Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pentax and PMA 2007

We are still a few weeks away from PMA 2007 but things look very promising for Pentax this year. We are sure to hear more about the much anticipated DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 and DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 lenses which should hopefully be available shortly after the show. These two lenses will be the first that Pentax has released that contain the new SSM in-lens focusing motor similar to Canon's USM or Nikon's AF-S. Another notable feature of DA* lenses is weather sealing to go with the Pentax K10D body.

Another lens that is very much anticipated is the DA* 60-250mm f/4 lens which should be available later in 2007. Like all DA* lenses, it will have the new SSM focusing as well as weather sealing. All of us are waiting with bated breath for announcements centered around the new DA 35, DA 55, DFA 200, and DFA 300 lenses listed on the Pentax lens roadmap. No information has been released about any of these lenses other than their mention on the roadmap.

I am also very interested in any possible developments with the Pentax 645 Digital medium format camera that has been in development for some time. From what has been rumored, it should be priced at $7000 or less and be somewhere between 18 and 30 megapixels. Hopefully closer to 30 megapixels. I have wanted to get into medium format digital photography for some time now and I think this might just be the ticket.

On the compact digital camera front we have already seen the announcements of the Pentax E30, M30, and T30 cameras, all at 7.1 megapixels. Pentax made an interesting switch when announcing the E30 and M30 cameras. Prior to the E30 and M30, it was the M series that used regular AA batteries. Now, Pentax has made the E30 the budget camera that uses AA batteries. This makes much more sense from a marketing perspective as far as I am concerned. E sounds like economy. The E30 also features a 3x zoom lens and a 2.4 inch LCD screen.

The new M30 is a very slim and attractive camera with a few more features. It seems that Pentax wanted to go with a very slim and attractive package in a slightly more traditional way as compared to the T30. The M30 sports a 3x zoom lens as well as a 2.5 inch LCD screen. The Pentax T30 is a very modern design utilizing a 3.0 inch LCD touchscreen interface for all camera controls. It is an interesting camera although I personally prefer a more traditional interface.

All of the current Pentax compact digital models do not have a viewfinder of any type. They all rely on the LCD screen for framing your pictures. While some may criticize this choice, I am perfectly happy with this arrangement. The tiny viewfinders were so hard to look through anyway and most people end up using the screen. The only downside may be slight difficulty in viewing the screen in very bright sunlight although a quick shade of the hand can take care of the problem.

We may very well be hearing some exciting news on other fronts as well. I am looking forward to hearing all the good news this year. Only a few weeks left!

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