June 8th, 2016

Ricoh Introduces Pentax K-70 Plus New Lens

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Ricoh’s newest DSLR is built to last. The new Pentax K-70 boasts a dust and weather-resistant body alongside a few features first introduced on higher-end Pentax models.

It sports a 24-megapixel sensor with a maximum ISO of 102,400. Also new is a Hybrid AF system that uses both image-plane phase-matching and contrast-detection autofocus technology to keep pace with moving subjects. As a result, the K-70 will be the company’s first DSLR to support continuous AF during video recording.

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The K-70 also features the company’s Pixel Shift Resolution System that uses the camera’s shifting sensor to create an ultra-high resolution, low noise image from a compilation of multiple exposes, each with the sensor moved a tiny increment. The system has been updated with a motion correction function that detects a moving object in the scene to prevent blur when shooting in Pixel Shift.

Additional features include:

  • an AA Filter Simulator that effectively eliminates moiré without the need for an anti-aliasing filter
  • a variable-tilt LCD monitor
  • in-body stabilizer good for up to 4.5 stops of shake reduction
  • Wi-Fi
  • a red-light display function which keeps ambient light from interfering with astro- and nightscape photography
  • low light focusing to -3 eV
  • top shutter speed of 1/6000 sec.
  • full HD video recording

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Ricoh wouldn’t disclose precisely when the K-70 would ship, presumably because of the supply disruption caused by April’s Earthquake in Japan. However, the company said the K-70 would retail for $650.

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HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3ED PLM WR RE

In addition to the new DSLR, Pentax is releasing a new telephoto lens. Like the K-70, this lens is weather-resistant telephoto zoom with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 84.5-460mm. It has a minimum focusing distance of 37.4 inches.

Like the K-70, precise availability was not announced but the lens will retail for $400 when it finally hits store shelves.

 

February 17th, 2016

It’s Here: Pentax Full Frame K-1 DSLR to Ship in April

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Ricoh has made its long-awaited foray into full frame photography official today with the launch of the Pentax K-1 DSLR, which is due to arrive in April for $1,800 (body).

The K-1 sports a 36.4-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter and a native ISO range of 100-51,200. The image sensor can shift to provide 5-axis image stabilization with up to five stops of image correction, per CIPA standards. It also supports a Pixel Shift Resolution mode (similar to the one we tested on the K-3 II) where the sensor shifts by one pixel over a series of four images which are then merged in camera to create an image with less noise and more accurate colors.

Using this Pixel Shift mode, you can bump the maximum ISO of the camera to 204,800.

The shifting sensor also enables an AA filter simulation mode, which reproduces the effect of having a low pass filter on the sensor to combat moire. You can adjust the strength of the filtration effect as well as use the simulator in bracket mode to sample all of the effects.

As for speed, the K-1 clocks in at 4.4 fps with autofocus engaged for up to 17 RAW frames or 70 JPEGs. Drop into APS-C crop mode, where you’re shooting a 15-megapixel image, and you can bump up speeds to 6.5 fps and record 50 RAW frames or 100 JPEG images.

The camera is weather-sealed in 87 different points and has a pentaprism optical viewfinder with .7x magnification. There are a few novel design elements on the camera. The first is a 3.2-inch “cross-tilt” LCD, which not only tilts out from the camera body but can be tilted in a variety of angles beyond the standard tilting and rotating displays.

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The camera also has several strategically placed LED lights to illuminate the memory card slot, the front of the lens mount, cable attachment port and the rear camera buttons. These lights can be turned on/off individually in the menu and you can adjust the intensity of the illumination as well.

The K-1 uses a newly designed autofocus system with 33 AF points, including 25 cross type points and three designed to detect light flux on an f/2.8 lens. The AF system can focus in low light down to -3 EV.

PENTAX K-1_back_screen_battery grip

The K-1 shown here with its optional battery grip.

Both Wi-Fi and GPS are built-in as is an electromagnetic compass. The K-1 leverages both GPS and its shifting sensor to enable an ASTROTRACER mode, which synchronizes the movement of the sensor with the movement of stars so you can capture them as points of light and not trails, even during long exposures.

As of launch, Ricoh will have 12 full frame lenses in its lineup. Owners of older Pentax lenses for the company’s APS-C DSLRs won’t be left in the lurch though as those will mount to the K-1 as well and the camera has several APS-C crop shooting modes to account for those lenses. The K-1’s battery will be identical to the batteries used by the company’s medium format and APS-C cameras.

Rounding out the K-1’s features:

  • Full HD video recording at 30p or 60i
  • two SD card slots
  • Focus peaking
  • 1/8000 sec. top shutter speed

Additional images of the K-1 are below.

In addition to the DSLR, Ricoh added two full frame lenses to the mix.

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First up is the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR, a wide angle zoom that’s weather-sealed in five places. It has a nine blade aperture and a quick-shift focus system that lets you manually focus the lens when shooting in autofocus. It will retail for $1,500.

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The second is the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm F/3.5-5.6ED DC WR. This weather-sealed zoom uses ED lens elements and a supersonic drive motor for quick and quiet zooming. It will retail for $500.

Here’s a few more looks at the K-1.

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PENTAX K-1_side L PENTAX K-1_side R PENTAX K-1_front_no lense

July 22nd, 2015

A Dream Tool: Erica Kelly Martin’s Passion for Medium Format Goes Digital

Sponsored by Ricoh Imaging America

Erica Kelly Martin’s fascination with medium-format photography can be traced back to a mirror hanging in her childhood bedroom, which echoed the aspect ratio of a medium-format frame, and which she believed had the power to lead her into a “magical world.” As a teenager, she experimented with medium-format box cameras. Her first real camera, she notes, was a Pentax Spotmatic, and later, the quintessential Pentax K1000. In those days, she says, the darkroom was also a magical place.

Today the Los Angeles-based photographer prefers to work on long-term photographic series about “the interior lives” of people. “How they manifest who they are,” she explains, “or what they would like to be.” Trying to cast off some of the more shallow Hollywood culture that she grew up with for authentic images, she makes work that delves deeper into the identities of her subjects to portray what she calls their “grace and inner light.”

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Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

“I believe all photographs are mental constructs, and reflect more about the mind and culture of the artist than about reality,” she explains. “Every picture is in a sense a self-portrait—sometimes we just use surrogates.”

Martin still dusts off her vintage medium-format film cameras on occasion for studio work, but before picking up the Pentax 645Z digital medium-format camera, shooting with a 35mm DSLR was her modus operandi. But now she wonders why she didn’t invest in a medium-format digital camera sooner. “I would like to shoot this way all the time,” she explains. “First of all, because of the optical quality—I just like the way larger format images look. The bokeh (background blur) is so luscious. Second of course is the image quality, which is so fantastic.”

Marissa at Blue Ranch

Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

While the fragility and expense of other digital medium-format cameras were too fragile for her to make the leap, the 645Z checks all the boxes. “It’s the first camera that made medium-format digital photography a possibility for me,” she says.

It’s the camera she takes along with her for activities as disparate as a wedding on a beach, a landscape shoot amongst canyons, or a portrait project in the studio. It’s also the camera she reaches for when she’s simply lounging around the pool.

She says she’s looking forward to trying out the “sturdy and weatherproofed” 645Z in more challenging conditions, like the Burning Man playa in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert—one of her favorite places to shoot. This means exposing it to harsh conditions: “windstorms blowing fine dust are a constant; as are extreme temperatures, knocking around on bicycles, climbing huge art installations, and dancing till dawn,” she says. In the past, she had to wrap her cameras in plastic, put them in waterproof cases, or tape them up to protect them. “All that got in the way of working in a fast-paced and demanding environment.”

“The main thing I look for in a camera system is that it behaves like an extension of my arm,” she continues. “It has to function on an intuitive level, and if things I want to easily accomplish are hidden deep in some menu, it interferes with my creative process.” She explains that her workflow is simplified with this camera. “The crop is right, the color rendition is spot on, and the sharpness and clarity are exceptional. I now realize how much I had to do to get 35mm images to look the way I wanted them.”

In addition, the aspect ratio of the 645Z reminds her of working with a Pentax 6×7 or a vintage 4×5 “and for some reason, I naturally see in that way,” she says. “This camera does it for me perfectly, as the native image aspect ratio is 4:3.” The 645Z also boasts a 51.4 megapixel CMOS sensor, which Martin says has the ability to bring the deepest shadows in an image “back from the dead” and a high ISO range (up to 204,800) for the ability to work in any type of lighting situation.

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Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

Because the subjects of Martin’s shoots vary—from the street to documentary projects to nature to architecture to portraiture — she needs a variety of lenses, Her glass of choice? “I presently have two of the prime lenses—the 55mm and the 90mm Macro, both of which are f/2.8. [They] are my go-to lenses for what I shoot. I am looking forward to trying out the 120mm Macro and perhaps a zoom of some sort, as well as the 75 mm ‘Pancake’ lens for street work.”

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Martin says she’s feeling greatly inspired while shooting with this camera, and is even considering the transition into the moving image, knowing she now has what she calls, “a creative tool to match my imagination.”

To learn more about Pentax 645z, visit www.us.ricoh-imaging.com/645z/ and see more of Erica Martin’s work, visit www.ericakellymartin.com

 

 

February 10th, 2015

Ricoh Releases Weather-Resistant Pentax K-S2 DSLR

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Ricoh will ship the new Pentax K-S2 DSLR to stores in March. Hailing it as the world’s smallest dust proof and weather-resistant DSLR body, the K-S2 boasts 100 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather.

The K-S2 uses a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with an anti-aliasing filter simulator which lets users adjust the degree to which anti-aliasing filtration takes place. It offers Wi-Fi, NFC and a rotating LCD 3-inch display with a second shutter button for snapping–what else–selfies.

The camera employs a SAFOX X AF sensor module with  11 sensors, including nine cross-type sensors in the middle. It’s capable of achieving focus in a minimum brightness level of –3 EV.

A new Clarity Enhancement feature is debuting in this DLSR to automatically add more realistic texture impression to photos when shooting in Advanced HDR mode. It can also be set manually when shooting in other modes.

Video is recorded at 1920×1080 resolution with a choice of 24, 25 and 30 fps frame rates. There’s also a 4K interval movie mode that automatically merges a series of still photos taken at pre-selected intervals into a single movie.

Additional features include an optical viewfinder with a 100 percent field of view, in-camera image stabilization, continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second and a top shutter speed of 1/6000 sec. There are 11 custom image modes, 19 scene modes and 9 digital filters.

The K-S2 is available for pre-order now for $699 (body) or for $799 with a retractable 18-55mm lens which shrinks down to just 1.5-inches when fully retracted. You’ll have your choice of seven colors:  forest green, desert beige, stone gray, white and lime, black and pink, white with a racing stripe, and black with a racing stripe.

Joining the K-S2 will be a new, all-weather flash. The AF201FG flash unit has a guide number of 20 at ISO 100/m and an assignable mode button. It has  five modes: off, P-TTL (leading curtain sync), P-TTL (trailing curtain sync), manual (full), and manual (1/4). The flash accepts two AA batteries is available for pre-order now for $150. It arrives in March.

February 5th, 2015

Ricoh Full Frame DSLR to Be Shown at CP+ Show, New Lenses Too

Visitors to the CP+ Show in Japan next week will get a glimpse at a forthcoming Ricoh full frame DSLR.

Details about the new camera were sparse. Ricoh said it would be a K-mount camera compatible with DA-series lenses using a cropping function. We can expect it by the end of this year.

pentax70Ricoh was more forthcoming about a pair of new K-mount telephoto lenses that will hit the market next month.

First up is the HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW, a constant aperture lens that Ricoh claims will offer the highest image quality of any of its lenses thanks to a new optical design. It employs Aero Bright Coating II to minimize reflectance, four super-low dispersion glass elements and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements.

It also features a pair of new Super ED glass elements to combat chromatic aberration.

The lens is dustproof and uses 13 seals to keep nasty weather at bay. It uses an internal focusing mechanism and an AF limiter switch to improve autofocus response time. You can use a Quick-Shift focus system to dial in focus manually after the lens has autofocused. The system features three modes: QFS/A, QFS/M and MF. Set to QFS/A  and you can switch to manual-focusing only when autofocus is finished. In QFS/M you can manually focus the lens at any time. Finally, in MF mode you can jump into full manual focusing with a twist of the lens ring.

The 70-200mm will cost $2,300.

Next up is the HD PENTAX-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6ED DC AW, which delivers a 35mm equivalent focal length of 230-690mm. It uses three ED elements and one super-low dispersion glass element to reduce spherical and chromatic aberration.

According to Ricoh, the image circle is optimized to cover even the image size of 35mm film-format SLR cameras. As the result, it will be able to mount to the company’s future full frame DSLR “without modifications.” It employs 21 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather as well as the Quick-Shift focus system detailed above. There are four AF buttons on the lens barrel — one at every 90 degrees — so you can quickly focus no matter what position you’re holding the camera in.

The 150-450mm lens will set you back $2,500 and is available for pre-order now. Have at look at this monster below.

DFA150-450

September 17th, 2014

Ricoh France: Full Frame Pentax Camera Coming in 2015

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.51.46 AMWe tend to pass on most of the camera rumors swirling endlessly around the web but this one comes straight from the horse’s mouth Facebook, so it must be true, right?

Well, not just any Facebook page. Specifically, Ricoh France posted the following in two separate comments on their Facebook page:

“Le full frame est en développement en ce moment même ! Nous vous tiendrons informés sur cette page !” Which translates to: “The full-frame is in development at this very moment! We will keep you informed on this page!”

A second Ricoh France comment said: “Grande nouvelle qui va ravir ceux qui attendaient un PENTAX full Frame: le développement du produit est lancé !” Translation: “Great news that will delight those who have been waiting for a Pentax full-frame : the product development is underway!”

We’re awaiting word from Ricoh’s U.S. HQ on this. In the meantime, feel free to speculate about what Ricoh is cooking up. Maybe a mirrorless full frame?

[Hat tip: Photography Blog]

September 16th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Ricoh Tips K-Mount Lens Plans

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Ricoh didn’t bring much in the way of product launches to Photokina 2014, but they did let it be known that some new K-mount lenses are in the works.

The most detailed of the bunch, set to launch later this year, is the Pentax DA 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6ED DC WR (pictured above). It will have a quiet AF driving motor, “high grade” HD coating and a weather resistant construction.

Two other lenses were tipped with scant details. Ricoh said it had a high magnification super telephoto zoom lens and a large diameter telephoto zoom lens in the works. Design mock ups for both are below, starting with the super telephoto.

Stay tuned.

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April 14th, 2014

New 51MP Pentax 645Z Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor Shoots HD Video and Will Sell for $8,500

645Z_wo_Food_Pentax became the latest company to introduce a medium format camera with a CMOS sensor tonight but the new model comes with several major twists. For one, the new 51.4-megapixel Pentax 645Z camera can shoot full HD video, which is a first for a medium format camera.

The Pentax 645Z is also one of the fastest medium format cameras on the market, capable of shooting up to three full RAW images per second. In contrast, the Phase One IQ250 digital back and Hasselblad H5Dc camera system, which both use CMOS sensors, can shoot at up to 1.5fps.

The Pentax 645Z is also weather sealed with 76 seals, making it cold-resistant, weather-resistant and dustproof; and it sports a 3.2-inch, tilting LCD screen on back with 1,037,000 dots of resolution, which are both firsts for a medium format camera.

Competitively Priced
But the biggest thing that differentiates the 645Z from its competitors might be its low price for a medium format camera. When it goes on sale in June 2014, the Pentax 645Z will sell for $8,499.95. In comparison, the Phase IQ250 retails for $34,990, and the Hasselblad H5Dc is selling for $27,500.

Read the rest of this story here.

March 5th, 2014

New Pro Cameras and Lighting Gear Debut at WPPI Show in Las Vegas

Nikon-D4S-1I’ve been pounding the WPPI show floor in Las Vegas this week for our sister publication, Rangefinder magazine, covering what’s new in the world of photography gear. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights from WPPI, which saw quite a few new pro cameras debut in the U.S. at the show.

Follow the links for the full posts on Rangefinder’s blog, Photoforward.

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October 7th, 2013

Ricoh Imaging Intros fast, 24mp Pentax K-3 with Selectable AA Filter

K3_18135_front1The new 24 megapixel Pentax K-3 has just been announced, with continuous shooting at 8.3 frames-per-second and a twist on the current trend of DSLRs without an anti-aliasing filter. With the K-3, users can toggle the AA filter on or off via the camera’s shake reduction system. It’s a great concept but, of course, we’ll have to wait until we get a K-3 in hand to see how well it works. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting option to have.

Other highlights of this weather resistant, APS-C DSLR include a newly designed AF module with 24 AF sensors along with a new real time scene analysis system for more accurate exposure, white balance and AF.

Rather than integrating WiFi, Pentax has opted to use a FLU card. A 16GB SDHC FLU card will be available via the Ricoh Imaging website and retailers nationwide. By connecting wireless to a compatible PC or device via a web browser, users can view images, trigger the shutter and shift the AF point. It’s a step in the right direction but is a little disappointing (we’re getting spoiled by built-in WiFi in other cameras). The K-3 is equipped with dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots, though, which is always a good thing.

On the video side, the K-3 is equipped with headphone and stereo microphone jacks as well as the ability to manually adjust audio recording levels. Pentax has tweaked the camera’s interval movie mode to capture a series of 4K (3840 x 2160) video clips at a fixed interval.

Optional accessories for the K-3 include focusing screens, a magnifying eyepiece, remotes and battery grip, among others.

 

 

HD_55-300WR

 

 

 

Today, Ricoh-imaging has also introduced a new, weather resistant lens. This 55-300mm, f/4-5.8 ED WR lens is optimized for use with ASP-C DSLRs.

Both the camera and the lens will be available for purchase in November at retailers and at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com.

 

 

 

Price:

K-3 (body only): $1300 ($1600 for limited premium silver edition)

K-3 with DA 18-135mm WR lens: $1700
55-30mm WR lens: $450

Battery grip: $230

FLU 16GB SDHC card: $99