New firmware and software features in the coming months
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Dec 25, 2017
Ricoh has announced a new firmware update for the Theta V (version 1.20.1) which adds a host of new features and performance improvements to the camera, and enables future updates via a smartphone (versus just the PC Theta app). Visit the Theta web site for details on other additions as well as installation instructions. Download the update and learn more here.
Moreover, the firmware update is accompanied by a system roadmap announcement through which Ricoh wants to transform the Theta into a "multi-purpose spherical platform". This will entail a series of camera firmware, developer plug-in, and Theta app updates over the course of the next 9 months which will collectively enhance the user-friendliness and versatility of the Theta system, transforming it into an extremely powerful imaging tool spanning a wide range of applications. This will set the Theta apart from the growing number of competing 360-degree cameras that challenge its leading position in this rapidly expanding market segment.
The planned Theta features are outlined in the table below. The ones currently under development will be showcased at the upcoming CES show between January 9 and 12, 2018.
The Theta V is the latest in Ricoh's family of unique 360-degree spherical cameras. It debuts 4K video recording and streaming, and thus delivers greatly improved video and live view performance compared to previous models.
Discuss anything Theta-related in our new dedicated Theta forum.
New lenses to be launched in 2018
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Oct 27, 2017
Ricoh Imaging has officially unveiled two upcoming Pentax K-mount lenses. These will be on display at PhotoPlus and Salon de la Photo 2017 tradeshows— stay tuned for first-hand coverage directly from the floor.
The DA* 11-18mm F2.8 is slated for launch in the summer of 2018 as a professional ultra-wide APS-C lens. The D FA* 50mm F1.4 is scheduled for launch in the spring as a professional wide-aperture normal prime for full frame (this represents a slight delay over the original fall, 2017 launch estimate).
While exact specifications of these lenses won't be revealed until they are finalized and launched, we're pleased to hear that the new D FA* will be upgraded with an all-new focusing system featuring a ring motor. Details follow in the official press release.
Side note: the unreliable "SDM" found on early Pentax DA* lenses has not been used in any new lenses since the late 2000's. In-lens DC motors replaced the original SDM and proved to be highly reliable, but not as fast as a ring motor could be. The latest PLM motor found in the new 55-300mm set a new record for focusing speed, but this technology is not suitable for larger lenses. We therefore welcome continued developments in this area and are looking forward to testing the 50mm.
The SDM label is bound to cause confusion, since it is used to refer to the original focusing system in early DA* lenses, the focusing system in Tamron lens clones for Pentax, and now Pentax's new ring motor focusing system.
(Click to enlarge)
Now with 4K video capture and streaming, faster Wi-Fi
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Aug 31, 2017
Ricoh Imaging has announced the long-awaited next generation of the Theta series of spherical cameras, the Theta V. This new model retains the form factor of the previous Thetas, but adds 4K video recording which can be saved in the H.264 codec or streamed in real time at bit rate of 120 Mbps.
The Theta V is launching at $429 USD and is already available for pre-order, with an estimated delivery date of September 15th in the US.
Videos are captured with audio recorded by a 4-channel microphone. Besides capturing (and streaming) 360 degree video the Theta V is, like its predecessors, also capable of capturing 360 degree still images. The effective pixel count is 12 MP utilizing its dual 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensors.
The Theta V produces standard JPG files which can be viewed conventionally or interactively via a 3D viewer (such as theta360.com, the free Theta app for smartphones and desktop, or third-party solutions).
Among the various new features are:
- First Theta supporting 4K video
- Stream 4K video or save in H.264 codec
- At US $429 the Theta V is affordable compared to competition (such as the Nikon Keymission 360)
- Faster Wi-Fi (up to 50 Mbps)
- 19 GB internal storage
- Optional 3D 360° spatial microphone
- Optional underwater housing
- Built-in 4-channel microphone
We have not had our hands on the Theta V yet, but for a general idea about how it works you can check out our review of the Theta S.
Our forum supports spherical image sharing: any link to a photo on theta360.com will automatically be converted into a widget similar to the one below.
We recently used the Theta S to cover this year's Photokina trade show. We feel that the interactivity of these images takes event photography to a new level:
360-degree view of the Pentax booth taken with the Theta S (click to pan and zoom)
If you have yet to try out a Theta, we invite you to explore the world of possibilities that this innovative platform opens up.
Production limited to 2,000 units worldwide
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Aug 24, 2017
The Limited Silver edition of the Pentax K-1 is now official! With worldwide production limited to 2,000 units, this special version of the K-1 full-frame perfectly complements the finish of Pentax's popular silver FA limited lenses.
In addition to the silver camera body, the special kit comes with a matching BG-6 battery grip in silver, a metal hotshoe cover with an engraved K-1 logo, a unique box, and an extra D-Li 90 battery (for a total of 2). The camera comes pre-loaded with the latest firmware version (v1.41) but is otherwise identical to the standard K-1 in terms of specifications.
Pre-orders are already being accepted in Japan and in the UK at the local equivalent of approximately $2700 USD. We will announce once the camera goes on sale in the US. The camera is expected to ship on September 15th.
Click on any thumbnail to enlarge.
New waterproof compact camera
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on May 25, 2017
Ricoh Imaging has officially announced the Ricoh WG-50, a new 16-megapixel entry-level waterproof compact camera complete with Wi-Fi and the latest imaging features. This camera succeeds the Ricoh WG-40w (launched in Japan only) and the WG-30w in international markets. It is designed to be a tough "go anywhere" camera for outdoor activities and underwater adventures.
Highlights of the WG-50 include:
- Waterproof to 14m, crushproof to 1.6m, coldproof to -10 degrees C
(up from 12m on the WG-30w)
- Built-in Wi-Fi for remote control and image transfer via Image Sync
- Underwater shooting mode
- Digital microscope mode
- 5x optical zoom (28-140mm F3.5-5.5 equivalent lens)
- 2 colors: orange or black
New features include:
- Upgraded underwater shooting mode with flash bracketing and optimized white balance
- "Report Mode" with low-resolution scaled images for quick use
- Vibrant and Slide Film image tones added (inspired by DSLR presents)
Because only these minor tweaks set the WG-50w apart from its predecessors, you can get a good sense for it by in-depth review of the Ricoh WG-30w.
Full specifications of the WG-50 are available in our camera database.
The WG-50 is launching at $279.95 in the US and is expected to start shipping on June 23, 2017.
About the WG Camera Series
The Pentax / Ricoh WG line is designed for active outdoor use, and dates back over a decade to early Pentax WP waterproof models. More information can be found in our camera database.
Ricoh Imaging has previously offered a higher-end waterproof model: the Ricoh WG-5. While the WG-50 now has the same waterproofing rating as the WG-5, the WG-50 lacks features such as GPS, mechanical shake reduction, and the wide F2.0 lens found on the WG-5. The latter is now discontinued, however, and we do not know if the line will be continued or if Ricoh Imaging only plans to maintain a single WG compact.
The other current member of the WG camera line is the Ricoh WG-M2, a 4K-enabled action camera which we reviewed several months ago.