Pentax goes big and bright with new 70-200mm f/2.8 and 150-450mm zoom lenses
posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 8:37 PM EDT
Bearing a striking resemblance to the two lenses we spotted on display under glass at Ricoh's booth at this year's CES in Las Vegas, Pentax has now unveiled the precise focal lengths for the two new additions to Pentax's K-mount lens lineup: a fast, bright 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a super-telephoto 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 optic.
While Canon and Nikon shooters, for example, are quite accustomed to this standard 70-200mm focal length lens, Pentax owners with K-mount digital cameras, on the other hand, have survived on a 50-135mm f/2.8 lens. This 50-135mm focal length provides an approximate 70-200mm equivalent field of view in 35mm terms. The fact that Pentax has introduced a true 70-200mm lens is quite telling. Is this more evidence that the elusive, long-awaited Pentax full-frame camera is almost here? For current K-mount shooters, this new 70-200mm lens will provide an equivalent field of view of 105-300mm.
Indeed, the press release from Pentax explicitly states that both the new HD PENTAX D FA * 70-200mm F2.8 and PENTAX D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 lenses are designed for use with current K-mount DSLR cameras and "future Pentax sensor technology." Pentax also states that the new 150-450mm has an image circle optimized for 35mm film SLRs.
Specs-wise, both lenses share impressive, high-end features, especially the 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. Sporting a brand new optical design, the 70-200 is part of the Pentax Star (*) series, which is their top-of-the-line family of glass and aims to provide superior image quality and sharpness. The lens features Pentax's HD coating as well as their Aero Bright Coating II to reduce reflections as well as ghosts and flaring. Featuring four super-low dispersion glass elements and two extra-low dispersion elements, the 70-200mm lens also includes two new Super ED glass elements to help eliminate chromatic aberration.
With a wide, constant f/2.8 aperture, the 70-200 is a classic telephoto zoom lens that is a great choice for sports and actions photography as well as photojournalism and portraits. The AF performance is said to very quiet and very fast. The lens uses an internal focusing system and also includes an AF limiter switch to speed up AF response time, as well as Quick Shift Focus for quick manual focus override of AF. Like many of Pentax's cameras, it's no surprise that this premium zoom lens is fully dustproof, weather-sealed and all-around ruggedly built.
For nature and wildlife photography, the new HD PENTAX-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6ED DC AW is the answer to a lot of demand from Pentax users wanting such a lens. Pentax has made some long telephoto lenses in the past, such as the Pentax 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8 SMC P-FA and Pentax 250-600mm f/5.6 ED IF SMC P-FA, but those two for instance are older designs and have been discontinued. For many Pentax owners, they were left without a new, high-performance super-telephoto lens.
Now, with the new 150-450mm lens, Pentaxians have a versatile, high-powered zoom lens with a relatively compact and lightweight design that's a great option for photographing wildlife and nature, as well as aircraft and outdoor sports.
Featuring three ED glass elements and one SLD glass element, the Pentax 150-450mm lens is designed to minimize spherical and chromatic aberrations and provide sharp, high-quality images. With an image circle optimized for 35mm film SLRs, the smaller APS-C sensor of Pentax's current DSLR lineup will therefore use a smaller, interior image circle of the lens, which should insure excellent edge-to-edge sharpness.
Like the new 70-200, the 150-450mm lens features Pentax's HD lens coating for reduced flare, ghosting and better light transmission and features the Quick-Shift Focus system. It's also ruggedized with full dust and weather-sealing, which is a much welcomed feature for a lens aimed at nature and wildlife photography.
The Pentax 150-450mm lens also includes four AF preset buttons -- one at every 90-degree point around the barrel. These programmable buttons can be used to quickly shift focus position to a pre-determined distance, or as an AF Cancel to pause AF operation while using Continuous AF. As of now, these programmable buttons are only compatible with the Pentax K-3 DSLR.
Other features of the 150-450mm lens include a lens-based internal focusing motor, rounded aperture diaphragm, SP (Super Protect) coating on the front element, zoom lock to prevent lens creep and a removable tripod collar.
Both lenses are set to be available in March 2015, with the 70-200mm f/2.8 priced at $2,296.95 and the 150-400mm f/4.5-5.6 at $2,496.95.
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