Sigma Japan has just made a press release stating that the Sigma USB Lens dock will become available for Pentax and Sony lenses starting on April 25th. The lens dock was previously only available for Sigma, Canon, and Nikon lenses.
This innovative accessory allows users to perform lens autofocus adjustments and firmware updates without the need for professional servicing. In the US, it retails for just $59.
The USB dock is only compatible with Sigma Global Vision lenses, including the "Art", "Contemporary", and "Sports" series. The following Pentax K-mount lenses are compatible:
- 30mm F1.4 DC HSM "Art"
- 35mm F1.4 DG HSM "Art"
- 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC HSM "Contemporary"
- 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM "Art"*
- 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM "Contemporary"*
*coming soon for Pentax
We will post an update once the USB dock arrives at US and international retailers. Stay tuned!
The number of available Pentax 645 medium format lenses in the US market skyrocketed today, as we've just learned that 13 FA-series lenses will soon be complementing the current 3 lenses in the DA- and DFA-series. This change means that in addition to the 25mm, 55mm, and 90mm lenses, users of the 40-megapixel Pentax 645D will also be able to choose from a variety of other lenses including wide-angles, macros, zooms, and telephotos.
All the new FA lenses are now available for pre-order at B&H Photo. While some of those have been around for nearly two decades, they are still in production and form a key part of the Pentax 645 system in other markets. They were available in the US during the film era. FA lenses feature autofocus and auto exposure support, but they lack modern features such as full-time manual focus override (quick shift) and weather sealing compared to the DA/DFA series. The 13 FA lenses are now priced between $699 and $4799.
The diagram below shows the complete Pentax 645 mount lens lineup in the US before and after this announcement. Note that the FA* 645 300mm F4 is the only FA autofocus lens that won't be going on sale in the US.
We are happy to hear this news, as it will undoubtedly strengthen the appeal of the upcoming Pentax 645Z launch outside of Japan. The successor to the 645D will be announced next week and is rumored to feature a 50-megapixel sensor with video capabilities.
Read on for a complete pricelist for the lenses being introduced.
After a very successful promotion of the DeNoise software, Topaz Labs is back at it with a 50% savings on Topaz Detail, a program that allows you to bring out and sharpen details without introducing nasty artifacts such as glowing edges or pixelation.
To save 50%, simply head over to the Topaz store and use the coupon code aprdetail at checkout. This promotion will last through the end of April.
Topaz Detail requires a compatible host program to run, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, Apple Aperture, iPhoto, Corel PaintShop, Irfanview, and others. Here are some of the main benefits of Detail:
- Better control over image detail than traditional sharpness or clarity sliders. Detail uses size-based processing that lets you independently adjust small, medium, and large details.
- More natural images. Detail substantially reduces the halos and artifacts you get from over-sharpening.
- More volume and three-dimensionality. Detail can enhance larger image features to increase the perceived "depth" of your photo.
Here's a before and after example of Detail in action:
The Pentax K-50 and K-500 entry-level DSLRs now are available at very affordable prices. These cameras offer nearly the same image quality as the legendary Pentax K-5, but at a much lower price point.
The K-500 is available from B&H with the Pentax DA L 18-55mm kit lens for just $399.
Read on for another great deal on the weather-sealed K-50.
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.