Ricoh’s weather-sealed HD Pentax 16-85mm zoom to ship within weeks
posted Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 9:32 AM EDT
During the recent Photokina tradeshow in Germany, Ricoh didn't have any new products to show under its Pentax interchangeable-lens camera brand, but the company did have a new lens roadmap on hand, forecasting delivery of four new K-mount zoom lenses in 2014 or later. Today, the first of those four optics has been made official, with the unveiling of the HD Pentax DA 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens.
The new Pentax 16-85mm lens is, as its name would imply, a weather and dust-resistant optic with Ricoh's excellent HD coating, whose efficacy we nicely demonstrated last spring in a side-by-side test of the HD-coated variants of Pentax's Limited prime lenses alongside their optically-identical predecessors. A generous system of water and dust-resistant seals are included in this lens, allowing use in rain, mist or spray without fear of damage when combined with one of the company's weather-resistant camera bodies.
The HD Pentax DA 16-85mm has a 5.3x zoom range, and provides coverage equivalent to a 24.5-130mm lens when mounted on one of Pentax's APS-C camera bodies. (And as a DA-badged optic, that's your only choice -- the lens is designed for use on a digital SLR with APS-C cropped sensor, and not for a 35mm film body.)
With an optical formula consisting of 16 elements in 12 groups, the HD Pentax DA 16-85mm lens has one extra-low dispersion element and three aspherics, which combine to control aberrations and improve color, according to Ricoh. Interestingly, the company also claims that the lens MTF curve has been tuned to maximize resolution with current high-resolution sensors. (Among the company's APS-C camera line, the Pentax K-3 currently leads the way with a 24.4 megapixel imager.)
Other features of this new lens include quick-shift focusing to as close as 1.15 feet (0.35 m), a 7-bladed, rounded aperture diaphragm for smooth bokeh, a quiet DC autofocus motor, and a Super Protect coating to repel smudges and stains on the front lens element. Maximum magnification is 0.26x, 72mm filter threads are provided, and both a lens hood with filter window and a soft case are included in the product bundle. Dimensions are 3.1 x 3.7 inches (78 x 94 mm), and the lens weighs 17.2 ounces (488 g) without hood.
Priced at US$750, the HD Pentax DA 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens ships in the US market from November 2014. Its arrival means that there are now three lenses remaining to be fulfilled from the roadmap shown at Photokina: a DA Wide Zoom with focal lengths somewhere between 10 and 30mm, a large-diameter telephoto zoom likely covering somewhere between 70 and 200mm, and a high-magnification zoom with coverage likely between 100 and 400mm or thereabouts.
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