Pentax 645Z: First Full-Size Sample Photos

Full-size JPG and RAW landscape photo downloads

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Jul 4, 2014

We received a Pentax 645Z for review today, courtesy of B&H Photo, who sent out the first shipment of the cameras yesterday.  Over the course of the coming weeks, we plan to take it around the country to capture some breathtaking landscape photos while evaluating the camera for our in-depth review.

In the mean time, here is a collection of sample photos from today's shoot with the 645Z.  Each sample is accompanied by a full-size RAW and developed JPG download.

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 400 (hand-held)

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100 (hand-held)

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100 (hand-held)

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 100

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 3200 (3s exposure)

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG | RAW Download

ISO 6400 (0.5s exposure)

Click to Enlarge | Full-size JPG

RAW Downloads: ISO 100 | ISO 200 | ISO 400 | ISO 800 | ISO 1600

Pentax-D FA 24-70mm First Impressions Review

The new full-frame-ready standard zoom

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Nov 3, 2015

Today we are happy to present our first hands-on tests of the HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm F2.8 ED SDM WR, the new wide-aperture full-frame standard zoom lens which started shipping worldwide in late October. 

Thus far, the 24-70mm has impressed us not only in terms of its optical performance, but also when it came to handling in the field when mounted on the Pentax K-3!

D FA 24-70mm on a Pentax K-3

Read on for our evaluation of the 24-70mm is a number of key areas.

Pentax K-50 First Impressions

New weather-sealed DSLR from Pentax

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Jun 22, 2013

The Pentax K-50, successor to the K-30, is the latest weather-sealed DSLR from Pentax (pictured above with the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary).  As an upper entry-level camera, the K-50 is ideal for photographers who wish to step up to a high-quality DSLR without having to spend too much money.  In the US, the K-50 body-only price is $699, while the 18-55mm WR kit is available for $779.  This is $150 cheaper than what the K-30 cost when it was announced, and it's also below what the competition is currently asking.

In this post, we would like to introduce you to the Pentax K-50 in the context of what else is currently out there.  Having already used the K-50 for several days, we will also offer you some hands-on impressions about the new camera's performance and features.

Compared to competing entry-level DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, the K-50 is the only one to feature weather sealing.  The 16-megapixel sensor found in the K-50 (inherited from the K-30) has received much praise for its image quality and low noise, and it continues to be among the best APS-C sensors on the market today.  However, Nikon has recently pushed ahead in the megapixel race by deploying a 24-megapixel sensor in their D5200, and it turns out that their new sensor is in fact better in terms of noise performance as well as dynamic range.  Both the K-50 and the D5200 continue to be capable of delivering nicer files than current offerings from Canon, though Canon makes up for this in other areas: their Rebel T4i and T5i cameras both feature modern touchscreen LCDs, among other handy features.  Overall, all three manufacturers produce excellent cameras, and most of the differences between them are subtle.  If you're looking for a new DSLR, we recommend that you read our Pentax K-30 vs Nikon D5100 vs Canon T4i comparative review so that you can see which manufacturer delivers features that best fit your shooting style and needs.

If you are already a Pentax user, we can recommend the K-50 as an upgrade over older DSLRs such as the K10D, K20D, K200D, K-7, K-x, or K-r.  The new camera delivers better image quality and faster overall performance compared to all the aforementioned predecessors.  If you currently own a K-5 or a K-30, the K-50 would work well as a second body, but it is not really an upgrade.

Read on for our first impressions of the K-50.

Hands-On with the Pentax DA 55-300mm PLM WR RE

Do all those acronyms add up to a better lens?

By deadwolfbones in Hands-On Tests on Sep 19, 2016

The K-70 and 55-300 PLM in profilePentax K-70 with the 55-300mm PLM set at 55mm

For years, the SMC and HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 have been faithful companions for Pentaxians who want big telephoto reach but don’t want to spend a bundle. The original’s most glaring flaw was a lack of weather sealing, which was fixed with a WR version that debuted alongside the Pentax K-3. The other big issue? Slow autofocus due to an antiquated screw-drive motor. Well, a few months ago, Ricoh Imaging unveiled the fix for that problem, too: the all-new HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE with silent AF.

Samyang 10mm F2.8 Ultra-Wide Lens First Impressions

The widest non-fisheye prime lens available for Pentax

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on May 28, 2014

Back in April, the Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS ultra-wide lens finally made its debut in the Pentax mount, and we're currently in the process of testing it for an upcoming in-depth review. 

Thus far, our impressions of this lens have been very positive.  With a field of view of roughly 100 degrees horizontally and 109.5 degrees diagonally, the 10mm is the widest rectilinear (non-fisheye) prime currently available for Pentax DSLR cameras.  This makes it particularly-effective for specialty applications such as photographing real estate, car interiors, or panoramas.  In the hands of skilled users, it can also be used for cool close-ups and other artistic imagery.

At the wide end of the focal length spectrum, every millimeter makes a big difference when it comes to field of view.  The photo below illustrates how much more the 10mm can see than a 12mm lens, let alone the 18mm focal length that's become standard for kit lenses.  The difference between 10mm and 12mm is just over 10 degrees!

10mm Field of View10mm field of view vs. other wide-angle focal lengths.

Samyang produces this lens in a variety of other mounts, including Canon EOS, Canon M, Nikon F, Sony A, Sony E, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, and Micro Four-Thirds.  Depending on the market, you may also find it re-badged under other brand names, such as Rokinon, Bower, or Vivitar.  In the US, the lens retails for $529, making it one of Samyang's most expensive lenses.  Still, this 10mm is cheaper than most competing ultra-wide primes with autofocus.  Also, contrary to popular belief, this is not a fully-manual lens: it supports exposure automation (i.e. the 4 basic shooting modes) while only requiring the user to focus manually.  In Pentax terms, this means that the lens has an "A" setting on its aperture ring, just like Pentax A-series lenses. Read on for some of our preliminary findings about its performance.

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