Ricoh Imaging Americas ("Pentax USA") has just announced a Ricoh Theta 360 giveaway coupled with a photojournalism contest with a little twist. The Theta is a unique camera that captures 360-degree spherical images at the push of a button.
The event, which is being hosted by CNN as a sponsored feature, has two phases. During the first phase, users will describe in 360 words or less what they would be able to do with a Theta and why they think they should get one. Submissions will close on April 10th, and by May 1st, 360 winners will receive a free Theta from Ricoh.
Once the Theta winners are announced, the "Spherical Report 360" contest will begin. Participants will then report on real-world events as photojournalists, using spherical images from the Theta. Each month through August, an "MVP" winner will receive a Ricoh Commander watch. In September, three grand prize winners will be announced, and these individuals will be invited to an exclusive round-table discussion in September. The grand prizes include a Pentax K-3 18-135mm kit and two limited edition Ricoh GR cameras.
This sounds like a great opportunity if you're looking to start a career in photojournalism, and we are happy to see that Ricoh products are being recognized by a nationwide news company! To enter the giveaway, please visit:
Remember to sign up before April 10th for a chance to receive a free Theta and enter the reporting competition. As this event is sponsored by Pentax USA, only residents of US are eligible to participate.
The long-awaited O-FC1 16Gb FluCard for the Pentax K-3 has finally hit the shelves in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Japan.
With this Wi-Fi enabled SD card, you're able to wirelessly control your Pentax K-3 using a smartphone or a desktop. We will soon be posting an in-depth guide on the card, as well as instructions on how to use it.
The card can also be used in other cameras for storage or file transfer: only the tethering functionality is unique to the K-3.
From February 13 through 16 the annual CP+ Photo Imaging Trade Show will take place in Japan. PentaxForums will have staff on site and we will report on Pentax-related news, which you'll be able to read about on our homepage. We will also be interviewing Pentax representatives at the show, and videos will be uploaded to our Youtube channel.
Based on today's press release from Pentax, we already know some details about what we can expect at the show. Prototypes of the products listed below will be shown as a "referential exhibition" and will be officially announced later this year.
- A new 645D medium format camera with a CMOS sensor and a tilting LCD monitor, two features that hint at this new camera being equipped with live view. The new 645D will also have a faster processor than its predecessor. This new camera should become available in the Spring of 2014.
- An ultra-wide angle zoom lens for the 645D
- A telephoto macro lens for the Q-System
- A film copier accessory for DSLR cameras allowing for convenient copying of 35mm as well as medium format (120/220) film
We find it exciting and very promising for the future of Pentax that a new 645D camera is being introduced. It is also nice to see that another quality lens is being introduced for the Q-System. Clearly Ricoh is investing in the Pentax brand.
Read on for more product photos.
Pentax has just officially announced the new HD Pentax-DA AF Rear Converter 1.4x AW, a 1.4x teleconverter that increases the effective focal length of a lens while maintaining autofocus and autoexposure capabilities. This is the first new Pentax teleconverter since the film era. As with all 1.4x teleconverters, the increase in reach comes at the expense of one stop of light.
This modern teleconverter has been treated with the Pentax HD coating, a high-quality multi-layer coating with lower reflectance than the previous Super Multi Coating. The converter is also fully weather-sealed, which means that it can preserve the weather-sealing of your camera system when paired with a weather-sealed body and lens.
The teleconverter will start shipping in the US in March, 2014. It will retail for $599 online and in stores. You can currently pre-order it at B&H Photo.
Is the Pentax brand name slowly vanishing? In today's press mailing, Amber Renard, Public Relations Manager for Ricoh Imaging Americas, said, "As you will note, the WG-4 and WG-20 series are the first [compact cameras] to bear the Ricoh name. As such, I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the historical PENTAX brand. The PENTAX name will continue to appear on all of our interchangeable lens cameras, lenses and sport optics, while the Ricoh name will be reserved for our compact cameras."
The rugged WG-4 is Pentax's new premium outdoor camera offering for 2014. With a 16-megapixel sensor and a bright lens with a maximum aperture of F2, this camera delivers solid image quality via a body that's waterproof to 45 feet, coldproof, and shockproof. It will be available with built-in GPS for $379 and without GPS for $329 at retailers nationwide starting in March. This represents a $20 price drop compared to the previous model.
The WG-20 is Pentax's new entry-level outdoor camera. Like the WG-4, it is also waterproof, coldproof, and shockproof, but its specs aren't quite as high: it is only rated as being waterproof to 33 feet. Like the WG-10 before it, it will be available at Target stores and on Target.com. The price has increased by $20 to $199.
The hardware featured in the WG-4 and WG-20 is virtually identical to that of the WG-3 and WG-10. Apart from the color choices, one key distinction between the WG-4 and WG-3 is that the new camera now features a shutter priority mode as well as a USER mode, giving the photographer more control over the exposure. When in shutter priority mode, you can set the shutter speed manually and the camera will adjust the aperture and ISO accordingly.
In the US, the new WG-4 will color options will include silver and lime yellow, while the WG-4 GPS will come in black and blue. The WG-20 will be produced in white and red.
A photo of the upcoming 1.4x Pentax teleconverter, which has been on the Pentax lens roadmap for several years, was recently posted on the forum by one of our members.
Although we have no knowledge of the official specifications at this point, the photo alone reveals a number of things:
- The teleconverter is fully weather sealed (AW designation) and almost certainly has a rubber gasket around its bayonet
- The teleconverter has contacts for lens data transmission, so aperture automation and lens/focal length recognition will be supported
- There is a screwdrive AF shaft, which means that screwdrive AF lenses will continue to support autofocus when used with this teleconverter
- There are SDM contacts, which means that SDM/DC AF lenses will continue to autofocus
- The teleconverter features Pentax's latest HD coating that minimizes reflectance.
Once we have the official specifications, expect to see the news first on our homepage. We will also be updating the converter's entry in our lens database.
A key photo trade show, CP+, is coming up in just over two weeks. We wouldn't be surprised if Pentax unveiled this teleconverter shortly before the show. We may also see a number of other lenses from the Pentax roadmap, including a telephoto "prosumer" zoom.
The one and only CES product announcement related to Pentax this year came from Sigma, which announced the new Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM "Contemporary" superzoom lens for all camera mounts, including Pentax. This lens is designed as an all-in-one solution for everyday use and it is more affordable than the 18-250mm in the current Sigma lineup. Like other modern lenses, the 18-200mm of course includes silent autofocus.
This new lens replaces the Sigma 18-200mm OS HSM II which was originally launched in mid-2012. Compared to its predecessor, the 18-200mm "Contemporary" sports a redesigned plastic barrel that resembles the other Sigma Global Vision lenses rolled out over the course of 2013. The barrel design is more elegant and simpler than before. The new lens also features rounded aperture blades, weighs less (430g), and focuses closer in macro mode (1:3). Best of all, it's being launched at a reasonable introductory price of just $399 in the US - a whole $100 less than its predecessor. This makes it a great upgrade over the standard 18-55mm kit lens as well as a viable alternative to the Pentax 18-135mm for those who do not need weather sealing and who desire the extra reach.
For the full specifications of this new Sigma lens, visit its entry in our lens database. It is already available for pre-order at US retailers including B&H Photo.
Sigma also announced at 50mm F1,4 "Art" lens at CES, but it will not be produced in the Pentax mount based on what we know so far.
The Limited Edition Ricoh GR, which features a special finish as well as a lineup of unique custom-tailored accessories, has just arrived in the US and is ready to ship! The Limited Edition is availble for $899, a $100 premium over the standard version.
Special Accessories: Hood, leather case, and leather strap
The Ricoh GR is arguably of the most-praised compact cameras ever produced by Pentax/Ricoh. To learn more about this truly-pocketable APS-C compact, check our our in-depth Ricoh GR review. With its 16-megapixel filterless sensor, 18mm F2.8 lens, and small size, we find the GR to be a fantastic camera for street photography!