Ricoh preps tele macro prime and zoom for Q-mount, and… 7mm prime for Four Thirds??


posted Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5:35 PM EDT


It's crystal ball time, Pentaxians! The hawk-eyed folks at two Japanese tech blogs -- Egami and Love Pentax -- have picked up news of several newly-published patent applications from Ricoh, owner of the Pentax brand, in the last few days. Two of them make quite a bit of sense, but we must admit we're a little baffled by the third.

We'll start with Love Pentax, who've discovered patent applications for two new Q-mount lenses. First up, we have an optic that the blog's author, D*isuke, suggests could be called the Pentax 09 Telephoto Prime. We'd note that this isn't on Ricoh's current Pentax Q-mount lens roadmap, which currently calls only for one new optic in 2014 or later. That would be a telephoto macro with an effective focal length somewhere around 90-100mm, but the lens in this application is a much, much stronger tele.

Proposed Pentax 45mm f/1.8 prime lens for Q mount, from the patent application.

How strong? Well, it's a 45mm f/1.8 optic with an inner-focusing design, a 1/1.7-inch image circle, and ten elements in seven groups. On a Q-mount camera, that would translate to either a 207mm prime if you're shooting with the Pentax Q-S1 and Q7, or a 249mm prime with the original Pentax Q and Q10. The optical formula for this proposed optic is shown above.

Love Pentax has also uncovered another application which looks to be an updated, macro-capable variant of the existing Pentax 06 Telephoto Zoom. You can see the optical formula of the current lens below, above that of the new optic. Compared to that design, the proposed variant has one additional element, and one additional group.

Optical formula of the current Pentax 06 Telephoto Zoom lens.

Proposed Pentax 15-45mm f/2.8 zoom lens for Q mount, from the patent application.

Although the optical formula and focusing distance has changed -- the new optic can focus to around 14 inches (35cm), where the current version focuses to 40 inches (100cm) -- the new design is still a constant aperture 15-45mm f/2.8 zoom, just as is the current lens. It would be a rather larger lens than the current one, however, with a length of around 70mm according to Love Pentax.

And finally, we come to a patent application spotted by the folks at Egami, which we must admit rather threw us. We're guessing that this particular application isn't likely to see the light of day any time soon, as it has an image circle corresponding to a 4/3-inch sensor size, as used in Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras. With a focal length of 7mm and an aperture of f/2.6, this prime -- if commercialized, anyway -- would equate to about 14mm on a body with 4/3-inch sensor.

Ricoh's proposed 7mm f/2.6 prime for 4/3-inch sensor size.

The optical diagram for this lens design is above; apologies for the image quality, but patent applications aren't known for their razor-sharp imagery. More details -- if you speak Japanese, anyway -- can be found at Egami.

(Crystal ball image courtesy of Pascal / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license. Image has been modified from the original.)