The release date of the anticipated ‘full frame’ Pentax K-1 camera has just been announced, along with two compatible lenses.
According to a press release from the US branch of Ricoh Imaging, the K-1 features a full-frame AA-filterless CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 36.4 megapixels in a compact, high-performance weather-sealed and dustproof body. Built-in SR II Shake Reduction provides highly sensitive five-axis shake-reduction with a compensation range of up to five exposure steps. SR II also includes Pentax’s AA Filter Simulator, which effectively eliminates moirø© effect without requiring an anti-aliasing filter, while increasing sharpness and overall image quality. The new camera also includes Pentax’s Pixel Shift Resolution System, which captures four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image, then combines them into a single composite image. A new motion correction function automatically detects a moving object during continuous shooting. The AstroTracer function, which simplifies astronomical photography using a built-in GPS module, is also supported.
Angled view of the new Pentax K-1 DSLR with the HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. (Source: Ricoh Imaging.)
A new SAFOX 12 autofocus sensor module features 33 AF sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). The central sensor and the two sensors located just above and below it are designed to detect the light flux of an f/2.8 lens, making it easy to obtain pinpoint focus on a subject when using a large-aperture lens. An upgraded Real-Time Scene Analysis System performs near-instant analysis of exposure, colour, movement and other factors to optimise camera settings for different shooting situations.
Also new is the pentaprism-based optical viewfinder, which provides a bright, nearly 100-percent field of view an approximately 0.7-times magnification. A Natural Bright Matt III focusing screen allows ease of focusing and a natural rendition of defocused areas in the viewfinder image. The new 3.2-inch Flexible-tilt LCD monitor can be positioned to the desired angle horizontally, vertically and diagonally with a single action, making it easy to shoot at challenging angles.
Angled rear view of the Pentax K-1 showing the adjustable Flexible-tilt monitor. (Source: Ricoh Imaging.)
The K-1 has a larger shutter unit to match the full frame sensor. A high-speed data transmission system in the PRIME IV imaging engine support continuous recording os up to 17 images in the RAW format (or a maximum of 70 images in the JPEG Best format) in a single sequence, at a top speed of approximately 4.4 frames/second. New Operation Assist Lights ““ small, white LEDs that facilitate camera operation in low-light environments, making it easy to change lenses, swap memory cards and adjust back-of-camera controls, and a Smart Function dial that allows photographers to easy select frequently-used functions without going into the LCD menu.
Other features include built-in Wi-Fi, and GPS modules, Full HD movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels in the H.264 recording format, a High-grade DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism, and Clarity control and Skin Tone correction functions. Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 buss speed mode). A HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode includes RAW-format data filing and is usable with handheld shooting. In-camera compensation is provided for lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, diffraction, and brightness level at image-field edges. Fringe effect compensation is also available in RAW-format processing.
The K-1 also provides Crop Mode, which crops the frame to match the lens, to enable photographers to use their APS-C lenses with K-1 camera. An auto setting detects the lens type and sets the camera accordingly. Upon launch, Pentax is offering 12 full-frame compatible lenses, including two new models being announced concurrent with the K-1 camera: the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm f./2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom lens and the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 compact, lightweight zoom lens. Other accessories include a battery grip with duplicated controls for portrait shooting. It has the same dustproof, weather-resistant construction as the K-1 and can accept six AA-size batteries or the camera’s lithium-ion rechargeables.
The Pentax K-1 and new lenses are scheduled to go on sale in the USA in April for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of US$1,799.95. Preliminary details can be found at http://www.pentax.com/en/pentaxff/.
ADDENDUM, 22 February 2016: We’ve just been advised that the Pentax K-1 is likely to start arriving in Australia at the end of April. Its RRP has been confirmed at AU$2,899. It hadn’t been listed on the Pentax Australia when we posted this announcement and an online search for the camera only found it on an off-shore re-seller’s website.