We will be concluding our coverage of the CP+ 2015 show with a photo tour the Ricoh Imaging booth. The booth itself was very similar in size and layout to that of previous shows, but the new products on display certainly attracted a bigger crowd than last year. The attitude of Ricoh Imaging representatives at the show continued to be highly positive, similar to what we observed during Photokina— fantastic news for Pentax fans.
If you haven't already, see our other blog posts from CP+ 2015 by following the links below:
By Albert Siegel in CP+ 2015 on Feb 17, 2015
Sigma and Tamron are the two largest third-party Pentax autofocus lens manufacturers. As evidenced by our user lens reviews and in-depth reviews, a handful of Sigma and Tamron lenses are in fact highly-regarded and hold their ground against genuine Pentax counterparts.
Unfortunately, given the minuscule market share of the Pentax K-mount DSLR system, the aforementioned lens manufactures have somewhat neglected Pentax in recent years. Sigma has only been releasing a subset of its recent lenses for Pentax, while Tamron has ceased releasing new designs completely. We thus decided to speak with Sigma and Tamron representatives at CP+ 2015 to see if this might change in the future.
A Tamron representative at the show stated that Tamron is not considering any new Pentax products at the moment. The company will continue to produce what current lenses it has for Pentax, but nothing new will be released.
This means that it is unlikely that we will ever see Pentax versions of some of Tamron's latest lens designs. With that said, the SMC Pentax-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM is in fact a quietly-rebranded Tamron lens launched in 2012, so Pentax incarnations of future Tamron super zooms could potentially emerge through the same kind of partnership with Ricoh Imaging.
In response to a question about a modern universal lens mount, Tamron stated that it has been considered, but no firm decision has been made.
Photos of the camera's internals
It is becoming increasingly-common to see cameras and lenses cut in half at trade shows. Pentax has always been a fan of this practice, and now it looks like Ricoh Imaging is carrying on the tradition. The Pentax 645Z (with a D FA 55mm lens) was among the products that were split in two at CP+ 2015. Click on either photo for a better view:
These cross-sections confirm that there's a considerable amount of empty space inside the camera, a suspicion that we had earlier. Notice how the gaps are behind the sensor itself, so their removal would not affect the registration distance. The extra space is present because the 645Z uses a film-era body design that was meant to accommodate a bulky film holder.
Compare this to the cramped internals of the Pentax K-30 shown at Photokina 2012:
By Albert Siegel in CP+ 2015 on Feb 16, 2015
For Pentax fans, this year's CP+ was by far one of the most interesting trade shows in recent years. The last two years were a bit of disappointment, but this year Ricoh finally announced that a full-frame Pentax was close to release. Not only that, but we also saw working samples of two recently-announced full-frame lenses. We were able to give these a try and were pretty impressed.
Let’s start with the HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200 F2.8 ED DC AW. The first impression is that it’s big and has quite a bit of heft, but at the same time has the usual Pentax feel of very high build quality– on par with premium lenses from the competitors.
Video: hands-on demo of the 70-200mm
The ergonomics of the lens are good. In an unusual move for Pentax on their high-end lenses, the focusing ring is now located near the mount. At the same time, since the zoom ring is now at the front of the lens, those accustomed to the reverse will need to get used to the new layout in their handling techniques. Both the zoom and focus are internal.
The autofocus was difficult to judge. Although the lens on display is close to being final and the only changes we imagine would be in firmware, the lighting at CP+ was quite poor and not the best for testing. With that said, the autofocus did feel smooth and responsive.