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Nikon D90 vs. Pentax K7

Cassandra Eye , Mar 23, 2010; 09:40 p.m.

I broke my Nikon D60 in a tragic tripod accident :( lol Long story short I am shopping for a new camera.

I really like the Pentax K7 however, all my friends(photographers) are telling me to go with the Nikon brand over the Pentax brand! There reasons range from the Nikon brand being better, Nikon making better lenses and sensors on the camera, and Nikon lasting longer! I love my Nikon and have had good experiences with Nikons...The pentax brand is less bought than Nikon but because of that they can offer comparable camera to Nikon/Canon for cheaper!

My problem with Nikon is that the D90 package is nearly $1200, while the Pentax k7 is $1100 on ebay(with better specs then the d90 by far!!!)

So what are you guys opinions? .....Is Pentax as good as Nikon?(if so give me reasons?) Are the two comparable to each other? Are the lenses as good as Nikon?


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John Deerfield , Mar 23, 2010; 09:59 p.m.

Never shot, nor do I know anyone that shoots Pentax. I took a quick look at the K7 and I don't see where it's specs are far better than the D90, but that's me. The Pentax does have in camera stabilization (although some say having it in the lens is better). But I would say to look at the system, you aren't buying just a camera. Nikon certainly has more lenses. This may or may not be a factor provided Pentax has the lenses you need. I don't know about the Pentax flash system, but I know I prefer Nikon's flash system over Canon's (the only other system I have used). What is it about the D60 you are now trying to upgrade? In other words, what's prompting the you to consider Pentax?

Kent Staubus , Mar 23, 2010; 11:32 p.m.

I think the main thing is there are many more lens choices for Nikon than there are for Pentax, as well as other accessories. If it's made, it's made for Nikon & Canon for sure.

Kent in SD

Rick Womer , Mar 23, 2010; 11:57 p.m.

Yes, there are many more Nikon (or Canon) than Pentax shooters.

However, Pentax makes excellent cameras that give exceptional value-for-money. Compared to the D90, it is smaller, lighter, and is sealed against the elements. Having shake reduction in the body means that any Pentax or M42 screw mount lens (with an adapter) ever made can be used with shake reduction. Pentax lenses are second-to-none, especially their primes.

Surf on over to the (very friendly) Pentax forum, snoop around a bit, and ask your question there.


Isaac Wong , Mar 24, 2010; 12:30 a.m.

Think whether you intend to buy a CAMERA, or a SYSTEM. As others have pointed out, Nikon (or Canon, for that matter) as a system, allows you tremendous options in terms of lens selection and availability of accessories that is unmatched by others. For most consumers who just buy a camera with the standard 18-55 kit lens and never take it off, I am sure any of the offerings would satisfy you in terms of features to price ratio, depending on what's more important to you.

Shun Cheung , Mar 24, 2010; 12:37 a.m.

Nikon (and Canon) is a huge camera system with millioins of users. It is very easy to buy and sell used Nikon equipment, which keep its value very well (although DSLR bodies do depreciate fairly quickly; that is universal).

Pentax has a tiny share of the DSLR market. I hate to say this, but there is always the question whether they will survive in the longer run, and they don't have the economy of scale to compete at the highest level. I frequently emphasis this point because I was badly burned when Contax got out of the camera market. I thought about it very carefully and for a long time (over 2 years, from 1999 to 2001) and even rented a small system to try it out before I finally bought my Contax 645. The camera and lenses are very well designed, but Contax did not make it and once they exited the camera market, my small system immediately has no future. I still own my Contax, but there will never be any new lenses, new flashes ....

Reid Priedhorsky , Mar 24, 2010; 01:38 a.m.

I used a Pentax K200D for a while and switched to a D90.

Regarding the image stabilization, I find having it in the lens much more satisfying. You can see it work: you're looking through the viewfinder watching the world wiggle around, and then when you push the shutter release halfway and the stabilization activates, bang! it's suddenly rock solid. It's viscerally satisfying, and the sensor-shift stabilization in Pentax cameras simply can't provide this (because the corrective elements aren't in the viewfinder's optical path).

Compared to Nikon and Canon, there's much less third-party interest in the system, so there's many fewer gadgets and accessories.

One other thing that may be of interest if you're into superzooms: The Nikkor 18-200 is far nicer than the Pentax 18-250, particularly when vignetting is a concern; I have a blog post on that.

Good luck,


Eric Arnold , Mar 24, 2010; 01:41 a.m.

the pentax DSLR's main advantage is in-camera stabilization. this is perhaps more important to the entry-level user than the long-term hobbyist, enthusiast, semi-pro or pro. it effectively makes every lens you buy a VR/VC/OS/IS lens.

the downside to this is that you'll pay for that somewhere down the line if you want better glass. and what it comes down to isn't the bodies, but the glass.

for example, the tokina-made, pentax-branded 12-24, 16-50 and 50-135 cost considerably more than their equivalents in canon and nikon mount. and the other pro-spec pentax lenses are pretty pricey, too. on the plus side, pentax has some nice pancake lenses, a good line of f/4 zooms and primes, and there are plentiful legacy lenses available used which will fit a Pentax DSLR.

so, if you're either an entry-level person who doesnt fancy going too far past kit lenses, a shooter who likes primes exclusively, or someone willing to comb through ebay for used glass, the pentax system could work. the bodies are well-spec'd for the price, that's for sure. but specs are on thing on paper and another thing in the field. overall, canon and nikon have much more lenses. and nikon has the best flash metering system, period, as well as better ergonomics.

while the specs might seem similar, the d90 is clearly superior in one critical area: low-light performance. it also has better dynamic range and AF performance. in fact, the cheaper Pentax k-x is better at high-ISOs than the k-7 (according to dpreview).

that may or may not matter, however, depending on your style of shooting. if you do a lot of landscapes and posed portraits, the K-7 will be pretty good at base ISO in terms of resolution. but for sports, action or low-light, the K-7 might lag behind similarly-priced Canon or Nikon models.

for $100 difference, i'd probably get a d90, and if i really wanted to save money, i'd get a pentax k-x, but that's just me. if you're seriously considering pentax, i'd really look into the pentax lenses and really think about whether their selection/pricing appeals to you. it's a big decision, because you're not just buying a camera, you're buying into a system.

if you're familiar with nikon already, that's a point in their favor. if you only have one or two lenses, though, switching wont be that painful. in any event, you should take a hands-on test drive of the K-7 to see if you like their controls and feel. ditto with the d90.

Peter Hamm , Mar 24, 2010; 06:50 a.m.

Pentax also makes some really sweet "oddball" primes. For me, that's their chief appeal, lens-wise, and their base kit lens is exceptionally well built. It's much better than the awfully cheap-feeling (but still well-performing) Canon and Sony and Nikon 18-55s.

I went with Nikon years ago when I was going on a trip instead of Pentax (I used to have a lot of Pentax stuff in my film days, I still miss my MX) I ended up with Nikon because they were that much better. Today it'd be an easier decision, because Pentax's future is uncertain as Shun says.

Why are you not considering a D5000? If you don't already have Nikon lenses, it performs like a D90 at a much lower price, and to take it even lower, there are great refurb deals out there, too.

John Morris , Mar 24, 2010; 11:00 a.m.

Is there a Pentax camera with an FX-size sensor? If not, do we expect one soon?

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