August 27th, 2013
June 5th, 2013
Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation (the company formerly known as Pentax Ricoh) just announced five new prime lenses and two new weather-sealed flash units for Pentax DSLR Cameras.
Five New Prime Lenses
HD Pentax DA 70mm lens
The K-mount, HD Pentax DA Limited series lenses include a 15mm f/4 ED AL, 21mm f/3.2 AL, 35mm f/2.8 macro, 50mm f/2.8 and a 70mm f/2.4. Lens barrels, hoods and caps are constructed of high-grade aluminum and the glass is treated with an HD coating to help reduce flare and ghosting. (That little red anodized marking on the front of the focus ring indicates the lens is treated with the HD coating.) Additionally, each lens is designed with a rounded diaphragm to optimize bokeh. All lenses will be available in silver or black in September.
- 40mm f/2.8: $550
- 15mm f/4: $700
- 21mm f/3.2: $700
- 35mm f/2.8 macro: $750
- 70mm f/2.4: $750
Two New Weather-Sealed Flashes
Ricoh imaging also introduced two flash units for Pentax interchangeable lens cameras: the AF540F GZ II and the AF360F GZ II. Like the Pentax medium format 645D and some Pentax DSLRs, the flash units are weather-sealed. With the addition of an LED, the flash units can produce a constant source of light for video and stills. The LED can also be used to produce catchlights and as an AF assist light (with updated firmware on the 645D as well as most K-series DSLRs). Nine custom flash functions, wireless flash and a host of other features are available on both flashes. Powered by four AA batteries, the flash units will ship in September.
- AF360F GZ II: $430
- AF540F GZ II: $630
With no press release and seemingly out of nowhere, a $99 bare-bulb flash has appeared on Amazon: the Polaroid PL-135. This is a good $300 less than even the cheapest bare-bulb flash and $700 less than the most basic Quantum Qflash kit. But what do you get for $99? Essentially, you get a generic AA powered speedlight with a guide number of 52 that has been turned into a bare-bulb flash. You do get basic Canon or Nikon TTL, or so it is claimed. There is a “power receptacle for an available external power pack,” but no details are given about what kind of a connection it uses or what power pack they may be referring to. A reflector and diffuser are included, as are a bag to carry the whole kit in. You won’t find the Polaroid PL-135 on Polaroid’s website, so don’t even look. These days, Polaroid is a shell of its former self. The Polaroid PL-135 is just the brainchild of one of their licensees, very likely designed and built without Polaroid having anything to do with it.
Does it work? Initial reports from around the web seem to say “Yes.” The quality of light is said to be nice, just like you expect from a bare-bulb flash. But you will have to deal with the slow recycling time and low power of a speedlight and the mediocre quality of a $99 off-brand product.
So will working pros rush to fill a void in their toolkit with the Polaroid PL-135? Doubtful. But at such a low price, it might just work for a one-off production piece for a particular job.
Price: $99 (as of this writing)
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