Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pentax K-7 review (part 2)

Strange: ergonomics

I have small hands with rather long fingers, thus the hand grip of K-7 is comfortable to me. So, mechanically, so to say, K-7 is just fine. The user interface is totally different matter.
  1. Menu system. Pentax has decided to abandon its old and rather logical menu structure. All menu pages of K-7 fit on the screen, so that no scrolling is necessary. This is good. However, the sheer amount of options is such that the menu system has more than 10 screens. This is not good, as it takes lots of button clicks and wheel rotations to get around.
  2. Button location. Pentax changed the location of the green button, exposure compensation button and added dedicated ISO button. This is neither good nor bad, but it will take time to get used to this button placement.
  3. Button operation. With K10D to issue exposure compensation one had to press the respective button and while pressing it, the wheel had to be rotated to set the exposure compensation value. Not any longer. You don't have to keep the button pressed. Click the button. Camera enters the exposure compensation entry mode. Rotate the rear control wheel. Click the button again when you're done. This is actually good as it is convenient. The only problem is that while this invites using this interface without taking your eye off the viewfinder, the new placement of the buttons may lead you to unexpected results. Again, this is perfectly ok, but one has to accustom oneself to the new interface.
  4. Basic settings. Say, you want to turn on or off the shake reduction. K10D had a dedicated switch for this. In case of K-7 you have to click "Info" button, move the cursor to the SR square, click Ok, set the state of the shake reduction (on or off) and click Ok or whatever is necessary to confirm your choice and get out of the info screen. Though seemingly good with intent of having all basic options under the info screen umbrella, this is a little cumbersome. Not a big deal, just different concept of operation.
  5. Position sensor and other goodies. There are decidedly good things about the new interface too. If camera is rotated so do its display contents. The same is valid when you chimp. The viewfinder info has ISO settings visible at all times. The AF mode switch is placed more conveniently and is easier to operate.
To summarize - nothing is broken, but the changes from K10D are so significant that certain learning period is inevitable.

Excellent: electronic level

I always had a hard time aligning my verticals and horizontals. Now, it seems, I've been given a tool to ease my burden. Some people reported that the electronic level of their cameras was consistently off the mark by 1 degree or so. That's just fine by me. As long as I can get my straight lines aligned consistently, I will be a happy camper. Really useful add-on by Pentax.

Pretty useless: live view mode

Either my camera is defective or else, but AF in LV mode is awfully slow. It gets there eventually. Eventually being major key word here. What LV seems to be good for is manual focusing of my SMCP A 50/1.2 lens. It is because you can have middle of the frame enlarged for fine focusing. Until I get a Katz Eye focusing screen, it could be a reasonable stop gap solution.

Additionally, the LV button is placed in such a way that it is quite easy to click it when moving your finger so as to change AF mode. Certain additional care is in order.

Fascinating: video mode

I've shot a short video of my daughters playing. But I've done it in portrait orientation. It was hilarious.

However, shooting passing cars on Ayalon freeway in 720p mode resulted in some jerky motion of the cars, probably because they were moving too fast thanks to absence of traffic jams.

Evidently, the video mode of K-7 can be used (and will be used by me) with great success, but it is not a fully fledged video camera. Though, it has never proclaimed to be one.

Nonetheless, I should admit that video mode of K-7 is truly a new toy for me. I still wonder what kind of results can be achieved by shooting with SMCP A 50/1.2 at f1.2 or f1.4 after fall of darkness...

No comments: