Monday, March 02, 2009

Pentax Announces the X70 Camera and the DA 15mm F4 Limited Lens

After rumors this weekend, Pentax fans weren't too surprised to see that Pentax has unveiled a brand new digital camera today, the Pentax X70. It's a 24x mega-zoom "bridge" camera that has many of the features of a DSLR, but with a standardized built-in lens like a point-and-shoot. It's not much smaller than a DSLR, but it is lighter and it comes at a lower price point that should make it fairly competitive, about $399 or less when it arrives on the street in April.

X70's Best New Features

Like Pentax's recent DSLRs, the X70 doesn't wimp out on trying to give you everyting you need for excellent image quality. First, there's the 1/2.3 sensor* capable of 12MP RAW capture, up to 11 frames per second in a 21 frame burst, with special capture tricks you won't find on any previous Pentax DSLR. For example, there's ISO 6400 for extra sensitivity. And new Auto-Tracking autofocus, with Face Recognition for up to 32 faces, and with blink detection to avoid shots where the subject is closing their eyes. Plus, you can choose different frame ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9, or 1:1). (* Sorry, I had the wrong information about the sensor when this first posted, and this has been corrected.)

The SMC coated zoom lens on the X70 goes from the 35mm lens equivalent of 26mm (wide angle) to an amazing 624mm (super tele-photo). And there's a Super-Macro mode for focusing up to 0.4 inches in front of your small subjects. And all of this range has Pentax's patented Shake-Reduction for gyro-stabilized shots. And then you can factor in digital zoom for an additional 150x, or 3900mm. Eeegads!

Finally, 720p HD movie mode, wrapping all the above (zoom, SR, autofocus) into amazing video. HD Video mode is one feature I hope will make it to a Pentax DSLR this year. I'll be anxious to see how this sensor and lens combo fairs in image tests later this spring, but if it has low noise and fast response, perhaps even better than the recent K2000, this will be a breakthrough camera for the brand.

The Pentax DA 15mm F4 Limited Lens

Not content to leave out the lens candy for DSLR fans, Pentax announced an amazing super-wide angle lens for Pentax DSLR cameras. The small and gem-like DA 15mm Limited for $649, available in April! This is what Pentax has to say about the new lens:

Ultra wide-angle perspective: This new lens offers a 23mm angle of view (in the 35mm format) for eye-catching wide-angle images. Enjoy visual effects unique to ultra wide-angle lenses such as enhanced perspective and an expanded depth of field. This lens is perfect for capturing sweeping landscapes, magnificent architecture and confined interiors.

Limited Lens series quality: The PENTAX Limited Lens series is designed for the ultimate in image reproduction. True to the Limited lens tradition, this new lens not only assures excellent image quality, but also produces sharp, clear images with minimal distortion and outstanding contrast even at the maximum aperture. The optical design has been optimized for digital photography, and the barrel, built-in hood, and cap are all made of a high-grade aluminum material that is shaped for perfect proportions.

High-performance optics: This lens incorporates a hybrid aspherical (AL) lens and an extra-low-dispersion (ED) glass optical element to assure high-quality images with minimal aberrations, including lateral chromatic aberration. Compared with other ultra wide-angle lenses, image distortion is also extremely low.

Compact, lightweight design: With newly developed optics, this ultra wide-angle lens design is extremely compact and lightweight. It has no dome-shaped protrusion on the objective element, allowing the photographer to easily mount any 49mm diameter filters, including circular polarizing filters which are popular in landscape photography.
Additional features:
  • Built-in flower-shaped lens hood, with extendible design for easy carrying
  • Minimum focusing distance of 0.5 feet (18 centimeters) for close-up photography
  • PENTAX-developed Quick-Shift Focus System for instant switching to manual-focus operation after the subject is acquired by the AF system
  • PENTAX-original Super Protect (SP) coating on front surface of the lens makes it easy wipe away fingerprints, cosmetics and other stains and smudges


John said...

I really like the X70. Matter of fact, I've already recommended it to my dad as a near-future replacement for his old KonicaMinolta long-zoom camera.

The DA 15 Limited, to put it simply, makes me drool.

I hope these aren't the only new releases from Pentax, though.

Mr. Blunt said...

I think the X70 has a much more smaller sensor than APS-C, where did you read about its size? Just curious...

Dan said...

The X70's sensor is 1/2.3", not APS-C (as much as we wish it was)

Michael said...

Dan and Mr. Blunt: You're right about the sensor, and I've corrected the statement in the text above. I was going off something I read on another website, but I should have verified it with Pentax first.

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