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Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Pentax XG-1 Product Images 1

Pentax announced the XG-1–a new hybrid super-zoom camera featuring a 16MP PBSI-CMOS sensor. In front of this sensor the camera also has a f2.8-5.6 zoom lens with a 52x optical zoom for an equivalent 24-1248mm focal length range. While the XG-1 pretty much ticks off every check box for hybrid superzoom cameras, one unique thing is the camera can shoot up to 9fps; which makes it decent for capturing fast-action sports.

The XG-1 also features in-sensor stabilization with Pentax’s Shake Reduction system to reduce any camera sway. An indispensable feature when users are shooting in the farthest telephoto ranges of the zoom lens and long shutter speeds.

Unfortunately the XG-1 is also saddled with some subpar specs including a low resolution 3-inch LCD with only 460,000 dots and a 200k-dot built-in electronic viewfinder. Battery life also looks lacking with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that’s been projected to only fire 240 shots per charge.

The Pentax XG-1 will be available this August for an asking price of $399.95. Hit past the jump for more specs and images. [click to continue…]

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax 645z first sample images (1 of 11)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

At a recent event in NYC, we got a chance to play with the new Pentax 645z for a couple of hours. Obviously, this isn’t long enough to test the final production version of the camera, but we were able to have enough time with it to come away with lots of feelings and thoughts. The situation that Ricoh gave us was in a studio environment; and we found two things to immediately be a bit weird.

For starters, the camera doesn’t have a second curtain flash option except for Pentax flashes. Absolutely no one in studios using medium format gear uses speedlights. Instead, they’re opting for high powered monolights. On top of that, the flash sync speed can only sync to 1/125: which in our personal opinion is unacceptable. The other weird problem that Jim Fisher from PCMag and I saw was that when you shoot with strobes using Live View mode, the exposures seem to come out around 1/2-3/4 overexposed. When we ran this by our Pentax reps, they too were a tad confused.

Otherwise, the camera is a simple joy to use; but it’s going to take some very thorough testing to make us want to drop nearly half a year’s rent on a camera and not even consider lenses into the cost yet.

Here are some image samples that we shot. As always, EXIF data is in tact and in the file name; so when you click on the image you’ll get that info in the link.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Rokinon 10mm f2.8 review images product photos (1 of 4)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

When it comes to ultra wide angle lenses, Rokinon has always offered great image quality at an affordable price. They recently announced their 10mm f2.8 for APS-C DSLRs from our usage, we think that it is a pretty decent option for architectural and landscape shooters. The lens has a better build quality than previous offerings and can also deliver some spectacular images.

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Pentax 645Z front angled view

Going the same route as Phase One and Hasselblad in their latest medium format camera models, Pentax today announces the new 645Z medium format SLR camera featuring a large 33x44mm CMOS sensor. As a successor to the 645D, the 645Z continues the company’s medium format tradition, while at the same time bringing it up to par with the competition. Thanks to the new sensor, the 645Z now boasts a wopping 51.4 megapixels, ISO as high as 204,800, Full-HD video as well as a live-view mode. It seems that medium format cameras have finally arrived in the 21st century.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Ricoh GXR with Leica product photos (4 of 6)

The world of prime lens users can be divided into two categories: fans of the 35mm focal length, and fans of the 50mm focal length. Some prefer the slightly wider angle-of-view of the 35mm, while others prefer the more restricted view of a 50mm. Now, when buying into a camera system, you might want to make sure that there is a lens available corresponding to your preferred focal length.

Pentax, for example, used to have a selection of both 35mm and 50mm lenses back in the days of film, but that changed with the digital age when 35mm lenses suddenly became equivalent to 50mm in terms of angle-of-view, due to the smaller format of the APS-C sensor. In the current DA lineup of lenses designed specifically for digital SLRs, you’ll find several lenses corresponding to the classic 50mm, but none that will satisfy the needs of a 35mm shooter.

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Chris Gampat Pentax 645D Hands on Review (8 of 8)

Update: new details will be coming next week

It’s been a little while since Pentax first unveiled their 645D medium format camera. But according to Sony Alpha Rumors via Amateur Photographer, the company may be delivering a refresh soon. Early reports are stating that it will house a 50MP Sony sensor–which is massive to say the least. It is also being stated that it’s the same sensor in the new Phase One and Hasselblad cameras.

But this is a different beast than the big two of the medium format world. Pentax takes the approach of incorporating the sensor into the camera itself instead of having a back, camera, and lenses (the way that traditional medium format works.) So while you’ll be able to use your old Pentax lenses, you’ll need a new body.

According to early photos, it may also have a tilting LCD screen and should be coming this spring.

Now that the medium format world is using CMOS sensors, it’s going to get quite interesting as previous marketing efforts from Nikon with the D800/D800E were to attract the medium format crowd. On top of that, Zeiss created the 55mm f1.4 Otus–which we reviewed very favorably. This lens was designed for high megapixels full frame DSLRs and Zeiss has stated on record that they’re coming out with more.

It will be interesting to watch the full frame vs medium format war for a while–and in the months leading up to Photokina it should really look interesting.