Exclusive Pentax Interview at CP Plus 2015

By PF Staff in CP+ 2015 on Feb 12, 2015

We were lucky to be able to schedule our interview with Ricoh Imaging representatives on the opening day of the CP+ show this year.  In it, we asked about various Pentax-related matters, including the upcoming full-frame DSLR. Without further ado, you can watch the interview in video form below:

Left: Mr. Kazunobu Saiki | Right: Mr. Shigeru Wakashiro 

A transcript with commentary is available here.

In Pictures: Pentax Full-Frame DSLR Mockup

By PF Staff in CP+ 2015 on Feb 12, 2015

A mockup of the upcoming Pentax full frame DSLR was ceremoniously unveiled at CP Plus 2015.  While its physical appearance is still subject to change, even this early preview revealed some new things about the camera that were not apparent in the press release:

  • Similar button layout to the Pentax K-3
  • 1 additional button above the traditional RAW/Fx button
  • Very large tilting LCD screen
  • Large grip for comfortable handling
  • Retro prism housing design without built-in flash

In our interview with Ricoh Imaging representatives, we also learned that the full-frame will most likely lack the old-fashioned aperture coupler, meaning that M and K manual lenses will still require stop-down metering.

We are fairly confident that the Pentax full frame DSLR will feature sensor-shift Shake Reduction.  The SR mechanism may also be used in an innovative way to increase the effective level of detail.

The megapixel count of this camera has yet to be announced, but we suspect that it will follow industry trends for enthusiast full frame bodies.

In Pictures: D-FA* 70-200mm and D-FA 150-450mm

Size comparisons and handling remarks

By PF Staff in CP+ 2015 on Feb 13, 2015

The two new full-frame-ready Pentax 70-200mm and 150-450mm telephoto zooms were on display at CP+, and we had the opportunity to handle the lenses and test them on a Pentax K-3.  The lenses are built like tanks and certainly feel like professional pieces of equipment— more so than existing star lenses.  Their autofocus speed also seemed noticeably superior compared to that of the DA* 50-135mm and DA* 60-250mm F4 lenses.  We were told during our interview with Ricoh Imaging representatives that AF optimizations had been made specifically for these two lenses.

DFA 150-450mmD FA 150-450mm Extended

Pricing & Specifications

Both lenses are expected to start shipping in March.

Refer to the photos below for additional size comparisons.  These are among the largest zoom lenses ever made by Pentax.

CP+ Report: Pentax 70-200mm and 150-450mm

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.

CP+ Report: Sigma & Tamron Plans for Pentax

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.

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