Ricoh launches first Limited-series zoom, Q-mount wide zoom lenses
posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM EDT
Pentax has today announced lenses for two of its three lens mounts: the K-mount used by its DSLRs and K-01 mirrorless camera, and the Q-mount used in its Q-series mirrorless cameras. Both lenses are slated to ship this December, and take the company's lens lineup in new directions.
The HD Pentax DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR is particularly significant for two reasons. It's the first Limited-series lens that's a zoom, rather than a prime. It's also the first to include weather sealing, meaning it can be safely used in rainy or dusty environments. Providing for that dust and waterproofing, there are a total of seven seals in the design.
The 20-40mm Limited lens is designed for use with APS-C format cameras, and has a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 30.5 to 61.5mm. It starts from a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture at wide angle, but falls to f/4 by telephoto, favoring a reduction in size and weight over greater light capture. A direct current autofocus motor is used, and said to offer smooth, quiet focusing.
The optical formula includes nine elements in eight groups, with one of these being an extra-low dispersion glass element. There's also a nine-bladed, rounded aperture, and as with the recently-revamped DA Limited lenses, the new optic includes Pentax's multi-layer HD lens coating, which reduces flare and ghosting, and increases sharpness. Pentax's Quick Shift focus system is also featured in the design, allowing for manual focus tuning immediately after autofocus operation completes.
As you'd expect in a Limited-series lens, the Pentax 20-40mm Limited has a hand-machined aluminum body. Dimensions are 2.8 inches (71mm) in diameter and 2.7 inches (68.5mm) in length, and the optic weighs 10 ounces (283g) without its hood. It's available in either black or silver, and will be priced at US$1,000 when it ships this December. Both a soft lens case and metal lens hood are included in the product bundle.
Alongside the new Limited lens for APS-C cameras, Pentax has also revealed a third zoom lens for its tiny Q-mount compact system cameras. The existing 02 Standard Zoom and 06 Telephoto Zoom are joined by the 08 Wide Zoom, and as you'd expect from the name, this is the widest zoom lens yet available for the Q mount. It's also the widest Q-mount lens by far in what Pentax calls the High-Performance series. Even among the Unique-series lenses (which have lower image quality, and lack autofocus, adjustable apertures or in-lens shutters), the Pentax 08 Wide Zoom is the second-widest optic yet available, bested only by the 03 Fish-Eye Lens. If you're a Q-series camera owner, your options for high-quality imaging just got a lot better. 35mm-equivalent focal lengths range from 17.5 to 27mm.
As you'd expect from a Q-mount optic, the Pentax 08 Wide Zoom is a pretty tiny lens. It's just 1.5 inches (38mm) in length, 2.1 inches (54mm) in diameter, and weighs only 2.6 ounces (75g). In that package, you get 10 lens elements in eight groups, including dual super aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements. Maximum aperture varies from a rather dim f/3.7 at wide angle to f/4 at telephoto.
The design also includes an STM stepper motor for autofocus, and can focus to as close as 0.82 feet (25cm). The front element is Super Protect-coated to prevent dust and stains from adhering. A lens hood is available as an optional extra, and 49mm filter threads are also provided. Pricing is set at US$500 when the lens ships this December.