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Because they're the big players, we usualy look to Nikon and Canon when we think of Digital SLR performance. But the new Pentax K7 may just give the big boys a run for their money.
AT 26.5 oz (with battery & memory card) the K7 is no featherweight... but that may have something to do with the tough magnesium alloy body. But the camera is unquestionably compact. It's just 5.1" x 3.8" x 2.9". And though Pentax cut down on the size, they didn't spare the features.
Features like 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed, the ability to function down to 14 degrees (F), a 100%-coverage viewscreen, image stabilization, a built-in PC socket and electronic level, and a dust-reduction system.
Plus, Pentax has tossed in some pro-level features you'll love - but probably never even thought about. For example, you can embed copyright information as you shoot. And image numbering is programmable ini the camera - so you can use any numbering system you like for your photos.
Finally, the K7 is compatible with a wide range of current and past Pentax lenses. Even medium format lenses for the venerable Pentax 645 and 67 will mount via an adapter.
If you're in the market for a digital SLR, and you'd like something up a few notches from "entry level," the K7 is definitely worth a look.