The HD PENTAX-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR zoom lens for K-Mount was officially announced today by Ricoh. This latest addition to the Pentax lens line-up comes complete with all the recent refinements in lens technology:
- The fast and reliable DC Autofocus Motor
- SP (Super Protect) Coating on the front element to repel dirt and grease
- HD (High Definition) nano coating to reduce flare and ghosting and increase contrast
- Weather seals to keep dust and moisture out
As if this wasn't enough Pentax also deployed:
- Super-low dispersion and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens elements for increased sharpness and increased control over lens aberrartions
- Rounded aperture blades for a smooth bokeh
- Metal lens barrel
With all this and the exclusive "Limited" design of the lens barrel we believe we're looking at a real winner in all aspects.
Last week, information about two upcoming Pentax lenses was leaked on the net. The first is an elegant Pentax DSLR lens, the HD Pentax 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited zoom. The second is a the 08 Wide Zoom for the Pentax Q system. Both lenses have been part of the Pentax lens roadmap since late 2012. Let's start with the 20-40mm.
Like the existing HD Limited Lenses, the rumored 20-40mm zoom will be available in both black and silver. Further specifications about this lens, including the AF system and presence of weather sealing, are not currently know. What we do know is that the lens will feature Pentax's latest "HD" coating, which promises lower reflectance than the traditional SMC coating, similar to Nikon's "Nano Crystal Coat". We also know that the lens will have a variable aperture range from F2.8 to 4: something unusual for a high-end lens, but to be expected if small size is a priority.
The design of this new lens is interesting, as it combines a retro-styled zoom ring with the barrel design of existing lenses.
Current Pentax HD Limited Lens Lineup
The Pentax "Limited" lens designation is a misnomer. Rather than meaning "limited production", Pentax actually uses this term to refer to its ultra-compact lineup of quality lenses. These lenses are unique, as no other manufacturer has such a robust lineup of compact lenses. The price you pay for this small size, of course, is that you lose a stop or two of maximum aperture compared to what you would get from a traditional lens.
The Pentax K-3 has just arrived at B&H Photo, which means that all pre-orders for black K-3 bodies have just started processing and will be shipped shortly. Want Pentax's latest high-speed 24-megapixel DSLR? Don't miss out- order yours today!
Henry's in Canada is also showing that the K-3 is in stock. Likewise, the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm WR Lens has just hit the shelves.
You can expect to see our in-depth review of the K-3 in the coming weeks. Until then, to learn more about the Pentax K-3, check out the following resources:
Despite the fact that no official Pentax booth was planned for the PhotoPlus tradeshow (Oct. 24-26 in New York City) this year, it seems that Pentax has mustered a small exhibit showing off the K-3, HD Limited lenses, K-50, and other lenses. The exhibit is part of the Unique Photo stand which is located directly behind the Sigma booth. It is very easy to overlook (we almost missed it!) as it is not listed in the PhotoPlus exhibitor directory or on the official show site.
Even though this Pentax exhibit is very small, it was a positive suprise for us to see at least one occurrence of the Pentax/Ricoh logo amidst a sea of other brands. While at the booth, we of course got a chance to try the new Pentax K-3, and we were assured that the camera would start shipping to US customers as early as the first week of November.
We have just gotten word from B&H Photo that the new HD Pentax-DA Limited lenses are now in stock and ready to ship! This means that we'll have the lenses in our hands as early tomorrow, so expect an in-depth review discussing their performance soon.
These new lenses are essentially face-lifted versions of the older "SMC Pentax" 15mm, 21mm, 35mm, 40mm, and 70mm primes. Here's what's been changed in the new lenses:
- HD lens coating to minimize reflectance (reduces flare, ghosting, and aberrations)
- Rounded aperture blades
- Redesigned lettering and red ring
- Readily available in both Silver and Black, at the same price
- Slight price increase: $50-$100 per lens
- HD 40mm only: now features Super Protect coating on the front element
Click here to shop Pentax HD Limiteds at B&H or read on for an overview of the lenses. Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge.
Pentax has just announced a Limited Edition Ricoh GR kit featuring a special lens hood (GH-3), leather case, and leather strap. The Limited Edition GR's magnesium-alloy body is sheathed in a metallic vintage green finish with a glossy shine. It has a marbleized ebony grip pattened in burl wood and is accented with charcoal buttons.
In the US, this special GR kit will be available in limited quantity exclusively through the Pentax Web Store located at us.ricoh-imaging.com. It carries a $100 price premium over the standard GR and will therefore retail for $899. It is expected to arrive in November.
The Ricoh GR is arguably of the most-praised cameras currently in the Pentax-Ricoh digital lineup. 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!
On Friday we were invited to the Pentax headquarters in Tokyo for a hands-on tour of the new Pentax K-3 as well as a Q&A session with Ricoh Imaging (Pentax) executives, including Mr. Kawauchi, whom we also interviewed earlier this year at CP+.
The K-3 body that we were shown was still a pre-production model. Although it was fully-functional and able to take pictures, we were asked not to comment on its performance or image quality. According to Pentax, the first K-3 units will go on sale in Japan as early as October 25th, so be sure to check back at that time for our first impressions of the camera. B&H photo has informed us that it expects to receive its first K-3 shipment in approximately three weeks, so all K-3 pre-orders should go out around that time.
Without further ado, where is what we learned from Pentax Japan:
Q: Who is the manufacturer of the K-3's 24-megapixel CMOS sensor?
Q: Will production K-3's have the Ricoh logo on the back side?
A: Yes. While some pre-production K-3's still had the Pentax logo, the final version of the K-3 will feature the Ricoh logo.
Q: Has the performance of the Shake Reduction system in the K-3 been improved?
A: Yes. Pentax expects the mechanism to compensate for up to 3.5 stops of camera shake, or half a stop more than previous generations (on average).
Q: Has the bounce flash overexposure issue that plagued the K-7 and K-5 been fixed in the K-3?
A: Since the K-3 features a new metering system, Pentax is not aware of any overexposure problems with P-TTL flash and the K-3. We believe this issue was originally caused by a hardware problem.
The moment that many passionate Pentaxians have been waiting for is finally here: Pentax has officially announced the 24-megapixel Pentax K-3, a flagship APS-C DSLR that's slated to replace the K-5 II/IIs. Being an advanced camera, the K-3 is primarily targeted at enthusiasts and professionals, and it will likely satisfy even the most demanding photographers. The new PRIME III processor ensures the camera will deliver the speed that photographers need and expect from a camera of this caliber.
In this article we'll be telling you all about the K-3, including its specifications, highlights, and key features. We have had a chance to try out a pre-production K-3 hands-on, so some of our commentary will relate to how the camera handles in real life. This article is the first in a series of posts about the camera, as we will be following up this post with a hands-on Q&A, and shortly after that you can expect to see our in-depth review of this exciting camera.
While the K-3 may appear very similar to the K-5 on the outside, its hardware has seen a complete overhaul to the point that virtually all of its specifications are improved over those of its predecessor. Pentax is finally ditching the 16-megapixel sensor that they used in eight consecutive camera models, and the company has equipped the K-3 with an all-new 27-point autofocus system, making it their first DSLR to feature more than 11 autofocus points. Pentaxians will also be thrilled to hear that the K-3 has dual SD card slots, a best-in-class burst mode, and wireless tethering capabilities.
In fact, on paper, the K-3 looks like it will be one of the most capable APS-C DSLRs on the market. Launching at a price tag of just $1299, it will start shipping in early November. There will also be a special silver edition of the K-3 for $300 more (with grip). Let's start by taking a quick look at the key specifications of the K-3:
Pentax K-3 Specifications
|Sensor||24-megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
6016 x 4000px max. recorded resolution
24.71 megapixels total
23.5 x 15.6mm physical size
|AA Filter||No hardware anti-aliasing filter
Simulated AA filter/moire suppression via SR mechanism (user-configurable)
|ISO Range||100 - 51200|
27-point TTL phase detection autofocus (25 cross-type points in a 5x5 grid)
86k-pixel RGB sensor with -3 to +18 EV sensitivity
New feature: multi-pattern white balance
|Continuous Shooting||Continuous H: 8.3 FPS (up to 60 JPG / 23 RAW)
Continuous M: 4.5 FPS (up to 100 JPG / 32 RAW)
Continuous L: 3 FPS (up to 200 JPG / 52 RAW)
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000s - 30s, Bulb|
|Viewfinder||Pentaprism optical viewfinder
100% coverage, 0.95x magnification
3.2" LCD with 1037k dots
Live view & video focus peaking support
1/180s sync speed
Full HD: 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p
25-minute maximum recording time
|Media Slots||Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots|
|Still File Formats||PEF and DNG RAW (14-bit), JPEG|
|Tethering||Full remote control and desktop transfer capabilities
via FLU wireless SD card technology
|Weight||800g (loaded and ready)|
|Battery||D-LI90 (up to 720 frames w/o flash, 560 w/ 50% flash)|
|Battery Grip||D-BG5 (6x AA or 1x D-LI90 support)
$199.95 US MSRP
Yes; 92 dust and moisture seals
|Connectivity||USB3, mic input, AV out, HDMI out, cable switch, x-sync socket, DC in, headphones|
|Dust Removal||Ultrasonic "DRII"|
|Processor||Single PRIME III|
|Stabilization||Body-based Shake Reduction|
While there's no denying that the K-3 plays catch-up with the Nikon D7100 (its closest competitor) in many areas, it does leap ahead in others: it has a best-in-class continuous framerate/buffer as well as the ability to record full-HD videos at 60 frames per second.
The K-3 also has a new 86k-pixel metering sensor, which is nothing short of professional grade. The D7100 can only record up to 50 JPEG files or 7 RAW files at maximum resolution before reducing its framerate, and its full-HD mode is limited to 30 FPS. Compare this to the K-3's 60 JPEG / 23 RAW buffer and 1080i 60FPS recording.
The sensor in the K-3 is likely to be the same Toshiba chip found in the Nikon D7100 and D5200, as all three sensors have a total resolution of 24.71 megapixels. Reviews of the latter two cameras have shown that the new 24-megapixel sensor is capable of outperforming the K-5/D7000's old 16-megapixel chip in terms of overall image quality, albeit to a small extent. (Update as of 10/10: we will be confirming the sensor manufacturer directly with Pentax in Japan. Remaining questions about the K-3 will be answered in an upcoming hands-on preview).
Already convinced? You can reserve your K-3 by pre-ordering at B&H Photo and pay when it ships.
Pentax K-3 with new D-BG5 battery grip and DA L 18-55mm WR lens
The K-3 also features some fresh innovation:
- It is the first camera to be able to simulate the effect of an antialiasing filter by vibrating the image sensor, thus reducing moire when activated
- It supports wireless tethering functionality via a dedicated FLU Wi-Fi SD card (discussed later)
- The new metering sensor enables multi-pattern white balance, which can apply different WB presets selectively
So far, this camera really looks like a big upgrade for any current Pentax user, and it will certainly hold its ground against the competition. But specifications aren't everything, so let us take a look at what changes have been made to the camera's buttons and ergonomics. Later on in this article we will also be examining the K-3's highlights more closely.