Pentax Vision Product Announcement Video
Ricoh Imaging reveals more details about the new Pentax flagship APS-C
By Indopunk in Product Updates on Aug 17, 2020
On July 22, 2020, Ricoh Imaging premiered another Youtube video showing off its yet unnamed Pentax flagship APS-C DSLR as well as highlighting silver-colored versions of several Star-series lenses and the recently announced 21mm Limited prime lens. The upcoming successor to the Pentax K-3 II was previously introduced back in May with limited information.
Hosted by RIcoh’s Hiraku Kawauchi, world renowned photographer and Pentax KP/K-1 user Keita Sasaki was given the opportunity to ask RIcoh’s Head of Product Planning, Shigeru Wakashiro, questions about the much-anticipated products in a talk show setting. There were many highlights in the video interview including, which we discuss below.
New Optical Viewfinder with Redesigned Pentaprism
Mr. Wakashiro hands Mr. Sasaki a working prototype of the upcoming APS-C DSLR and Sasaki, after putting his eye to his Pentax KP, immediately comments how much “clearer and broader” the new camera’s OVF is in comparison. Wakashiro agrees and adds that the pentaprism was redesigned with high refraction glass that is “extremely difficult to process” making the focal point easier and more accurate to pinpoint. Wakashiro goes on to further boast that the new pentaprism, made of “a material that has never before been used in a camera,” provides increased eye relief and increases the OVF’s magnification 1.05 times making it “the highest viewfinder magnification of all Pentax APS-C-format cameras.” Wakashiro also claims that the new camera’s OVF is 10% brighter than that of the KP.
Overall Design of The New APS-C Flagship
During the interview, Mr. Sasaki felt that the mock-up shown at the 100 year anniversary event “was rather bulky” but while holding the prototype in his hands, changed his opinion and said that the new camera was very compact. Mr. Wakashiro compares the new camera to the KP and exclaims, “In terms of the depth between the lens mount and the LCD panel, this model is slimmer.” In terms of fit, Pentax engineers used clay models to design the new camera’s grip and meticulously crafted the right size and shape to accommodate hands of various sizes. He clarifies to Sasaki that the new camera’s joystick (a Pentax first) is for focus point control that it was carefully placed to not interfere with the E-dial above it and the AF button below it. The buttons were redesigned for this model and made larger for added comfort. The new camera’s top LCD screen was designed to be as large as possible.
Shutter Release Mechanism
At one point, Mr. Sasaki asks if he could press the shutter release and subsequently tells Mr. Wakashiro excitedly, “It has a wonderful feel.” Pentax chose to engineer the new camera with its leaf switch mechanism found in the 645Z and K-1 cameras which was designed to increase stabilization when a picture is taken. Older models featured a tact switch mechanism for camera downsizing. However, the leaf switch mechanism was redesigned to fit into the new camera’s compact size. The light and smooth shutter is further helped by a newly designed mirror-driving mechanism which minimizes “the impact caused by the mirror’s swing-back action.”
According to Mr. Wakashiro, brand-new components were used in the design of the new camera for increased resolving power and higher sensitivity for an overall improvement in image quality. Furthermore, the new image processing unit also helps to improve image quality even at 100 ISO. A new imaging engine is touted by Wakashiro as being the most advanced imaging engine found in an APS-C body today.
When jokingly pressed by Mr. Sasaki if he could ask him more questions about the new flagship APS-C camera, Mr. Wakashiro changes course and explains that with the upcoming launch of this new camera, it’s Pentax’s goal to break the often held perception that APS-C format cameras are inferior to their full-frame counterparts in terms of “optical viewfinder and image quality.” It seems Ricoh Imaging and Pentax have put a great deal of energy and time into developing this new DSLR when currently mirrorless cameras appear to be all the rage. As in previous announcements, there was no mention of the development of a new mirrorless camera nor an entirely new lens mount to go with it. Instead, Pentax is bucking the trend and will continue to build quality DSLRs.