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HD Pentax 560mm Lens Officially Available

In Japan and shortly also overseas · 02-02-2013 · By PF Staff in CP+ 2013
HD Pentax 560mm Lens Officially Available

Today (2/2) is the day that the HD Pentax 560mm F5.6 lens ($7000) finally went on sale in Japan meaning that we'll soon also be seeing it in the US and elsewhere.  Originally expected in the middle December, the lens was delayed by about 6 weeks total.

The 560mm is an extreme-telephoto lens designed for APS-C cameras.  It's fully weather sealed and it features a silent and fast DC autofocus system.  Pentax recently launched a firmware update for 6 of its cameras in order to get them to autofocus properly with the 560mm lens.  According to Pentax engineers at CP+, this lens's autofocus will not be fully supported in live view by older DSLRs such as the K-7 or K-x.

We expect to have a production copy of this lens in our hands soon, so stay tuned for an in-depth review!

PF Staff's avatar
About the author: Various writers regularly contribute articles to the Pentax Forums homepage blog. More recent articles are published under each author's forum username. We hope you enjoy our guides and news coverage!

Tags: 560mm, pentax, lens, hd, telephoto

More Posts in CP+ 2013 | More Posts by PF Staff

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Uluru [Delete] Feb 5th, 2013 2:19PM

Geez, this lens WORKS on FF bodies well.
It was advertised to support all currently supported Pentax DSLRs which are all APS-C, and which firmware can be updated to gain best from DA560.
Film cameras are not supported by Pentax, therefore they don't guarantee results. Which means, lens was designed specifically for digital sensors in mind. Nor digital FF is yet part of the camera range, so how can it be supported? Thus read press release statement as "lens supports cameras we support as part of their officially supported life cycle."

Alizarine [Delete] Feb 4th, 2013 4:17AM

The question now is... will stores even stock this? Lol...
They should at least GIVE one for major stores in EVERY COUNTRY so everyone can have the chance to try (who would suddenly risk $7000 just by trust in the brand anyway?). The sample will NOT be for sale, and will still be order-based

SpartanD63 [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 8:16PM

@alexcox It could be that they think that telephoto shooters would go with APS-C over FF for the reach. After all, landscape guys like MF for the < 1 crop factor...

miles [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 6:20PM

I'm not too sure why FF compatibility would be an issue with this lens: if reach is the goal, APS-C offers more of it. (then again, i'm not a long lens expert) I'm looking forward to the reviews!

zolly [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 5:19PM

I have Sigma 150-500mm len because it cheap but not Cheap design you know... I would won't buy any that are overprice because what "if" it not worth or feel should not bought it.
I read some of user comment. few I feel strong agree with you :)

lister6520 [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 1:22PM

@Palindrom" - No internal stabilization (sensor based is ineffective with very long focals)

That is not my experience at all. With both the K-r and the K-30 I find the in body SR compares very well with the in lens stabiliser of my Sigma 150-500. The in body seems to work better for tracking moving subjects such as birds and also for very slow shutter speeds whereas for non moving or slow moving subjects at more reasonable shutter speeds the in lens stabilisation is perhaps slightly better.

desertscape [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 1:18PM

Years ago Pentax used 4, 5 and 6 elements in their long lenses. When they changed their designs to use low dispersion glass, they went with more elements to better correct aberrations and their combinations (ie spherochromatism). Designers use each lens surface to correct aberrations, so the more surfaces, the more can be corrected (to a point). I was expecting to see more than 5 elements in this lens.

dfujevec [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 11:56AM

@hcarvalhoalves: I really do not believe that Pentax have that much better designers that others. Do you believe?

DeadJohn [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 11:53AM

@alexcox, that lens likely started with Hoya. Its release doesn't tell us much about Ricoh's FF plans. They may have released a lens like the 560 because all the planning work was already done.

alexcox [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 11:42AM

Doesn't Pentax' decision to manufacture this extremely expensive APS-C lens suggest that the company is committed to the APS-C format? If Pentax were going full-frame, why on earth would they release a lens like this one?

hcarvalhoalves [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 10:23AM

@afujevec: A good design means *LESS* elements, not more.

dfujevec [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 10:00AM

Nice lens with not enough elements inside. Todays lenses have 15-17 elements, this one just 5. I doubt that it will be on line with Sigma 500mm f4,5. And way too expensive for that simple lens.

traderdrew [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 9:50AM

I hand hold the Sigma 500mm F/4.5 almost all of the time. I don't have a problem with it at 1/250 although I typically take two to three bursts with my K-5. I've taken sharp shots with it at 1/160. Call me a fan of SR. I don't have a problem with it.

D1N0 [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 6:12AM

Sensor based is ineffective? Maybe when you shoot without a monopod or tripod it's less effective. On a pod it will probably be fine.

palindrom [Delete] Feb 3rd, 2013 6:06AM

- No ultrasonic drive
- No internal stabilization (sensor based is ineffective with very long focals)
Overpriced. Looks like Pentax is going to be photography world Apple. It's even less funny looking on that nice, shiny and white lens. It will be a damn shame to sell all of my gear, incl. LX and FA* 28-70/2.8 if Pentax will follow that path any further. And I was happy reading news about probable Pentax digital 135 format...

dazzmon [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 10:13PM

I also believe for this price this lens should be Full Frame. If I was in the market I would buy the Sigma 500mm 4.5 lens. It is faster and comes with a $2000 savings. It will give you a 750mm field of View with Pentax APS-C cameras.

Al Sutlick [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 6:52PM

The fact that Pentax is apparently not supporting the K-7 and older DSLRs with firmware updates in regards to the new 5600mm lens is,
in my opinion, a moot point. If you can afford a $7,000 lens, you're most likely not going to be mating it to an "outdated" body. You'll probably go with their flagship model, whatever it might be at the time.

DSims [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 6:07PM

I haven't looked at the technical details closely, but my belief was that the lens would be FF compatible - just because it doesn't make sense right now for Pentax to spend the resources developing anything else (at least in a long lens). But it may be something of an odd, stopgap design anyway. Regardless, I'm looking forward to hearing about how it performs.

In any case, the HD designation would allow it to be FF without any commitment or decision yet about the future of the designations DA, DFA, and so forth. I suppose it could be time for a new generation with a new designation anyway - perhaps that's what Pentax is working on with the new lenses we hope to see along with a FF body in a year or so.

Adam [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 4:44PM

Yes, FF compatibility will be tested. There's probably going to be quite a bit of vignetting but my guess is that the corners won't go completely dark.

pentaxinator [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 4:38PM

"We expect to have a production copy of this lens in our hands soon, so stay tuned for an in-depth review!"

Think you could test the full frame capabilities of the lens?

nightfly [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 4:27PM

If I am going to buy this lens it Should do full frame for that price.

Saxplayer1004 [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 4:24PM

It didn't say they aren't supported, just not in live view. Which realistically isn't that big of a deal. The AF in those sensors may not have been able to deal with it. I don't understand why that is the case, but the normal AF will work back. The firmware update was only for AF in live view, not regular AF, and since the K7 hasn't been around for what 2+ years now, so I can't blame them for not working on supporting firmware updates. They supported the k5 which is now discontinued and has been the main camera for 2 years. That's good enough backwards support for a feature that isn't likely to be used by most people owning this lens since AF in LV is so slow compared to normal

sledger [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 4:02PM

Not a chance I'd ever afford such a lens, but dropping support for the K7 and back is not going to win friends. Basically it's the marketing dept pushing people to keep up the upgrade nonsense..

sam-joseph [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 3:48PM

...I still don't like the HD prefix...

cjblazer [Delete] Feb 2nd, 2013 3:20PM

Such an awesome looking lens, I am off to buy my lottery ticket!