Today we're happy to announce our in-depth review of the new Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM "Art" premium fast normal prime for Pentax. Priced at just $499, this lens was originally limited to the Sigma, Canon, and Nikon mounts before being announced for Pentax and Sony earlier this year. It started shipping in mid-March and promises to be a more affordable alternative to the Pentax 31mm F1.8 Limited and Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM "Art".
The latest version of the Sigma 30mm includes HSM autofocus, improved optics, and an all-new barrel design compared to its predecessor, which was already one of the most popular Sigma primes among our users. Considering this and the fact that the similar but more bulky Sigma 35mm was one of the most impressive lenses we've ever reviewed, our expectations of the new 30mm were high. Click below to read the review and see how the lens fares!
B&H has dropped the price of the Pentax Q7 mirrorless camera body by $100 to $376.95. We do not know whether or not this is a permanent price drop or a temporary deal, but as it's being offered by an authorized dealer, we're certain that it is being endorsed by Pentax. Three body styles are available at this new, lower price:
All of the above cameras are in stock and include free shipping at this time.
If you're looking for rebates on one of the 117 other special-order color combinations, you can also get them for $396 at Adorama.
Want to know more about the ultra-compact Q7? Read our in-depth review.
Have you ever wondered how to capture extreme macro images with greater than life-size magnification? In this article, we'll be taking look at the technique that'll get the job done by walking you through an example image shot with a Pentax K-7 rig.
When my wife decided she'd had enough and went on one of her ballistic flyswatting rampages, I took this as too good an opportunity to miss out on for some extreme macro photography. And whilst one fly is good, two flies is even better, and her anti-fly mission was so devastating that I soon had a collection ready to give this challenging shot a go! Focus stacking is a niche branch of macro that actually only became possible with the advent of digital photography. Stacking is an attractive digital option because the laws of physics dictate that depth the of field at magnification will be very narrow before diffraction limits kick in, and this technique overcomes that problem. Stacking requires digital stills taken at many different focus points - because they have to be blended electronically in order to create one master "all in focus" image. Shooting the stack and combining the images are both slow processes - a typical finished stack would combine several hundred stills with subsequent overnight processing on a reasonably beefy PC.
The completed stack, after postprocessing with Noise Ninja and Topaz Detail (click to enlarge)
The challenges in this sort of photography start at the outset. Arranging and cleaning the small arthropods so that they photograph well is by itself a whole branch of entomology, the skills for which are usually the preserve of professional museum curators and college entomologists. This is a world filled with curious terms such as 'spreading' and 'relaxing' insects; a craft requiring deep reserves of patience and complete attention to detail. Preparing one specimen is itself a challenge but doing two together, trust me, made for some colourful language.
The new waterproof Ricoh WG-4 (successor to the Pentax WG-3) has just arrived at B&H Photo and is now ready to ship. Pentax USA has also launched a $50 introductory instant rebate on the camera, lowering the price of the GPS model to $329, and the price of the standard model to $279. Order here.
Pentax has just announced a new premium kit consisting of the ultra-compact Pentax Q7 mirrorless camera, 4 high-performance lenses, a hood for each lens, a polarizing filter, and a special leather camera bag. All this comes in a specially-designed box, and the kit will be limited to a production run of 1000 units worldwide.
The kit will go on sale in the US at Pentax Web Store later this month with an MSRP of $1199.95. It will also be available in other contries via local distributors. The complete kit contents are as follows:
- Pentax Q7 camera body (Color: black x black)
- 01 Standard Prime (Color: limited edition black)
- 02 Standard Zoom (Color: limited edition black)
- 06 Telephoto Zoom (Color: silver)
- 08 Wide Zoom (Color: silver)
- MH-RB40.5 Metal Hood for 01 lens (Color: black)*
- PH-RBB40.5 Plastic Hood for 02
- PH-RBA40.5 Plastic Hood for 06
- PH-RBF49 Plastic Hood for 08
- Pentax-100 PL Polarizing filter (for 01, 02, or 06 lenses)
- O-CB133 Blue Leather Camera Bag
- Special kit box
Pentax (Ricoh) has just put up a countdown teaser for the successor to the 645D, which will supposedly be named the "Pentax 645z". No details have officially been revealed, but from the prototype on display at the CP+ 2014 show in Japan in February some facts are known. Most importantly, it will have a CMOS sensor (likely 50MP), live view, and perhaps a movie mode as well.
Yokoyama, Japan: 0945, 1-4-14
Today Rikoh Pantax (RIP) announces the new HD 2.7x Takumur F CN AFA. This Auto Focus Adapter takes any modern Canon or Nikon lens, converts it to K-mount, and magnifies it by 2.7x while maintaining full Auto Focus capabilities and brightening the aperture using new patented technology. For example, a Canon L 24-105mm f/4 lens will become a 65-284mm f/2 lens, and a Nikon 200mm f/2 becomes a 540mm f/1.4.
This new AFA will be available for order in the U.S. beginning at 11:59 PM EDT today from major online retailers for a price of $499.
Alongside the new HD 2.7x Takumur F CN AFA, RIP is also announcing today its new HD 0.7x and HD 1.0x Takumur F CN AFAs. Like the HD 2.7x AFA, these new Auto Focus Adapters will take any modern Canon or Nikon lens and convert them to the legendary Pentax K-mount with full Auto Focus functionality. The 0.7x will make a lens wider, creating a perfect way to adapt Canon and Nikon lenses designed for the obsolete full frame format to the Pantax APS-C sensor. For example, a Nikon 14-24mm lens becomes 10-17mm, while a Canon 24-105mm becomes a more useful 17-74mm lens.
For converting APS-C lenses, or when a wider angle of view is not desired, the HD 1.0x AFA simply converts the outmoded Canon or Nikon mount lens to the innovative K-mount and transfers the AF capability - without changing the focal length.
Like the 2.7x AFA, the HD 0.7x and 1.0x Takumur F CN AFAs will both be available for order in the U.S. beginning at 11:59 PM EDT today from major online retailers at prices of $299 and $149, respectively. The first samples of the 0.7x and 1.0x AFAs are expected to ship late in the 2nd quarter. Get your orders in early to be included in these first shipments. Stock will be shipped on a first come, first served basis, and final delivery of all the new AFAs will be by April 1, 2015.
Sales of Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras are expected to dwindle rapidly, and analysts anticipate that by the end of 2014 they will effectively be lens-only manufacturers. In order to assist Canon and Nikon with a smooth transition into this Brave New World, RIP has agreed to taper the rollout of the new AFA. Get your orders in early if you want to be included in the first wave of shipments of these industry-transforming adapters. The the first samples are expected to ship early this quarter.
The three AFAs are expected to be the final blow to Nikon and Canon DSLR sales, which will transition into their new role as simply lens manufacturers with large - but mostly unusable - IP portfolios.
In anticipation of the new demand, RIP has been quietly re-tooling its factories to allow for an immediate 6-fold increase in manufacturing volume for their K-03 and K-5000 DSLRs. RIP is promising a further doubling of capacity by year’s end, for a 12-fold increase over the 2013 manufacturing volumes.
This breaking news story was contributed by DSims, who is reporting for us directly from Yokohama today.
The 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens is by far the most common zoom lens seen on DSLRs today, and also one of the most cost-effective lens choices available on the new lens market. Currently, Pentax has a number of different versions of this lens, including the DA L 18-55mm with a plastic mount (~$50), the weather-sealed DA L 18-55mm WR with a plastic mount (~$80), and the premium weather-sealed DA 18-55mm WR with a metal lens mount and full-time manual focus override ($199). All these of these share the same optical formula and lens coatings. While the lenses are typically bundled with new DSLRs, the latter of the three is also available for purchase separately.
In our latest in-depth review, we'll be taking a close look at the optical performance of the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR. Despite being the cheapest zoom lens in Pentax's current lineup, this lens actually packs a punch for everyday shooting, and we find it to be a good alternative to older consumer zooms such as those in the Pentax F and FA lens series.