As the new cameras launches for this year's Photokina camera show continue, Pentax has just announced a new digital SLR, two new compact cameras and a new lens.
The New Pentax K-r is being marketed as a mid-range digital model, although since the current Pentax DSLR range lacks an entry-level model since the discontinuation of the popular K-m earlier this year it's not entirely clear where the K-r will sit in relation to the existing K-x and flagship K-7 models.
The specification is certainly on a par with its mid-range aspirations. It features a 12.4 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, with Pentax's high-speed PRIME II processing engine providing a maximum shooting speed of 6fps, which is faster than the K-x. It has Pentax's usual sensor-shift image stabilisation and SAFOX IX 11-point phase-detection autofocus sensor.
Other features include a wide-view three-inch LCD monitor with a 921k dot resolution and live view with contrast detection AF, 1280 x 720 pixel 25fps HD video recording, dynamic range enhancement and a 1/6000th of a second maximum shutter speed. It has a range of creative filters and tone controls, as well as the in-camera HDR function from the K-7.
One unusual feature is the ability to draw power from either the supplied rechargeable Li-ion battery or from four AA batteries using an optional adaptor. The camera body is very compact and lightweight for an APS-C DSLR, measuring 125 x 97 x 68mm and weighing 544g body-only, not much bigger than the Panasonic G2. The K-r is available in red, white or traditional black, and goes on sale in October with an RRP of £599.99 in a kit with an 18-55mm DAL lens.
Sticking with the multi-coloured theme, the new Pentax Optio RS1000 features a removable transparent face plate under which users can put custom fascia cards, with the option to print out unique designs. It's a fun idea and will probably appeal to younger users, but underneath the RS1000 is a fairly standard ultra-compact camera.
Features include a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 4x zoom lens equivalent to 27.5 – 110mm, and a three-inch 230k LCD monitor. It can shoot video at 1280 x 720 resolution and 30fps with mono audio, and has a maximum sensitivity of 6400 ISO. It measures 92 x 56 x 20.5mm and weighs 130g including battery and memory card.
The Optio RS1000 will be on sale from October with a recommended retail price of £119.99.
Rather more interesting is the new Optio RZ10, Pentax's first foray for quite some time into the lucrative long-zoom compact market.
Main features include a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, with a 10x zoom f/3.2-5.9 lens equivalent to 28-280mm. It has sensor-shift image stabilisation and a super-macro range of 1cm.
Other features include a 2.7-inch LCD monitor with 230k dot resolution, 6400 ISO maximum sensitivity and 1280 x 720 HD video recording at 30fps. As usual it includes a range of digital filters and effects, and D-Range contrast enhancement for difficult lighting conditions. One new feature is an in-camera panorama stitching function.
The RZ10 is very compact for a 10x zoom model, measuring 97 x 61 x 33mm and weighing 178g including battery and memory card. It comes in a range of five colours including black, white, violet, lime and orange. It goes on sale on October with an RRP of £179.99.
Also announced today is a new addition to Pentax's range of digital SLR lenses. The new Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL is a fixed focal length lens designed for use with all Pentax DSLR cameras. With an APS-C sensor size it offers and equivalent focal length of approximately 53.5mm, offering a natural perspective similar to that of the unaided human eye.
The SMC PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.4 AL will be available from mid October 2010. Recommended retail price is £179.99