Pentax DA★ 11-18mm and D FA★ 50mm Specifications

Reference exhibits at CP+ 2018

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Feb 27, 2018

In preparation for the upcoming CP+ 2018 trade show, which kicks off on March 1st in Tokyo, Ricoh Imaging has revealed further details about the two K-mount lenses due for release later this year, including partial specifications.

We'll see the HD Pentax-D FA50mm F1.4 SDM AW premium normal lens for the full frame system this spring.  It will feature the latest KAF4 lens mount*, which incorporates electromagnetic aperture control.  In addition, this will be the first Pentax lens to use a newly-designed ring-type autofocus motor.  We expect this lens to deliver "corner to corner" sharpness, as has been the trend with recent modern primes.  It is possible that Ricoh will officially announce this lens in the coming days (as implied by the "one reference product" in the press release text).

The HD Pentax-DA11-18mm F2.8 ED DC AW is expected in the summer.  This will be a wide-angle premium zoom for crop cameras.  We've learned that it will use the KAF3 lens mount, which means it will remain compatible with older cameras like the Pentax K-5.  The lens will also feature a focus clamp to allow for very precise manual focus adjustments.

Other news includes the announcement of new lens roadmaps, which newly lists a D FA 70-200mm F4, and of course the announcement of the Pentax K-1 II.

*Cameras older than the Pentax K-3 will always shoot wide-open with this lens.

K-1 Hardware Upgrade: Pentax Loves You, Too

Ricoh will upgrade K-1 main board to add K-1 II features

By JonPB in Pentax Announcements on Feb 23, 2018

Ricoh has announced an offer that will essentially upgrade your current Pentax K-1 to a Pentax K-1 II. Pentax K-1 owners will be able to have their main circuit board replaced, upgrading the camera with the new features of the K-1 II, which we understand will include the accelerator unit that enables ISO 819200 and lower noise as well as the new Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode that allows hand-held capture of pixel-shifted images. The upgrade service will also swap out the SR logo with one that reflects the K-1 II's new capabilities.

Pentax K-1 II Officially Announced

New full frame flagship with enhanced image quality

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Feb 22, 2018

Ricoh Imaging has officially announced the Pentax K-1 II, the company's new full-frame flagship DSLR that builds on the original Pentax K-1 through enhancements to image quality.  Highlights of the K-1 II include:

  • Maximum ISO increased to 819,200 (+2 stops)
  • Image Accelerator Unit reduces high-ISO noise and increases color accuracy in RAW and JPEG files
  • Pixel Shift Resolution System II, increases handheld image resolution thanks to SR integration

While we previously saw the image accelerator unit (work wonders) in the Pentax K-70 and KP, the Pixel Shift Resolution System II is an all-new development in the K-1 II.

The K-1 II sports the same external body as the K-1, and its remaining specifications are essentially unchanged.  Thus, current K-1 owners will soon be able to opt for an upgrade service (cost: $550 USD) that will incorporate all of the K-1 II's functionality into a K-1 body (full details here).  This is the first time such a service is being made available for Pentax DSLR.

Pre-Order the Pentax K-1 II & get a free battery grip at B&H | Adorama

In the US, you can currently get a free D-DB6 battery grip if you pre-order the K-1 II, which effectively makes the K-1 II cheaper than its predecessor.  The K-1 II body only is otherwise priced at $1999, which is just $50 higher than the MSRP of the K-1.

New to the US market is a K-1 II 28-105mm lens kit, which carries a $100 discount on the price of the lens, effectively negating the price increase of the body.

The K-1 II is expected to start shipping in early to mid April, 2018.

The full specifications of the Pentax K-1 II will soon be posted in our camera database.  You can also learn more in our K-1 review.

Theta V Update Roadmap Unveiled

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.

It is currently on sale for around $375.  Stay tuned for our in-depth review, or learn more about the Theta system as a whole in our review of the Theta SC, the V's predecessor!

Discuss anything Theta-related in our new dedicated Theta forum.

DA★ 11-18mm and D FA★ 50mm Reference Exhibits

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.


D FA* 50mm F1.4

DA* 11-18mm F2.8

(Click to enlarge)

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