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Christmas Gift Guide

First it was leaked, then it was launched, and now we've nabbed the Pentax K-7 camera for a hands-on first impression.

And that first impression is good. It's a sturdy beast and no mistake, yet it's small for its class. In fact, Pentax has done some maths and tells us it's 33 per cent smaller than the Nikon D300. It's also weatherproof, thanks to 77 seals. Being as it's a glorious day on London's South Bank today, we couldn't test that in the rain, so we did the next best thing and took some shots of holidaying kids frolicking in a fountain.

The new 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor boasts improved four-channel readout. Pentax reckons it has addressed concerns over the speed of the autofocus, and we found it responsive. This Craver would prefer a little more snap in the shutter sound, but that's a personal preference.

The K-7 body includes built-in optical image stabilisation, which recognises the lens stuck on the front of the camera and adjusts the way it compensates for camera shake depending on the glass. This means the K-7 can mount every Pentax lens ever, although older lenses won't benefit from some of the features.

Click through our gallery for more hands-on shots, and to see what we thought of the video function.

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The pentaprism viewfinder gives 100 per cent field of view, while live view on the 76mm (3-inch) screen supports both contrast autofocus and face detection.
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There are 77 metering segments, as well as 77 weatherproof seals. Numerologists would have a field day.
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The K-7 supports SD and SDHC cards.
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We love a camera with two control wheels and a shoulder status readout, all of which the K-7 includes. If we have one complaint about the design, it's that you have to press a button to move the mode wheel, which stops accidental movement but is slightly fiddly.
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The K-7 is the latest dSLR to shoot video, 720p and 1080i at 30 frames per second. Pentax doesn't seem to suffer too badly from the mental block that dSLR designers have about video in that it's straightforward enough to start recording, but it's still not as simple as just bloody pressing record.
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The K-7 shoots 5.2fps raw and JPEG, up to 40 JPEGs.
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Here's the pop-up flash.
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Here's the HDMI connection. The mic in is above it. All are fitted with weatherproof seals.
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The K-7 body will run you £1,200, or £1,290 with this 18-55mm lens. A kit that also includes a 50-200mm lens will set you back £1,330.
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