Advanced entry-level DSLR with video AF improvements
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Jun 8, 2016
Ricoh Imaging has just officially announced the Pentax K-70, an advanced yet affordable weather-sealed DSLR slated to succeed the Pentax K-50 (now discontinued) and K-S2. In terms of specifications, this new camera is very similar to the K-S2, though it also debuts a few new autofocus technologies and inherits advanced features from the K-3 II, including a 24-megapixel sensor resolution and Pixel Shift support.
The K-70 is being launched at $649 in the US— well below its predecessors a highly competitive even with enthusiast models. The increased feature set available at a lower price point suggests a shift in the camera market to which Pentax is adapting very well. Gone are the days of basic DSLRs!
Like most Pentax DSLRs, the K-70 is fully weather-sealed and designed for outdoor use. The articulating LCD has a new red light mode to allow you to adjust your vision to the darkness while out photographing stars. It also has an outdoor view setting that can greatly brighten/dim the backlight as needed.
The key addition to the K-70 is a hybrid live view/video autofocus system that includes phase detection AF points on the sensor. This will enable faster live view/video autofocus without the guesswork typical of contrast detect systems. Ultimately, the main benefit is that focusing on moving objects while in live view will be more reliable, and AF during video recording will be more responsive. Previous Pentax DSLRs struggled in this respect. Like more advanced bodies, the K-70 has an external mic port as well as HDMI out. These combined with the AF improvements make it without question the most capable Pentax body to date for video.
To help showcase the improved autofocus for video, Pentax has also launched the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED WR PLM, which debuts new Pulse Motor autofocus as well as an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm (learn more about these features in the lens announcement). When paired with this 55-300mm lens, the DA 18-135mm kit lens, or any lens with a DC motor, the K-70 offers continuous autofocus in video mode.
The K-70's three USER modes are pre-programmed for "clear tone", "HDR landscape", and "astrophotography", though they can be fully customized just like on any other Pentax.
Another handy feature among the software tweaks made to the K-70 is a timer setting in Bulb mode, which allows the user to enter a shutter speed up to 20 minutes without having to press the shutter button again to end the exposure.
Finally, the maximum sensitivity has been increased to ISO 102,400 and thus it's possible that the K-70 has a tweaked sensor compared to the K-3 II. Unlike other sub-flagship models, the K-70 does capture 14-bit RAW files.
A shipping date for the K-70 will be announced in July, though the camera is already available for pre-order. The K-70 is available as a body only or in a bundle with the DA 18-135mm WR for $899- a $250 savings over regular retail for the lens.
Pentax K-70 at a Glance
Below are the K-70's highlights as we see them:
- New hybrid live view/video AF system with phase detection
- Supports electromagnetic aperture control for smooth video adjustments
- Pixel Shift Resolution with motion correction
- External mic input
- Outdoor-friendly monitor illumination
- Dual control wheels
- Large grip, compact body
- Affordable price
- Features from the K-S2: articulating LCD, Wi-Fi, external LEDs, face-lifted menus
- Features from the K-3 II: 24-megapixel resolution, 4.5 stops of Shake Reduction compensation
Overall, the K-70 promises to deliver an enjoyable user experience and high performance for both still photography and video shooting, all in a rugged weather-sealed body with an intuitive user interface.
Pentax K-70 Key Specifications
|Sensor Resolution||24 MP
|AA Filter||No, AA Filter Simulator available|
|Super Resolution||Yes, Pixel Shift Resolution|
(up to 300s in Astrotracer mode)
(up to 20 minutes selectable in Bulb mode)
|Stabilization||Sensor-shift Shake Reduction (4.5 stops)|
|Max Frame Rate (buffer)||H: 6.0 fps (40 JPG, 10 RAW)
L: 3.0 fps (100 JPG, 16 RAW)
|AF System and Modes||* SAFOX X: 11-point phase detect (9 cross-type)
w/ AF.S, AF.C
* Live View: contrast hybrid AF (new)
* AF assist LED
|AF Sensitivity||-3 to 18 EV|
|Video Mode||1080i: 60/50 fps
1080p: 30/25/24 fps
720p: 60/50 fps
Interval movie: 4K
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (.MOV)
Clips up to 4GB / 25 minutes
|AF During Video||Yes, contrast hybrid AF
AF.S or AF.C
AF.C supported w/DC and PLM lenses
|Video Sound||External stereo mic input
Stereo mic built-in
|Flash Sync.||1/180 s|
|Viewfinder||Pentaprism, 100% coverage, 0.95x magnification
Interchangeable focusing screen
|LCD||3.0-inch, 921,000 dot
3:2 aspect ratio
Outdoor view setting
Red light illumination function
|Processing Engine||PRIME M II
|Media Slot(s)||1 SDXC / SDHC / SD (UHS-I)
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, HDMI out,
cable release CS-310 via mic terminal
|Tethering Support||Wireless tethering
w/ Image Sync
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||125.5 x 93.0 x 74.0 mm|
||688g with battery and SD card|
|US/UK Launch Price (Body)
||$649 / £559|
Full specifications for the K-70 are available in our camera database.
These specifications do leave a number of questions unanswered, including the availability of focus peaking during recording, nature of the new hybrid AF, and the way video aperture control works. We will investigate these points in our upcoming in-depth review of the K-70.
New retractable telephoto lens with upgraded silent AF
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Jun 8, 2016
Today the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE joins the Pentax lens lineup as a compact, weather-sealed APS-C telephoto zoom lens featuring a retractable barrel design. This lens also debuts PLM (Pulse Motor) autofocus technology and an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm to facilitate smooth focusing and exposure adjustments during video recording. The recently-launched Pentax K-70 has been designed to support these enhancements; older Pentax bodies including the K-S2, K-S1, K-3 II, and K-1 will also be compatible following a firmware update.
Since the K-70 debuts hybrid live view/video AF featuring phase detection points, this lens really is all about fast AF performance, especially for video. This is an area in which the performance of previous Pentax bodies had been quite limited. With a PLM or DC lens mounted the K-70 supports AF-C in video mode.
Electromagnetic aperture control is not a new technology— Canon EF lenses have been using it for decades, for instance. But it is slowly being rolled out in DSLR mounts that formerly relied on the stop-down lever. We've seen it on recent high-end Nikon lenses, and now, Pentax is giving it a try in this new telephoto zoom. Thanks to this design, the traditional stop-down lever is no longer needed to operate the aperture diaphragm. Instead, a motor in the lens automatically stops the aperture down at the time of image capture. This allows for greater precision, gradual adjustments, and quieter operation. The trade-off is lack of backwards-compatibility with DSLRs that do not receive firmware updates. This lens has received a new KAF4 mount designation.
Like the DA 18-50mm RE duo, the new 55-300mm's barrel can be collapsed using the zoom ring. When stowed, this shortens the lens by nearly 3 centimeters compared to the previous 55-300mm. The new 55-300mm also features an updated optical formula to facilitate internal focus and a rear-mounted focusing ring. The trade-off for its compactness is the loss of about half a stop of light throughout the range, compared to the old lens.
Other features of the lens include weather-sealing, HD coating, and rounded aperture blades.
Availability will be announced in July, and the launch price is set at $399.
DA 55-300mm PLM Key Specifications
|Angle of View (Diag/Horiz)||29-5.4 ° / 25-4.6 °|
|Optical Formula||14 elements in 11 groups|
|Min. Focusing Distance||95 cm|
|Aperture Blades||9, rounded|
|Aperture Range||F4.5-6.3 (max)
|Aperture Diaphragm||Automatic, electromagnetic|
|Autofocus Type||In-lens PLM motor|
|Lens Mount||Pentax K (KAF4)|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||76.5 x 89 mm (3.01 x 3.5 in.)|
||442 g (15.6 oz.)|
|US/UK Launch Price||$399.99 / £399.99|
Full specifications can be viewed in our lens database.
Capture and view images via USB
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Apr 20, 2016
Ricoh Imaging has officially announced version 1.1.0 of its Pentax Lightroom tethering plugin, which adds support for the full-frame Pentax K-1 on top of existing compatibility with the medium-format 645Z. The tethering plugin lets users instantly view and edit captured photos through a USB connection. Rumors of this plugin have been circulating ever since a beta version was demonstrated at trade shows across the US and Japan.
In addition, this update makes it possible to simultaneously save photos to the SD card while tethered. To take advantage of this new feature, K-1 and 645Z users must apply a firmware update (soon to be released).
The new version of the plugin is expected to be released by the end of May, 2016. It will be available for download for free from the official Pentax software site once released, along with the corresponding firmware updates for the K-1 and 645Z. The plugin will work with Adobe Lightroom 6 as well as Lightroom CC.
Note that further wired tethering functionality is offered through the Image Transmitter 2 software, which is sold separately.
The Pentax K-1 also has built-in Wi-Fi for remote shooting with the free Image Sync Android/iOS app. The 645Z can be controlled wirelessly through a web browser with the optional O-FC1 FluCard accessory.
Direct PDF download
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Apr 13, 2016
Ricoh Imaging has finally published the official user manual for the Pentax K-1. We provide the file below for your convenience:
Learn more about Pentax's first full-frame DSLR in our in-depth Pentax K-1 coverage.
The K-1 is expected to start shipping in the next two weeks. If you plan to order a Pentax K-1 before the end of April, don't miss our pre-order giveaway!
The latest special edition Pentax DSLR body
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Feb 22, 2016
Ricoh Imaging has just announced a special Silver Edition of the Pentax K-3 II to commemorate 80 years of the company. This is the second special body to celebrate the occasion, following last week's Ricoh GR II Silver announcement.
The Pentax K-3 II Silver Edition will be sold exclusively from Ricoh via ricoh-imaging.com. Its US retail price will be $999.95, and production will be limited to 500 units worldwide. This is the lowest production count of any special edition Pentax K-mount body to date. The camera is expected to start shipping from Japan on March 10th, 2016.
From a cosmetic point of view, the K-3 II Silver Edition closely resembles the Pentax K-3 Premium Silver Edition, which was offered in 2014 alongside the original K-3. It is the perfect body for the six silver HD DA Limited lenses currently available. The K-3 II is pictured above is the HD Pentax-DA 35mm Limited F2.8 Macro.
Historically speaking, we've seen between one and two special editions of every flagship Pentax DSLR model since 2006. Do you think we will see a Pentax K-1 Limited in due time?
Learn more about the K-3 II in our in-depth review.