Wow. I’ve been super absent lately. Sorry guys! There’s been a ton of news on the Pentax front that’s all old news, but I’m’a get off my ass and compile it here.
First off: Make Us a Super Group
I’ll get to the really juicy stuff further down, the releases of the K-5 and the K-r but first up...
Some new firmware out from Pentax, it doesn’t do a whole lot but if you’re a picture taking demon it adds SDXC compatibilities to these two cameras, which are cards between 64GB and 6TB. They might have added a few other very very small fixes as well, but the big thing is SDXC compatibility.
Download Links: K-7 K-x K-5 K-r
Love your Pentax but think that it’s often too bulky to bring places? My f2.8 zoom lens collection and I do have that problem but I’m not eying those mirrorless SLD (Single Lens Digital) cameras from Panasonic and Olympus.
“Pentax US has said it has not ruled out introducing a mirrorless interchangable lens camera. Chris Pound, Product Manager, Digital Imaging Systems said: 'if a product makes sense, and is feasible economically, we'll come out with it. I personally would be very interested in such a product'. Pound stressed that Pentax is 'very much in tune with what is happening in the marketplace' and speaking about the current gap between Pentax's compact digital cameras and its entry-level DSLRs, he commented 'I would personally love to see a Pentax product [in that position]'.”
There are no SLDs on the roadmap for Pentax but thinking about the K1000, the ME Super best in class cameras and very small too. I hope that they do join this bandwagon bringing the quality of product that they bring to the high end K-5 users at a lower price point in a smaller body.
Personally one of my favourite Nikon lenses is the 35 f1.8. Why? Well it’s dirt cheap and a great low light lens. On top of that? It’s small, light, and with that 1.5x lens conversion you’re looking at a 50mm lens. Why are 50mm lenses so awesome and common? 50mm is aprox the human field of view.
Of course Pentax already knows this and has for a while... the 35 LTD. But that lens is, while totally sweet, also expensive. Now there’s a new kid in town.
“PENTAX Imaging Systems launches the SMC PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.4 AL. An interchangeable fixed focal length standard lens designed exclusively for use with all PENTAX digital SLR cameras.
Offering a natural perspective similar to that of the naked eye, this new standard lens is so versatile it can be used with a wide range of subjects and applications, including spur of the moment images.
Other benefits of the fixed focal length design, include the ability to throw the background out of focus, and to reproduce high-resolution images with edge-to-edge sharpness.
All-in-all it’s the perfect choice for digital SLR beginners to familiarise themselves with the basics of using interchangeable lenses.
What are its key features?
1. Versatile, easy-to-use standard lens
When mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body, this standard lens offers an angle of view equivalent to a 53.5mm lens in the 35mm format. Ideal for a great variety of subjects and applications, including spontaneous, landscape and portrait.
2. High-quality image description
Incorporating a hybrid aspherical optical element in its design, this new lens delivers high-quality images with enhanced sharpness and contrast — from minimum focusing distance to infinity. It assures exceptional image-resolving power with outstanding brightness levels even at the edges — and even at an open aperture — while effectively keeping any abnormalities to a minimum. It is also treated with the PENTAX-original Ghostless Coating to minimise the adverse effects of flare and ghost images, providing true-to-life images even under demanding conditions, such as harsh backlighting.
3. Large maximum aperture
Thanks to its maximum aperture of f/2.4, this new lens not only offers a bright, clear viewfinder image, but it also allows the photographer to use faster shutter speeds under poor lighting conditions – minimising the risk of camera/subject shake.
. Compact, lightweight design
Weighing approximately 124 grams and measuring a mere 45mm in length, the compact, lightweight design makes it easy to carry this lens anywhere.
In addition it has…
• High-performance optics designed exclusively for PENTAX digital SLR cameras and optimised for the characteristics of digital images
• Minimum focusing distance of 0.3 metres
• PENTAX-original SP (Super Protect) Coating applied to the front surface to repel dust, water and grease”
I haven’t had a chance to play with one yet but for the price it’s almost a just wander off and buy it. I’ve seen some photos and it has a really clean look to it. Very sharp, even at f2.4
Focal length 35mm 35mm-equivalent focal length 52.5mm
Diagonal angle of view 44º
Maximum aperture F2.4
Minimum aperture F22
6 elements / 5 groups
1 hybrid aspherical element
6 diaphragm blades
Minimum focus 0.3m (1.0 ft)
Maximum magnification 0.17x
AF Screwdrive from camera body
Filter thread 49mm
Weight 124g (4.4 oz)
Dimensions 63mm diameter x 45mm length (2.5 " x 1.8")
Lens mount Pentax KAF
Now onto the big boys!!
K-r! I love the little Pentax cameras. Really top performers in their price point and the dual battery compatibility is just an extra bonus!
“PENTAX Imaging Systems announces the launch of its latest digital SLR camera – the K-r. Encased in a compact, lightweight body, this new model combines simple, user-friendly functions with a wide array of advanced features, designed to enhance the fun and excitement of digital SLR photography.
Developed to be a mid-range model targeted at digital SLR novices and family users, the PENTAX K-r offers an assortment of features and functions that make it easy for everyone to effortlessly capture the high-quality images people expect of a digital SLR camera.
In addition it comes equipped with a host of handy tools that help create more personalised, creative images, including:
• high-quality image reproduction with approximately 12.4 effective megapixels
• HDTV-proportion movie recording
• high-speed continuous shooting at approximately six images per second
• super-high-sensitivity shooting at ISO 25600 (via a custom function)
• a large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch high-resolution colour LCD monitor
The K-r boasts outstanding performance and versatility, almost the equivalent of more advanced digital SLR cameras, while allowing the photographer to easily deal with different photographic requirements. Its dual-power-source design offers a choice between the standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a set of AA-size batteries.
It is also compatible with the IrSimple™ high-speed infrared data transmission system for wireless data transfer to IrSimple-compatible devices, and for swift image data exchange.
What are its key functions?
• High-quality, true-to-life image reproduction: The K-r incorporates a new-generation CMOS image sensor with approximately 12.4 effective megapixels. It also features the high-performance PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II imaging engine to ensure accurate and high-speed data processing equal to that of upper-level models
• Compact, lightweight body: Despite the incorporation of the large 23.6mm x 15.8mm image sensor, the K-r sports a compact, lightweight body, thanks to a trim, stainless-steel chassis, a downsized in-body shake reduction mechanism, and state-of-the-art, high-density packaging technologies that ensure space-efficient positioning and layout of the camera components
• High-speed continuous shooting at approximately six images per second: The shooting mode records as many as 25 images (in JPEG recording format) in a single sequence at a maximum speed of approximately six images per second — the fastest of all entry-class models
• High-precision AF system: The K-r’s high-precision, wide-frame SAFOX IX autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) for pin sharp focusing. Spot beam is also available for difficult lighting situations.
• Bright, clear optical viewfinder: Thanks to the combination of PENTAX-original finder optics and the renowned Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen, the K-r’s viewfinder offers a bright, clear subject image at 0.85X magnification and a 96% field of view
• Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch LCD monitor with wide-view design and approximately 921,000 dots: High-resolution colour LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots. Its wide-view design assures a clear view of the monitor image from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically
• Versatile dual-power-source design: Powered by a standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery or four AA-size batteries using optional AA Battery Holder D-BH109
• PENTAX-original SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images: Features the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, producing sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions prone to camera shake; compatible with the full range of Pentax lenses
• Innovative image-processing functions to produce distinctive photographic expressions: Custom image function for distinctive finishing touches/ Versatile digital filter function/ Cross process mode with three options/ Upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function
• High-speed infrared data transmission system: The first PENTAX digital SLR camera equipped with the IrSimple™ high-speed infrared data transmission system
• High-quality, HDTV-proportion movie recording at 1280 x 720 pixels and at 25 frames per second: True-to-life movie clips in 16:9 high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second
In addition it has...
• DR (Dust Removal) mechanism, to shake dust off the CMOS image sensor
• User-friendly layout of essential control buttons and levers, all positioned on the camera’s grip side for quick, effortless access by the photographer
• Auto Picture mode, for effortless, automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode, even during Live View shooting
• Eleven scene modes, including a new Night Scene HDR mode
• Versatile white balance control, featuring a new CTE mode designed to emphasise the dominant colour components of the captured images
• Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)
• PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, with RAW-data processing and browser applications”
Prewow. It’s a gorgeous camera. I still feel it is a bit small for my hands, but I’ve got big mitts. Someone with smaller fingers will really appreciate it’s ergonomic design.
And the big boy
“September 21, 2010: PENTAX Imaging Systems is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX K-5 interchangeable lens digital SLR camera.
Encased in a compact but solid, functional body, this new model comes equipped with a host of advanced photographic tools for the easy creation of great pictures, while delivering high standards of image quality, data processing speed and operability.
Developed using the highly acclaimed PENTAX K-7 (introduced to the market in June 2009) as its base, the K-5 inherits the exceptional reliability, user-friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor.
However, it is more resourceful and flexible in photographic expression. Combining a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels, even when shooting in the continuous shooting mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second.
It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels to expand the boundaries of high-quality visual presentation.
Adding other improvements and refinements — such as a faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function now usable in handheld shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components — the K-5 is designed to be more functional and manoeuverable in every detail, and in its response to the demands of the photographer.
What are its key features?
High-resolution, low-noise, true-to-life image reproduction
The K-5 incorporates a newly designed CMOS image sensor with a wide image-sensitive area measuring 23.7mm by 15.7mm. It assures high-speed image data readout much faster than that of previous sensors. By coupling this image sensor — equivalent in performance and data processing speed to the image sensor incorporated in the PENTAX 645D medium-format digital camera — with the reliable PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II imaging engine, the K-5 produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with 16.28 effective megapixels, while suppressing annoying digital noise to a minimum.
High-speed continuous shooting at approximately seven images per second
The K-5’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 22 images in a single sequence at a maximum speed of seven images per second.
Responsive, high-precision AF system
The K-5 features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This sophisticated AF system has completely redesigned optics, and factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter-release options — between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the AF system in poorly lit locations.
Compact, solid, functional camera body
Despite its compact dimensions, the K-5 is built to be exceptionally solid and durable, with a body of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and a chassis of high-rigid stainless steel. Thanks to the inclusion of 77 special seals in the body, it also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring reliable operation even under harsh environment and at temperatures as low as -10°C. It also features a reliable shutter unit that provides a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second and tested to 100,000 shutter releases.
Bright, clear optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
The K-5 features a pentaprism finder with a nearly 100% field of view and at 0.92-times magnification (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity) to provide a better view of the image field and improve the accuracy and speed of focusing and image composition. It also comes with the renowned Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen to assist the photographer with manual-focus operation.
Effortless Live View shooting
Thanks to a new image sensor and a more sophisticated algorithm, the K-5’s Contrast AF mode assures better performance and greater focusing speed than before during Live View shooting. With the addition of a Golden Section display, the K-5 offers a choice of three different grid patterns to facilitate image composition.
PENTAX-original SR mechanism with user-assisting options
The K-5 features the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by 2.5 to 4 shutter steps, to produce sharp, blur-free images.
Recording of Full HD-proportion movies (1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 frames per second)
The K-5 captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 full HD proportions (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second. The K-5 also provides greater possibilities in visual presentation in movies, especially through the application of custom images and digital filters.
Innovative image-processing functions to produce distinctive photographic expressions
• Custom image function for distinctive finishing touches: letting users easily select the desired finishing touch for a particular image.
• Versatile digital filter function: The K-5’s digital filter function allows the user to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways and produce highly individualized visual expressions without requiring a computer.
• Cross process mode with three options: The K-5 features the unique cross process mode, in which the camera automatically shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique, dramatic colours.
• HDR (High Dynamic Range) function: The K-5 features the HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures, without requiring a computer.
In addition it has…
• Electronic level function, with a newly added tilt confirmation tool
• Extended-exposure NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a choice of Auto, On and Off modes
• High-sensitivity NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a camera-dependent Auto mode and a user-adjustable reduction level control for different sensitivity settings
• RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format
• Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch wide-view colour LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
• 77-segment multi-pattern metering system for extra-accurate light measurement
• DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism
• Long battery life, for recording of 1,100 images with full recharge
• User-friendly Hyper control system, to flexibly and accurately respond to the photographer’s creative intentions
• Dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both whitewashed (overexposed) and black-out (underexposed) areas
• Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)
• CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colours of sunset scenes
• Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
• D-BG4 Battery Grip (optional) for extra power supply with an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or six AA-size batteries
• Colour-specific control buttons/dials for easy recognition and quick access, based on the universal colour design
• PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package “
Absolutely fantastic camera everything about it blows me away. I love my K-7 and I’m almost looking to upgrade, the price tag is putting me off a bit. I could talk forever about this camera but I can really let the pros do it. Here is a brief sampling of the in depth review from dpreview.
“Conclusion - Pros
Good detail and dynamic range (even better in RAW)
Exceptionally low shadow noise in RAW files at low ISOs
One of the best APS-C DSLRs in terms of high ISO image quality
Very good build quality and handling
Maximum ISO of 51,200 at full resolution
Excellent burst depth in RAW mode (with firmware 1.0.1)
1080p HD video mode with basic editing built-in
Useful electronic level and composition adjustment functions
Comprehensive customization options including adjustable NR for each ISO
Large, bright viewfinder with 100% coverage
Fast contrast detect Auto Focus in Live View
Versatile (but poorly documented) auto ISO function
Conclusion - Cons
AF system not as versatile as Nikon D7000 (which is a cheaper camera)
Lockable exposure mode dial can be annoying
No dedicated movie shooting button
No AF during movie shooting
Poorly implemented live histogram in live view/manual exposure mode (doesn't show final exposure)
No 'live' aperture control during movie shooting
Shadow Correction mode doesn't take full advantage of K-5's sensor
Jaggies can be a problem along very fine diagonal lines
It is hard to find a negative thing to say about the Pentax K-5. Most of our criticisms are very minor, and as a consequence we would wholeheartedly recommend the camera to any Pentax user. It is an interesting camera, with an excellent feature set, and one which is capable of producing images which are up there with the best of its competition. It is fast, responsive, and very enjoyable to use, and its key systems are as reliable as we would expect from a camera at this level and price point.
Speaking of price point though, the K-5 is a very expensive camera right now, and although we consider that it is good value from a Pentax-users perspective, there is no doubt that such a high asking price (currently around $300 higher than the Nikon D7000, which has a similar sensor and boasts a significantly more versatile AF system) will put some people off. It should be noted though that the prices of the K20D and K-7 also started high but soon dropped - the K-5 will almost certainly come down in price in the coming months.
The K-5 is a no-brainer upgrade from a K-x or earlier Pentax DSLR, but obviously, for users of other systems it is harder to justify, and price is only part of the reason for that. Importantly, Pentax has some way to go before it can market a system as complete as those offered by Canon and Nikon. That's not to say that the system itself is at all restrictive, and in some ways (most notably the lovely 'Limited' range of high-quality prime lenses) it's unique. One other thing that we love about the Pentax system is that it is so backwards-compatible; there is a lot of fun to be had in mounting older, manual focus optics on the K-5, both for still and video capture.
Ultimately, we have no hesitation in recommending the Pentax K-5 to anyone - not only existing Pentax users, and despite its high cost (for the moment- we expect it to drop once the K-7 leaves dealers' shelves) it earns a solid gold award. A note on categories though - the K-5 is a hard product to categorise. Although it competes with the Nikon D7000 and even the Canon EOS 60D in some respects, it's introductory price clearly indicates that Pentax wants the K-5 to be viewed alongside the likes of the Nikon D300S and Canon EOS 7D. For this reason we have classified the K-5 as a semi-pro model (as we did the K-7), and scored it accordingly.”
The camera scored an 83% which is the highest scoring DSLR using the new stricter rating system they use.
That’s all for now folks. Some new lenses in the lineup, new firmware for all the recent Pentax bodies, and two brand new gorgeous DSLRs from our favourite camera manufacturer.