Hands-On with the Pentax DA 55-300mm PLM WR RE

Do all those acronyms add up to a better lens?

By deadwolfbones in Hands-On Tests on Sep 19, 2016

The K-70 and 55-300 PLM in profilePentax K-70 with the 55-300mm PLM set at 55mm

For years, the SMC and HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 have been faithful companions for Pentaxians who want big telephoto reach but don’t want to spend a bundle. The original’s most glaring flaw was a lack of weather sealing, which was fixed with a WR version that debuted alongside the Pentax K-3. The other big issue? Slow autofocus due to an antiquated screw-drive motor. Well, a few months ago, Ricoh Imaging unveiled the fix for that problem, too: the all-new HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE with silent AF.

Rokinon 24mm Tilt-shift F3.5 Review Posted

Full-frame perspective control lens for Pentax

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Aug 29, 2016

Today we are happy to present an in-depth look at the Rokinon Tilt-Shift 24mm F3.5 ED AS UMC lens! As a nearly unique lens in the K-mount landscape, the Rokinon 24mm Tilt-Shift fills a gap and will be  welcomed by many photographers looking for this kind of specialized lens for architecture, landscapes or creative photography.  This lens is of particular interest now that the Pentax K-1 is out.


Being unique does not automatically make a lens good, however. How does this tilt-shift lens perform?  What are its practical applications? Read on to find out:

Continue to the review of the Rokinon 24mm tilt-shift lens

Pentax K-70 First Look: Sample Photos

A grueling hike, plus an evening on the Santa Fe Plaza

By deadwolfbones in Hands-On Tests on Aug 11, 2016

The Pentax K-70 has been hotly anticipated by Pentax Forums readers, so we're happy to deliver a set of full-size sample shots. These samples include both bright daylight and dim artificial light examples, to give you a better idea of what the K-70 is capable of across varying shooting conditions. The majority of the outdoors/daytime shots below come from a hike to Wheeler Peak near Taos, New Mexico, and were taken using the DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, the FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited, and the FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited. Meanwhile, the low-light shots around the Santa Fe Plaza were taken using the DA 18-135mm DC WR kit zoom.

Pentax K-70 First Impressions Review

One of the most compelling Pentax models to date

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Aug 3, 2016

The long-awaited Pentax K-70 DSLR finally made its debut last week!  Attractively priced at just $649 in the US and £559 in the UK, this camera makes a host of advanced features quite affordable—including features normally reserved for flagship models.  Most notably, it packs a 24-megapixel sensor with 14-bit RAW files and Pixel Shift super resolution, a technology that allows for noticeably better image quality when shooting a stationary subject from a tripod. All three of these features are a first outside of a Pentax flagship model.  The K-70 is also the first Pentax ever to feature on-sensor hybrid phase detection autofocus, which promises to improve live view focusing speed and enables continuous focusing during video recording.  Beyond these new hardware additions, the K-70 has seen some firmware tweaks, too.  We'll cover all this in detail later in this post.

K-70 with 18-135mm lens (click to enlarge)

All-in-all, the K-70 delivers everything you'd expect from a modern Pentax.  It bears a stark resemblance to last year's Pentax K-S2, with the following highlights:

  • a weather-sealed body
  • dual control wheels
  • built-in Wi-Fi (for remote control via a smartphone)
  • built-in Shake Reduction
  • an articularing LCD screen
  • full set of shooting modes, scene modes, and user modes
  • full HD video with external sound input

As more of a mid-range camera, the K-70 is suitable not only for beginners who desire good image quality and full automation, but also for more experienced users who appreciate manual control and high-end features.  Furthermore, the weather sealing makes it a great choice for outdoor shooters.  It's clear that the K-70 brings quite a lot of versatility to the table.

Expect to see our full in-depth review of the K-70 in September.  For now,  read on for our preliminary impressions of the camera!

Pentax K-1 with D FA 24-70mm Full-size Sample Photos

Taking the D FA 24-70mm zoom for a spin

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on May 25, 2016

In this article we will take a look at K-1 images shot with the HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm ED SDM WR zoom lens. The D FA 24-70mm zoom one of the two walk around zoom lenses from Pentax, the other one being the D FA 28-105mm.

Click a thumbnail to enlarge and browse. Links to the original files are provided below the photos.

35mm, F9.5, ISO 100 (from RAW) - JPG | DNG 70mm, F8, ISO 200 (from RAW) - JPG | DNG
70mm, F11, ISO 100 (from RAW) - JPG | DNG 24mm, F8, ISO 800 (from JPG) - JPG | DNG
70mm, F9.5, ISO 100 (from JPG) - JPG | DNG 70mm, F4, ISO 200 (from JPG) - JPG | DNG
70mm, F9.5, ISO 100 (from JPG) - JPG | DNG 33mm, F5.6, ISO 100 (from JPG) - JPG | DNG

The first image shows that the distortion coorection in Adobe camera raw isn't quite perfect. The  in-camera correction is better (you can verify this by downloading the original JPG).

The Color Red

The K-1 likes red and the JPG engine emphasizes this. The custom image setting was Bright with no customization (click a thumbnail to enlarge and browse):

35mm, F9.5, ISO 100, developed from RAW 35mm, F9.5, ISO 100, JPG from camera
Original DNG file Original JPG file

The lens performed admirably also in rendering this image. It is also evident that the development from RAW holds much more detail and the colors are more natural than what the K-1's JPG engine produces in the bright custom image setting. It is worth to note that the red channel easily overexposes.

Depth of Field

An advantage of the D FA 24-70mm zoom is its relativerly large maximum aperture of F2.8 which allows for a narrower depth of field than can be obstaned with slower lenses (click a thumbnail to enlarge and browse):

70mm, F16 70mm, F2.8


The HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm F2.8 is a versatile "walk around" lens with an excellent image quality. Being used to APS-C where 70mm has more reach we would have wished the lens would have extended further, to 105mm, say, but that would of course have increased its size and weight and perhaps image quality would have suffered.

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