With the announcement and recent launch of the Pentax K-500 and K-50 entry-level and weather-sealed DSLRs, it was inevitable that it would only be a matter of time before the predecessor of these cameras, the K-30, would start to be in short supply. The Pentax K-30 was originally launched last July. As we say farewell to it, let's take a look back and see what made this camera so special!
The K-30 (like the K-50) can be considered an upper entry-level DSLR, though it was rather unique in what it offered. Despite being targeted at beginners, this camera came with full weather sealing, dual control wheels, and a 100%-coverage viewfinder: features normally reserved for top-tier DSLRs. Although originally not the cheapest among its competitors, it was the most affordable weather-sealed DSLR on the market until the launch of the K-50.
Thanks to these advanced features, in our comparative review of various upper entry-level DSLRs we found the K-30 to be the best fit for photographers primarily interested in stills. While not cutting-edge in terms of video recording or otherwise ground-breaking, the K-30 was still an exceptional value for all that it brought to the table. Even more importantly, it seems to have set a great precedent for the quality of future entry-level cameras from Pentax.
I have been dabbling in photography for over 35 years. I've used my share of different cameras, film, digital, point and shoot, medium format and many in between. Currently I use a Canon 1D for sports, Canon 5D for portraits and landscape, a Fuji x100s for travel and street photography and now a Ricoh GR. The Ricoh has been a constant companion for the last month. Like many photographers, once a new camera or gadget shows up at the door, it becomes the mistress du jour. But boy that Ricoh is so much fun to use. And it yields crisp and sharp files.
I have been looking for a small camera that is easy to use and that would yield high quality files. When I first read about the GR, it peaked my curiosity, I downloaded the manual and started reading it, that’s when I realized that the camera has so many functions that are on my wish list for other cameras. For example, using the TAV mode allows you to over or underexpose with a push of a button, unlike the Canon in manual settings. If I want to bracket for effect, ie if I want a BW, Vivid and default jpg from the same scene while shooting RAW, I can do that on the fly, no problem; the x100s can’t. If I want to snap focus, done. If I want to personalise the settings of half the buttons, no problem. If I want to shoot with an uneven exposure bracket, still no problem. I am sure that the engineers at Pentax and Ricoh are photographers at heart, there is no way one can design such a camera and not be passionate about photography.
It’s a fast camera, quick to boot, quick to focus (in good light), quick to handle and quick to shoot. You will not miss a shot because of the camera, that’s guaranteed. I thought I would miss the hybrid viewfinder from the x100s. I did at the beginning, but soon came to appreciate the ease with which the camera responds, it’s a truly point and shoot camera. In good light the AF is very responsive, you raise the camera to a scene and push the release. Since the camera is so light and small, it never felt awkward to be handled single handedly. With the street shots, the camera did not separate me from the scene I was photographing, I could actually keep eye contact without raising the camera to my face. The camera is so light you do not need your face to stabilize. The camera becomes un-obtrusive.
Today we're happy to be bringing you our in-depth review of the Pentax K-500, the new entry-level DSLR from Pentax that was launched alongside the weather-sealed K-50. The K-500 promises to be a very successful camera, as it is the only current entry-level DSLR to offer a pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage as well as dual control wheels.
If you've already read our K-50 review, you won't find any surprises in our evaluation of the K-500. This is because the K-500 is identical to the K-50, except that the following features have been stripped from it:
- Weather sealing
- Viewfinder AF point display
- Electronic level display
- Image auto-rotation
Because the K-500 is simply a slightly more basic version of the K-50, its price has been reduced considerably. The K-500 can be your for just $599 with the 18-55mm kit lens. That's about $150 cheaper than the K-50 if we factor in the value of the lens, which is well below the launch prices of current-gen competing cameras.
In the coming months, we plan on posting a comparative review of the Pentax K-500/K-50, Nikon D3200, Nikon D5200, Canon T5i, and Canon SL1.
Editorial note: Welcome to the first of a series of five guest blog posts about the Ricoh GR. In these posts, we'll be exploring the camera on its own and alongside other serious compacts. We hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for more!
For the past year I’ve owned and used a Sony RX100, and in general I’ve been amazed at what the little thing can do. I’ve taken it all around the country and beyond, and I've been consistently amazed at the image quality I can get out of the 1-inch sensor and Zeiss lens. In my position as a camera reviewer and tech guru to friends and family, I’ve recommended it countless times, to all kinds of photographers.
So why did I sell it last week and buy a Ricoh GR instead? Well, it was a very personal calculation, but I had a few solid reasons...
In the past, we've hosted a number of Pentax-themed shirt sales right here on our site. While we aren't currently in the middle of any such sales, we've recently spotted a nice Pentax T-shirt on the net that we thought you might enjoy if you're a fan of vintage Pentax gear.
The shirt, shown above and available on dodgeandburn.com, depicts the classic Pentax 6x7 medium format camera together with its unique wooden grip. Click on either of the thumbnails below for some close-ups of the shirt:
The "Six by Seven" shirt is made of 100% high-quality cotton and printed in the USA. It comes in a variety of sizes from S to 3XL, and costs $29. If you're interested in the shirt, you can click here to place an order.
We've been in touch with Dodge and Burn, the NYC-based makers of this shirt, and they told us that they would consider producing other Pentax-themed shirts if there is enough interest in this one. The company currently offers a variety of shirts depicting other vintage cameras, such as the Leica M3 or Rolleiflex. This would make iconic Pentax SLRs (such as the K1000) perfect candidates for a future shirt!
Please comment below if you have any future shirt ideas, and don't forget to check out the 6x7 shirt on dodgeandburn.com!
Pentax Ricoh Imaging, the company responsible for the design and development of Pentax cameras, has recently beed officially renamed to just "Ricoh Imaging". This name change, which went into effect on August 1st, seems to also have affected the branding of all the official Pentax web sites.
Pentax.jp, the official Japanese Pentax site, has been moved to ricoh-imaging.co.jp. The Pentax name has also been removed from the site's header. Although the new homepage has gotten a minor facelift, most of the site content remains unchanged, and everything continues to be available in both Japanese and English as before.
Pentax-imaging.com, the official US Pentax site, has been moved to us.ricoh-imaging.com. The header has been redesigned to look just like the one of the Japanese site. Similarly, Pentax.ca, the official Canadian Pentax site, has been moved to ricoh-imaging.ca.
While the domains of Pentax.eu, Pentax.com.au, and Pentaxwebstore.com remain unchanged for the time-being, these sites have also been re-branded.
With these changes, it seems that we won't be seing the "Pentax" very often outside of product references. This comes somewhat as a surprise to us, as "Pentax" is a without a doubt a much stronger name in the camera industry than "Ricoh". Will this move confuse consumers further? Our web site will of course not be renamed to RicohForums.com as a result of this news.
Fortunately, Ricoh Imaging representatives have assured users that Pentax cameras will continue to be produced, and that the Pentax name will certainly not be disappearing from existing product lines.
I love doing photography in New Orleans. New Orleans is a paradise for photographers, so much to see and around every corner there is always something worthy of a photograph. The photo of the streetcar is one that I had been hoping to take for several years; a streetcar at night in fog rolling off the Mississippi River.
This was my first visit to New Orleans with my Pentax K-5 IIs. The weather forecast was for rain and drizzle the night I took this photo. As I walked from the parking lot near the French Quarter I crossed the tracks of the streetcar line and saw a streetcar approaching in the distance. As it got closer I began shooting but did not have the ISO set high enough for the low light. I ended up with a blurred image but I could tell the shot would be a good one if I could avoid the blur caused by the slow shutter speed so I upped the ISO to 3200 and decided to wait and try again. The streetcars run about every twenty minutes so there was quite a bit of waiting for another streetcar to pass. This allowed me to experiment with ISO and shutter speeds for the ambient light.
Finally, after two more attempts and about a one hour wait, I was able to get this photo. The interior lights of the streetcar spilling light on the ground as it passed and the headlight sending a piercing beam of light through the fog.
The shot was hand-held using the Pentax K-5 IIs and the DA* 16-50mm lens. ISO 3200 f/2.8 @ 1/100.
While we were fortunate enough to receive a Ricoh GR for our review back in May shortly after it was first released, this camera has hardly been in stock at all since its release (due to high demand and low supply). But now, finally, it is "fully" in stock at B&H. So, if you're looking to get the great Ricoh GR, here's your chance!
The pocketable Ricoh GR has a 16 MP APS-C sized sensor and a fast F2.8 18.3 mm lens. The image quality is outstanding. It has a wide range of shutter speeds (300s to 1/4000s), a wide ISO range (100 - 25,600), and a lot of customizable options. The GR shoots full HD video (1080p) at 30, 25 and 24 fps.
For more on this excellent enthusiast compact read our in-depth GR review here: Ricoh GR vs. Nikon Coolpix A Review.