Parsippany, NJ—Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation debuted the entry-level Pentax KF DSLR camera. The compact, dustproof and weather-resistant digital SLR is optimized for all types of outdoor photography. In addition, it has advanced, user-friendly features, including a bright optical viewfinder.
“With the Pentax KF, even first-time SLR users can easily and effortlessly enjoy the benefits of SLR photography and explore the entire process of making digital images,” said Ken Curry, president, Ricoh Imaging Americas.
“The Pentax KF is an extension of our Pentax K-70. It shares many of the same features and proven performance, even in extreme outdoor conditions. As the only major manufacturer still producing true SLR cameras and building on our legacy and roots in SLR, high-quality still photography, we’re proud to fill the gap in the market and offer a high-quality, full-featured DSLR for less than $1,000.”
Pentax KF DSLR Specs
The DSLR employs a CMOS image sensor with approximately 24.24 effective megapixels and high-speed 14-bit image data readout. Combined with an AA-filter-free optical design, the Pentax KF can deliver high-resolution images. Additionally, the ILC achieves continuous shooting at a top speed of six images per second.
Moreover, the camera couples a high-performance accelerator unit with the high-speed Prime MII imaging engine. The result is minimized noise at all sensitivity levels. This allows the camera to capture richly gradated, fine-detailed images even at its top sensitivity of ISO 102,400.
Further, the ILC’s AA (anti-aliasing) filter simulator minimizes moiré. By applying microscopic vibrations to the sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during exposure, the camera’s AA filter simulator is said to provide the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. However, unlike an optical AA filter, the simulator lets users switch the filter effect on and off, as well as adjust the level of the effect.
Notably, the image sensor unit also tilts in all directions. Consequently, it can provide additional, special shooting functions. They include astrotracer, which simplifies advanced astronomical photography in combination with an optional GPS unit. It also enables auto horizon correction and extra sharpness functions.
Advanced Shake Reduction
In addition, the DSLR integrates the Pentax-original shake-reduction (SR) system. Using its built-in SR mechanism, the camera effectively minimizes the effects from shake to deliver blur-free images. Moreover, it will do so even in challenging, shake-prone conditions, like when a telephoto lens is used or shooting low-light scenes with ambient light. The system provides a compensation effect of 4.5 shutter steps, similar to top-of-the-line Pentax models.
What’s more, the camera’s Pixel Shift Resolution technology captures four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image. It then synthesizes them into a single, composite image.
“Compared to the conventional Bayer system, in which each pixel has only a single color data unit, this innovative system obtains all color data in each pixel to deliver superhigh-resolution images with greater color accuracy and much finer details than those produced by conventional APS-C-size image sensors,” the company noted.
This system also provides a motion correction function. It automatically detects a moving object during continuous shooting and minimizes negative effects during the synthesizing process to accommodate a range of scenes and subjects.
Hybrid Autofocus System
The Pentax KF also employs a hybrid AF system during live view autofocus operation. By positioning a contrast-detection AF sensor with focusing accuracy and a phase-matching AF sensor on the image sensor’s surface, the hybrid system helps assure high-speed, pinpoint AF focusing on the subject.
In addition, a SAFOX X AF sensor module provides responsive autofocus operation. With its 11 sensors, including nine cross-type sensors in the middle, the module achieves pinpoint focus on the subject at a minimum brightness level as low as -3 EV.
It also offers AF tracking of moving subjects, enabled by such features as the select-area expansion function. This feature automatically refocuses on a moving subject after it moves away from the initial point. And an AF hold function maintains the initial in-focus point even when the module loses sight of the subject.
Interval Shooting Functions
The ILC also has several interval shooting functions. For example, 4K-resolution interval movie mode records a series of still images at a fixed interval and then links them into a single 4K-resolution movie file. Star stream movie records the traces of stars or illuminations on a 4K-resolution movie file. And interval composite synthesizes a composite image with a choice of three modes (average, additive and comparative).
Within its compact body, the Pentax KF incorporates a pentaprism-type glass optical viewfinder with the same optics as well as coatings as those in higher-level models. With its 100% field of view and nearly 0.95x magnification, the viewfinder provides a large, clear view of the subject.
The viewfinder is supplemented by a vari-angle LCD monitor photographers can position at a desired angle. Consequently, it is easier to compose images in various situations. These include high-angle shooting using outstretched arms; low-angle shots taken from ground level; or astrophotography with the camera pointed toward the sky.
Its monitor also boasts air-gapless construction. The air space between the 1.04M-dot LCD panel and the protective cover is filled with a special resin material. The resin reduces the reflection as well as dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting. The camera also has a red-lighted monitor display function, which facilitates viewing in dark locations for astrophotography.
Another feature is a custom image function that lets users express their creative intention. It offers 14 custom image modes, including SATOBI, which reproduces the colors to resemble those of pictures in the ’60s and ’70s. It creates cyan-tinged blues, subdued yellows as well as faded reds. Other modes are bleach bypass, which recreates the high-contrast look of movie film; and cross processing, which adds unusual colors to captured images.
Also incorporated in the camera are wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) functions to support operations using smartphones and tablets. By installing the Image Sync app on a smartphone or tablet, users can remotely check the live view image, capture still images as well as adjust camera settings. It is also possible to transfer images to a mobile device for uploading onto social networking platforms.
The camera was also designed to perform in a range of weather conditions. It operates at temperatures as low as 14°F. Moreover, its compact, portable body features dustproof– and weather-resistant construction with 100 seals throughout. Further, to ensure a firm hold on the camera body with a gloved hand, the grip, control buttons on the back panel and mode dials are contoured.
The Pentax KF DSLR with a black body has a suggested retail price of $849.95. The black version with the smc Pentax DA L 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 AL WR kit lens has an SRP of $949.95.
In addition to the standard black body, Ricoh is offering two special-edition color models—crystal blue and crystal white. Ricoh will make them available in a limited quantity of 700 units each. SRPs: $899.95.