Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pentax K-7 Unofficially Announced!

RiceHigh's Pentax Blog is proud and pleased to announce the next upcoming Pentax DSLR, the Pentax K-7 (Official Name!), with the following details, as confirmed and verified from the reliable secret sources of mine!

Disclaimer: This Announcement is purely and 200% *Unofficial*, of course, as I am not Pentax affiliated (of course x2!) and I signed no NDA with Pentax nor with any Pentax related organisation! Read the following at your own risk! I hold no responsibility of any kind for any CBA or even Blog Checking Syndrome caused thereafter!! ;-D

Edit April 26: Table Contents Updated - More Information Added!

Edit April 27: Full Dimensions Updated!

Edit April 28: Kit Lens Info, I/O Ports Info Added!

Edit April 29: Some Photos Leaked at a Russian Forum (penta-club.ru)!


News Coming From:-
http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/57107-pic-k30d-88.html#post575160
http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/57107-pic-k30d-89.html#post575380
Some Interesting Remarks in the Above Second Post, Too.


Two More:
Source Link: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/57107-pic-k30d-95.html#post575961

Edit May 1: Another Image..


Source Link: http://blog.photopoint.ee/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/pentax-k-x.jpg


K-7 CHARACTERISTICS TABLE:

Camera Name: Pentax K-7 (It is "K Hyphen Seven" - *No* "D" Letter and *With* the Hyphen)
Kit Lens:
DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 AL WR (Water/eather Resistant)

(WOW! HOYA/Pentax have taken my Advice!! That is, a Weather-sealed Kit Lens for a Weather-sealed Body. It seems that they do read my Blog and accepted my "repeated" "Bashes"!!)

Dimensions (by Measurement, Not Factory Specs): 96mm (H) x 130mm (W) x D1-D3*

*D1 = 66mm, from Flange to Grip Rear

*D2 = 74mm, from Grip Front to Grip Rear

*D3 = 76mm, from RTF Front to Grip Rear

Remark: Neck Strap Buckles, Eyecup, Hotshoe and Rubber Covers are All Ignored

Amazingly Truly Compact! Especially for an Upper Grade DSLR Body! (RTF is Far Less Protruding Than Previous Models, Too)
Sensor Format:
APS-C, Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Mount:
Pentax KAF2 (Crippled K-mount, Support Both Body Driven "Screw-Type" AF KAF and SDM KAF2/KAF3 Lenses)
Viewfinder Coverage and Magnification:
>95% and/or >0.95X ( by my Best Measurement and Estimation - It could be 100% *and* 1.0X ! Actually, I've measured that result but just can't believe it myself !! )
RTF:
Yes, Manual Pop-up
Live View:
Yes, Activated by One-touch Dedicated "LV" button at the Thumb Position
Movie/Video Recording:
Movie/Video with Mono-Audio Recording
Top Monochrome Status LCD:
Yes
Rear Colour LCD:
3.0"
e-Wheels Control:
Front and Rear Wheels
Green Button:
Yes, Directly Under the Rear Wheel
Exposure Modes:
Green Mode, P, Sv, Tv, Av, TAv, M, B, X, User and Movie
Focusing Modes:
AF-S, AF-C, MF
Dedicated AF Button:
Yes
Dedicated AF Point Selector:
Yes: Central, Auto and User Select
Built-in AF Assist Light:
Yes, Bright Type (Not Near IR)
Dedicated Metering Mode Selector:
Yes: Evaluative, Centre-Weighted Average, Spot
Controls Around Shutter Release:
Optical/Digital Preview; Two Separate Buttons for ISO Speed Selection and +/- EV Compensation / Top LCD Panel Backlight/Illumination
Other Direct Controls:
With the Four Ways / "OK" Buttons: WB, Flash, Drive and Colour Mode / AF Point Selection Activation
Standard Controls:
Play/Delete (at Upper Left), INFO/MENU (at Lower Right)
RAW Button:
Yes
"Fn" (Function) Button:
No (Not Needed with New Direct Controls Design)
Shake Reduction Switch:
No (to be Enabled and Disabled via System Menu)
PC Sync Socket:Yes
IR Remote Control:
Yes, Front and Rear Receivers
I/O Ports:
Left: DC IN, PC/AV, HDMI, MIC IN (Stereo? Very Possibly, I think); Right: Cable Switch Connector
Accessory:
Vertical Battery Grip D-BG4

More to Come when it is Due!

P.S. Well, I can finally add a "K-7" Label Tag at my Blog, as it has been confirmed (by myself :-D) now. And, it is No More Rumour! Btw, the K-7 and K-m do still look like a family, very fortunately!

Friday, April 24, 2009

In the Meantime, Let's have Some Fun!



Whilst the new "K7(D)" news have started to die down and there are no leak anymore, all we have to do is to wait for the Big Day of May 21st.

But then in order to salvage the famine of the wide Pentaxian population many of whom are rather hungry and thirsty right now ;-D, someone at the biggest Chinese forum, the Xitek Forum, has done us a favour. Here is the first complete and clear K7D image posted on the web so far! Here it is:-

http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=617720&pagenumber=1
(Post #110 - Text in Simplified Chinese)

Well, I think I have to give a credit to this guy, Mr. "Plastic Tank" for his Nickname, he told that he had spent two hours to PS this piece of Artwork, very honestly!

But then even this was done as an Hoax instead, the flaws could be easily identified! :-> First of all, as I mentioned before, the Pentax logo had already been changed, i.e., he used wrongly an old Pentax logo! The new one is just taller and looks smarter. Secondly, as the last hoax, the camera lacks a lens release lock/button at the usual position for a K-mount camera! Third, the AF assist lamp is a Nikon one! Fourth, many of the different components, symbols and small parts are from different Pentax DSLRs like the MZ-S, K10/20D or even the latest prototype 645D etc.! Well, as for the real body, I guess it is just the LX.

Anyway, do YOU feel better now, after taking this "medicine"? ;-D LOL..

Lastly: My hat off, Mr. Plastic Tank! I really appreciate your efforts spent and the heart taken to do this great PS job and the intention to help all of us from this severe famine and finally your honesty to make it clear at the first place instead of trying to create an hoax is and should be greatly and much appreciated!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Decline of the DPR Pentax SLR Forum

As some people have already noted. For the latest emerging news for the upcoming Pentax DSLR body, the DPR (Dpreview.com) Pentax SLR Forum is no longer a hot place for discussion nor its news contained in threads have appeared fast and useful enough.

On the other hand, the DPR banned and "prohibited" site, the PentaxForums, has gathered much more useful posts by different posters and discussions have been much hotter than the DPR's. Most importantly, the PentaxForums threads do contain more important and faster news updates which are miles ahead of the DPR threads!

Just look this PentaxForums' Mega Thread! It is now approaching the 1,000th post! In contrast, the "largest" DPR thread is not even approaching the DPR set 150 posts limit but just far below that (I even don't bother to find and link to that thread here as it has disappeared from their Forum front page for quite a while now). Now, as for the latest new news, the new thread is of very low and pity numbers and there is little response to those. This is just very different than what the DPR threads behaved in the past. Well, when I *was* there, I usually contributed to many 150 posts threads whenever I posted something "exciting" (or maybe controversial, anyway)! ;-)

And, if you look at the time stamps of threads/posts on the front page of their Forum, normally it is something 6-8 hours on usual days for the oldest thread. And, even now on these "heated" days, they do at best at 4 to 6 hours! In contrast to the *ist D to K10D days, it was in terms of tens of minutes to 1 to 2 hours on "normal" days!

So, all the above facts and my observations only tell one thing:- The DECLINING Trend Of the DPR Pentax SLR Forum!

Well, as I have said, analysed and predicted before, IF NO true efforts are put and open-mindedness is kept to run an Internet site for making more real improvements and keep the good old traditions, NO ONE will shine *forever* on the Internet and eventually they will be eliminated by the "Big Wheel" of Time!

One More! (Fake)

Thank to Mr. "Anonymous" who has posted at my Blog (Who actually? :-)), I have another image:-



Image Source: http://www.bildercache.de/bild/20090422-200732-393.jpg

But do note that the neck strap buckles are somehow different to what we have seen lately for other images (especially for the right hand side one of which the difference is obvious), whereas the overall appearance of the above camera is similar to what we have seen in the other images. Maybe a leaked image of just an earlier prototype, of the same model?

Edit: FAKE Image! I've just figured out that there is no lens release at the usual position for any K-mount cameras! And that the Pentax logo seems to be not so well placed and naturally integrated to the body! Oh, I must confess.. :-( Just because I'm too excited and so much in a hurry to report! ;-)

Just treat this image as a grain of salts anyway and it may still be entertaining, though. Sort of..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two More Leaked (Official?) Images


Image Source:-
http://cid-9c2325683f4c3b9c.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/%E6%91%84%E5%BD%B1%E5%99%A8%E6%9D%90/PENTAX/1.jpg

This image looks like something for the official Catalogue. And no more "Mr. Blurry Cameraphone" images!


Image Source:-
http://www.penta-club.ru/forum/uploads/post-1970-1240400101.jpg

The second image looks like a poster or a promotion leaflet.

As for the Japanese slogan on it, I would translate it to: "- The Successor for the Pride of Renowned Gear -".

Well, I think whilst there will be more and more "leaked" product images to come, its time for us to know something *real* and *concrete* about this new cam, isn't it?

New Name Rumour and Some Told Specs - "K7D"

All the news almost come from a single origin, in fact.

First, it started to appear at the front page of a German web store for Pentax items, TeKaDe, just after photos of the new Pentax photos exposed (here, here and then here) that the store is accepting new pre-orders for the new Pentax DSLR - but without any technical information disclosed about the cam, but just a EUR 1500 price tag and the targeted shipment time frame:-

"Pentax neue DSLR KxxD ab sofort per Mail bestellbar. Preis um EUR 1500,00. Auslieferung Ende Juni/Anfang Juli 2009!"

Actually, I had seen it quite early and I opted not to particular post anything about it as I couldn't verify anything on this claim nor the actual source of information. Thus, I treated it as a wild rumour. Just see my previous response to one of my Blog readers here.

And, I was also not convinced that Pentax is to re-adopt the "D" letter again in this new body (which they have already dropped with the K2000/K-m), for what the webstore suggests. Isn't it rather odd and inconsistent to have a "K7D" to be in a "family"(?) with a "K-m", as least as named and to be marketed in the Europe??

However, the rumour continues.. One of my readers have made a post at my Blog here in Anonymity to tell that he has pre-ordered a "K7(D)" and then with some brief specs told in a firm tone (which I believe is that the shop told him verbally):-

"@ RiceHigh

Well, i pre-ordered one, a K7 ;D
at tekade.de. and yes, i wouldn't preorder something i wouldn't know a thing about...

but here are some of the specs, that are pretty sure!:

100% viewfinder, kind-of-metal-housing, hd-videomode, better, faster and more accurate af, 5-6fps, many little changes in order to improve ergonomy..."

But then the (single) source of information is actually the same, as he pre-ordered from the TeKaDe.

The webstore owner has also posted at an Austria forum himself, here is his post:-

http://www.fotografie.at/forum/fotografie-at/3-aktuelle-news/20514-neue-pentax-k7d/
(Google Translation in English Here)

It is also told that the new body will be announced by Pentax in the 3rd week of May.

In his signature, you can see that he is also the online dealer of Pentax gear with address http://www.pentaxshop.at/. On the front page of it, it can be seen that yet again it is just the TeKaDe! So, this guy is just the owner of both the German and Austria online webstore(s)! And, he is no Pentax official anyway nor he is actually a direct staff of any Pentax branch in Europe, as opposed to some hearsays with mis-information told (examples here at the PentaxForums and here at the DPR Pentax Forum).

But since this Pentax dealer has good reputations as told and he can be considered as a Pentax insider to a certain extent. I start to believe what he tells! :-) Probably, it is true. But, how dare he is to break the Embargo! And let's see how Pentax/Hoya will "punish" him in the meantime for breaching the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)! ;-D

Last but not least, if the 1500 Euro set price range is true, I don't think marketing wise Pentax will succeed again! Why not just go buy a popular/common FF DSLR like the D700 or 5D MkII just for a few more bucks if so? And, Hoya senior official told us last time at PMA that the new DSLR in Summer will be in the "same price range" of the K20D.. So? He actually *should* tell, "the new DSLR in Summer will be priced higher than the *original* set price of the K20D when it was first marketed"! ;-> :-0

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Now, One Clear Photo of the New Pentax DSLR!


Bodies from the Left: Pentax Kx, K20D, K200D and K-m (where x = unknown ;-))

Just seen this picture from the following link, actually made by the same person for the "Mr. Blurry Cameraphone" photos for the new Pentax DSLR body (here and here):-

http://cid-9c2325683f4c3b9c.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/%E6%91%84%E5%BD%B1%E5%99%A8%E6%9D%90/PENTAX%20Rumors/IMG|_0153|_ps|_up.jpg
(Edit 4-20: Page Removed, only a dead link is left)

So, again, I would say: It is REAL!

And, three more observations:-

1. From this angle on the body top, it now looks as if it still has a built-in flash/RTF. It is just because if there is no RTF, Pentax would have make the top "one-piece" but not in two zones as seen. I'd be so happy if it is really the case! :-))

2. The new body has a Black shutter release button instead of a Silver one, so it is of the K20D grade or above it. Judged together on the mode dial of the last (blurry) photo, a higher grade and improved (hopefully) DSLR body is almost for sure! :=D

3. There seems to be a Microphone hole opening on the head of the camera in front of the Hotshoe, which implies it is a video capable DSLR! :-0

Some Sample Photos with FAJ 18-35 on 5D (Full Frame)

Here are some recent sample photos of mine shot with my FAJ 18-35 on my Canon EOS 5D:-

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v313/RiceHigh/Pentax%20FAJ%2018-35%20on%20Canon%205D/?start=all

(Or to Start SlideShow Here)

All the photos are direct out of the camera jpegs, no retouching and post-processing of any kind, downsized to 1MB file limit automatically by the Photobucket image engine. EXIF data are preserved, though (but the focal and aperture number reported are not real as those are just fixed values as "cheated" by the chipset of the K-mount to EOS adaptor).

As for the real f-number, the first 6 photos were taken at f/8 whereas the rest were taken on another day with f/11. As the FAJ 18-35 lens has no aperture ring, I just used adhesive tape to fix the aperture position after removal of the protruding aperture coupler and then calibrated those f-numbers against my Canon 24-105L and also my Pentax FA 24-90 which had been modified before but has an aperture ring.

As for the actual focal length, it was fixed at 19mm, as at the widest 18mm the lens rear glass element is protruding too far into the mirror housing that it has conflict with the large full frame mirror of the 5D. Just zooming in by 1mm for the focal will safely avoid any conflict.

Now, let's look at the samples. Actually, I am really impressed with the image quality it reproduced. The resolution is not low at the centre and is actually still quite acceptable at the far image corners. The colour and tone renditions are very accurate and natural. The flare resistance and control is simply superb. All in all, it is just a good to very nice lens, provided that the user stops it down by two stops when used Full Frame. On the other hand, when wide opened, obvious vignetting can be seen (on Full Frame).

As you cannot see 100% full size photos in my album above, I have extracted some quick examples with full size 100% crop below to illustrate:-

1. High Resolution:

Here is the 100% crop of the image centre from one of the sample:-


(Click to enlarge and inspect in full)

And, here is 100% crop of one of the extreme image corners from the same sample:-


(Click to enlarge and inspect in full)

I know that the FAJ 18-35 lens has mixed comments and feedbacks from its users, many complained that it was a rather soft lens with poor resolution, even on 6M Pentax DSLRs. But what I can say putting aside for the chance of possible quality issues of this MIV (Made in Vietnam) lens, I bet most of the problems seen and reported were caused by inaccurate focusing, as this lens requires really precise focus to achieve the best resolution - in this case my 5D's "AF" detection is adequate, even for this "demanding" lens.

This example has just illustrated well on how AF errors can decrease drastically the final effective resolution (fully explained here in my old technical article here). In fact, a more accurate AF system is far more important than a sensor with more pixels. If the focusing system is just not precise enough, most of the pixel resolution is just wasted.

Also, as I stopped down the lens at fixed position for the aperture now, I needed to wide-open it and marked the best correct infinity focus position after some tests and actually I am glad that my 5D did always indicate quite accurate focus and I did compare and notice the resolution difference for slight focus shift in the focusing scale of this lens (in which the throw of focus is very little for the lens just from infinity to 1m/3ft).

2. Almost Non-existent CAs:

Here is the 100% crop of the extreme image corner from another sample, with tree branches against a bright sky (typical CA showcases!):-


(Click to enlarge and inspect in full)

Well, the picture says it all! (I have no more to say! I just wish to make a little remark that the image is of 12.8 MegaPixels!)

3. Super Flare Resistance:

Look at the following crop on the sample which contains the reflection of the sun in early afternoon on the mirror building. Again, the picture tells all!


(Click to enlarge and inspect in full)

There is only very minimal lens flare and fogging under this really adverse condition. And, I did not even put on the lens hood, as by that time I had not yet found out a method to attach the hood as it is in the wrong direction after the adoption. Well, I must have my hat off to Pentax for their superb SMC ghostless coating which this lens has, which is just with unmatched performance and a real miracle, especially considering that this lens was just a kit lens afterall ((somehow relatively expensive btw, by today's standard).

As for the lens hood adoption. Now, I have the solution. It is just easy - add some adhesive tape again inside the bayonet of the hood "mount" and thus limits its position with good tightness such that a very little degrees of angle can be turned before it is fixed. That's it!

At this point, I would not illustrate further, just happy mesaurbating! Enjoy!! ;-)

Read Also:-

Compatibility List of Pentax Full Frame AF Lenses on Canon 5D

Sample Photos of Full Frame Fisheye and 43 Limited on 5D

Preview: Cantax K5D Full Frame! ;-)

K20D Freezes Up Occasionally

Here is a Poll that was raised by a K20D user at the Pentax Forums:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/54117-poll-k20d-freeze-ups.html

The Poll has completed now and just more than 10% of the K20D users who have participated reported that their K20D units did have frozen up before and occasionally - some more frequently and some less.

So, what does this tell? With no doubt, the K20D does have some hidden bugs that affect its reliability, no matter hardware and/or software wise. In fact, the K20D is actually the most problematic Pentax DSLR ever made for what have been reported by so many different users so far, for various different hardware, software and reliability issues.

I hope that the next Pentax middle to upper class DSLR which is to replace this problematic "flagship" should be more mature. I do hope Pentax/Hoya do not use the current Samsung sensor in the K20D anymore as it is very likely to be the culprit for many problems such as the banding issues, hot pixels issue (that even cannot be completely cured/hidden with firmware), forced noise reduction for long time exposure, very limited LiveView usability and etc. which are all primitively related to the sensor, as the prime source/cause of the problems.

If Pentax is to use the Sony sensor which is now used in the Nikon D90 and D5000, I bet the chance for them to succeed would be much higher. If they still use a Samsung sensor, it *must* be a new fully debugged version instead of the previous immature and buggy one. If the latter is still the case, I would really feel very sorry as marketing wise they are just committing suicide! But judging at the current relationship between Pentax and Samsung, there is hope that Pentax do not use a Samsung sensor anymore and my wishful thinking is that the chance should not be low, as Pentax should have learnt much from the K20D lesson!

Edit 4-23: More reports on the same issue by different users, for both the K20D and the "Samsung" GX-20:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=31434792

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/57743-new-k20d-impressions-problem-ohno.html

Friday, April 17, 2009

More "Blurry" Photos of the New Pentax "Flagship" DSLR



Here are two more blurry photos from the Chinese blogger who shot and posted the "Mr. Blurry Cameraphone" images of the upcoming new Pentax DSLR, which is the new Pentax flagship body, I bet (I will explain why it should be, in more details below):-

http://ivyjopy.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!9C2325683F4C3B9C!10525.entry?wa=wsignin1.0&sa=475368852

Edit 4-17 Evening:
The above blog post and the "mode dial" image contained in it that was originally linked here have been removed. I have updated the link for a picture from another source which is a copied one by someone earlier. Btw, the (forced?) removal of those just reinforces the "creditability" of the pictures in which the DSLR shown should be *real* !


Well, I now know that the pictures are intentionally blurred as he could not disclose more information about the new camera. As such, posting clear images of the new products was just impossible. But however and in fact, the source of information is very reliable, as it has been told that that guy is actually an employee of the Pentax Shanghai, by a knowledgeable and long-time Chinese Pentaxian, Mr. Peter Fang.

But still, as seen from those three blurry pictures up till now, the following can be concluded, quite safely:-

1. It willl be a new flagship that replaces the K20D and it looks like a "more advanced" DSLR than the K20 (as already told by a Pentax Europe official in early March, here), judged by the looks of the new mode dial and dedicated metering selector level (that is like the old design of the *ist D, K10 and K20). Now the mode dial seems to have an unlock button in the centre which is very similar to the design of upper rank Sony DSLRs like the A900 and A700, or just what the old Pentax (P)Z-1/(P)Z-1p used to be;

2. It seems that there is no built-in flash/RTF for that new flagship, for the first time for a Pentax DSLR or even an AFSLR, just like what Canon have been doing for their upper rank DSLRs. It may also mean that the new DSLR has a bigger and larger viewfinder and/or the new DSLR has a larger sensor format so that the Pentaprism (also certain it is not a Pentamirror for such a higher model) is made larger and there is not much room left for the built-in flash. It will not be a Full Frame DSLR anyway, as it was also already told that the new DSLR will be marketed at price closed to the current price (range) of the K20. So, it is just impossible to have a Full Frame DSLR as that price. The sensor might be an APS-H or 1.3X one, with some little chance. Or, it is just still an APS-C one in the end? Anway, I really still want a built-in flash on any DSLR. Oh, No.. :-( ;

3. Or, it could mean that Pentax have finally adopted and implemented their patent of making a hybrid viewfinder with a colour electroluminescent display overlaid on the focusing screen of an optical viewfinder. This design will have practical meanings so that an "EVF" can be used for movie/video recording and somehow useful under the LiveView mode, which however is usually only required when the "optical" viewfinder is not accessible. Or, at least, worst comes to the worst, it can serve the purpose of a rich finder information display system like what the old Minolta Dynax/Maxxum AFSLR models or now what all Nikon DSLRs can do with an overlaid monochrome LCD display (and red LED illumination for AF points for most of them);

4. The DSLR has a top LCD, which can be seen very roughly from the second super blurry photo above, which verifies again that it is not an entry level model like the K-m.

So, will the new flagship has more unique and useful features which works better and more effectively/efficiently? I don't know and I really hope I shall not be disappointed this time. I do hope Hoya/Pentax could implement more of their registered patents into the new body, like this, for their old patented DSLR air suction dust removal and cleaning system, which I think the Nikon D60 and the latest D5000 have already adopted a very similar design. Nikon bought the Pentax patent?

And, what will this new "flagship" be named? If I am Pentax/Hoya, I would name it to be K-x, so that it can make up a line with a consistent name with the K-m. It does no harm as there was already the old film KM in the 70s and so did the film KX in the same decade - the old glory good days of Pentax/Asahi Optical Company. Pentax used to call their revolutionary models with the name "X", e.g., KX, LX and SFX and thus X would be an appropriate name. Why use small letter instead of Capital then? Small letter represent "small" cameras, which is compact and lightweight (relatively). Btw, in the meantime, we can still call this upcoming new camera to be K-x, where "x" simply means unknown! ;-D (Whilst there exists Pentaxian "disclosed"/suggested that this new DSLR to be named K7 (Why not name it K-6 or simply WD-40 if so? ;-)), I think it is just a stupid name afterall and surely won't help them better marketing wise, especially if their newer DSLR bodies seem not to be in a *family*. In contrast, K-m and K-x are, IMO.)

Okay, I expect there will be more leaks and some less "blurry" product images to be disclosed in the meantime as I believe there are much more selected Pentax beta testers outthere worldwide. So, let's wait and see. I shall always be here! :-D

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Picture of the New Pentax DSLR Exposed



A blurry image has appeared at a Chinese blog for a Pentax DSLR with possibly a (DA?) Limited lens mounted:-

http://ivyjopy.spaces.live.com/?_c11_BlogPart_BlogPart=blogview&_c=BlogPart&partqs=amonth%3d4%26ayear%3d2009

Edit 4-17: The above blog post and the DSLR image contained in it that was originally linked here have been removed. I have updated the link for a picture from another source which is a copied one by someone earlier. Btw, the (forced?) removal of those just reinforces the "creditability" of the picture in which the DSLR shown should be *real* !

But then, even the image is somehow blurry, the image of the body doesn't look like any of the *Hoya-made* Pentax DSLRs so far, namely, K200D, K20D and K-m.

Why I need to emphasize on "Hoya-made" above? It is just because Hoya opted to choose a "smarter" look Pentax logo since they took over Pentax and the DSLR in the above image does have a "new" Pentax logo. However, the appearance of the above DSLR, especially for the top/head where the built-in flash is housed, is quite different from the three "Hoya-made" models I've just mentioned. You can inspect this pair of comparison body images here, against the K20D, for exactly how they are different, as posted and as explained.

So, it should be the new Pentax DSLR which is to come. And, if people could take a photo of it, I bet it is under beta testing now! Good news indeed.

As for the lens, it looks much like the existing DA Limited lenses. But since the lens' name, in particular the lens line name, is too blur to read, it creates one more mystery: Is it a new lens and will there be a new lens lineup?? As Hoya previously told us at the PMA that the current DA lens specifications are going to be revised plus that there is no more new DA lenses in the latest lens roadmap as well as two previous planned DA lenses were removed from the roadmap, the chance of a new lens lineup could be there.

Okay, all the above things happened are showing good signs for new stuff to come in the Pentaxland. Well, I think it's really the time for Pentax to give us some *brand new* or even ground-breaking (my wishful thinking) stuff, instead of nothing that is really new (e.g., to repaint and repaint their old DSLRs once again and again)! I do hope much the muddy water can be made clear as soon as possible and there will be some impulses to the current dead water that has now been there for loooong, and actually too long for Pentax to bear the adverse consequences.

Let's wait and see what will happen.. And of course, I shall always be here to report the news at the first moments!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New K20D Firmware

Pentax have announced a new firmware update at their Japanese website (Japanese page):-

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/support/download/digital/k20d_s.html?utm_source=rss?file=index8.rdf

It is the version 1.03. In the above page, it is stated that the SR (Shake Reduction) accuracy has been improved.

There is one small mystery for the version history, though. Where is the version 1.02?

And, there is no AF improvement as what many current K20 users are hoping for, non the compulsory long exposure NR (Noise Reduction) can be turned off via the custom function. I bet both of the above issues are just closely hardware related and as such the problems could never be cured solely via software, i.e., the firmware.

Indeed, I have never heard about any complaint about the SR performance of the K20D, but instead many other problems of the K20D are now well known and infamous, e.g., banding, hot pixels, serious AF hunting indoor, forced NR, incorrect (A)WB and etc.

Whilst Pentax have improved better an already well implemented feature with no complaint from any user, why don't they debug other things as far as they can? To explain this abnormlity, there is only one reason that can explain, as I have just said - hardware issues!

Since all the evils are very possibly caused by hardware and design issues at the first place, I would strongly urge Pentax (actually Hoya) here once again that, "You should launch the K20D replacement as soon as possible!", before it will be too late!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Nikon New Entry Level DSLR to Come, Whats Pentax?

Whilst Canon is to market their very strong entry level EOS 500D DSLR very soon by this April (already reported for the rumour earlier before, here), Nikon is just not sitting there and wait Canon to bite their cake! Here is the latest news from the Nikon Rumors:-

http://nikonrumors.com/2009/04/06/more-spy-shots.aspx

As we can see from the outlook of the camera and its mode dial, it is just an entry level DSLR, but with an articulated LCD display with great degree of freedom. Of course, this new DSLR is LiveView capable, and possibly should have improved video recording capabilities than their old D90, which was the first DSLR in the world for recording HD movie (although not Full HD). Well, we could clearly see the innovativeness of Nikon there.

Now, Pentax has only the K-m in the entry level class, which even has no LiveView feature nor any bonus features which have now become standard features for most other entry level DSLRs by *all* others (with the exception of the built-in digital art filters, which have now also been the new trend). What Pentax knew is to repaint and repaint again their DSLR bodies like the White, Olive K-m and the Silver K20D, which is pretty sad and just a waste of time and already limited resources IMHO.

So, what Pentax will give us in the meantime? Whats Next? When? Can they update the features for their new DSLR bod(ies)? (if any and it does not come too late.) At the end of the days, I will still like to ask: When will YOU (Pentax) give us existing Pentax users something REAL and Exotic??? Never? Forever??

April 14 Update:-

Nikon D5000! More News here at 1001 Noisy Cameras.

Monday, April 06, 2009

DA* 60-250/4 Will be On Sale Soon

The DA* 60-250/4 lens will be on sale on April 24, although it has been delayed for months now, which was originally targeted to be marketed in September 2008:-

http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/lens/2009/04/06/10629.html
(in Japanese, a translated English version here)

Whilst it maybe "late is better than none", but actually what's the true value of this DA tele zoom?

The lens is selling for 160,000 Japanese Yen, which is roughly equal to 1600 US Dollars at this moment. Still naming it as a DA lens without letting the potential buyers know if the lens is Full Frame compatible or not is just a big mistake, as I have been talking about this for years now (for the first time here). It is because few people will dare to invest further for such an expensive glass, which looks like an APS-C one, without thinking about the future. And especially Hoya has previously disclosed that the standard DA lens specifications would be revised, at the PMA.

Now, it seems that Pentax has already been reworking their latest lenses to cover full frame, as it has been found that the latest DA 55-300 is now covering full frame (see the survey here). However, no end-user can know which lens is full frame compatible and what else are not. And, even if there are no dark corners, the Image Quality when using these lenses on full frame is not guaranteed, i.e., the IQ at image corners when used full framely is rather uncertain.

Well, for how those different DA lenses could work or could not work on Full Frame bodies (film or NOT, if there will ever be one to come in the Pentaxland some days), you can have a look on this detailed and nice survey, at the PentaxForums:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31629-da-lens-full-frame-test-shots-thread.html

Afterall, I think unless those people at Hoya/Pentax with power are smarter in making smarter decisions and marketing moves instead of repeating unwise and stupid things once and once again without thinking of making any real and effective changes which could help themselves, I am afraid the current adverse situation and marketing position which they face and are in can never be changed, but just will continue to deteriorate!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Banding Issue of the K20D Fully Studied

The widely reported banding issue(s) of the K20D has been recently fully studied by a K20D user and some solid conclusions are made:-

http://www.dlip.de/?s=banding&submit=Go

The two articles are well written, although maybe somehow a bit more technical for an average reader to understand what are written easily. The testing methods, sampling of different K20D units, analyses made and the rationale behind and finally the conclusions drawn thereafter are well presented, and have been written concisely.

It is told that 11 K20D units were checked at first. It was found that 6 units had no obvious problem, whereas 3 others had "light" issue, and then the remaining 2 had very visible artifact. Well, it looks like a 50/50% bet to me in this case for a "good" sample.

So, the root cause(s) of the issue? Probably an immature sensor (the Samsung one) and/or possibly an immature design of the body so as to use this "tricky" sensor and/or quality control problem out of the Pentax factory or all of the above. But since now that it can rarely be heard about any of similar sensor artifacts and banding issues with the other current Pentax DSLR model K-m, it is likely that the Samsung sensor is the source and preliminary root cause of the issue and the real culprit, as such.

Anyway, since the problem seems to have been resolved with the K-m, I hope the next Pentax model which is "in the same price range of the K20D" will not have similar problems, if hopefully the current version/model of the Samsung sensor is not used again (if there is a new debugged version), or simply Pentax do not use the Samsung sensor anymore, and use back those more mature and well proven Sony CCD or CMOS sensors, i.e., those currently used by those different Nikon current DSLR models.

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