Today, Pentax officially announces a host of new products, proving most of the recently-posted leaks and rumors true! The products being announced today include:
- Pentax K-5 II, a successor to the Pentax K-5
- Pentax K-5 IIs, a version of the K-5 II without an anti-aliasing filter
- Pentax Q10, a successor to the Pentax Q
- SMC Pentax-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM, a superzoom lens based on Tamron's 18-270mm lens
- HD Pentax-DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW DC, a weather-sealed extreme telephoto prime
- SMC Pentax-Q 15-45mm F2.8 "06 Telephoto Zoom", a longer zoom lens for the Pentax Q system
- Pentax Adapter Q for K-mount lenses, which allows you to use Pentax SLR lenses on your Q
- HD Pentax D-FA 645 90mm F2.8 ED AW SR Macro, a stabilized macro lens for the 645D
In addition, Pentax is introducing a new lens coating called HD Coating (HD) which will be replacing their Super Multi Coating (SMC). This coating reduces reflections by more than 50% over the entire visible spectrum compared to conventional multi-layer coating, and is claimed to improve color reproduction and greatly reduce flare. Lenses with this coating will be prefixed with "HD" rather than "SMC".
Click on the links above to proceed to our equipment databases to read the full specifications for these new products, or read on for an overview of what's new!
HD Lens Coating
To quote the Pentax press release:
"Compared with conventional multi-layer coatings, the new multi-layer HD Coating, exclusively developed by PENTAX, offers much improved light transmittance and a much lower refractive index. Because it minimizes reflections, it delivers sharp, clear images free of flare and ghost images, even under demanding lighting conditions such as backlight. This coating assures optical performance almost equal to Aero Bright Coating, another PENTAX-exclusive lens coating process made possible by advanced nanotechnology and applied to higher-class lenses."
This implies that the coating will be reseved for higher-end lenses, as Pentax how has 3 coatings to choose from (Aero Bright, found on the DA 25mm F4 645 lens, HD, and SMC).
The graph shown above, which was published by Pentax, shows how their new HD coating performs compared to the old (conventional) multi-coating.
Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs
We are very happy to see that Pentax is keeping the K-5, which has received a great deal of praise over the past 2 years, available to Pentax users through an updated body! On the other hand, while we don't want to speak to soon, the Pentax K-5 II doesn't seem to differ much from its 2-year-old predecessor, and it likely won't launch at the same price tag of $879 as the current K-5.
What's new in the Pentax K-5 II?
- An all-new SAFOX X autofocus system with a best-in-class (according to Pentax) operating EV range of -3 to 18 EV. It still has 11 points, 9 cross-type, though they can work with luminous flux of F2.8 as well as F5.6. The AF algorithms have been improved, and features such as select-area expansion have been added.
- A new anti-glare film in front of the 3" LCD (with the same resolution), with a tempered glass front panel and new mount
- New firmware features, still running on the old PRIME II image processor
- H.264 video format (unconfirmed)
Shown above: the K-5 II's new LCD design
The Pentax K-5 IIs
The K-5 IIs is just like the K-5 II, but it does not have the anti-aliasing filter that's normally in front of the sensor. This allows for a higher effective image resultion at the cost of risking seeing more distortion.
The estimated availability date of the K-5 II is late October, 2012. Pentax is calling this camera their "new flagship model".
Pentax-DA 560mm Lens
The new HD Pentax-DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW DC is an extreme-telephoto lens designed for Pentax APS-C cameras. It's the first Pentax lens to feature the new HD coating, and it also has high-speed autofocus powered by a DC motor. It supports 40.5mm drop-in filters in the rear.
Contrary to recent rumors, this lens does not collapse or telescope.
The 560mm is fully weather sealed, so it will be a great choice for outdoor photography.
Pentax-DA 18-270mm Lens
The new SMC Pentax-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM is a superzoom lens featuring a massive 15x zoom range and Pentax's silent SDM autofocus. It has a minimum focusing distance of just 0.49m accross the entire zoom range, making it good for close-ups and adding quite a bit of overall versatility.
This lens is a clone of the Tamron 18-270mm lens, which is something Pentax has done before with their now-discontinued 18-250mm. Shown below is a comparison of the Pentax and the Tamron version of this lens:
Pentax-D FA 645 90mm F2.8 Macro
The HD Pentax-D FA 645 90mm F2.8 ED AW SR Macro is a $5000 medium-format macro lens designed for the Pentax 645D. It's the first 645-system lens to feature Pentax's new HD coating, and it's also the first Pentax lens to feature in-lens stabilization (note that the 645D lacks the sensor-shift shake reduction found in Pentax K-mount DSLRs).
Like other D-FA series 645 lenses, this 90mm macro is fully weather sealed. We expect this lens to deliver exceptional resolution for close-up and macro purposes!
Here's what's new in the Pentax Q10:
- Improved contrast-detect AF performance
- New body design
- Now also available in red in addition to black and silver
- New 06 zoom lens available
Pentax Q 15-45mm Lens
Today's final lens announcement is that of the SMC Pentax-Q 15-45mm F2.8 Telephoto Zoom 06, which is approximately equivalent to a 83-250mm zoom on digital. What's impressive about this lens is the constant F2.8 aperture!
Pentax Q-K Adapter
The adapter allowing Pentax K-mount lenses to be used on the Pentax Q system is now official. See below for photos of the adapter in use:
This combination with the DA 50mm still looks the part!
Mounting a DA* 300mm on the Pentax Q gives as much effective reach as a 1500mm would on a DSLR!
A product announcement of this size deserves an equally-sized commentary, which you can expect to see on our homepage by tomorrow morning. We will also be reporting live and first-hand about all of these products at Photokina next week!