chance to watch the HBO replay,  or catch an online upload, watch the first knockdown punch in slow-mo.  The way that he landed his knockout blow perfectly,  and slips away from Hatton's left hook with finesse is utterly amazing.  

 I have been following Manny’s career since the 90’s during my medical years training in my home country of the beautiful Philippine Islands.  I always thought to myself,  “if I only had enough Capital, I would promote this guy, myself…” It’s amazing to see the kind of fighter, but better still, the kind of Man that Manny has become.

more subtle details you might not know can be read here:

The Pac-Man "Ripple" Effect,  Mark Dimalanta for Philippine Star Lifestyle

more to come in a series...  "Manny Lights up Vegas"