I handled this camera at the Henry's Photo Show this weekend and can find only 2 nitpicks. The camera is so solid and compact that every available space has a button or switch so stray placement of thumb or fingers will cause accidental triggering of functions. The second relates to the first -height is just a bit small to allow my pinky to fit comfortably on the grip. It's extremely well made with a great feature set. Although I'm invested into the Sony system, I was extremely disappointed in how few people were interested in this camera. Unfortunately Pentax has come to this level of the DSLR market too late to have much of an impact. The "big three" have such a large market share that I wonder how the rest will survive. This camera proves that it would be a pity if the small players were lost.
To be honest, I donīt think there are "big three", still. Sony is not up there in the sales department of the equation [Iīm not trying to bash it, just noting that there are not that many Alpha 700 out there]. Which I find sad, to be honest.
What I do think is that Pentax is dancing at its own beat, because they have always been there in the middle tier. Although a little bit oddly. The *ist D, K10d, k20d and now the K7 have proved able to be there but for the burst and AF speed [not accuracy. I do maintain that it is not intrusively slow, nor the AF system, nor the burst]. Thing is that the k20d got so dirty cheap that for the price of a Rebel you could get a much higher specīd and way tougher camera. And remember that the pro level cameras for Pentax have been the MF cameras, so there is no argument whether they have a pro level range. Just it happens that it is not a 35mm pro range.
The other hint about beating its own drums is the staggering offering they have with digital primes, which no other brand has right now, and is nowhere near close to do so. And this is a very big advantage to them, as a sensor behaves very differentely from film regarding the lens. You can specifically see this with Sony-Minolta offerings and Canon film primes, where CAīs and, specially, PF are very noticeable [and most say it is because of bouncing light from the sensor to the last lens element, as the sensor is a much more reflective surface than what film was]. True, wide angles have quite some CAīs in Pentax offerings [specially, the so called "dissapointing 15 f4]. But truth to be told, there are no wide angle primes that compact that are faster or have better aberration control, but probably a Cosina offering. That being said, it is quite interesting to see that similar offerings regarding size and weight are the rangefinder wideangle lenses. The closest I can think of is the Cosina-Voigtlander Heliar 15mm, which is even slower [f4.5]. The Cosina Zeiss wideangle is f3.5, much bigger, manual focus only [although 35mm image circle]. And so far, nobody has been bothered about that. Pentax has a faster offering [the equally well built DA14 2.8] which is ONE stop faster than the 15mm.
Thing is, the beauty and quality of the Pentax high grade lenses [allow me to put in here the FA primes as well] are usually non-measurable. Colour transitions, contrast depth, and flare resistance are usually not in the charts of the analysis. And that is where the Pentax lenses excel, puting them quite away from the almost oversharp look of other manufacturers. I guess that it is a matter of fashion and aesthetics regarding how a lens renders the scene. The only lenses Pentax has currently on their catalogue that do well in the charts are the mystic 31, the 70, 77 and both macros.
Last but not least, there is something that Iīve seen with the Pentax that I have not seen yet with other brands: the amount of older cameras still runing and still being regularly used, because they are just well sorted out. I still use for my professional purposes a 6mp *ist Ds, and there are quite some other Pentax users who, after upgrading, still keep that body as a backup body or street body. I just donīt know if it is just that very body, but I do see quite some people happy with older Pentax equipment.
PS: That was not a so called "fanboy" appraisal. Now it comes:
I love, looooooooove my 43 ltd. The more I use it, the better I get to know that little bastard of a lens. It almost becomes capricious, and for that, more lovable. There are some CAīs, but appart from that, the colour depth, the herald it has regarding the bokeh transitions, and just how little that lens is [it is an "amplified" 35, not a "diminished 50", optically], puts it on a different league by its own. Resolution AND flare resistance are the very best measurable data [and this is the sharpest lens Pentax has produced bar none].