After a number of sneak peeks, Ricoh has finally taken the wraps off its long-promised Pentax D-SLR with a full-35mm size sensor. Designated the K-1, this model becomes the fourth sensor format under the Pentax brand which extends from the pocket-sized Q mirrorless cameras to the medium format 645Z. There are already 12 compatible K-mount digital lenses available (two announced with the camera) plus numerous older types from the film-era which will fit the new body.
The K-1 has a CMOS sensor with an imaging area of 24.0×35.9 mm and a total pixel count of 36.77 million (36.4 MP effective). The camera automatically switches to ‘APS-C’ crop mode when one of Pentax’s smaller format lenses is fitted, giving a resolution of 15.3 megapixels. As on the Pentax K-3 II ‘APS-C’ format D-SLR, this sensor doesn’t have an anti-aliasing (AA) filter and instead employs a function called ‘AA Filter Simulator’ which shifts the sensor very fractionally in order to introduce the slight blurring or ‘filtering’ needed to counter moiré patterns. This is just one feature derived from the K-1’s upgraded ‘Shake Reduction II’ image stabilisation which provides correction across five axes. Also available is ‘Pixel Shift Resolution’ which combines four images captured as the sensor is shifted by a pixel in each direction to create full RGB colour at each point. An important upgrade from the K3 II is a new motion correction function which automatically detects a moving object during pixel-shifting capture and compensates accordingly. Also derived from the SR II system is auto level compensation, image-composition fine-adjustment and a facility called ‘AstroTracer’ which works in conjunction with the K-1’s built-in GPS receiver for astrophotography applications.
The new sensor has a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 100 to 204,800 and is mated to Pentax’s ‘PRIME IV’ processor which enables 14-bit RAW capture and continuous shooting at 4.4 fps for a burst of 70 maximum-quality JPEGs. Data is recorded to one of two SD-type memory card slots which can be configured for various file management regimes. The K-1’s main camera systems are 33-point autofocusing (with 25 cross-type arrays) and RGB-sensitive metering via a dedicated 86,000 pixels sensor with the choice of multi-zone, centre-weighted average and spot measurements. The camera’s shutter has a speed range of 30-1/8000 second with flash sync up to 1/250 second. There is no built-in flash.
The K-1 has a weather-sealed (and insulated) magnesium alloy bodyshell with a full-prism optical viewfinder and a new ‘Flexible Tilt’ LCD monitor screen which can be adjusted horizontally, vertically or diagonally using a single action and without deviating from the lens’s optical axis.
Another interesting feature is the provision of ‘Assist Lights’ which take the form of LED illuminators located above the lens mount, behind the LCD monitor, at the memory car slots, and at the cable switch terminal for easier usage in low-light situations. An optional battery grip called the D-BG6 is available and is also fully weather-sealed. It accepts either six AA-size batteries or the K-1’s D-LI90 type lithium-ion packs.
The new KAF2 mount digital lenses announced along with the K-1 are the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm f2.8 ultra-wide zoom and the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 compact, mid-range zoom.
The Pentax K-1 will become available locally around the end of April or early May and will be priced at $2899 for the body only.
For more information visit www.pentax.com.au