Just in time for the Labor Day sale, Pentax has just announed a $200 instant rebate on the K-5 II and K-5 IIs models in the US, which brings the price of these two cameras down to a low $899 and $999 at authorized dealers.
Even though the price of the K-5 II is now already $300 lower than it was at launch, you can save even more by taking your business to respected dealers such as B&H and Adorama. For example, rather than getting just the body for $899, there are bundles that come with free accessories and gift cards. Details below:
All the above kits also include 4% in gift card rewards at the respective retailers.
To learn more about the K-5 II/IIs enthusiast DSLR, check out our in-depth review.
We're happy to announce the winners of our July, 2013 "The Sky" photo contest! In first place was forum member slowpez, who captured the photo "Sunset Flight" (pictured above). This photo was shot with a Pentax K-5 and a Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 lens.
|martywk: Horicon Rays||dtmateojr: Pushing the Limits|
We'd like to congratulate the winners one more time! Also, be sure not to miss our September photo contest which is soon to be announced.
Recently, the news of lens updates have been unique. By unique I mean anything that doesn’t revolve around the mythical Full Frame that unfortunately has so much passionate (and sometimes vitriolic) discussion you would think it actually existed. And for the past decade.
But instead, PENTAX has thrown us a curveball, stating that its entire line of DA Limited lenses will be updated. The Limited line comprises a suite of five currently: the DA 15, 21, 35 Macro, 40, and 70 Limiteds. Despite what at face value would be considered a shortcoming – an obvious lack of speed due to their relatively slow apertures – the DA Limiteds are a set of lenses that have earned a very passionate zealotry, and for good reason. What they lack in speed – which must be realized was a purposeful decision – they more than make up for in image quality, rendering, and most strikingly, their incredibly diminutive size. Combine that with build quality that many have compared to the likes of Leica and Zeiss, and it’s easy to see that for the prime shooter – especially the APS-C (crop sensor) system user – there really is no equal. Especially for the price.
In response to yesterday's lens announcement, an updated version of the Pentax K-mount DSLR Lens Roadmap / Lineup has appeared on the Japanese Pentax web site (now branded as a Ricoh Imaging site).
The new roadmap, which is available for download here, indicates that four new DA lenses as well as a SDM-compatible teleconverter will be launched in the near future. These lenses include:
- A wide-angle Limited zoom (~20-40mm)
- A wide-angle zoom (~10-30mm)
- A general-purpose zoom (~16-85mm)
- A telephoto zoom (~100-400mm)
The general-purpose zoom, which was previously slated to be a premium DA*-series lens, is now shown as a standard consumer DA lens.
Additionally, the five new HD DA Limited lenses have replaced the previous SMC versions on the updated roadmap.
Pentax have just announced a facelift of their entire DA-Limited lens lineup, as optically-improved and cosmetically-redesigned "HD" versions of the DA 15, 21, 35, 40, and 70mm Limited lenses will soon be replacing the current DA-Limited lenses. All of the new "HD" lenses will be available in both black and silver, and their glass has been treated with Pentax's new HD coating, a nano crystal lens coating that does a better job of reducing ghosting and flare than traditional multi-coatings. In the past, silver versions of DA limited lenses were only offered as special editions.
The aperture diaphragm in all the new lenses also getting an upgrade: their aperture blades will now employ a fully-rounded design.
For the full specifications of each of these lenses, please visit our lens database:
- HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
- HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
- HD Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro
- HD Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
- HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited
The five new lenses feature a simplified all-metal design complete with red rings to designate the presence of HD coating. The fundamental appearance of the lens barrel remains unchanged, and the design continues to be minimalistic and focused on compactness above all else.
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm Limited (old) vs HD Pentax-DA 40mm Limited (new)
For those who are unfamiliar with the Pentax lens lineup, know that "Limited" does not mean limited-edition or limited-production. This word simply designates a trademark lineup of high-end Pentax prime lenses that feature metal barrels and premium optical performance. These lenses are designed to be very compact, so their maximum apertures are typically slower than what is offered by DA* or DA prime lenses. DA-series lenses are designed for use on APS-C DSLRs only (however, tess have shown that the DA 40mm does cover the "full-frame" image circle, as it is based on an older film lens design).
Read on for a closer look at each of the new lenses, as well as for pre-order links. Prices for these new lenses range from $549.95 to $749.95 in the US. This represents a $50 price increase over the older lenses. The new HD lenses will start shipping in September.
Pentax have just announced the AF 360FGZ II and AF 540FGZ II flashes, updated versions of their two main off-camera flashes. While we were expecting this news following unveiling of new prototype flashes at the CES and CP+ trade shows, what comes to us as a surprise is the fact that both of these flashes are fully-weather sealed thanks to an AW (all-weather) design.
Apart from the addition of weather sealing, the most notable change is without a doubt the fact that the new AF 360 flash now has a swivel head, a feature that was previously only available on the AF 540 and third-party flashes. Furthermore, it looks like the AF 540 flash, the more powerful of the two, has been made much more compact. Both new flashes now also have a built-in LED video light.
Over the past several years, our users have been posting complaints about the flimsiness of various parts of the old flashes. Given the weather-sealed design of the Mark II versions, we would expect these issues to be resolved, but we will have to get our hands on both of these flash units before such a conclusion can be made. Therefore, stay tuned for an in-depth review of these flashes soon!
The full specifications of the new flashes are available in our Pentax flash database.
Today we're happy to supplement our in-depth review of the Pentax WG-3 with a hands-on video review. During this review, the WG-3 withstood being buried in the sand, being dropped, and being taken underwater:
First a Little Bit of History
I am a little late as a Ricoh user. The first time I was conscious of Ricoh as a camera brand, was when I was looking for a non P&S to take better pictures of my baby girl. At around that time, Ricoh announced their GXR modular system. Like many people’s reaction towards the lens module concept, it didn’t make much sense to me to permanently bind a lens with a sensor, as one would need to buy the lens again when they upgrade the sensor later. Little did I know about the long history of Ricoh as a compact camera maker; and that instead of a system camera, the GXR is aiming to be a series of fixed lens compact with a common body. Well, I didn’t buy the GXR at that time and got a Panasonic Lumix GF1 instead.
Over time, I came to like shooting manual focus lens, especially Voigtlander and Zeiss’s M lenses. I was looking for a camera that does a better job in using M lenses than my GF1. After some research, I picked up the Ricoh GXR+M module over the Sony NEX-5N. I was very impressed by its built quality, button layout, customizability, and especially, the well implemented mode 2 focus assist. I was thinking to myself: I don’t think I would need to get another camera anytime soon.
Then came the announcement of GR. At first I thought: this is not for me as the lens module or fixed lens camera concept never appealed to me. At around the same time, I was looking for a 28-35mm eqv. lens to be used on my GXR-M. The only lenses that I was interested in were the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 and the recently announced Cosina-Voigtländer CV 21/1.8. Compared with GR, both of them are much larger, heavier, more expensive, not to mention that the GR comes with a free body attached. So the decision was made.
Again, I was really impressed. The camera is so tiny compared with the GXR. The GXR feels very substantial and solid in the hand, the GR in contrast is really light weight, about the weight of the GXR body with the EVF mounted, but it doesn’t feel cheap. The body is texturized, the rubber grip is very secure and pleasant to hold without having the feeling that one might drop the camera anytime (wink at RX100).
Most importantly, it fits into my pants pocket perfectly. Before I got the GR, I always carried the GXR with me in a camera case in my backpack. There were many cases where I felt too lazy to get the camera out and take a picture. Now the GR is in my pocket all the time and I find myself taking a lot more pictures that I would have otherwise have missed.
So, that’s my little history with Ricoh. Now I would like to share with you some little bits of tips and tricks. We all know how infinitely customizable Ricoh’s camera is, so a full coverage of all the options is not my intention. But though experimenting, trying a few different settings myself, as well as reading other people’s discovery, I have collected a few things that I think is helpful to me, and hopefully helpful to you as well.