• Price: £1,045 . £1,230

  • Company: Pentax

  • Pros: Relatively compact and lightweight; very good value for money; user friendly; weather-sealed in 77 places.

  • Cons: Expensive if you’re primarily buying for HD video.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

This camera is reviewed as part of our group test of Digital SLR HD Video Cameras

Its model name may be a couple of numerals short of a Dr Who assistant, but the K-7 is certainly no pup. It delivers 14.6-megapixel images from an APS-C sized CMOS sensor, which, along with its heavyweight weather-resistant sealing, places it in semi-professional territory.

Quirkily, the top HD resolution here is 1,536-x-1,024 pixels at 30fps, rather than the standard 1,920-x-1,080 or 1,280-x-720.

On powering up, the K-7 displays essential shooting information in landscape format. Tilt the camera to shoot portrait-fashion, and the information will rotate for easy viewing.

Shooting HD video on the Pentax is simplicity itself. Select the relevant Movie icon on the 11-option mode dial, and the rear three-inch, 920,000-pixel LCD immediately switches to Live View. Press the shutter release button to begin and end recording.

Otherwise, using Live View aids composition from trickier angles and provides a larger means of checking critical focus – as well as preventing your nose from butting against the screen, as it can do when using the optical viewfinder.

With the K-7, it’s a case of think of a function and it’s at your fingertips.

It captures up to 25 minutes of HD video (and mono sound) in a single take; an external stereo microphone is available as an optional extra. There’s a selection of picture style options for both video and stills, affording clips in black and white, vibrant or muted tones.

Footage looks good, too, and we didn’t have any issues replaying clips from the K-7 in QuickTime on the desktop: quality was smooth and jerk-free. You get the creative benefit of access to a wide range of K- and KAF-mount lenses for shooting video. There’s an HDMI port for hooking the camera up to an HD television – though no connecting cable was provided with our sample.

While the body-only price of the K-7 causes us to baulk, again it’s a matter of perception. Viewed standalone, the K-7 gives a solid showing.