Last week, information about two upcoming Pentax lenses was leaked on the net. The first is an elegant Pentax DSLR lens, the HD Pentax 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited zoom. The second is a the 08 Wide Zoom for the Pentax Q system. Both lenses have been part of the Pentax lens roadmap since late 2012. Let's start with the 20-40mm.
Like the existing HD Limited Lenses, the rumored 20-40mm zoom will be available in both black and silver. Further specifications about this lens, including the AF system and presence of weather sealing, are not currently know. What we do know is that the lens will feature Pentax's latest "HD" coating, which promises lower reflectance than the traditional SMC coating, similar to Nikon's "Nano Crystal Coat". We also know that the lens will have a variable aperture range from F2.8 to 4: something unusual for a high-end lens, but to be expected if small size is a priority.
The design of this new lens is interesting, as it combines a retro-styled zoom ring with the barrel design of existing lenses.
Current Pentax HD Limited Lens Lineup
The Pentax "Limited" lens designation is a misnomer. Rather than meaning "limited production", Pentax actually uses this term to refer to its ultra-compact lineup of quality lenses. These lenses are unique, as no other manufacturer has such a robust lineup of compact lenses. The price you pay for this small size, of course, is that you lose a stop or two of maximum aperture compared to what you would get from a traditional lens.
After three long days with the Pentax K-3 in the field and in the studio, we're ready to share our first impressions of this camera, as well as give you an early verdict about its performance!
Based on what we've seen, we are tempted to say that the K-3 is the best APS-C DSLR currently on the market. Rest assured that even as a Pentax-oriented editorial staff, we're normally hesitant to make such conclusions. The K-3 is unquestionably superior to its predecessor (the K-5 II/IIs), as it brings marked improvements in terms of features, overall performance, speed, and image quality. It may not outperform the competition in all areas, but at the moment there simply isn't any other enthusiast APS-C DSLR out there than can deliver the same level of sophistication, build quality, and handling in a single package.
The remainder of this article is broken up into a number of sub-sections that take a closer look at various aspects of the K-3. Enjoy!
For our first shoot with the Pentax K-3, we took the camera out to the park together with the DA 35mm Limited Macro lens, one of the sharpest lenses in Pentax's current lineup. We captured a number of test photos with the camera: they're not artistic, but they do emulate many different real-world scenarios.
We found the K-3's image quality to be absolutely stunning at ISO 100— take a look at the 28 samples in this post and see for yourself! The exposure and white balance were generally spot-on, and the files are bursting with detail! Each thumbnail below is accompanied by a link to a full-size JPEG and RAW download. All photos are straight out-of-camera and no post-processing of any kind has been applied.
All settings were left at their default values, though we did bracket as needed. With a -0.3EV or -0.7EV exposure compensation, the K-3 seemed to handle even our most challenging test shots very well, including those with harsh lighting and contrasty areas.
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Yesterday, we received our production copy of the K-3. This means that we can finally start taking a closer look at this exciting camera! We will of course do our best to offer you a definitive verdict about the K-3's performance in our upcoming in-depth review, which you can expect to see on our homepage within a week or two.
We will be sure to put the K-3 through its paces to find out just how big of an improvement it is over its predecessors, the K-5 II and IIs; considering that the core hardware found in the K-5 II is more than three years old, we have high expectations for the K-3— and based on our very first impressions of the K-3, we have a hunch that those expectations will be met!
For now, let's start off with an unboxing of the Pentax K-3. We will follow up with a first impressions post once we've had enough time with the K-3 in the field. Enjoy and stay tuned!
The Pentax K-3 has just arrived at B&H Photo, which means that all pre-orders for black K-3 bodies have just started processing and will be shipped shortly. Want Pentax's latest high-speed 24-megapixel DSLR? Don't miss out- order yours today!
Henry's in Canada is also showing that the K-3 is in stock. Likewise, the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm WR Lens has just hit the shelves.
You can expect to see our in-depth review of the K-3 in the coming weeks. Until then, to learn more about the Pentax K-3, check out the following resources:
Adorama has just posted lots of excellent Pentax lens deals, but hurry- these savings all expire on October 31st, 2013, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (in just over two days).
To enjoy these savings, use coupon code S102831013 at checkout, after placing the lens(es) in your cart. The savings are summarized in the table below, or click here to view them all.
The annual PhotoPlus trade show and conference was held in the Javits Convention Center in New York City this past weekend. We have already reported on the surprise presence of Pentax and on the K-3, but we still owe you an overview of the show, as there were many other interesting exhibitors and products on display. In this post we'll take a look at many of the interesting things that the show had to offer!
The show occupied but a small corner of this huge convention center and was therefore easy to navigate.
We had yet another chance to try out the Pentax K-3 hands-on at the PhotoPlus tradeshow in NYC, which ended yesterday. While no production K-3's have reached the US yet, we were told that they will start shipping from Japan late next week, which means that customers will start receiving their K-3's in early to mid November. In the mean time, Pentax has provided us with a pre-production K-3 featuring firmware version 1.00, so stay tuned for some first impressions in the field, as well as some sample photos! But for now, let's take a look at what we learned about the K-3 while at the show.
Burst Mode and Shutter
By far the most impressive aspect of the K-3 is its burst mode. The camera can shoot up to 60 JPEG frames at its maximum burst rate of 8.3 frames per second, as shown in the video below:
The shutter is also surprisingly quiet (just like that of the K-5), which will undoubtedly make users of other DSLRs envious.