New versions of the FA 50mm F1.4

Ricoh announces an HD and a Classic version of the FA 50mm F1.4 Lens

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on May 17, 2023

Based on the smc Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 "normal" lens, Ricoh on May 16, 2023 announced two new versions. The original version from 1991 was discontinued earlier this year.

The smc Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic is basically identical to the original except from a different lettering on the lens barrel. Ricoh claims, though, to have tinkered with the optics so as to enhance the tendency to produce "rainbow flare" in backlit images at large apertures (an ND filter is included to support using large apertures even in good light). We will examine this claim when we get the opportunity to lay our hands on this variant of the lens. The front element has received SP coating making it easier to clean and keep clean compared to the original.

The HD Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 has received HD coating which enhances the contrast. Moreover, the lens barrel has been redesigned in line with the looks of D FA lenses.

Both lenses retain the softer rendering of typical film era lenses rather than the super sharp rendering of today's "designed-for-digital" lenses like the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4. As opposed to the original version the new siblings have rounded aperture blades.

We are pleased to see these new lenses in particular since they are pegged at a much more affordable price point than the HD Pentax-D FA 50mm F1.4 lens. And they are much lighter and more compact than the D FA and hence perhaps more suited for travel and street photography.

The technical data are found in our database by fowwing the links in the descriptions above.

The lenses will become available mid-June and will retail for USD 379 for the smc version (which includes an ND filter) and USD 349 for the HD version.

Ricoh's press release is found below:

Pentax is developing new hand-wound film cameras

Dear Pentax: Please Bring Back The Beast 6x7

By cjfeola in Pentax Announcements on Apr 28, 2023

Pentax is developing four new hand-wound film cameras as part of its Film Project, and released a series of Film Project videos outlining its vision.

The move is not only a nod to the glory days when Pentax dominated the 35mm film Single Lens Reflex market with the Spotmatic; it also seeks to take advantage of the enormous resurgence in film photography. Indeed, the most successful current photography company is Fujifilm; not for its retro APS-C or high-powered medium format digital, but because of its Instax instant cameras. And Lomography has just celebrated its 20th anniversary selling everything film from Diana Fs and Holgas to instant cameras and modern versions of vintage lenses.

In an online questionnaire that Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX conducted with some 3,000 users in Japan, approximately 20 percent of camera users owned film cameras, not including disposable or instant cameras.

At the same time, few manufacturers today build and sell new film cameras. Some of film camera users expressed concerns about the aftercare service for used film cameras. Ricoh Imaging is prioritizing supporting film camera fans so they can enjoy film photography without worries, from film camera development, production, and sales to aftercare.

Ricoh Imaging/Pentax has remained coy on the exact details, beyond saying they are considering the release four new film models: two compacts, and two more advanced models. But they have continued to give interviews and release videos about the Film Camera Project.

A film camera project in digital everything everywhere everywhen 2023 may sound crazy, and it is: Crazy brilliant. Ricoh/Pentax has set sale for the blue ocean.

Pentax K-3 III Monochrome Announced

Ricoh announces PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome digital SLR camera

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Apr 13, 2023

Ricoh announced the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome digital SLR camera on April 12, 2023. The monochrome version of the K-3 III lacks the Bayer color filter and therefore captures images in monochrome only. Doing away with the color filter increases the sensitivity of the sensor by one stop (lowest ISO setting is thus ISO 200) and results in a finer tonal gradation and sharper images than what one would get by converting a color image from the standard version of the K-3 III to monochrome.

In the US, pre-orders are being accepted at B&H Photo, Adorama, and directly from Ricoh.  Sources indicate that the first production run of this camera has already sold out.  However, it is not a limited edition model, so pre-orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first served basis.

The camera features three custom image modes supporting black-and-white photography: In addition to Standard mode, it offers Hard mode to produce high-contrast images and Soft mode to create high-key, low-contrast images. Each mode allows minute adjustment of parameters such as tone, key, contrast and sharpness so that users can personalize their images with the desired finishing touch.

Since setting the white balance is not needed, the white balance button has been replaced with a function button. The LCD backlight is white rather than yellowish in line with the monochrome themed lettering on the camera and controls.

It is refreshing to see Pentax do something different with this bold move into monochrome photography where their new camera will be the only new monochrome DSLR on the market. A detailed feature list can be found in our camera database entry.

Discuss this new camera in our new dedicated K-3 Mark III Monochrome forum.

The Pentax K-3 III Monochrome will become available toward the end of April at a list price of US $2199.

The full press release form Ricoh is found below.

GR III Diary Edition

Ricoh announces the GR III Diary Edition Special Limited Kit

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Jan 12, 2023

On January 9, 2023 Ricoh Imaging announced the Ricoh GR III Diary Edition Special Limited Kit. The package features the Ricoh GR III in a metallic, warm-gray finish plus specially designed accessories: a case, a strap, a flash contact cover, and a matching ring around the lens.

The camera also debuts a new image-control mode that creates images with the look of photographs created from negative film. This mode will become available later to the previous GR III and GR IIIx versions through a firmware upgrade.

The launch price for the kit will be US $1149.95 and the kit should become available late January.

The camera body only (without the dedicated accessories) is to become available late spring 2023.

The press release is found below:

Pentax announces a new DSLR, the Pentax KF

The Pentax KF replaces the beloved Pentax K-70

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Nov 10, 2022

On November 9, 2022 Ricoh Imaging announced a new compact DSLR, the Pentax KF, which replaces the beloved Pentax K-70.

The KF inherits the weather-sealed body of the K-70 and also the swivel and twist rear LCD, which comes in handy in situations where holding the camera at eye level is difficult or impossible.

The main changes over the K-70 are:

  • A 12.5% increase in LCD resolution of the LCD monitor to 1,037,000 dots (up from 921K dots)
  • Three new custom image modes: SATOBI, which produces colors similar to those popular in the groovy 60s and 70s, with cyan-tinged blues, subdued yellows and faded reds; plus two special-edition image modes: KYUSHU and KATEN
  • The battery charger that comes with the camera is powered via a USB cable. A traditional charger powered from household current is available as a separately priced item
  • The Digital Camera Utility (DCU) software, which used to be on CD, is now in the camera. The K-3 III was the first PENTAX DSLR that incorporated the utility software in the camera

Click the images to enlarge and browse

Key features shared with the K-70:

  • Viewfinder: Glass pentaprism with 100% field of view
  • In-body shake reduction rated at 4.5 shutter steps. Panning possible with SR activated
  • Weather-resistant cold proof body (to -10 degrees C)
  • 24 MP sensor, 14 bit image data, PRIME MII processing unit
  • Anti-alias filter simulation
  • Sensor shift astrotracing with the O-GPS2 GPS unit
  • Top ISO if 102,400
  • Pixel shift resolution
  • W-Fi connectivity with a smart phone

The price at launch for the black body is set at US $849.95. The price for a kit with the smc Pentax-DA L 18.55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR will be US $949.95.

The limited quantity white and blue models will cost an extra US $50. Only 700 copies will be produced of each of these variants.

Refer to the KF entry in our database for the technical data.

All variants should become available late November 2022.

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