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The DA 560 mm Lens on a Q10

"My Lens is Bigger Than Yours!" · Posted on 09-18-2012 in Photokina 2012
The DA 560 mm Lens on a Q10

The HD Pentax 560mm F5.6 lens, which was initially announced in February, is now ready to hit the stores and was on display and available for touch and feel on press day at Photokina. As several of our members have found out, the Pentax Q camera when mounted with a K-mount telephoto lens becomes a formidable, high magnification optical system and this was what was illustrated here with the new Q10 attached to the 560 mm.


The lens is currently on display in glass cabinet, and we hope to be able to test it tomorrow during our Pentax interview.  Contrary to prior popular belief, the lens itself is not collapsible and does not telescope.  The built-in hood does slide in and out, and is shown extended in the photos above.

The press material included the optical diagram of this lens. It differs from many other telephoto lenses in that it has fewer elements (6) and as a result is physically longer. Pentax maintains that this design ensures excellent image quality, lower weight and easier handling.


Given its high price tag (6999 USD, 5999 GBP), this lens is expected to perform very well.  We will post more about it once we are able to test it!

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Acheron [Delete] Sep 19th, 2012 1:19AM

It looks that 560mm is rework of Pentax 105SDP telescope (670mm f/6.4). My friend has Pentax 105SDP and it is a wonderful piece of optical engineering. If this lens has same optical quality (and I think that it will have) than it's going to be one of the sharpest lenses ever. And please do remember, that every optical element has it own aberrations that have impact on final image quality, so 6 element design is nothing to be ashamed of and it is a potentially very good thing. Many high quality telescopes have only 4 elements and give image that you can dream of seeing in "ordinary camera lens".

Chuckie [Delete] Sep 19th, 2012 12:10AM

This one reminds me of my K135-600, although I think that bazooka still takes the cake, Simpler design is usually better, and when lugging one of these around, weight and handling become very important. If you can lug one of these around short distances with a bean bag, it will beat a heavy tripod and gimbal head set-up for portability.

goldenarrow [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 8:46PM

The 560 looks like an old fashioned, long lens design. Rocket launcher in disguise???

mechmike10 [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 6:36PM

I'm not in the market for spending this much money on a lens right now, but if I were, I'm having a hard time figuring why I'd want to spend $7,000 for this lens when I could buy a Sigma 500mm f4.5 for $5,000. The Sigma is a bit shorter in focal length, somewhat faster, and almost 7 inches shorter in length, albeit about 1 lb. heavier. It also has a more sophisticated design with 11 elements in 8 groups. Did I mention it is $2,000 cheaper? Frankly, I don't see how Pentax will sell many of these at all. Or am I missing something?

I would make the same comment about the new 18-270 Tamron look alike. At $800, I can't see this as being a big seller. I am currently using a Sigma 17-70--the old version--and have been looking for something with more reach on the long end. Except for the short focal length, I love the 17-70 lens. Long before I'd buy the Pentax 18-270, I'll be looking at the Sigma 18-200 or 18-250, both of which are $200-250 cheaper. Does Pentax think that higher prices than the competition will make the product more attractive?

mgbirder [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 4:59PM

Does anyone know if the length of 522mm includes the extended hood?, in that case it would only be 12cm longer than the Sigma 150-500 at 500mm with hood in place. It is the length and bulk of the lens that really bothers me a bit, thinking about transportation and practical use in the field.

Docrwm [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 3:06PM

That Q10 is HUGE!

desertscape [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 1:28PM

Pentax can get away with only 6 elements in a long focal length like this if they are using an ED (low dispersion, low index) positive element up front combined with a high index glass, like barium as the negative element. It is not as important to have the rear groups as well color corrected as the front ones, so the glass types may not be s exotic or expensive. This is typical in the optics world. Having 6 elements gives the designer enough degrees of freedom to correct all 7 aberrations and even the combinations (like spherochromatism), especially since most of the groups are air spaced.

Zygonyx [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 11:48AM

Wouldn't have looked bad with a white K-30 either !

littledrawe [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 11:22AM

The lower weight and easier handling idea is one that a lot of people seem to be forgetting. People are comparing these lenses to offerings from other manufacturers but this lens is something the others don't have which is what pentax is about right now. I would love to have a lighter lens that gets me that much reach. If you are actually using something like this in the field you have to get the lens to where the wildlife is and that means a trek sometimes if I could have something lighter on a 3 or 4 hour hike I would LOVE that. With the ISO performance of newer camera bodies how much of a difference is f5.6 vs f4 really going to make?? The size of the front element on a 600mm f4 is 150mm that is a huge amount of glass and makes transporting it a challenge a smaller front element might make this more functional. I don't hear anyone complaining about the lack of extra weight in thier mirrorless camera bodies.

c-meier [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 11:16AM

What does AW stand for? "All weather" -- weathersealed? If so, why not call it WR like the other DAs?

viking79 [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 10:42AM

Less elements doesn't mean worse image quality. The lens is long, so it will be simpler optical design, and it is smaller aperture, which also simplifies optical design, and it has a long minimum focus distance it also simplifies optical design. This means fewer lenses, and likely a lens that is sharper than one with a lot more optics. As long as the elements are well made. It seems to me though the reason to use a refractor design is to save costs, so not sure why it costs so much. An eyepiece and 600mm f/6 telescope should be less than 1k.

zosxavius [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 10:16AM

Here's the real question: is it really only aps-c, or does it cover ff as well. Guess we will have to wait to find out. If it covers ff, I think it would say a lot about the direction pentax is trying to go in as this is now their most premium lens.

rfortson [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 10:11AM

BTW, Nikon's 500mm f/4 with VR is $8400 and Canon's 500mm f/4 with IS is $10,500. So the $7000 seems like it's in the same ballpark. Not cheap, but not totally out of line.

rfortson [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 10:06AM

Kind of reminds me of the time I put my Olympus E-P1 on my SMC 1000mm f/8. The camera literally fit inside the lens cap. :)

I did get great shots of the moon with the combo, though. Live view is very handy for these huge lenses on a tripod.

Canada_Rockies [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 9:52AM

Six elements is one more than the M 400/5.6. A telescope design has the downside of a longer minimum focusing distance. If this lens has nearly eliminated the CA and PF of the M 400 I own, which I expect to be the case, I definitely want one. The price will probably be in the US$4,000 range in a year or so, I think.

garyk [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 8:46AM

Yep, it looks like a Telescope to me. Does it have an eyepiece accessory.

chiane [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 8:30AM

Pentax also showed a new pancake looking lens back when the 560 and the k-01 was first announced. What happened to that thing?

GabrielFFontes [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 8:05AM

No kidding, i was expecting this to pop at a 3000$-ish price tag.
I won't buy it anyway, but it would be nice to see an affordable super telephoto by Pentax again.

wed7 [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:52AM

Are there any changes/revision for the lens road map?

teepee_uk [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:51AM

Well, that's an interesting lens but shouldn't it be A LOT cheaper? You can pick up a faster Canon 500mm F/4 for under four grand. I can see the pricing here is deliberately too high, so we'll see a few "discounts" to get it under £5k.
Also can someone explain the difference between UK & US pricing to me please? It'd actually be much cheaper to fly to America to buy one of these, and that's just ridiculous.

TZH [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:50AM

One thousand dollar for each elements , and 999 for the rest .

igor [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:45AM

"only 6 elements?" - I agree, it's a rip-off, should cost not more than $6,000 ! :) LOL :)
Seriously. The price is insane, it's only f/5.6 !!!!

TZH [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:45AM

Yeah , lets looking forward to the performance , but ... what a price tag !

GabrielFFontes [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:31AM

I don't know why...the lens seems empty.
Anyway, as i said, i'm not expert, so i was just saying what it looks like to me.
Thanks :)

TZH [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:14AM

Why would you think more optics means good image quality ? This isn't weird , we have lots of lenses used just a few elements and produce good image , this is all about optics . Check out our Pentax Lens Review Database .

GabrielFFontes [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 7:02AM

You guys are experts at this, can you explain me something?
That optical diagram seems weeeeeeeeeeeeird, only 6 elements? This means less image quality?