Small but mighty, the 14.6-megapixel K-7 is more compact than comparable DSLRs, but takes primo photos, shoots video, and shrugs off precipitation with its abundance of seals and gaskets. Though only 5.1 inches wide, its ergonomic housing was comfortable in little hands and big, including one tester's 8-inch paws, and its light but durable magnesium alloy body withstood shocks and bumps. The widescreen HD Movie Capture feature has three resolution settings, and by attaching an external mic to the built-in port, shooters recorded killer audio next to a raging river.
The shutter is quiet–a bonus when shooting wildlife–and shake reduction is built into the body (rather than individual lenses), so the K-7 works with all Pentax lenses, old and new. The in-camera High Dynamic Range Mode let testers capture bright sunset skies and dark mountains with perfect exposure. And thanks to a super-fast Prime II processor, it snapped 5.2 frames per second for great high-speed shots of kayakers on Colorado's Clear Creek. $1,300; 1 lb. 7 oz.; SD/ SDHC memory cards; lithium-ion battery; pentaximaging.com