A look at features, AF sounds, and SR effectiveness
While at CP+ 2016, we had the opportunity to test various aspects of the Pentax K-1 hands-on. A Ricoh representative also showed us a few key features of this new Pentax full frame camera:
Why this was such a special show for Pentax
After a busy four days, the CP+ 2016 camera expo has closed its doors. For Pentax fans, this show was arguably one of the most significant events of the decade. Ricoh Imaging finally released the Pentax K-1 full-frame DSLR, a long-awaited camera that was the subject of wild speculation and some very emotional discussions on our forum. Unsurprisingly, Ricoh made this camera the star of their exhibit; it even went as far as completely omitting displays for other K-mount bodies, the 645 digital system, and the ultra-compact Q-mount system. The Ricoh booth did feature Pentax sport optics, the Theta 360, and the outdoor WG series, however.
Here's a summary of what we learned at this year's CP+:
- The K-1 was challenging to develop as it required new hardware in key areas
- K-1 development slowed APS-C and Q-mount product development somewhat, but those product lines remain a key part of the Pentax lineup
- Five new D FA lenses are planned for release in "2017 or later"
- An APS-C wide-angle zoom and a Q-mount telephoto macro lens remain roadmapped for "2016 or later"
- Ricoh engineers plan to maintain an APS-C flagship in the Pentax lineup, since this format lends itself to compactness and speed
- The D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 is finally being launched after delays due to optical optimizations
- B-grip is partnering with Pentax to make a special Pentax-branded strap system
- Sigma and Tamron refused to comment on the K-1, and neither manufacturer currently plans to expand its K-mount offerings
- Additional technical details about the K-1 were revealed in our CP+ 2016 interview
Most importantly, though, the launch of the Pentax K-1 will put an end to the countless speculative threads and thus allow many Pentaxians to go back to what matters most: taking pictures!
It will be interesting to see how the K-1 is received by the larger photographic community once it starts shipping and getting reviewed. The fact that Pentax is now one of only three manufacturers offering a full-frame DSLR should inherently continue generating a good deal of long-term buzz.
A video tour of the Ricoh Imaging booth follows.
Innovative gadgets with multitides of unique applications
The Ricoh Theta family of spherical cameras is leading the way in 360-degree imaging. At the push of a button, the Theta captures everything around you. The resulting images or videos are viewable interactively and can even be shared online. Below is a demonstration of the latest model, the Ricoh Theta S, which features twice the resolution of earlier models:
We are currently the process of reviewing a production model of the Theta S. Our initial impressions are positive; beyond its improved image quality, the Theta S is also much easier to hold thanks to a marginally larger body and a rubber-like exterior lining that prevents the camera from slipping out of your grasp.
Learn more about about what the Theta can do in our full Theta m15 review.
High-res photos and component breakdown
The Ricoh Imaging booth at CP+ 2016 placed a heavy emphasis on the recently-launched Pentax K-1. Today we take an even closer look at what's on the inside of the Pentax's first full frame DSLR.
Most of the technology inside the K-1 was either developed from scratch or updated specifically for this new body. A special display case on the show floor allowed us to gain valuable insight about what's found under the hood.
New SR II 5-Axis in-body stabilization
Perhaps one of the most exciting additions is the new five-axis Shake Reduction II (SR II) system. In addition to offering an extra stop of compensation over previous models (up to 5 stops total), SR II compensates more effectively for camera roll.
Suppose that a photo would normally require a shutter sped of 1/500s to appear sharp; with Shake Reduction, it may well be sharp at 1/15s.
Full-frame sized pentaprism (0.70x magnification, ~100% coverage)
A larger chunk of glass is needed for a full-frame optical viewfinder. The K-1's pentaprism offers nearly full coverage of the image area and the viewfinder image is almost twice as large as that of APS-C bodies (despite a lower magnification rating).
Pentax Real IMage Engine IV processor
The latest-generation Pentax CPU is dubbed "PRIME IV". It enables the largest-ever continuous shooting buffer in a Pentax DSLR.
36.4-megapixel 35.9 x 24.0mm CMOS sensor
At the heart of the K-1 lies a "newly developed" 36.4-megapixel CMOS sensor. Community sources suggest that the chip is manufactured by Sony. The sensor supports an ISO range of 100 to 204,800 (the highest in its class).
Expect the K-1 to be able to take a beating thanks to a magnesium alloy body, metal chassis, and weather-sealed construction.
The camera's rear LCD hinges are just as tough as the body itself. These hinges have been designed to support the entire weight of the camera plus a reasonably-sized lens. Of course, this isn't a typical use case, but the flexibility for a user to quickly grab the camera by the LCD could for instance save the camera from an unfortunate drop while in the field.
Newly-developed shutter mechanism
The shutter mechanism is another piece of hardware that must be re-worked for a larger image format. Furthermore, the K-1 allows for flash synchronization up to 1/200s, an improvement over the previous limit of 1/180s.
All this shows that a considerable effort was put in to the K-1's development. It's now evident why Pentax couldn't "just release" a full-frame two or three years ago. Even today, users will get a lot of technology for the K-1's comparatively low launch price of $1799 (USD).
Questions about the Pentax K-1 and other technologies
At this year's CP+ show, Ricoh Imaging representatives once again took a moment to sit down with us and answer a number of community questions about the Pentax K-1 and related topics.
Unfortunately, due to disruptive audio tests at the nearby Nikon booth, our on-camera time was cut short. The remainder of the interview follows the video in paraphrased text form.
Do you have any updates for Pentax Q users?
The Q line is still a current line, but we focused our limited resources on the K-1. We plan to release the roadmapped Q-mount macro lens in the near future.
Have you done anything to compel third-party manufacturers to expand their K-mount lineups?
Not at this time.
How does the K-1's video mode compare to that of the K-3?
It is unchanged.