Editor’s Note: this review was syndicated from photographer duo Dylan and Sara with permission. All images and text are theirs.
The last week was spent shooting a few thousand frames through the Pentax 645z. This is Pentax’s new somewhat-affordable medium format system. We wanted to take a real world approach to how we would shoot the camera, so this review will be less technical and more about how it performed on the job. We took it to a full wedding, a weeks worth of portrait sessions and a night shoot.
Medium format digital cameras have been on our mind lately and this did not let us down. This is one of the many current medium format offerings to use the 51mp CMOS sensor produced by Sony. This new CMOS sensor is a huge deal for the way we shoot, mainly because it allows useable high-iso and live view, this wasn’t possible with the previous generation of medium format digitals.
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Editor’s Note: in an earlier version of the article we accidentally called it the Pentax WG-30W. We apologize for this mistake.
Pentax has always made pretty solid tough cameras, and for their latest iteration, they’re taking it a step forward–but for their latest offering they’re going by the Ricoh name.. Their new WG-30W will include WiFi transmission–a first amongst tough cameras. The WG-30W sports a 16MP CMOS sensor. On a personal note, that’s way too much for a point and shoot sensor, but we will need to see how the images actually come out.
As far as the tough specs go, Ricoh claims that the camera can go down to 40 feet, can be dropped from 5 feet, can withstand 220 lbs of pressure, and can survive -10 degree Fahrenheit. The WG-30W also has a double microscope mode and LED lights for macro images.
The camera will come in Carbon Grey and Flame Orange. When the Ricoh WG-30W hits the stores this December, you’ll be able to pick it up for $299.95.
Meet Ricoh’s latest camera in its Pentax Q-series, the Q-S1. At first glance it’s quite a bit smaller than the last generation Q7. It’s even fair to say this camera is petite and a bit more fashionable sporting a minimalist metal and leather look. Ricoh also says it built the camera with a classic, high-grade design using aluminum dials and old style flash integrated into the body of the camera. It’s definitely got the hot looks of classic rangefinder camera.
Underneath the stylish body there’s a 12.1MP back-illuminated CMOS image sensor that should help the 1/1.7-inch sensor a fair bit with low-light performance. Speaking of sensitivity the ISO tops out at 12800 on this miniature camera. The unit also comes with built-in image via an internal gyro sensor.
Other specs of the camera include full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel movie shooting at 30fps, bokeh control to simulate the shallow depth of field produced by high-aperture lenses, and lots of digital filter options. Around the back of the camera, users will be treated with a three-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor.
Lastly for the real fashionista photographers out there Ricoh Imaging will launch the Pentax Q-S1 with a color to order service letting users personalize their digital camera into 40 different combinations. We’re not joking. Interested buyers can custom order the Q-S1 with their choice of 4 standard color options, or pick and chose between an additional 36 boy and grip color such as champagne, khaki green, and charcoal black.
The extremely customizable Q-S1 will be available later this month for $399.95 body only, $499.95 kitted with the 5-15mm lens. Alternatively, the camera comes with a $699.95 price tag kitted with the 5-15mm plus a 15-45mm F2.8 lens. Hit the jump for more images.
The Pentax K3 was already a very tempting 24MP DSLR body and now it’s out in a stoic gunmetal gray finish with a new Prestige Edition. Pentax says it will only produce 2,000 of these limited edition bodies. Along the “manlier” finish the camera will also be kitted with a matching gunmetal battery grip, black leather camera strap, and two batteries. It also comes preloaded with the latest v1.10 firmware, which adds diffraction correction.
Other than the new coat of paint the Prestige Edition is otherwise the same great Pentax K3. It still features a high-resolution sensor, which produced image quality that we thought could only be bested by the Nikon D7100. The Pentax K3 is very made-for-photographers camera with tons of accessible controls even down to a digital, flip-on anti-aliasing filter.
The Pentax K3 Prestige Edition will start shipping August with a price tag of $1,400. Make sure to grab yours quick because there are only 2,000 of these limited run goodies.
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…]
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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