Reflecting On the K-5 II, Q10, and New Lenses

The good and the bad about the September 10th announcements

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Sep 11, 2012
Reflecting On the K-5 II, Q10, and New Lenses

Now that we've posted the details and specifications of Pentax's 8 new products, it is time for us to offer some commentary and discuss what the pricing for these new cameras and lenses will be like.  Let us start by saying that we are very happy to see that Pentax is moving forward, and that so many new products are being made available, enhancing all of Pentax's main camera systems (K-mount, 645, and Q).

However, many of today's announcements have left us disappointed as current Pentax users. Based on the specifications published thus far, we find the new cameras quite lacking, and the idea of issuing such small upgrades to be flawed.  Similarly, the two new K-mount lenses are overpriced compared to what the competition has to offer.  Historically, one of the strong points of the Pentax system has been its affordability, but many recent prices have broken the trend; we hope that this is not a permanent change.

The remainder of our commentary will be presented in a tabular format- read on for more!

Pentax eBooks
Product and Price
The Good
The Bad

Pentax K-5 II


Body: $1199

18-55mm Kit: $1399

18-135mm Kit: $1599

The K-5, one of the most successful Pentax DSLRs of all time, lives on!  Thanks to today's announcement,  this great body will be available for at least another year and a half.  There's no questioning that the K-5 II is an excellent camera on its own.

In addition, the lens kits are now priced much better than those of the original K-5, and you can save $100 by getting the 18-55mm bundle, or $229 by getting the 18-135mm bundle compared to how much you would spend on two standalone purchases.

Finally, considering how much room for improvement this announcement has left, it's more likely than ever that we'll see an even more advanced APS-C DSLR in the near future!

This camera seems to be a very small upgrade over its predecessor.  What is more alarming to us, however, is that it still uses the PRIME II processor, and lacks many of the newer features that were introduced in the K-01 and K-30, such as focus peaking, faster image playback, improved CDAF, the H.264 video format, 30 FPS full-HD video, and 60 FPS 720p video.  A new flashship should not be outperformed to this degree by previous bodies.

The sensor in this camera is know to be great, but regardless of how good it is, the technology it uses is still two years old.  Pentax risks being overtaken by the competition in the near future.

Pentax K-5 IIs


Body: $1299

Pentax is giving us options- having options is good! Most consumers don't know what an AA filter is or will not justify spending an extra $100 for this body.  This camera seems like an easy way to disguise extra profit, especially considering that the sensor remains unchanged.  If Pentax is trying to target professionals with this release, they should have perhaps focused on their lens lineup instead, considering how much business they are losing to Sigma.

HD Pentax 560mm



This is a state-of-the-art lens with the latest in lens coatings and Pentax autofocus technology.  It's also one of few weather-sealed telephoto lenses.

At $7000, few would invest in the Pentax system just to get this lens.  Few current Pentax users will be able to afford it, let alone want it, given the availability of the $4995 Sigma 500mm F4.5 and $3 rain sleeves.

This lens is not marketed as being full-frame compatible, which it should be in order to be competitive at this price, for obvious reasons.

It won't be available until the very end of 2012, meaning that the competition will have time to announce plenty of exciting cameras and lenses before people even start considering it.

SMC Pentax 18-270mm



A handy new addition to the Pentax K-mount lens lineup, finally replacing the long-discontinued Pentax 18-250mm lens.  This lens will give photographers the option of getting an all-in-one lens from Pentax.

This seems to be a re-badged Tamron lens which appears to have no quick-shift focusing.  It is priced $150 above the Tamron counterpart for Canon and Nikon, making a Pentax K-30 with this lens more expensive than a Canon Rebel T4i or Nikon D5100 with the Tamron.

Will the autofocus be reliable, let alone fast?  Is it really Pentax SDM technology that's inside this lens?

Pentax Q10


With 5-15mm Zoom: $599

This camera is reasonably priced, especially considering that the original Q cost $799 with a prime lens.  With the 5-15mm zoom lens, the Q10 only costs $100 more than the same Q kit.

It's also great to see that Pentax is keeping the Q lineup alive and making frequent product announcements, and that they've made an effort to market the Q by showcasing its compatibility with K-mount lenses via the new K-Q mount adapter.

Nothing is really new in this camera compared to its predecessor, and some people prefer the looks of the old one (though we find the new one to look more elegant).

SMC Pentax-Q 15-45mm



It's great to finally have a compact extreme telephoto option for the Q. N/A. While it probably won't be a bit hit in the US, we find this lens to be a natural addition to the Q lineup, and as such are happy to see it released.

HD Pentax-D FA 645
90mm F2.8 Macro



This lens is on a mission to capture the best macro photographs possible, and we think it will succeed.  It also is the first Pentax lens to feature in-lens stabilization, meaning that the Pentax R&D department has been at work, and that significant resources are being invested in the 645D system.  This can only mean one thing: that a 645D II is on the horizon! N/A. This lens is a solid addition to the 645D lens lineup, and we have no complaints here either.

We are happy to be ending this post on a positive note, though it's unfortunate that our two favorite products from among those announced today (the Q 15-45mm and the 645 90mm Macro) are not the ones that will be seeing the highest consumer demand.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that the release of a camera above the K-5 II is imminent, although the fact that Pentax has referred to the K-5 II as their new flagship hints at the opposite.  We have said this before and we will say it again: with the multitude of emerging APS-C mirrorless cameras (and rumored Sony full-frame mirrorless on the horizon), we find it integral that Pentax push out a full-frame DSLR body in order to be able to remain competitive in the DSLR industry and improve the reputation of the K-mount system.

Overall, has Pentax Ricoh simply screwed up with this recent news?  We don't think so, but we do believe that they have left a lot of room for improvement.  This suggests that more must be on its way, if not within the coming weeks, then certainly by the end of the year!

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