Category Archives: Pentax

Pentax MX-1: Hands-On Review and Sample Images

Pentax MX-1: Hands-On Review and Sample Images

Pentax MX-1 Black
The MX-1 in All Black.

Pentax has entered the “serious” high end compact digital camera market with the new MX-1, a retro-styled camera with a fast f/1.8-2.5 zoom and a competitive 12 Megapixel 1/1.7” sensor.  Available in silver and black or all black for $499.95, the MX-1 comes in next to the standout retro designs from Olympus (with its OM-D EM-5 and XZ-series) and FujiFilm (with its X-series).

The fast SMC f/1.8-2.5 lens includes 4 aspherical elements and covers a strong 28-112mm 35mm-equivalent zoom range.  Rounding out the MX-1’s spec sheet is ISO sensitivity to 12800, a (very bright and crystal clear) 3” 920k tilting LCD, macro shooting to 1cm, “shake reduction,” and, naturally, full HD movie shooting.
Brass Plates
Pentax MX-1 Silver and Black
The MX-1 in Silver & Black; the Silver portions are brass.
The buzz surrounding the camera is its use of brass top and bottom plates, which harken back to Pentax’s tough and reliable (film) SLR’s—and which complement its tough, highly water-resistant DSLR’s.  Indeed, that most reviews must state that Pentax is using “real” or “actual” brass serves to punctuate this unique feature; the spin is that the brass will get “brassy”—show wear—over time, a somewhat odd pitch given the inherent turnover of digital cameras.

The MX-1’s brass plates certainly feel more durable than plastic, aluminum or even some magnesium offerings, and the faux-leather rubber surface is nice and grippy—and it had better be, since there is neither a front nor a rear thumb grip, making the camera feel a bit loose especially considering its size and weight.

In the Field
It seems that the MX-1’s retro-styling comes at a cost, however:  there’s no hot-shoe on the top plate (and the pop-up flash is manually controlled) or options for an electronic viewfinder (EVF), no wheel surrounding the lens for aperture control or manual focusing, and there is only a single dial on the back of the camera for spinning through various settings (so that true manual shooters must use the same dial for speed and aperture controls, although most typically shoot in Aperture Priority (Av)). 

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
The MX-1 is a capable street shooter with its fast f/1.8-2.5 28-112mm 35mm-equivalent zoom.

Yes, the small buttons on the back of the camera are quite well-spaced and well-designed and an Exposure Compensation dial sits atop the camera, but there is still a feeling of lack of control.  

On the positive side, the LCD is very, very clear and bright, making for easy and accurate review of images.

Image Quality
Ultimately the question should be whether the camera delivers good photos.  And the MX-1 does deliver very good pics—not spectacular, but very good.  Images tend to be very sharp, particularly in close-focusing situations, such as with these oranges.

Pentax MX-1 in Aperture Priority Mode.
Pentax MX-1 in Av Mode, f/4.5 at 1/250 sec, ISO 800.

I would have liked to shoot some portraits with the MX-1, but wasn’t able to get much in the short time I had it.  I did take four pictures of a local fruit seller and was not happy with any of the results.

Here are several other samples taken on a cloudy February day in New York City.  Again, colors tend to be relatively accurate with decent contrast.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
Pentax MX-1 in Av Mode, f/4.5 at 1/50 sec, ISO 200, slight cropping.

I would have liked to see slightly faster focusing and much, much faster image processing (the camera often states that images are being processed) and shot-to-shot times.  


If you’re looking for a retro-style camera, I would certainly consider options from Olympus and Fuji along with the MX-1.  The MX-1 stands out in only a few respects, most notably its retro styling and brass plates.  While the macro mode on the MX-1 is excellent, the LCD is clear, focusing is good and the lens is fast, none of these are particularly compelling reasons to pick the MX-1 over, say, the XZ-2 or even the Canon G15.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a great all-around camera, I would consider sticking with the stalwarts from Canon with the PowerShot G15 and Panasonic with the Lumix LX-7.  Indeed, the MX-1 is not a standout by any means, and will likely have a difficult time making its way in this very competitive sector.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
Note the purple fringing on the high contrast areas in the coins above.
Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
The MX-1 had some difficulty with reds; these plums were not quite as red/pink as this image portrays.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images


Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Enthusiast compact camera comparison
Canon PowerShot G15
4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in.
(107 x 76 x 40 mm)
12.4 oz
(352 g)
Nikon Coolpix P7700
4.7 x 2.9 x 2.0 in.
(119 x 73 x 50 mm)
14.0 oz
(397 g)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in.
(111 x 67 x 46 mm)
10.5 oz
(297 g)
Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in.
(113 x 65 x 48 mm)
12.2 oz
(346 g)
Pentax MX-1
4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in.
(122 x 61 x 51 mm)
13.8 oz
(391 g)

Canon EOS Rebel T4i with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens Review, Sample Images, Sample Videos, Photos

I finally had a chance to test the new Canon EOS Rebel T4i digital SLR camera with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens in NYC this week. The new Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Camera is the newest mid-level DSLR model from Canon EOS Rebel series and the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens is another new Canon release plus it is the first of it’s kind.
July 12, 2012 – DISCLAIMER:
H and B Digital currently does not have new Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR camera in stock due  Canon recalling the new Canon EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D/EOS Kiss X6i overseas models) Digital SLR Camera due to the front rubber grips of some units changing color (turn white) after a short period of time. The substance found on the rubber grips that changes their color to white is called zinc bis (N,N’-dimethyldithiocarbamate) and may cause an allergic reaction to users (although none have been reported.) You can find more information about the Canon Rebel T4i recall and what to do if your camera has been affected by clicking here and then scrolling down on that page.
The Canon Rebel T4i features an upgraded image sensor, DIGIC 5 processor, improved live view and video autofocus, faster shot-to-shot rate, and a high-resolution touchscreen interface. It is nearly identical to last year’s EOS Rebel T3i in size and shape, with a control layout that is only slightly altered to improve ergonomics. But despite similarity in the overall design the new and improved features actually do make a big contribution to the overall functionality of the camera such as better focus quality and accuracy in most situations.  
While other mirror-less camera manufacturers such as Olympus and Pentax have released “pancake” lenses, Canon is finally getting their feet wet with the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake lenses extremely compact and lightweight design. The EF 40mm f/2.8 STM is also equipped with another new feature for the Canon EOS system, as opposed to a conventional micro-motor or USM Autofocus, Canon has introduced a stepping AF motor, this is what the “STM” stands for in the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens name.  It is provides a smoother auto-focusing experience in movie or Live-View mode. This is why many photographers and videographers alike will be if they are not already gravitating towards this new lens. However, the camera has to be optimized to take advantage of this feature and as of now only the Canon EOS Rebel T4i digital SLR cameras qualify.
The 40mm f/2.8 lens is a unique lens because it is neither really a moderate wide-angle nor a standard prime lens. However, the actual design of the 40mm lens itself features all the standard pancake lens appeal of being simple, compact and lightweight.  The EF 40mm lens has a tightly assembled plastic body based on a metal mount. The focus ring operates smoothly and an inner lens tube extends a little when focusing towards shorter distances. The focus ring is decoupled from the actual focus gear so you cannot retract the inner tube after detaching the lens from the camera. The filter size on this lens is 52mm which gives you an even better idea of how small this lens actually is. 
As I mentioned above, the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens uses a stepping motor (STM) for autofocus (AF).  AF operations were fairly fast in phase detection AF mode but, I found that it actually performed a bit slower than any of the ring-type USM AF lenses I’ve tested in the past. And after researching other sources regarding the differences between an STM and USM AF I’ve read that this is actually typical. Additionally, in a silent environment there is also a noticeable amount of AF noise which was sort of irritating and even a little embarrassing at times when I was shooting videos of people in NYC walking towards me and the lens kept trying to focus and refocus on a fixed point. 
Although you don’t have to use the AF mode, you can also use the lenses Manual Focus.  Manual focusing allows you to turn the focus ring to control the AF motor.  I found this to work well and at times even preferred it over the AF mode. Canon advertises the STM as an innovation for movie taking. This is true for the new EOS Rebel T4i which has been optimized for STM lenses but for older EOS cameras this may not work as well because the progress from USM is rather marginal here. Most mirror-less systems do a better job across all contrast AF aspects, thus “LiveView,” just to put this into perspective.
Generally, Pancake lenses tend to not have an overly complicated design which balances with their comparatively slow speed.  Another feature of the 40mm f/2.8 lens is the bokeh or the quality of the out-of-focus blur. I had to choose a rather short focus distance in order to achieve a decently shallow depth-of-field. However, I personally enjoy bokeh in photography which can be aesthetically appealing or displeasing depending on the lens aberrations and aperture shape.  Funny thing is, I have astigmatism in both my eyes which causes my eyes to naturally bokeh or blur parts of the world around me, and yet I have glasses to fix this feature I enjoy so much when shooting and viewing photos.  In this sense, bokeh in photography can be viewed as a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.  Canon actually outlines this aspect as a strength of the lens and I would have to agree but others might not find this feature as pleasing.  
Below are sample images demonstrating the bokeh effect on my shots when using the Canon EOS Rebel T4i with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens:

As far as shooting still images, the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens takes extremely sharp photos with great color and detail.
Below are sample images taken with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens:

However, the downside of this lens and I think it is a major downside, is the way it operates when shooting videos. As I mentioned above, the AF is noisy and can be very annoying primarily because of the bigger issue involved with this lens which is the slow AF tracking especially when recording subjects that are moving at a moderately fast pace lens. 
In the sample video below you can see how the 40mm lens does a poor job of keeping subjects that moving towards and away from me in focus even when I am standing in a stationary and relatively steady (obviously not using a tripod) position.
The lens did a better job of staying in focus when recording a video of a plant blowing around in the wind but as I moved closer to the subject you can see how the lens has a difficult time adjusting quickly to the change in distance. In the sample video below, you can see this in action.
The new Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens is a highly portable lens that produces crisp detail and vibrant colors. It is a good investment especially since it is extremely affordable but I would not recommend this lens if you are looking to primarily record movies and video. I even think that Canon should reconsider advertising the 40mm f/2.8 STM lens as an innovation for movie making and instead promote it is as their first compact and lightweight pancake lens with great bokeh effect and excellent quality image for a low-cost price. 
For pricing and availability, go to our H and B Digital online store of visit us at our retail location in Midtown, Manhattan:
          The Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Camera
          The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens
          The Canon EOS Rebel T4i with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens Kit

Pentax Optio RZ10 Travel Compact Digital Camera Review, Sample Images, Photos in NYC

The Pentax Optio RZ10 is an inexpensive travel-compact digital camera with a long 10x optical zoom wide angle lens offering a versatile focal range of 28-280mm. The Pentax RZ10 also features a 14 megapixel sensor, a Dual Shake Reduction system, a 2.7 inch LCD screen, 720p HD movie recording, 1 cm macro mode, a range of digital filters and an Auto Picture Mode. It is available in five different colors – black, white, purple, green, orange.
Don’t let the toy-like body design of the Pentax Optio RZ10 fool you. It is exceptionally durable and easy to handle. Not only was the Optio RZ10 comfortable to hold while shooting and filming but it also proved to be highly portable as well.
The Pentax Optio RZ10 makes taking great pictures easy and fun. There is a mode button on the back of the camera right next to the LCD display screen that allows you to select the best possible settings for whatever environment you are in without having to go into the menu. By pressing this mode button once, your image will appear on the LCD screen  in the various different scene settings (Portrait, Outdoor, Landscape, Night Scene, Kids, Fireworks, Surf & Snow, Party, Food, Pet, etc.) You can choose whichever setting or filter that you feel makes for the best possible image. 
Auto Mode + Macro
If in Auto Picture mode some settings (governing the likes of white balance, metering and exposure compensation) are automatically deselected, so switch to Program instead to access the full gamut. It’s here that one can adjust movie resolution and quality levels – as well as that of stills – plus access a D-Range setting so the camera automatically corrects for shadows, for highlights – or for both. This isn’t an automatic default feature, you have to select it.
Surprisingly, some compacts have a little lag time
when surfing through their menus and options, but the Pentax Optio RZ10 has a speedy response time when pressing any of the cameras buttons. Well, expect for the initial start-up, there was a bit of a slower than expected response when turning the camera’s power on. But aside from that minor inconvenience, the Pentax Optio RZ10 has some other highly desirable features. For example, the Optio RZ10 comes equipped with 1 cm Macro Mode which allows you to take shots of your subjects as close as 1 cm from the front of the camera.
1 cm Macro Mode
The 10x optical zoom is also a commendable feature as well. Images remained sharp and clear when using the full 10x optical zoom. Although images did blur a little once zoomed in using the 6.7x digital zoom. But that is expected, not even in the most advanced point-and-shoots take stills with full clarity when surpassing the optical zoom focal length. I also noticed that the Optio RZ10’s zoom button is on the top right but  the control nob is towards the back of the camera as opposed to the top right towards the front of the camera as most point-and-shoots are constructed. At first, this placement difference was a tad difficult to get used to, but I eventually adjusted!
Auto Mode Image 01

Auto Mode Image 02
The 720p HD video capture is of a decent and standard quality especially for the cameras price range. Additionally, it’s Shake Reduction Image Stabilization served to be beneficial especially while recording video.
You can store your stills and videos taken with the Optio RZ10 on a SD/SDHC card or a wireless capable Eye-Fi card. 

Lastly, the Pentax Optio RZ10 comes with a lightweight and rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Most budget cameras require AA batteries, so this extra detail definitely gives the Optio RZ10 an advantage over its competitors. 
Overall, the Pentax Optio RZ10 delivers perfectly satisfactory performance with little to be compromised or sacrificed. The Pentax Optio RZ10 is a good choice for a beginner point-and-shoot user or as a travel companion for your trip.
For pricing and availability, you can go to our Pentax Optio RZ10 product page or visit us at our H and B Digital storefront in Midtown, Manhattan.

Pentax Optio WG-2 Weatherproof Digital Camera Review and Sample Images in NYC

The new Pentax Optio WG-2 is a rugged and compact adventure camera that is an all-around weatherproof model. This includes waterproof to a depth up to 40 feet, shockproof from a drop of up to 5 feet, coldproof to sub-freezing temps of minus 10 degrees C (14 degrees F), crushproof withstanding weights up to 220 LBF (pound-force) and dustproof from sandy beaches to dry deserts. 
The Optio WG-2 is a 13th generation model that features a backlit 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, a large and bright 3.0″ wide-angle LCD screen with anti-reflective coating, 5x optical zoom, a durable lens cover, full 1080p HD video capture and Digital Microscope mode (among various other convenient modes) which uses a 6 macro LEDs and a detachable macro focus ring for perfect focus  on subjects as close as 1 cm from the front of the camera.

Waterproof to a depth of 40 feet is perfect for use when submerged in a pool, lake, or ocean, or simply when caught in a sudden downpour.

Shockproof, ruggedized design protects from drops up to 5 feet, ensuring stable operation during rigorous activity or for life’s everyday mishaps.

Crushproof construction withstands weights up to 220 LBF (pound-force), preventing damage at the bottom of a backpack or handbag, or when accidentally wedged between a body and a solid object.

Coldproof to sub-freezing temperatures of minus 10 degrees C (14 degrees F) is ideal for use in cold, snowy, wet conditions from skiing to snowmobiling, snowshoeing to sledding, or just building a snowman in the front yard.

Dustproof design protects the camera from dry, dusty environments from the beach to the desert.

16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
The backlit 16 MP CMOS sensor offers superior high resolution imaging with excellent image quality, color accuracy, and noise performance.

Full 1080p High Definition Video Capture 
Record full HD video in widescreen 1080p resolution (1920×1080) with efficient, high quality h.264 compression at 30 frames per second.

6 Macro LEDS
Digital Microscope mode uses 6 macro LEDs and a detachable macro focus ring for perfect focus and smooth even lighting around the smallest of subjects as close as 1 cm from the front of the camera.

Durable lens cover
Tough mineral crystal cover protects internal lens elements, and an easy-to-clean SP coating helps water sheet off the optical surface, minimizing blur due to water droplets.

Below is a sample image taken of a yellow rose using the Optio WG-2, the image on the left is using Macro Mode without the detachable Macro Focus Ring, the image on the right is using the 1 cm Macro Mode with the Macro Focus Ring attached.

Pentax Optio WG-2 Capture Modes: 
Mode selection: Auto Picture
Below are a few examples using the Pentax Optio WG-2 on Auto Picture Mode:

Auto Mode Image 01
Auto Mode Image 02

Mode Selection: Program, Night Scene, Handheld Night Snap (ISO 125-1600), Movie, Underwater, Underwater Movie.
Digital Microscope (2M)
Below are examples using the Optio WG-2 Digital Microscope mode on various flowers.

Digital Microscope Mode Image 01


Digital Microscope Mode Image 02
Digital Microscope Mode Image 03

Digital Microscope Mode Image 04

Mode Selection: Landscape

Landscape Mode

Mode Selection: Flower

Flower Mode

Mode Selection: Portrait, Interval Shot, Interval Movie, High Speed Movie (VGA, 120 FPS capture, 30 FPS playback), Digital SR, Surf & Snow, Kids, Pet, Sport, Candlelight, Fireworks, Night Scene Portrait.  

Text Mode:

Mode Selection: Food, Digital Wide (5M), Digital Panorama (2M per frame), Frame Composite (3M or 2M), Report (1280×960, ISO 125-1600), Green (ISO 125-1600), Voice Recording (via reprogrammable Green button)

Auto Picture modes (cont.): Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Standard, Flower, Sport, Candlelight, Blue Sky, Sunset, Text, Group Photo, Pet, Portrait x Blue Sky, Portrait x Sunset, Portrait x Backlight

Custom Image modes: Bright, Natural, Monochrome

Green simplified mode available: Yes (ISO 125-1600)

Face detection available: Yes (up to 32 faces), Smile Capture, Blink Detection, Self Portrait Assist, Self Portrait Assist + Smile Capture, Pet Recognition (1 face detect, 3 faces pre-registered)

Powerful 5x Optical Zoom
The wide-angle 5x internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent)  provides flexible capture of subjects from a near or far distance.

Face Detection
Capture perfect portraits with fast Face Detection technology, including Smile Capture and Blink Detection functions, as well as exposure modes specifically designed for portrait photography.

PENTAX Shake Reduction
Pixel Track, Digital, and Movie Shake Reduction ensure sharp, blur-free images and video, even in dim lighting.

Autofocus assist lamp
An autofocus assist lamp helps to quickly and accurately focus, even in the most challenging of lighting conditions.

Extended Dynamic Range
Extended dynamic range functions help bring out extra detail in shadow and/or highlight areas of an image to prevent exposure clipping.

Green Button
Flexible multi-purpose Green Button allows for quick access to many common camera settings, including Movie Mode, Voice Recording, and other functions.

Optional infrared remote
Take pictures remotely using an optional PENTAX infrared remote control, perfect for self-portraits or group shots, small subject photography, or rock steady exposures.

This Pentax Optio WG-2 was easy to use and produced some excellent images. It is unfortunate that I wasn’t able to test it underwater or on a snowy mountain, but I could at least give you some solid examples of what this camera can do on an adventure around New York City aka the Concrete Jungle!

For pricing and availability, check out our Pentax Optio WG-2 digital camera product page or visit our H and B Digital retail location in Midtown, Manhattan.

Pentax Optio WG-1 Adventure Proof Digital Camera Photo Samples and Review in NYC

Pentax Optio WG-1 Adventure Proof Digital Camera Photo Shoot in the Concrete Jungle of NYC From H and B

Camera: Pentax Optio WG-1
Mode: Auto

Product Highlights

  • 720p HD Video & HDMI Connection
  • 14Mp Resolution
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card Slot
  • 1/2.3″ CCD Image Sensor
  • 2.7″ LCD Display
  • Pentax Zoom Lens
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Digital Shake Reduction
  • Water/Shock/Crush/Cold and Dust Proof
  • Digital Microscope Mode

You’re looking for a tough camera? We’d like to introduce you to one who fits the bill: The Pentax Optio WG-1 Digital Camera. Not only does this snazzy little point and shoot take great 14Mp photos and 720/30p video, but it’s built to last. How so? Consider the following: The WG-1 is waterproof to 33′, shockproof – able to withstand drops of up to 5′, crushproof – able to withstand weight of up to 100 kilogram-force, coldproof to negative 14°F, and dustproof. Impressed? We are. Drop it, kick it, take it out in the harsh elements or under the sea, all in the name of capturing moment, and the WG-1 will live to do it all again.
When it comes to the more basic aspects of the camera you’ll benefit from a 2.7″ LCD display, 5x optical zoom, and Digital Shake Reduction. The camera also features an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot. You can store your videos or still images to the compatible card of your choosing. The WG-1 also has an HDMI connection for direct viewing of your HD video on your HDTV. Additionally, the camera also boasts a Digital Microscope mode for macro shooting. The WG-1 is definitely more than the average point and shoot.

12th Generation
PENTAX’s 12th rugged generation waterproof digital camera is adventure proof, and suitable for almost any environment
Waterproof to 33 feet is perfect for use when submerged
Shockproof, ruggedized design protects from drops up to 5 feet
Crushproof construction withstands weights up to 100 KGF (kilogram-force)
Coldproof to sub-freezing temps of minus 10 degrees C (14°F)
Dustproof design protects the camera from dry, dusty environments
14Mp sensor offers plenty of image detail
Wide Angle 5x Internal Optical Zoom Lens
Wide angle 5X internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent) provides flexible capture of subjects near or far
2.7″ LCD Screen
Large 2.7 inch LCD features a wide angle 16:9 aspect ratio with anti-reflective coating.
Digital Microscope Mode
Enhanced Digital Microscope mode uses 5 macro LEDs for perfect focus and smooth, even lighting
An HDMI port plays back beautiful, high def images and video on HDTVs

720p HD Video
Capture video in widescreen 720p HD at 30 frames per second
Digital Shake Reduction
Pixel Track and Digital Shake Reduction ensure sharp, blur-free images

Lens: Pentax zoom lens; Focus system: Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus, AF assist lamp, Macro Illuminating LEDs Focus modes: 9 point AF, Spot AF, Auto Tracking AF, Macro, Super Macro, Infinity Landscape, Pan Focus, Manual Focus Manual focus: Yes Macro focus: Yes, Macro and Super Macro available Focus lock: Yes, by pressing the shutter release button half way Focus range Normal: 1.64′ to infinity, Macro: 0.33 to 1.97′, Super Macro: 0.03 (1cm) to 0.98′ (at mid-zoom, set automatically); Power source: Rechargeable li-ion battery D-LI92, Recordable images: approximately 260 playback time: approximately 280 min Movie recording time: approximately 120 min Audio recording time: approximately 350 min AC adapter available: Yes (optional); Weight without battery or removable memory: 5.0 oz (WG-1); Construction material(s): Reinforced polycarbonate plastic with aluminum accents; Weather resistant: Yes, JIS Class 8 waterproof submersible to 33′, JIS Class 6 dustproof shock resistant: Yes, shockproof to 5′; Language support: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Thai, Korean, Simplified/Traditional Chinese; ISO Auto: 80-1600 auto range adjustable, Digital SR 80-6400 (ISO 3200-6400 5M or 4M), Manual: 80-6400 (ISO 3200-6400 5M or 4M); Shutter speed: 1/5000 to 1/4 seconds (up to 4 seconds in Night Scene mode); Drive modes: Mode selection: One Shot, self timer, continuous, burst (5M or 4M), remote control, interval, auto bracket continuous FPS: approx 0.68 FPS, Burst TBD FPS for TBD frames (5M or 4M), TBD FPS for TBD frames at ISO 3200-6400 (5M or 4M) Self-timer: Yes (10s, 2s) Remote control: Yes (infrared, optional)

Capture Modes
Mode selection: Auto Picture (Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Standard, Flower, Sport, Candlelight, Blue Sky, Sunset, Text, Group Photo, Pet, Portrait x Blue Sky, Portrait x Sunset, Portrait x Backlight), Program, Night Scene, Movie, Underwater, Underwater Movie, Digital Microscope (2M), Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Digital Wide (5M), Digital SR (ISO 3200-6400 5M or 4M), Surf & Snow, Kids, Pet, Sport, Fireworks, Candlelight, Night Scene Portrait, Text, Food, Digital Panorama (2M per frame), Frame Composite (3M or 2M), Report (1280 x 960), Green, Voice Recording (via reprogrammable Green button) Green simplified mode available: Yes Face detection available: Yes (up to 32 faces), Smile Capture, Blink Detection, Pet Recognition (1 face detect, 3 faces pre-registered) P/A/S/M/B: P Date stamp: Yes, date, date-time, time (not available in Green mode) Digital filters (capture): Image Tone (Bright, Natural, Monochrome) Dynamic Range Adjustment: Yes (highlight and shadow correction)

Playback Modes
Mode selection: One Shot, Index (6 or 12 thumbnails), Magnification, Movie Playback, Sound Playback, Histogram, Folder Display, Select & Delete, Calendar Mode pallet: Slideshow, Image Rotation, Small Face Filter, Ink Rubbing Filter, Collage, Digital Filter, Original Frame (5M or 4M), Frame Composite (3M or 2M), Movie Edit, Redeye Edit, Resize, Cropping, Image & Sound Copy, Voice Memo, Protect, DPOF, Startup Screen, Faze Zooming Magnification: Up to 10X, scrollable Digital filters (playback): B/W, Sepia, Toy Camera, Retro, Color, Color Extract, Color Emphasis, High Contrast, Starburst, Soft, Fisheye, Brightness, Miniature Movie edit: Save as Still Image, Movie Divide

Photo Shoot Images:

Click here to view or order the Pentax Optio WG-1 Digital Camera

New Pentax Optio RZ18 Digital Camera Photo Shoot and Testing in NYC From H and B

New Pentax Optio RZ18 Digital Camera Photo Shoot and Testing in NYC From H and B

Camera: Pentax Optio RZ18
Mode: Auto

The Pentax Optio RZ 18 Digital Camera (Black) is a point-and-shoot that keeps things simple while giving you today’s most sought after features. What might those be? High def 720p video capture, face detection, image stabilization, and advanced 9-point autofocus are chief among them. More than just slim and convenient, however, the RZ 18 also packs in 16Mp, for high-quality, enlargement-friendly photos.
Helping to make those stellar images would be the camera’s Pentax zoom lens with a 4.5-81mm 35mm equivalent focal length (25-450mm). The lens also features an 18x optical zoom, plus a 27x Intelligent Zoom, and Pentax’s Shake Reduction image stabilization. The camera also has a built-in flash for capturing stills in low-light or night-time situations. Another useful aspect of the RZ 18 is the large 3.0″ LCD screen. You can compose, review, and navigate without having to squint with this, fast-becoming, industry standard size display.
When it comes to getting the best shot for each individual situation the RZ 18 has modes like Auto Picture, which take the guesswork out of getting it right. Other features such as creative special effects filters add a unique and fun bent to your images. And using the optional remote control you can take your pictures even further by getting yourself in the shoot, photographing large groups, or tinkering with self-timer, continuous, or burst modes, with ease. No matter how or what you shoot, though, the Optio records your files to compatible SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards (sold separately).

  • Generous 18x zoom (equivalent to 25-450mm) with extra wide angle lens captures subjects near and far
  • High resolution 16 megapixel sensor for large prints or aggressive image cropping
  • Slim footprint for outstanding portability and inconspicuous use
  • Multiple PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) image stabilization options, including sensor-shift SR, for sharp images in any lighting
  • Large 3 inch LCD with HVGA resolution (460,000 dots)
  • Powerful automatic shooting modes such as Auto Picture and scene modes take the guesswork out of great photography
  • Creative special effects filters add artistic flair to the common snapshot
  • Advanced 9-point autofocus with a 4cm super macro mode
  • Face detection for perfectly focused and exposed portraits, includes a dedicated pet recognition feature
  • Widescreen HD video in 720p at 30 frames per second
  • Remote control sensor works with any optional PENTAX infrared remote control (optional)
  • Compatible with SD, SDHC, and modern SDXC memory cards 

Photo Shoot Images:

* Just a few comments about this camera – This camera was very lightweight and easy to carry. From it’s body alone you might not realize it’s amazing wide angle, zoom and picture quality ability. But I was surprised at the clarity and quality of the images taken.

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The Came Ra Evolved: The New Pentax Q Small-Sensor, Mirrorless, Interchangable Lens Camera

The World’s Smallest, Lightest and Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera: THE PENTAX “Q”

The Pentax Q is the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market. And, just like the company’s famously diminutive Auto 110 SLR from the late 70’s, it achieves this by embracing a smaller format than its peers. Being built around a 1/2.3″ sensor, the Q is a fraction of the size of even the smallest existing mirrorless cameras and is the first really pocketable model (though the protruding lens still means that’ll have to be the pocket of your jacket, rather than your shirt or trousers).
To make clear what the rather opaque 1/2.3″ figure actually means, it equates to a surface area of around 28mm2. This is around 1/8th the size of the sensor used in Micro Four Thirds cameras and 1/13th the size of the the APS-C format sensor in Sony’s NEX. The advantage of this is that the lenses for the Q mount can be made a lot smaller than those for other systems, but the downside is that the image quality is more likely to resemble that of a compact camera than a DSLR.
You can glean a lot about Pentax’s approach to the Q from the lenses it has announced: a 47mm equivalent F1.9 prime lens for the enthusiasts but accompanied with a healthy dose of fun in the form of two fixed focal length ‘toy’ lenses (a wide-angle and a telephoto version, both sub-$100). On the fun side of things there will also be a fisheye lens or, at the more serious end, a 28-83mm equivalent standard zoom with a built-in shutter, allowing flash sync at any shutter speed.
Coupled with the 47mm equiv. prime or the standard zoom the Q, with its sturdy magnesium-alloy build, appears to be offering an alternative take on the photographers’ compacts such as the Canon G12, Olympus XZ-1 and even the Ricoh GRD. However, the fact that it can take different lenses means that in a matter of seconds it can be converted into a fun little camera that should still offer a more satisfying shooting experience than a mobile phone and image processing app.
And the Q is no toy camera, despite its modest sensor size it boasts a magnesium alloy body with rubber front coating, a 460,000 dot LCD on the rear and raw output in the DNG format. Interestingly, Pentax bucks the recent trend of trying to attract point-and-shoot users by removing those intimidating buttons with all those mysterious symbols on them, and includes plenty of external controls.

Pentax Q key specifications:

  • 12.4MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor (1/2.3″ size – 6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • Q-mount interchangeable lens mount
  • 12-bit DNG raw file option
  • 3″ 460,000 dot LCD
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization and dust-removal
  • 1080p30 HD movie recording in H.264 format
  • 5 frame-per-second continuous shooting capability
  • Quick-dial control giving access to four image settings
  • In-camera HDR option blends three images
  • Built-in flash
  • Flash hot shoe (also used for mounting optional viewfinder)
  • Front and rear IR remote sensors

Compared to the Sony NEX-C3

The Q’s well-proportioned design makes it a little hard to work out how large it is until you see it in comparison to another camera. The sensor is around 1/13th the size of that in the NEX-C3 but does means it’s the closest a mirrorless camera has yet come to being truly pocketable. 
Placing the Q side-by-side with the NEX helps give some idea of how small it is, but taking the lens off also reveals how small its sensor is. The Pentax doesn’t trigger quite the same wonder about how the engineers managed to fit so much into so little space – suggesting that there’s a minimum size a camera can currently be, regardless of sensor size.

The camera’s tiny size, lightweight design, and superior image quality are made possible by an innovative PENTAX developed imaging system. With a high-resolution 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor, the Q carves out an entirely new camera category that extends beyond traditional digital compact, APS-C or 4/3 digital cameras. The backlit sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels particularly in low light settings. Further, the new Q lens mount is a perfect match with the new sensor and every interchangeable Q lens is designed for more advanced image quality than may be found on traditional compact digital cameras. This innovative PENTAX design is the foundation of the Q’s position as the world’s smallest, lightest ILC system with superior image quality.

Several important features of the PENTAX Q include:

  • A newly designed PENTAX Q-mount lens system for convenient interchangeability with a variety of specialty Q lenses including prime, zoom, fisheye and more.
  • Exceptional image quality in 12.4 megapixels from the Q’s 1/2.3 inch backlit CMOS image sensor. Capable of producing 12 bit DNG RAW and JPG images, the backlit CMOS sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument designed specifically to produce very low noise at high levels of sensitivity.
  • Extremely compact, durable, lightweight, scratch resistant magnesium alloy body.
  • The power and flexibility of traditional DSLR shooting modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control as well as highly convenient PENTAX Auto Picture and 21 scene modes for casual shooting, including new Forest and Stage Lighting options
  • A variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings that assign to the Q’s Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing. Brilliant Color, Vintage Color, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Color are just some of the Smart Effects available and may be assigned on the Q’s Quick Dial.
  • In-camera HDR capture mode shoots 3 images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the details in even the darkest shadows and brightest highlights of extreme contrast shots.
  • High quality motion video with stunning full 1080p HD clarity at 30 frames per second. The Q processes the full HD video using high quality h.264 compression for superior color and detail and offers creative video effects through custom image modes, digital video filters, and interval shooting.
  • A sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction for blur and dust free images even in low lighting.
  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting mode for any fast action setting.
  • Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s Bokeh Control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter operation.
  • Powerful USER modes allow the creative photographer to save a series of favorite camera settings, filters, and custom image modes for instant reuse.
  • Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 30 seconds for freezing fast action or capturing long nighttime exposures. Bulb mode adds flexibility for low light photography and motion effects.
  • A built-in popup flash adds the perfect amount of extra light to an image with a high extension to naturally reduce the redeye effect common to compact cameras. The Q’s flash is effective to 23 feet at 200 ISO, and covers a wide angle 28 degree field of view.
  • Compatibility with the latest generation SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards for ultra-high capacity storage as well as outstanding image file portability.
Along with the Q, PENTAX introduced the PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder. The unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. The lens offers a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye and is ideal as a multipurpose, everyday standard lens for various subjects including landscape and portraiture. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it performs superbly in dim lighting and may be easily adjusted for bokeh. Incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements, this lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum.

Featuring the state-of-the-art optics incorporating special optical glass elements and PENTAX exclusive lens coating technology, this lens delivers beautifully defined, high quality images that are sharp and high contrast even at the edges. The AF motor installed in the lens assures smooth, quiet focusing operation. The lens shutter mechanism allows the PENTAX Q’s built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter, which comes in handy when shooting with open aperture at bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds.
The shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment is an optional accessory. This External Viewfinder O-VF1 offers outstanding compositional framing, even in the brightest sunlight where viewing an LCD screen is traditionally a challenge. (Note: The Viewfinder offers framing marks for the Standard lens.) 

Available in white or black body models, the PENTAX Q and Standard Prime lens (available in silver) kit will be around $800. Initially, the PENTAX Q system will ship in Japan. Anticipated shipping time to the United States is early Fall 2011.

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New Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera – The Professionals Lean, Mean, Tough Machine

The New Pentax K-5 Professional DSLR Camera – Professional Photographers Lean, Mean, Tough Machine

With New York City pummeled by multiple snowstorms this winter, our staff was happy to have the Pentax K-5 around. Fully weathersealed and built to function in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, Pentax’s new flagship DSLR didn’t even flinch as foot after foot of snow covered our metropolis. And given the image quality that the K-5 delivers, we were just as pleased when reviewing our images after we came in from the cold. 

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In the Lab
Helped by a new 16.3MP CMOS sensor that captures RAW images with 14 bits per color channel, the K-5 earned an Excellent rating in the Popular Photography Test Lab from its lowest sensitivity of ISO 80 through ISO 400—the first Pentax DSLR to do so under our latest, and most stringent, test criteria. In our resolution test, the camera served up 2590 lines per picture height for an Excellent rating, a solid showing for a 16MP sensor.

Color accuracy also got an Excellent rating, with an average Delta E of 7.1. This marks an improvement over this camera’s predecessor, the K-7, which didn’t make it past the Extremely High mark in this test. In this test, the K-5 essentially matches the Olympus E-5, its only real competitor in this class of camera, which is to say more expensive than the Canon EOS 60D or Nikon D7000, but less expensive than the Canon 7D or Nikon D300s.

Noise can be a controversial topic when it comes to Pentax’s high-end cameras. The company chooses to tread extremely lightly with noise reduction, which means that its cameras end up with higher noise numbers than they would if the engineers were a bit more aggressive in this area. Pentax does apply an increasing amount of color noise reduction as ISO increases, but not luminance noise reduction.

That said, the K-5 keeps noise to a Low or better rating up to ISO 400. It remains in acceptable territory up to ISO 1600 and just barely edges into an Unacceptable rating at ISO 3200. Even a judicious use of noise reduction will bring that into our acceptable range without a serious effect on resolution, which remains at an Excellent rating up to ISO 12,800 using Pentax’s default noise-reduction settings. And if you’re willing to sacrifice an appreciable amount of resolving power, you can likely bring noise into acceptable territory at ISO 6400.

Considering that the Olympus E-5 resolved only 2270 lines at its best, when you balance resolution and noise reduction, the K-5 earns a slight edge over its main competitor—as long as you’re willing to experiment a little and find the amount of noise reduction that’s right for you. Also, while sensitivity on the Olympus tops out at ISO 6400, the Pentax keeps going up to ISO 51,200, with 1/3-EV increments all the way to the top.

Fast in bright light, though sluggish in low light, the K-5 showed a slight improvement over the K-7 in our autofocus speed test, but this remains one of the drawbacks of Pentax’s top DSLR. Of course, the same can be said for Olympus, though the E-5 fared slightly better at moderate light levels, while the Pentax beats it in the dimmest light.

Both cameras are extremely fast in bright light. In fact, in the brightest level of our test, the K-5 focused in 0.28 sec, exactly matching the E-5’s result. Both cameras stepped down to 0.48 sec in nearly identical increments by EV 6, which is about the light level of a well-lit kitchen. At this point the K-5 takes a big drop to 0.80 sec at EV 4, while the E-5 focused in 0.56 second. By EV 1, both cameras focus in just under a second, while at the moonlit dark of EV 0, the Pentax focused in 1.17 sec, while the Olympus dropped to 1.32 sec. One thing the Olympus has in its favor: It was able to focus reliably, albeit very slowly, at our test’s lowest light level of EV –2, while the Pentax couldn’tfocus in such dim light (Pentax rates the K-5’s AF as functional only down to EV –1).


In the Field
The operable word when describing the K-5’s body is rugged. A steel chassis is wrapped in a magnesium-alloy shell, and ample gaskets and O-rings keep out moisture, dust, and other particles. We shot with the K-5 and a weathersealed DA* 16–50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM lens in the freezing cold of a snowstorm, and encountered no problems. The outer shell is clad in very grippable rubber and contoured into a very solid design that feels like it has always belonged in your hand.

The front command wheel (one of two), in front of the shutter button, is angled upward to make it easier for you to make quick adjustments between shots. While the rear command wheel isn’t quite as fancy as the ones on Canon’s higher-end cameras, it is well located, a good distance from your thumb yet easy to reach when you need it.

The most important settings, such as AF, metering, ISO, exposure compensation, and more, are accessible through hard buttons, including an array of five that double as menu navigation controls. The main menus are uncomplicated and well laid out; they include 27 custom settings.

Accessed through the Info button, the quick menu provides a second way to reach those essential controls that are on the buttons. It also lets you adjust other commonly accessed functions, such as the camera’s sensor-shift image stabilization, which works with nearly any lens you mount on the camera. In our test, done with a DA 50–200mm f/4–5.6 zoomed to 200mm, our testers got an average of 2.5 stops of shutter speed leeway with image stabilization turned on.

Live-view shooting uses a reasonably fast contrast AF, which zooms in on your subject while focusing. HD video yielded sharp footage with accurate-looking colors.

Burst shooters should perk up when they hear that the K-5 is able to shoot up to 30 full-sized, highest-quality JPEGs at a blazing 7 frames per second in a single burst. And, while it was only capable of 8 RAW shots at 7 fps when it was introduced, a recent firmware upgrade—which also enabled the use of SDXC cards—raised that to approximately 20 RAW shots, according to Pentax. In our test, we got 19 RAW shots using a SanDisk Extreme SDHC Class 10 card.

The Bottom Line
If you’re a Pentax owner looking to step up, the K-5 is a worthy upgrade from the K-7 or any other Pentax DSLR. You’ll get a noticeable amount of added resolving power, at least an extra stop of usable ISO, and if you don’t mind noise, sensitivity up to ISO 51,200. Plus, the burst rate has been ratcheted up, to 7 fps over the K-7’s 5.2 fps.

If you’re looking to enter the DSLR world with a rugged model such as this, the K-5 offers one of the most economical ways to do so. It costs less than the E-5, as well as Canon and Nikon models that don’t quite match this level of toughness.

Another consideration is lenses. While Olympus glass is top-notch, Pentax equivalents tend to cost quite a bit less. Plus, Pentax offers an array of beautiful prime lenses in its Limited series. Combine all of this with the fact that this camera offers more resolution and faster bursts, and it looks like the K-5 is a champ.

Pentax K-5 Specifications:

IMAGING: 16.3MP effective APS-C sized CMOS sensor captures images at 4928×3264 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW.
VIDEO: Up to 1920x1080p, 25 fps or 1280x720p, 30 fps, AVI Motion JPEG format files; built-in mono mic, stereo mic input, contrast-detection AF.
BURST RATE: Full-sized JPEGS (Premium mode), up to 30 shots at 7 fps; RAW (14-bit), up to 20 shots at 7 fps.
AF SYSTEM: TTL phase detection with 11 illuminated focus points (9 cross-type); single-shot and continuous AF with subject tracking. Tested sensitivity down to EV –1 (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
LIVE VIEW AF: TTL contrast detection.
SHUTTER SPEEDS: 1/8000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments); 100,000-cycle rating.
METERING: TTL metering with 77-segment evaluative, centerweighted, and spot approx. 5% of frame), EV 0–22 (ISO 100, 50mm f/1.4).
ISO RANGE: ISO 100–12,800 (in 1/3-EV increments), expandable to ISO 80–51,200 (in 1/3-EV increments).
FLASH: Built-in pop-up with P-TTL autoflash, GN 43 (ISO 100, feet); wireless flash control of off-camera units; flash sync to 1/180 sec.
VIEWFINDER: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: 3-inch TFT with 921,000-dot resolution.

OUTPUT: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, HDMI video, composite video.
BATTERY: Rechargeable D-LI90 Li-ion, CIPA rating 740 shots.
SIZE/WEIGHT: 5.2×3.8×2.9 in., 1.6 lb. with SD card and battery.
STREET PRICE: $1,470, body only; $1,580, with DA 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 AL WR lens.