During the summer of 2013, Pentax announced the 07 "Mount Shield" body cap lens for the Pentax Q line of ultra-compact mirrorless cameras. This intriguing lens is only as thick as a traditional DSLR lens cap, so as its name implies, it can be kept on your camera full-time in place of an actual cap. Weighing in a 8 grams and at just 6.9mm long, you can hardly even tell that it's there, so naturally it also makes your camera fully pocketable! If you're looking to compare it with a Pentax DSLR lens, we'd have to say that its closest cousin would probably be the ultra-thin and ultra-versatile Takumar 18mm F11.
The 11.5mm F9 cap lens employs a single-element pinhole design which means that its optical capabilities are limited: it transmits very little light and its focus is fixed between 30cm and 2 meters, so you won't be using it to photograph landscapes or distant subjects. If you want something to be in focus, you have to physically move the lens. The 11.5mm focal length corresponds to a long "normal" field of view, similar to what a 50mm lens would see on a Pentax DSLR. The field of view is bit wider on the Pentax Q7 of course.
Although you can't expect to get any razor-sharp or distortion-free photos with it, overall it's certainly a fun little lens, so we're prepared a fun little video review of it:
To put the size of the cap lens into perspective, here's a photo of it alongside the 01 Standard Prime (8.5mm F1.9), which is already ridiculously-small for an interchangeable camera lens.
Size comparison: Pentax Q10 beside the 07 and 01 lenses
Based on our experience in the field, this lens is best for portraits or family snaps, pets, and other close-ups: though it probably won't be replacing your smartphone for all practical purposes. Read on for some real-world sample photos and more images of the lens.
We've just updated our Recommended Gear page with the latest and greated products by Pentax and for Pentax. All the equipment featured on this page is something we truly enjoyed while putting together our in-depth reviews and homepage reviews over the course of the past year. We've picked out gear for every skill level, and we're confident you'll be happy with its performance, so don't miss it!
The page features 4 cameras, 6 zoom lenses, 10 prime lenses, and 6 different accessories suitable for all different kinds of kits.
So, whether you're a beginner looking to start to expand your kit, or a seasoned shooter looking to add a lens to your lineup, click here to check out our Pentax gear recommendations.
Of course, different photographers have different needs, so if you have questions about any items listed above or if you'd like personalized advice, don't hesitate to post on the forum!
Ricoh Imaging (Pentax) exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas over the course of the past three days. The show wrapped up yesterday, so let's take a look at what was shown at the Pentax booth and what new announcements were made. We'd like to note that since Pentax Ricoh Imaging was re-branded to just Ricoh Imaging late last year, the Pentax logo has since been removed from its corporate identity (and booth branding), but the same great Pentax products were of course still on display. Note that in our homepage postings, we will continue to refer to Ricoh Imaging as "Pentax".
The sizable Pentax booth was the fifth-largest at the show, behind Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Olympus and the same size as the Fuji and Panasonic booths.
The one and only CES product announcement related to Pentax this year came from Sigma, which announced the new Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM "Contemporary" superzoom lens for all camera mounts, including Pentax. This lens is designed as an all-in-one solution for everyday use and it is more affordable than the 18-250mm in the current Sigma lineup. Like other modern lenses, the 18-200mm of course includes silent autofocus.
This new lens replaces the Sigma 18-200mm OS HSM II which was originally launched in mid-2012. Compared to its predecessor, the 18-200mm "Contemporary" sports a redesigned plastic barrel that resembles the other Sigma Global Vision lenses rolled out over the course of 2013. The barrel design is more elegant and simpler than before. The new lens also features rounded aperture blades, weighs less (430g), and focuses closer in macro mode (1:3). Best of all, it's being launched at a reasonable introductory price of just $399 in the US - a whole $100 less than its predecessor. This makes it a great upgrade over the standard 18-55mm kit lens as well as a viable alternative to the Pentax 18-135mm for those who do not need weather sealing and who desire the extra reach.
For the full specifications of this new Sigma lens, visit its entry in our lens database. It is already available for pre-order at US retailers including B&H Photo.
Sigma also announced at 50mm F1,4 "Art" lens at CES, but it will not be produced in the Pentax mount based on what we know so far.
The new year is here, but that doesn't mean that all the great holidays deals on Pentax gear are gone. In fact, there are five excellent deals going on right now that are not to miss!
Includes DA L 18-55mm
Compact 12MP Digital Camera with a classic design
4x Zoom Lens, 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen, 1920X1080 full HD Video, Shake Reduction, RAW support
Water proof, shock proof, dust proof, shake reduction, 1920x1080 full HD video
For additional savings, buy together with Photoshop Elements 12 for a total of $242 at B&H
Includes free ($211.90 value):
Note: click "buy together and save" before adding to cart at Adorama
Includes free ($211.90 value):
Get yours before it's gone for good! Only 2000 produced worldwide.
The real steal here in our view is the K-500 which produces images of excellent quality and nevertheless can be had at a bargain price: cheaper than any new competing entry-level camera. This is a kit to recommend to anyone who is contemplating moving up to a DSLR.
The price of the MX-1 is also very attractive, as it is less than half of the launch price of the camera.
Before we get too far into 2014, we wanted to take a look at the highlights of last year in the Pentax world and on Pentax Forums. There is no question that 2013 was a very exciting year for Pentax users, as lots of exciting cameras and lenses were announced. The new Ricoh Imaging leadership seems to have brought many positive changes and we can't wait to see what the new year might have in store for us. But in the mean time, here are the highlights of 2013!
Noteworthy Products from 2013
A total of 11 lenses (2 Q-mount and 9 K-mount) and 11 cameras (7 compacts and 4 ILC's) were launched by Ricoh Imaging in 2013. 7 of the 9 new K-mount lenses featured the new Pentax HD coating, even though all but one of these lenses were simply new versions of existing lenses like the SMC Limited primes. For a full list of new products, visit our camera and lens databases.
The Pentax K-3 was the much-awaited successor to the K-5 family of cameras, which dates all the way back to 2010. Since its launch in October, the K-3 has received positive reviews all accross the net, and it has been praised as one of the best APS-C cameras of 2013. To learn more, check out our Pentax K-3 review.
Pentax K-50 & K-500
The K-500 represents the return of Pentax to the entry-level DSLR market. This camera is nearly identical to the Pentax K-50, which was also released this year as a successor to the weather-sealed K-30. The K-50 and K-500 have a more traditional external appearance than the K-30, even though all three cameras share the same control layout. Learn more about the K-50 and K-500 in our in-depth reviews.
Pentax took us by surprise when it announced the Q7 back in June. This extremely compact camera was fitted with a 1/1.7" sensor, a noteworthy upgrade over the 1/2.3" sensor found in the earlier Q10 and Q bodies. Check our our in-depth review to see why we liked this camera so much more than its predecessors.
Last but not least, we have the Ricoh GR, a truly-pocketable "pro" compact camera fitted with the same filterless APS-C sensor as the K-5 IIs. Like the K-3, the GR sparked a lot of buzz when it was released, and it continues to impress enthusiasts photographers who use it. The performance that this small and light camera delivers was never before seen in a compact camera, and we're sure you'll agree after reading our review.
Today we are happy to bring you our in-depth review of the new HD Pentax 20-40mm F2.8-4 DC WR Limited, the first zoom to be joining the Pentax Limited lens lineup, as well as the first Limited lens to feature weather sealing and silent DC autofocus. Note that in the Pentax world, the term "Limited" refers to premium quality and a compact design; it does not imply a limited production run.
Like the Limited-series primes, this $999 lens sports an all metal-barrel and an exceptional build quality which you don't come across often in modern autofocus lenses. This lens has also been treated with the high-end Pentax HD coating. And even though a short zoom range like 20-40mm is somewhat unusual these days, it actually overlaps with three other Limited lenses: the 21mm F3.2 wide-angle, the 35mm F2.8 macro, and the 40mm F2.8 pancake. So, one might wonder if this compact zoom is a viable replacement for all three lenses. Is it a good all-around lens? Read our detailed review to discover the strengths and weaknesses of this unique lens and find out who it's great for!
To celebrate the start of the new year, we are having a very special theme for our official photo contest this month. We want to see your favorite photo from 2013! The rest is up to you.
Click here to enter in our January photo contest, or visit the contest announcement for the full rules and submission guidelines. As always, we are offering B&H photo gift cards as well as premium photo paper from Red River Paper to our top three winners. A free forum account is required to enter, and all submissions must be taken with a Pentax-branded camera or a clone.
Please also don't forget to vote for the winners of last month's photo contest, who will be announced in just under three weeks.
Good luck in this month's photo contest, and once again, Happy New Year to everyone!