Monday, May 04, 2009

My 7th Pentax SLR Body?

Pentax Spain website has published a historical diagram of all Pentax SLR bodies (and "standard" lenses) prior to the K-m:-

Copyright 2008 (c) Asahi Optical Historical Club
Source URL:

Ah, that's really a great family photo! Well, I have had only six of them:-

Well, what will be my 7th Pentax SLR body? This One? ;-D

K-7 - 2009


Anonymous said...

Sigh, each newer camera looks uglier than the previous model.

Anonymous said...


RiceHigh said...

The K-7 looks beautiful in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

it's not the look that matters, it's the inside!!

The K-7 looks and sounds pretty exciting to me... Plus with Pentax lenses, it will definitely be a serious option for photographers... bye bye Sony, bye bye 4/3 Olympus. Canikon, here we come again!!

mw said...

This history of Pentax shows detrimental effects that "pro-consumer" race has on innovativeness of photo industry:
If we divide all 57 years into, say, three 19-year periods, we'll see that the ever increasing number of "new" models did not translate into increasing number of significant innovations.
In the first period (1952-1970) there were 16 new models, of which 5 were really new in one sense or another (A, AP, S, Spotmatic, medium format).
Second period (1971-1989) had 33 new models and still only 6 innovations (E, F, K, M, Auto, Super Program).
In the third period (1990-2009) Pentax released 38 new models (on average two new names every year!), of which only 5 I'd call truly innovative (or new): Z, MZ, *ist(???), digital, and SR sealed (K10D).

henry said...

The newer the fewer the real innovations - common practice!

Mike said...

Your '7'th camera to be the K-'7'. Sounds like destiny...

RiceHigh said...

Maybe :-)

Anonymous said...

Really? It is going to take the K7 for you to actually be able to finally produce a decent picture? You have never owned the k10 or the k20? Wow man that’s gotta suck! You have waited over 20years for a camera to make you a better photographer. Well it looks like Canon’s offer did not allow you to excel as a photographer. Good thing you are an engineer, because I would hate for you to quite your day job. Rice I enjoy you blog but buddy at least back it up SON. I would respect you if you could only back it up by showing some great photography. You can’t tell me that after 6 Pentax cameras and so many years behind the camera that you cannot produce anything better that a point and shoot weekend warrior photo montage. Well at least you have your rep as a hater to keep you going. The funny thing is I could respect a hater if he/she could back it up. However it would seem you even tainted the Canon name with your sub par image taking abilities. I really hope your delusion in the K7 allows you to at least rise above the rank of point and shoot amateur. Good luck Ricer and If all else fails come join us at the Sony camp. We will get your game up to par.


The Rice for President Society :P

RiceHigh said...

I have no need to "back up" any of those adverse or issue reports of the K10/20D (say) as all those reports were not made by me, but by many other Pentax users and owners or reviewers of the cameras!

And please don't pretend to be a Sony user when you've shown quite obviously yourself to be a K10 or 20D owner. Be honest, man!

Cameron said...

What a nutbag anonymous is...and a chicken**** to boot - won't even publish his name. Probably that hot-head psycho English twit on PentaxForums... anyway, good work digging this stuff up, Rice, I know you've taken a LOT of heat, but I've backed you up on numerous occasions. I know you, like me, are trying to get Pentax to listen up and smarten up, as they have done some VERY dumb things over the years. Perhaps they are finally listening...

RiceHigh said...

Thanks. I think we'd better to ignore him or those other brand fanboys completely as its just so meaningless to respond to them. Its just a waste of our time or even internet resources!

mw said...

Regarding the Pentax lens line-up, there is a following supposition by one of "dpreview" forum members (Brentliris, May 7, 2009):

"In the old days of 135 format, the increments of FL of prime lenses were typically 1.2x~1.5x or more:
24/20 = 1.2x
28/24 = 1.17x
35/28 = 1.3x
50/35 = 1.4x
85/50 = 1.7x
100/85 = 1.18x
135/100 = 1.4x
200/135 = 1.5x
but typically most people wouldn't have each increment of prime. For example, if I had a 50mm, then my next widest lens would be 28mm. But if I had a 35mm, then my next widest lens would be 24mm.
50/28 = 1.8
35/24 = 1.5
So, a more "natural increment" is 1.4~1.8x
In the old days, there was only one lens line (K or M or A). Now, we are in this transition period to digital, so the current prime lens lines are overlapping (FA, FA-Ltd, DA, DA-Ltd, DA*, D-FA) and just a weird mess. Do we consider all the DAx lenses as one series, or 4 separate lines? Do we consider the FAx lenses as part of the current lineup, or just leftover stock from the film days? And how do zooms affect the need (for both the photographer and Pentax) for primes?
I'm going to break it down into 3 groups, first 2 groups of parallel lens lines, the DA-Ltds (compact and all-metal) vs. the DA/DFA/DA* and 3rd one series of all DAx primes. The FA's and FA-Ltd's while still on sale, should be regarded as non-current (just as the A and older lenses are). The DAx macro lenses should be a further separate group, but I will include the DFA100 for the moment.
First, DA-Ltd is one group because it is most clear product line (these are the small metal primes).
21/15 = 1.4x
40/21 = 1.9x
70/40 = 1.8x
Next, DA/DFA/DA* primes (these are the big fast DA primes). Including the DA*30 that Pentax recently unannounced from their lens-map, for the reason that it gives a glimpse of Pentax's prime lens map mentality. Presumably when stock of FA31/FA35 is cleared out, they will re announce it (or something close).
30/14 = 2.1x
55/30 = 1.8x
100/55 = 1.8
200/100 = 2.0x
Third, all the DA/DFA/DA-Ltd/DA* lenses, excluding the 35 and 50 Macros.
15/14 = 1.1x
21/15 = 1.4x
30/21 = 1.4x
40/30 = 1.3x
55/40 = 1.4x
70/55 = 1.3x
100/70 = 1.4x
200/100 = 2.0x
In this analysis, Pentax's FL strategy seems more clear. Each parallel DAx line (examples 1&2) has FL increments of ~1.9x. Viewing all DAx lenses in series (example 3), the increments are ~1.35x.
So, it seems that Pentax has all the prime FL's increments covered in what I called above the "natural increment" of 1.4~1.8x.
(The exceptions are at the extreme wide and telephoto ends. At the wide-end, presumably the design considerations of retrofocus construction are a limiting factor. At the tele-end it might be that tele-zooms are so close to primes there is no point.)
Therefore it would seem unlikely that Pentax will produce FL's any time in smaller increments than ~1.4x. (Especially since the modern zooms do such a good job of covering every increment.)
Based on the few gaps in the above, I would guess that the next prime lenses to show up on the road-map:
- DA*28/2.0 takes the places of the cancelled DA*30, and the discontinued FA35/2 and FA31/1.8 Ltd. The 28mm FL fits almost perfectly between the DA14/2.8 and DA*55.
- DA*105/1.8, a stunning lens that recalls the glorific A*135/1.8. It slots perfectly between the DA*55 and DA*200.
- DA125/2.5 Ltd, a tiny perfect metal tele.
(Personally, I prefer FL increments of ~2.0x (for examples, on 135: 24/50/100mm, on APS-C: 15/35/58/100mm). So, it's funny to me when people are lamenting that 21mm is too wide compared to 24mm (~1.1x)! Just lean forward a bit!)

Interesting, isn't it?

RiceHigh said...

Thats an interesting analysis. Thanks for sharing with us! (Actually, I read less and less the DPR Pentax forum these days :-))

What I think is that Pentax intended to have a "mixed" lineup for these years and the "incremental" factors would be smaller if all lenses are considered as a whole.

But then using FA lenses on APS-C cropped bodies does have its problems, say, AF precision may not be adequate, loss of "original" resolution, etc. And, the worst thing is: many DA lenses, particular wide ones, cannot be used on Full Frame bodies (if there will be one somedays). So, I think a new "consolidated" single new lens line from Pentax should be required.

I think the new kit lens of the K-7, the budget weather sealed "WR" line of lens(es), is a good starting on improved usability of those weather-sealed Pentax DSLR bodies, without the need to purchase those expensive and large DA* lenses. But, it is just not enough optically, as long as 135 full frame is concerned and future usability of those lenses in the future.

mw said...

Apparently (again, info from "dpreview") there was yesterday (May 7) an official(?) statement from Pentax, that DA lens line has been completed and there will be no new ones in that module.
Perhaps they are cooking up some new line, sealed, good for FF as well (?), with no accompanying problems when used on aps-c, lighter, smaller and at least not more expensive than DA* lenses, but of the same quality?

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