Today we present you with the story of another Pentaxian: Angelescu Stefan.
My father has played a big role in my life since I was a little boy. As a movie director and an adept of the Russian cinematography, he always dragged me to film festivals and photo exhibitions and that, I think, determined the way I see the world through the lens today. He also gave me my first camera, a Pentax MX which I still use today, and that was my first contact with Pentax.
My real love affair with photography started in high school, as those were the days when compacts were regarded as hi tech oddities and DSLRs looked like something out of a sci-fi novel. Back then, I was experimenting a lot, but shooting on film was very time and money consuming, so I decided to get my hands on a compact and from that point on it was a roller-coaster ride. I started winning a lot of local photo contests which allowed me to invest in various Pentax lenses and Pentax SLR bodies. I don’t know for sure, but some of my friends say that I might have a mild form of Gear Acquisition Syndrome :).
Now that Sigma has (temporarily) discontinued the 105mm F2.8 macro lens, only two autofocus macro lens options remain available for Pentax in the 100mm focal length range: the Tamron 90mm F2.8 SP and the SMC Pentax-DA 100mm F2.8 WR macro.
Our latest review compares these two Pentax and Tamron lenses head-on. We take a look at the build quality, AF speed, and, most importantly, image quality of the two lenses. Which is sharper, and which is the better buy?
According to the latest information from B&H Photo, the Pentax K-01, which was announced on February 2nd is expected to start shipping on March 29th!
If you pre-order one today, you'll be able to obtain free Marketplace access on the forum - instructions are here. Also, don't forget to check out these K-01 resources that we've recently prepared:
The K-01's launch price is $749 for the body only, and $899 for the 40mm DA XS kit (outside of the kit, the lens costs $150 more).
Just over a week ago at the 2012 CP+ show, we had a chance to sit down and interview Mr. Hiraku Kawauchi, the planning and product manager of Pentax Japan. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Pentax Japan for taking the time to speak with us and generously giving us access to closely examine the new products that were on display!
Here is a brief summary of what we took away from the interview:
- The merger with Ricoh has had a very positive impact on the Pentax and has given rise to exciting new marketing and product opportunities
- The FA 50mm lens will be continued as-is, with the DA* 55mm as a premium alternative and the DA 50mm F1.8 as a budget alternative.
- A Pentax Full-Frame is not a mere myth. Pentax are toying with Full-Frame ideas but will only produce such a camera if they can make something unique that other manufacturers haven't already covered. Furthermore, if such a camera is released, it won't be mirrorless (though Pentax has considered the idea).
- Pentax DSLRs will continue being a key part of the Pentax lineup, despite the fact that no new DSLRs have been announced so far this year. We expect to see two new DSLRs later this year: an intro-level replacement for the K-r, and a replacement for the K-5 (likely to be on display at Photokina)
- The focus of the Pentax K-01 is on image quality and performance rather than small size
- A replacement for the DA* 16-50mm is planned (as per the lens roadmap)
- There are unfortunately no plans to make an EVF for the K-01
- The new 560mm telephoto lens will likely feature some new AF technology
Below is the transcript of our interview. See also the full video of the interview. Please note that none of these questions were rehearsed or presented to the interviewee in advance.
Q (not filmed): To start, we'd like to ask you if you have visited our web site? It has now been over 5 and a half years since we launched the site, and it's been evolving tremendously ever since. Did you know that we have databases complete with every Pentax lens ever produced, as well as thousands of user-submitted reviews of new and old lenses alike? Since 2010, we also regularly report on Pentax news on our homepage, and write in-depth reviews of the most exciting equipment for and by Pentax. While the forum remains at the heart of everything we do, these two sections now account for a major portion of our site traffic. In the United States, we are regarded as the largest Pentax-dedicated community, with over 5 million monthly page views and 1 million unique visitors. Our users are extremely loyal and enthusiastic about Pentax- unlike almost any other community out there! While we have a significant international presence, and only about 30% our our visitors live in the United States, Japanese visitors – who represent the largest Pentax market – account for less than 2% of our traffic, unfortunately.
A (paraphrased): Kawauchi was aware of the web site, and asked us more about our traffic distribution by country. He was impressed that we have a complete database of every Pentax lens ever made. He said that he's very happy that we're out there and was excited to build a relationship between Pentax Japan and the site.
Q: The K-01, which is a great new camera, is the first APS-C camera for Pentax without a mirror, and we hope it represents a whole new chapter in Pentax camera development.
What does this camera mean to you and do you think mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras will define the future of the camera industry?
A: First, regarding the K-01... The concept is first of all about the design... industrial design. The objective was not to create a mirrorless (camera), rather the mirrorless architecture was adopted in order to attain greater flexibility. What we hope to achieve from the K-01 is not a very small, light mirrorless camera, rather it is to use the K-mount. This hasn’t changed much, but it is a form within the mirrorless category. We think even if it may not become mainstream, this type of mirrorless could exist.
Forum member Kresica has won our official January "Rivers and Lakes" photo contest, making this his fourth triumph to date! Click on his snow-covered waterfall photo below to enlarge it:
This photo is now also being featured in our Premier Gallery, in which you are welcome to leave comments.
Don't forget to enter in our February "Birds" photo contest for a chance to win an $50 B&H gift card! The current contest ends at the end of the month (the 29th, remember that it's a leap year!). Read on to view the runners-up.
We're happy to present our first in-depth review of the month: Topaz DeNoise! If you were impressed by Topaz Adjust when we reviewed it last year, then this plug-in will simply blow you away.
This $80 investment allows you to salvage noisy high-ISO JPEGs and RAW files alike and get the most our of the high-iso capabilities of cameras such as the K-5. See the review for more details and some example photos!
At CP+ this year, we had a chance to sit down and interview Mr. Hiraku Kawauchi, the Product Manager of Pentax Japan. We asked some questions about the new K-01, the Pentax K-mount lens lineup, the possibility of making a full-frame DSLR, and more. We hope you enjoy the video!
The interview transcript will be posted at a later time, and we'll follow up with some commentary as well. Comments welcome!
See also our CP+ Pentax booth footage.