Pentax launches new digital SLR

14.6-megapixel K-7 is new high-end model in K series. UPDATE: Now with prices.

It must be DSLR week or something, because following on from Sony’s news yesterday, Pentax has today announced an interesting new digital SLR joining the top end of its successful K-series.

The new K-7 is a 14.6 megapixel CMOS-sensored model featuring a number of new developments. Like the K20D it’s a tough camera designed for semi-professional use, with a stainless-steel alloy chassis and magnesium alloy body panels, and 77 separate environmental seals rendering it dustproof, weatherproof and cold resistant down to -10 degrees centigrade. Measuring 130.5 x 96.5 x 72.5mm and weighing 690g body-only (750g including battery and card) it is quite a lot smaller and lighter than either the Canon EOS 50D, the Nikon D300 or the Sony A700.

Among its many new features are a new shutter with a top speed of 1/8000th of a second and an expected life of at least 100,000 cycles. Also new is the 77-segment multi-pattern exposure meter, a new 11-point wide-frame AF sensor, and an improved sensor-shift anti-shake system claimed to offer four stops of extra stability. It also has a newly improved dust removal system.

Other impressive features include live monitor view with contrast-detection AF, 5.2fps continuous shooting and 1280 x 720 HD video recording with HDMI output and a socket for an external stereo microphone. The K-7’s monitor is a big 3-inch unit with anti-glare coating, 170-degree viewing angle and 920k resolution.

All this technology is powered by a big new lithium-ion battery for which Pentax is claiming an impressive 980 shots on a full charge. No pricing has yet been announced for the new camera, but I’m going to the official launch event next week, so hopefully I’ll have more to report then.

UPDATE: Pentax has confirmes the UK pricing for the K-7:

Body only £1,199.99

With kit lens (18-55mm) £1,229.99

With double kit lens 18-55mm + 50-200mm £1329.99

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