Archive for February, 2018

Tamron announces 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD for full-frame DSLRs

22 Feb

Tamron is introducing a stabilized 70-210mm F4 tele-zoom for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs. The lens uses an internal zoom mechanism so that the overall length never changes as it’s operated and a ring-type ultrasonic motor. It also offers moisture-resistance, up to 5 stops of stabilization and a close focusing distance of 0.95m/37.4in. The 70-210mm F4 includes 20 optical elements in 14 groups, including 3 low-dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberration.

The 70-210mm F4 is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, as well as the company’s Tap-in Console for easy firmware updates. Arriving this April in Canon and Nikon mounts, the 70-210mm F4 will sell for $ 800 – quite a bit cheaper than the offerings from those two manufacturers.

New F/4 telephoto zoom lens featuring superb optical performance and a lightweight and compact body for easy portability

70-210mm F/4 Di VC USD (Model A034)

February 22,2018, Commack, New York— Tamron announces the launch of the 70-210mm F/4 Di VC USD (Model A034), a compact telephoto zoom lens for full-frame DSLR cameras. Model A034 provides superb optical performance throughout the entire zoom range and features a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1, the highest in its class.* The design includes an internal zoom mechanism that provides solid mechanical construction and stable, reliable operation. Model A034 also employs a Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) design, which enables high-speed and high-accuracy AF performance as well as powerful VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization for flexible and versatile use in various situations. For dependable outdoor use, the new telephoto zoom is equipped with Fluorine Coating and Moisture-Resistant Construction. The lens will be available in Canon and Nikon mounts in April at $ 799.00.

*Among 70-200mm F/4 class interchangeable lenses for full-frame DSLR cameras (as of January 2018: Tamron)


1. High-performance telephoto zoom lens with a constant maximum aperture of F/4
Leveraging Tamron’s years of knowhow developing telephoto zoom lenses, Model A034 achieves superb optical performance with high contrast and resolution. The optical construction (20 elements in 14 groups) uses three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to effectively compensate for axial and transverse chromatic aberrations, thereby ensuring crisp and crystal-clear image quality across the entire frame. Furthermore, Model A034 features a constant maximum aperture of F/4 throughout the entire zoom range, thus providing superior control over depth-of-field and excellent bokeh. Compared to large aperture telephoto zoom lenses, the new A034 is lighter with a weight of just 30.3 oz. and is more compact with a total length of only 6.8 in. for excellent portability. The lighter weight and smaller size make this new lens easier to carry and instantly spring into action.

2. Class-leading magnification ratio and MOD (Minimum Object Distance)
Model A034 boasts the highest-in-class maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1 and the shortest-in-class* MOD of 37.4 in. The shorter working distance enables photographers to capture close-up images of small objects like flowers while using a telephoto zoom.

*Among 70-200mm F/4 class interchangeable lenses for full-frame DSLR cameras (as of January 2018: Tamron)

3. Highly reliable internal zoom mechanism
Thanks to an internal zoom mechanism, the physical length of the A034 does not change during zooming, thereby minimizing changes in the center of gravity and providing more stable use and operation. In addition, it’s not necessary for the photographer to move backwards even when shooting space is limited, for instance, when photographing through a wire mesh fence at a zoo. So-called “zoom creep” is impossible because the overall length never extends. Furthermore, the design provides a very robust and sturdy feeling, and the non-rotating front element makes the use of polarizing filters much easier.

4. High-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system delivers responsive autofocus performance plus outstanding VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization
The Dual MPU system includes two high-performance MPUs (micro-processor units) dedicated to VC processing and lens system control. Both MPUs have a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) block that provides high-speed digital signal processing, improving the computing power of the entire system. This new control system achieves high-speed and precise AF performance as well as assured VC effects.

Excellent autofocus performance
Model A034’s AF drive system uses a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) ring-type ultrasonic motor for outstanding responsiveness and to ensure fast, precise focusing. Plus, the new zoom is equipped with a Full-time Manual Focus override mechanism that enables a photographer shooting with AF to instantly make fine manual focusing adjustments without switching the AF-MF mode switch.

Outstanding vibration compensation effects
The new A034 is equipped with Tamron’s proprietary VC system and achieves the CIPA image stabilization performance level of 4 stops.* Even in low light or with slow shutter speeds, photographers can enjoy shake-free handheld shooting with ease and comfort.

*CIPA Standard Compliant. For Canon: EOS-5D MKIII is used; for Nikon: D810 is used.

5. Fluorine Coating
The surface of the front element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water-and oil-repellant qualities. The front surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. The coating also provides an enhanced level of durability, and will sustain its effectiveness for years.

6. Moisture-Resistant Construction
Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops to provide Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature affords an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.

7. Compatible with Tamron teleconverter
The new lens is also compatible with the TELECONVERTER 1.4x (Model TC-X14) and TELECONVERTER 2.0x (Model TC-X20), which increase the focal length of the lens to 1.4 times and 2 times the original, respectively. Both teleconverters are carefully designed and constructed to provide outstanding high image quality.

Note: For more detailed information about teleconverters, please refer to the Tamron website.

8. Compatible with TAMRON TAP-in ConsoleTM, an optional accessory
The new A034 is compatible with the optional TAMRON TAP-in Console, an optional accessory product that provides a USB connection to a personal computer, enabling users to easily update a lens’s firmware as well as customize features including fine adjustments to the AF and VC.

9. Optional tripod mount compatible with Arca-Swiss style quick release plates
For rapid attachment to a tripod, an Arca-Swiss style tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Featuring a hinge-type ring section, connection is easy even when the lens is mounted on a camera. To maximize the advantages of the small and lightweight F/4 zoom lens, the tripod mount is made of lightweight, sturdy magnesium alloy.

10. Electromagnetic diaphragm system now used also for Nikon-mount lenses
An electromagnetic diaphragm system, which has been a standard feature for Canon-mount lenses, is now employed in Nikon-mount lenses.* More precise diaphragm and aperture control is possible because the diaphragm blades are driven and controlled by a built-in motor through electronic pulse signals.

*Available only with cameras compatible with the electromagnetic diaphragm (D5, D4s, D4, D3X, Df, D850, D810, D810A ,D800, D800E, D750, D600, D610, D300S, D500, D7500, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100). (As of January 2018; Tamron)

Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 70–210 mm
Image stabilization Yes
CIPA Image stabilization rating 4 stop(s)
Lens mount Canon EF, Nikon F (FX)
Maximum aperture F4
Minimum aperture F32
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Elements 20
Groups 14
Special elements / coatings 3 low-dispersion elements + fluorine coating
Minimum focus 0.95 m (37.4)
Maximum magnification 0.32×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ring-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale No
Weight 859 g (1.89 lb)
Diameter 76 mm (2.99)
Length 175 mm (6.89)
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (internal)
Power zoom No
Zoom lock No
Filter thread 67 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No

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Panasonic unveils ‘industry-first’ 8K organic image sensor with global shutter

22 Feb

Panasonic has developed an 8K image sensor capable of shooting 60p video, with wide dynamic range and global shutter. The latter removes the ‘rolling shutter’ effect from stills and video. The sensor combines an organic photosensitive film that sits atop CMOS circuitry, circumventing one of the biggest problems with traditional global shutter CMOS chips: co-located photosensitive and charge storage areas that compete with one another for space within the surface area of each pixel. This allows Panasonic’s chip to comparatively achieve far greater photosensitive area (better low light performance) and expansive charge capacity (wide dynamic range), and perform some other unique tricks.

Comparing typical BSI CMOS image sensor design (left), Panasonic’s new OPF/CMOS image sensor (right). Note how thin the OPF layer is compared to a traditional silicon photodiode. This allows a large area to be devoted to circuitry, and also means each pixel can accept a wider cone of incident light. This increases the CRA (chief ray angle) from the traditional 30-40º to 60º.

In June of 2013, Fujifilm and Panasonic announced a collaboration that got a lot of photography nerds talking: together, the two companies had developed an ‘industry-leading’ organic / CMOS sensor technology that replaces the silicon photodiode in a conventional CMOS chip with a much thinner, high absorption coefficient organic photoelectric conversion (OPC) layer. A transparent electrode sits on top of this organic photoconductive film (OPF) and modulates its photosensitivity when a voltage is applied. This approach brings a number of advantages, like the ability to accept more oblique light rays, higher pixel capacities and global shutter.

Advantages include the ability to accept more oblique light rays, higher pixel capacities and global shutter

It’s been many years since we first heard about the collaboration, but it now appears to be at the heart of Panasonic’s latest announcement: the news that it has developed an ‘industry-first’ 8K global shutter sensor that uses OPF/CMOS tech to perform all of its tricks. Panasonic claims its new sensor can capture 8K images and 60fps video while offering incredible dynamic range, global shutter, and a built-in electronically-controlled variable ND filter function.

At face value, this sensor seems to offer quite a bit more than the backlit CMOS sensor with global shutter announced by Sony last week. Furthermore, Sony has only so far managed to build a 1.46-megapixel sensor using its pixel-parallel ADCs, while Panasonic seems to have an 8K organic/CMOS sensor already operational. Ostensibly, Panasonic’s technology shouldn’t place any particular restrictions on pixel size – which likely explains how it was able to achieve high resolution via small pixels – while Sony’s approach of an ADC for every pixel presumably places some size constraints on the design.

This Figure shows the dynamic range capabilities of the sensor’s ‘high saturation’ mode (left) and the advantages of its global shutter functionality (right)

Technical Details

Organic/CMOS sensors are able to offer these capabilities by separating the photosensitive area (the organic light-sensitive material) from the signal processing area (all the circuitry), and by then modulating the organic photoconductive film to turn its photosensitivity on or off (or tune it). A transparent electrode sits on top of the OPF – which spans the entire sensor – and the application of increasing voltage to the electrode makes the OPF more photosensitive. This allows for fine tuning of the photosensitivity of the sensor, and the ability to turn all pixels on or off simultaneously.

The organic film layer allows all pixels to be turned on or off simultaneously

The separation of the photoelectric conversion part from the circuitry allows each to be optimized independently, rather than the optimization of one placing constraints on the other. This, combined with how thin the OPF layer is compared to a traditional silicon photodiode, has allowed Panasonic to dedicate a large area to circuitry, separating the (traditionally somewhat co-located) photoelectric conversion and charge storage parts. The result? Large capacitors that allow for enormous full-well capacity: Panasonic claims its sensor can collect up to 450,000 photoelectrons per pixel, which is insane and means this sensor is likely to have a very wide dynamic range. By comparison, we’re more used to seeing an order of magnitude less full-well capacity: ~45,000 photoelectrons per pixel in full frame cameras.

‘In-pixel gain switching technology’ also allows the Panasonic sensor to switch to a high efficiency mode, though in this mode the pixels saturate at 4,500 photoelectrons – yielding far less dynamic range but enhanced low light ability.

Panasonic shows off the incredible dynamic range of this new organic sensor.

In this latest design, these benefits have been combined with a new “in-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise very quickly, even when you’re shooting at really high resolution… say, 8K.

The organic layer is also the source of the electronically-controlled ND function. By changing how much voltage you apply to the organic layer, you can change its sensitivity and therefore have it capture more or less light per unit time. You can see the relationship between applied voltage and signal, with higher voltages making the OPF more light sensitive (increasing photoconductivity), and lower voltages making the sensor less sensitive. VH (high voltage) is the default voltage applied to make the OPF maximally sensitive, while VL (low voltage) simulates the effect of a 5 stop ND filter.

This would, ostensibly, save photographers and videographers from needing to carry around a set of ND filters, allowing you to adjust to challenging lighting situations in-camera.

This figure shows the stepless, electronically-controlled ND filter functionality of the Panasonic sensor.

Finally, the organic layer is also the source of the global shutter function. Global shutter involves capturing/reading all of the pixels on a sensor at once. Most CMOS sensors read the image row-by-row, leading to ‘rolling shutter’ distortion where fast moving objects look warped because the bottom part of the object was actually captured a split second later than its top.

This is what Sony addressed with its new BSI CMOS sensor announced last week. That sensor achieves global shutter by adding an ADC to every single pixel rather than every column of pixels. Unfortunately, this approach is currently difficult to scale—which is why Sony has only managed to put it into a 1.46MP sensor with fairly large pixels thus far.

Panasonic’s design achieves this same trick by taking advantage of the ability to turn the entire organic layer on or off simultaneously. At the end of an exposure, the voltage applied to the transparent electrode is simply switched off, effectively turning off the photosensitivity of all pixels simultaneously. This decouples the end of an exposure from read-out, which can still be done sequentially, line-by-line. Impressively, Panasonic’s sensor can operate in this manner “even driving a large number of pixels like the 8K sensor”.

The sensor’s global shutter functionality eliminates rolling shutter distortion caused by reading the sensor row-by-row, rather than all at once.

What’s Next?

So, are we going to see this in any upcoming Panasonic video cameras? Will the Panasonic GH6 or its best high-end Varicam shoot 8K/60p with insane dynamic range, global shutter, and built-in electronic ND filter? We’d sure like to hope so, but probably not.

Remember, this organic/CMOS sensor technology was first introduced as a major breakthrough in 2013. To the best of our knowledge, not a single camera has used that technology in the intervening 5 years. Apple recently acquired InVisage QuantumFilm technology, which uses a film layer to to roll-off highlights for 2-3 stops of additional dynamic range. All this makes us wonder if the tech is really ready for prime time.

Not that we shouldn’t be excited about this breakthough—those are some really incredible specs. We’re just tempering our excitement with a little bit of experience… and maybe a touch of patience and skepticism.

Panasonic Develops Industry’s-First 8K High-Resolution, High-Performance Global Shutter Technology using Organic-Photoconductive-Film CMOS Image Sensor

The new technology enables 8K high resolution and high picture quality imaging without motion distortion, even in extremely bright scenes.

Osaka Japan, – Panasonic Corporation today announced that it has developed a new technology which realizes 8K high-resolution (36M pixels), 60fps framerate, 450k high-saturation electrons and global shutter [1] imaging with sensitivity modulation function simultaneously, using a CMOS image sensor with an organic photoconductive film (OPF). In this OPF CMOS image sensor, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part are independent. By utilizing this OPF CMOS image sensor’s unique structure, we have been able to newly develop and incorporate high-speed noise cancellation technology and high saturation technology in the circuit part. And, by using this OPF CMOS image sensor’s unique sensitivity control function to vary the voltage applied to the OPF, we realize global shutter function. The technology that simultaneously achieves these performances is the industry’s first*1.

With the technology, it is possible to capture images at 8K resolution, even in high contrast scenes, such as a field under strong sunlight and shaded spectator seats under a stadium roof. Moreover, by utilizing the global shutter function that enables simultaneous image capture by all pixels, it is expected to be able to capture moving objects instantaneously without distortion, be utilized for multi viewpoint cameras (performing multi-view synchronized imaging using plural cameras) and used in fields requiring high-speed and high-resolution, such as machine vision and ITS monitoring. In addition, conventionally, even in scenes where it was necessary to utilize different ND filters [2] according to capturing conditions, the technology realizes a new electronically-controlled variable ND filter function which enables stepless adjustment of the OPF sensitivity [3] merely by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.

The new technology has the following advantages.

  1. 8K resolution, 60fps framerate, 450k saturation electrons and global shutter function are realized simultaneously.
  2. Switching between high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode is possible using gain switching function.
  3. The ND filter function can be realized steplessly by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.

This Development is based on the following technologies.

  1. “OPF CMOS image sensor design technology”, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently.
  2. “In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution
  3. “In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics
  4. “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

Panasonic holds 135 Japanese patents and 83 overseas patents (including pending) related to this technology.

Panasonic will present some of these technologies at the international academic conference: ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuit Conference) 2018 which will be held in San Francisco on February 11 – 15, 2018.


*1: As of February 14, 2018, according to Panasonic data.

More on the Technology

1. “OPF CMOS image sensor design technology”, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently.

The OPF CMOS image sensor has a unique structure, in which, the OPF performs a photoelectric conversion and the circuit area performs charge storage and signal readout functions completely independently. Using this OPF CMOS image sensor structure, we developed high-speed noise cancellation technology and high saturation technology in the circuit area which has a large available space. As a result, it is possible to realize simultaneously 8K resolution, 60fps framerate readout, wide dynamic range [4] (by achieving a high saturation level) and global shutter function, which are normally traded off.

2. “In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution

Because the OPF CMOS image sensor has a structure in which the OPF and the charge storage part are connected by metal plugs, accumulated charges cannot be completely read out. Therefore, there is a problem that it is affected by reset noise at the time of resetting the pixel (signal charge storage node). And, in a high-resolution sensor, such as an 8K sensor, it is necessary to drive large loads exceeding 4000 pixels aligned in the vertical direction at the same time as the time of noise cancellation, and therefore, the long time it takes to suppress noise is a problem. So, we developed a new structure that cancels pixel reset noise at high speed, even when high resolution pixels have to be driven, by using Panasonic’s original semiconductor device technology and the newly developed “in-pixel capacitive coupled noise canceller”. In this structure, the reset noise is suppressed at high speed by using the negative feedback loop provided for each pixel.

3. “In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics

In the OPF CMOS image sensor, by incorporating a large capacitor in the circuit part with a large available area, it is possible to realize both high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode with the same pixel structure merely by switching modes from the camera system. In the high sensitivity mode, it is possible to capture data up to a light intensity of 4.5k electrons with high sensitivity. Furthermore, by switching to the high saturation mode, it is possible to capture data up to a light intensity of 450k electrons. In this way, since the high saturation mode can capture up to 10 times the high sensitivity mode, it is possible to clearly display the fine winding structure of the lamp filaments, in which bright part gradation cannot be expressed, because it becomes overexposure in high sensitivity mode, as shown in Fig. 3 (a). Even in a scene with high contrast, such as shown in Fig. 5, from the facial expression of the person in the shadow of the stadium roof to the blue sky and clouds during a mid-summer day, and such as shown in Fig. 6, from the dimly lit room to the sunny garden, it will be possible to capture brilliant images without overexposure or underexposure.

4. “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

The OPF CMOS image sensor can change the sensitivity of the OPF simply by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF. By utilizing this function, we can realize the following functions which could not be realized with conventional silicon image sensors.

Sensitivity Modulation Example 1: Global shutter function which can capture all pixels simultaneously at 8K resolution

By controlling ON / OFF of the voltage applied to the OPF and controlling the sensitivity of the OPF, we realize the “global shutter function” capable of imaging all pixels at the same time, even driving a large number of pixels like the 8K sensor. By capturing with the global shutter function, as shown in Fig. 3 (b), the letters on the rotating body are read sharply without distortion. In addition, as shown in Fig. 7, even at the time of high speed moving object capturing, such as when driving on a highway or at industrial inspection, capturing without distortion becomes possible.

In the conventional global shutter type silicon image sensor, it is necessary to add new elements such as transfer circuits and charge storage capacitors in order to accumulate charges simultaneously in all pixels. As a result, the area of the photodiode and that of the additional circuits must compete for space, there is a problem that the pixel size cannot be reduced and the amount of saturation electrons cannot be increased. On the other hand, in the OPF CMOS image sensor, since there is no need for additional elements, it is possible to realize small cell, high resolution sensors, and by incorporating large capacitors in the circuit part with a large available area, accurate imaging with no distortion from dark scenes to extremely bright scenes is possible. For example, as shown in Fig. 9, with the OPF CMOS image sensor, when buildings are photographed while panning [5] at high speed, even in scenes with high contrast like a bright sky and dark windows, it is possible to acquire image data maintaining all gradations of the whole area without distortion.

Sensitivity Modulation Example 2: “Electrical ND Filter Technology” which can change sensitivity continuously and steplessly

Conventionally it has been necessary to provide a plurality of ND filters according to photographing conditions and change them many times. On the other hand, in the OPF CMOS image sensor, merely by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF (VITO in Fig. 8) and changing the sensitivity of the OPF to the desired value, it is possible to electrically implement the ND filter function. By using this function, it becomes possible to simplify the photographic equipment and continuously, steplessly control the sensitivity which could not be realized with a conventional silicon sensor. Therefore, the possibility of capturing according to the scene is expanded.

In the future, we will utilize this OPF CMOS image sensor technology in various applications such as broadcasting cameras, surveillance cameras, industrial inspection cameras, automotive cameras, etc., and will contribute to realize high resolution, high speed and high precision imaging and sensing functions.

Technical Terms:

[1] Global shutter:
Shutter operation which can captures the image at the same time with all pixels. Organic CMOS image sensors operate in rolling shutter mode in which exposure and shutter operation is executed row by row.
[2] ND filter
Abbreviated name of neutral density filter.
A filter that functions to evenly absorb light in the visible range and reduce only the light intensity without affecting color.
[3] Sensitivity modulation
The photoelectric conversion efficiency is changed according to the control. In the OPF CMOS image sensor, the photoelectric conversion efficiency can be changed by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.
[4] Dynamic Range
Range of brightness that can be imaged.
(Ratio between the largest and the smallest values of brightness.)
[5] Panning
A technique for capturing wide scenes by moving the framing in the horizontal direction with a fixed camera, which is a common video capturing technique.

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How To Take Good Photos If You Wear Glasses

22 Feb

Taking beautiful photos should not be a problem for those who wear eyeglasses. When you take pictures, it’s obvious that the photographer gets as close as possible to the viewfinder to get the best view as possible. However, people with eyeglasses have a problem in doing so. If you are using eyeglasses,  this problem can be solved if you follow Continue Reading

The post How To Take Good Photos If You Wear Glasses appeared first on Photodoto.



Ricoh will let Pentax K-1 owners update their cameras to a Mark II for $550

22 Feb

For a limited time this summer, current Pentax K-1 owners will be able to send their cameras in for service, essentially upgrading them to a Mark II. The service will include a main circuit board swap, and the ‘SR’ logo on the front of the camera will be replaced with a Mark II logo. The upgraded circuit board will add all of the features introduced in the Mark II, such as shooting at up to ISO 819,200 and an updated Pixel Shift mode.

The K-1 upgrade service will cost $ 550 US / $ 690 CAD and will be offered from May 21, 2018 to September 30, 2018.

We do not yet have details of the price or timeframe for upgrading in other regions but we’re told it should be available and we’ll post detailed when we have them.

Ricoh announces an upgrade service for current PENTAX K-1 camera owners

WEST CALDWELL, NJ, February 21, 2018?In conjunction with the announcement of the new PENTAX K-1 Mark II 35mm full-frame digital SLR (DSLR) camera, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced an upgrade service for current PENTAX K-1 owners.

The program allows current PENTAX K-1 owners to upgrade their current camera to receive the advanced functions of the new PENTAX K-1 Mark II.

Here is an overview of the upgrade service:

– The upgrade service will be available for a limited time, from May 21, 2018 – September 30, 2018- Upgrade cost: $ 550USD / $ 690 CAD- Cameras will need to be shipped to Precision Camera (US) and Sun Camera (Canada)

The upgrade entails replacing the PENTAX K-1’s main circuit board to add new functions featured in the new PENTAX K-1 Mark II camera. Additionally, the current “SR” logo on the PENTAX K-1 will be replaced with the new PENTAX K-1 Mark II logo.

More details on the program will be released in the upcoming weeks. Please go to or email us at for more information.

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Pentax K-1 Mark II shoots up to ISO 819,200, offers updated Pixel Shift

22 Feb

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Almost exactly two years after its predecessor’s introduction, Ricoh is debuting the Pentax K-1 Mark II. It’s the company’s latest full-frame DSLR and uses the same AA-filterless 36.4MP sensor used by the Mark I, but adds a new ‘accelerator’ to the imaging pipeline. This addition makes it possible to shoot at up to ISO 819,200, according to Ricoh. The company also says updated image processing parameters offer better color reproduction, especially blues and greens.

The K-1 II’s Pixel Shift Resolution System II adds the ability to use this high-res mode without a tripod by measuring the movements that come from hand shake, then capturing and combining four frames into one high-resolution image. The company calls this feature Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode.

Official samples:

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The camera’s hardware specs are otherwise unchanged from the K-1: it still offers a sturdy, weather-resistant construction and a flexible, articulated 3.2″ 1.04 million dot LCD complemented by a nearly 100% optical viewfinder (0.7x magnification). It continues to offer 33 AF points (25 cross-type), with an updated tracking algorithm that claims to improve accuracy while photographing moving subjects in AF-C mode. In-body 5-axis image stabilization is included, claiming up to 5 stops of correction.

Burst shooting tops out at 4.4 fps (up to 17 Raw images or 70 JPEGs) in regular shooting, or 6.4 fps in APS-C crop mode. The camera’s maximum video resolution of 1080/30p is starting to look a bit dated, though it does offer a 4K resolution interval mode that turns a series of stills into a time-lapse video. Headphone and microphone ports are offered, with a new wind-reduction audio recording option.

The Pentax K-1 Mark II will go on sale in April for $ 1999.95 body-only, or bundled with the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR zoom for $ 2399.95.

Ricoh announces the PENTAX K-1 Mark II full-frame digital SLR camera

Flagship model in the PENTAX K series camera line updated to deliver even higher image quality and enhanced performance in challenging shooting conditions

WEST CALDWELL, NJ, February 21, 2018?Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the PENTAX K-1 Mark II 35mm full-frame digital SLR (DSLR) camera. Developed as the successor to the PENTAX K-1 full-frame DSLR camera launched in April 2016, the compact, rugged and weather-resistant PENTAX K-1 Mark II now becomes the flagship camera in the acclaimed PENTAX K-series lineup. The camera incorporates new technologies that allow it to deliver outstanding image quality and improved operability in a broader range of shooting conditions.

The PENTAX K-1 Mark II uses the same full-frame Anti-aliasing (AA)-filterless CMOS sensor with 36.4 effective megapixels as its predecessor model. However, Ricoh has added a new accelerator unit to the PENTAX K-1 Mark II that—along with the camera’s PRIME IV image processor—enables it to produce high-resolution images with minimal noise in even in the most challenging low-light conditions, up to ISO 819200. This makes the new camera ideal for low-light photography where higher shutter speeds are required.

The camera also incorporates Pixel Shift Resolution System II. This new, PENTAX-developed technology uses the same in-camera shake-reduction (SR) mechanism and sensor-shift capabilities as the original Pixel Shift Resolution System found in the PENTAX K-1, which captures four images of the same scene, and then synthesizes them into a single, super-high-resolution composite image. With the Pixel Shift Resolution System II, the camera also obtains RGB color data, resulting in images with significantly finer details and truer colors than those produced by typical full-frame sensors.

A new feature in the Pixel Shift Resolution System II is Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode. This mode allows photographers to produce crisp, ultra-high pixel shift resolution images without the need of a tripod, extending the camera’s use to a wider variety of subjects and scenes.

The PENTAX K-1 Mark II also comes equipped with many unique features and functions designed to facilitate creativity and ensure operational comfort that have become the hallmark of PENTAX cameras. These include a sturdy magnesium-alloy body with dustproof, weather-resistant construction; an optical viewfinder with a nearly 100-percent field of view for real-time subject confirmation; Astro Tracer, which simplifies the tracing and photographing of celestial bodies by coupling GPS data with the camera’s sophisticated SRII mechanism; and a flexible tilt-type LCD monitor to accommodate various shooting angles.

| Pricing and Availability |

The PENTAX K-1 Mark II camera body will be available in April 2018 for a suggested list price of $ 1,999.95. The camera body plus HD PENTAX-D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR zoom lens will also be available for a suggested list price of $ 2,399.95. Both can be purchased at as well as at Ricoh Imaging-authorized retail outlets throughout North America.

| Main Features |

1. Newly incorporated accelerator unit delivers high-quality images and excellent super-high-sensitivity imaging performance

The PENTAX K-1 Mark II features a 35mm-format full-frame CMOS image sensor with an AA (anti-aliasing) filter–free design to produce high-resolution images with approximately 36.4 effective megapixels. It also features a new accelerator unit, which optimizes the image data obtained by the full-frame image sensor before delivering it to the high-performance PRIME IV imaging engine. As a result, the camera is capable of producing high-quality images with minimal noise, while retaining excellent resolution at all sensitivity levels, from normal to super-high sensitivities. PENTAX has also updated all image-processing parameters to ensure colors are true to life, with special emphasis on deep blues and lively greens. PENTAX has also dramatically improved the camera’s noise-reduction performance at a high-sensitivity range — up to ISO 819200 — to expand creative possibilities in super low-light shooting.

2. Pixel Shift Resolution System II produces super-resolution images and enables handheld shooting

Building upon the original PENTAX-developed Pixel Shift Resolution System — the super-resolution technology that uses the camera’s in-body shake-reduction mechanism to capture four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image, and then synthesizes them into a single composite image — is the Pixel Shift Resolution System II,* making its debut in the PENTAX K-1 II. This new system obtains RGB color data for each pixel, resulting in super-high-resolution images with finer details and more realistic colors than those produced by cameras with ordinary full-frame sensors. The Motion Correction functions provides ON/OFF switching, which detects moving elements of the continuously captured images to minimize the effect of subject movement during the image synthesizing process.***The new Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode,** which can be used during handheld shooting, works together with the camera’s shake-reduction mechanism, by synthesizing the composite images while detecting the slight fluctuations of the subject’s position during the capture process.

This technology comes from the reverse thinking of pixel shift technology to utilize the minute camera shake itself to product the composite images. Therefore, by detecting the camera shake in three dimensions, the continuously captured four images are analyzed based on the detected camera shake information and combined into a single file to produce one super high resolution image.

* When using this system, the user is advised to stabilize the camera firmly on a tripod. Even if a moving subject is captured in the camera’s image field, the image may not be reproduced clearly, partially or in total.
** The captured images may not be properly synthesized with certain subjects or under certain conditions. By capturing images in the RAW or RAW+ format, the user can process the images unsuitable for the synthesizing process as normal RAW-format images within the camera body. The images may not be properly synthesized in a composite image
*** The movement may not be sufficiently corrected when the object is moving in a certain direction and/or pattern. This function does not guarantee that the movement is properly corrected with all subjects.

3. High-performance five-axis, five-step SR II system

(1) In-body SR mechanism delivers optimal shake-reduction performance with all compatible lenses The PENTAX K-1 Mark II comes equipped with the PENTAX-developed SR II (Shake Reduction II) five-axis mechanism, which provides accurate control of the large full-frame image sensor with all compatible PENTAX interchangeable lenses.* In addition to camera shake caused by pitch and yaw, this advanced system also compensates for camera shake caused by horizontal and vertical shift (often generated in macro photography) and camera shake caused by roll, which is difficult for lens-installed shake-reduction mechanisms to handle. It has a compensation range up to five steps (measured in conformity with CIPA standards, using the HD PENTAX-D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5, 6ED DC WR at a 105mm focal length). When taking a panning shot, this system automatically detects the direction of the camera’s movement, and efficiently controls the SR unit to produce the best image possible without requiring any mode switching operation.

(2) Innovative AA filter simulator to minimize moiré and inaccurate color rendition By applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure, the camera’s anti-aliasing (AA) filter simulator** provides the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. Unlike an optical filter, which always creates the identical result, this innovative simulator not only lets the user switch the AA filter effect on and off, but also adjust the level of the effect. This means that the ideal effect can be set for a particular scene or subject based on given photographic conditions.

(3) Additional shooting functions enabled by the SR II system Since the camera’s SR unit has a flexible design that tilts the image sensor unit in all directions, additional shooting functions are enabled, including auto level compensation, image-composition fine-adjustment, and Astro Tracer, a feature that works along with the built-in GPS, to produce super-sharp images of the night sky.

* Lenses compatible with this mechanism: K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2-, KAF3- and K AF4-mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.
** This function works most effectively with a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or slower. This function may not be combined with some shooting modes, including the Pixel Shift Resolution system.

4. Flexible, tilting LCD monitor facilitates shooting in the dark On its back panel, the PENTAX K-1 Mark II features a flexible, tilting LCD monitor, which can be adjusted to the desired angle horizontally, vertically or diagonally with a single adjustment, without deviating from the lens’s optical axis. The user can not only tilt it approximately 35 degrees horizontally and approximately 44 degrees vertically, but also pull it out from its base to view the on-screen image from above for waist-level photography. This large, 3.2-inch LCD monitor has approximately 1,037,000 dots and a 3:2 aspect ratio, and provides a protective tempered-glass front panel for added durability. In addition to its wide-view design, it also features a unique air-gapless construction, in which the air space between LCD layers is eliminated to effectively reduce the reflection and dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting. Its outdoor monitor function, which allows instant adjustment of the monitor’s brightness to the desired level, has also been improved to provide greater visibility in dark locations. Its red-lit monitor display function facilitates monitor viewing when the photographer’s eyes have become accustomed to a dark location during nighttime photography.

5. SAFOX 12 with 33 sensor points and full-frame-proportioned AF frame Using a SAFOX 12 AF sensor module with 33 AF sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle), the PENTAX K-1 Mark II optimizes the autofocus process, and assures high-speed autofocus operation in the AF.S (AF Single) mode. The center sensor and two sensors located just above and below it are designed to detect the light flux of an F2.8 lens, making it easy to obtain pinpoint focus on a subject when using a large-aperture lens. Its AF Tracking algorithm has also been revised to improve tracking accuracy of fast-moving subjects in the AF.C (AF Continuous) mode.

6. PENTAX Real-Time Scene-Analysis System, developed using artificial intelligence technology By combining an approximately 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor with the high-performance PRIME IV imaging engine, the PENTAX K-1 Mark II’s advanced PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System performs real-time analysis of the brightness distribution over the image field and the subject’s colors and movement. Based on this data, it then measures the subject’s lighting conditions with great accuracy and optimizes the exposure. By adopting a breakthrough artificial intelligence technology, deep learning, to its algorithm,* it assesses each individual scene more accurately, and optimizes the exposure settings for a given scene or composition.

* Effective when the AUTO exposure mode is set to Scene Analyze Auto and the Custom Image mode is set to Auto Select.

7. Easy-to-focus optical viewfinder with nearly 100-percent field of view Optimized for a 35mm full-frame digital SLR design, the camera’s optical viewfinder provides a nearly 100-percent field of view and an approximately 0.7-times magnification. Using a combination of a condenser lens and aspherical lens, it provides a wide field of view and a clear, undistorted image of the subject. It comes with a Natural Bright Matt III focusing screen, acclaimed for ease of focusing during manual-focus operation, and true-to-life rendition of defocused areas in the viewfinder image. In addition, its transparent viewfinder display makes it possible to superimpose a wide range of photographic data over the viewfinder image.

8. High-speed continuous shooting The PENTAX K-1 Mark II allows continuous recording of as many as 17 images in the RAW format (or a maximum of 70 images in the JPEG Best format) in a single sequence, at a top speed of approximately 4.4 images per second. This is made possible by the combination of advanced mechanisms including a damper mechanism that effectively minimizes mirror shock; high-speed, high-precision control of the shutter and mirror units; and a high-speed data transmission system incorporated in the PRIME IV imaging engine. In the APS-C Crop mode, the drive speed can be boosted to as high as approximately 6.4 images per second, and as many as 50 images in a single sequence in the RAW format (or 100 images in the JPEG Best format) to assure quick response to fast-moving subjects.

9. Supportive shooting functions to improve picture-taking efficiency and operational comfort

  • Operation-assist light function, which sets LED lights at four different spots around the camera body — above the lens mount, behind the LCD monitor, at the memory car slot, and at the cable switch terminal — to facilitate lens and memory card changes, attachment and removal of the cable switch, and control button operation at night and in poorly lit settings.
  • Key lock function, which prevents erroneous operation of the four-way controller and other exposure-related control buttons.
  • Smart Function, which allows the user to swiftly choose and set desired functions using just the function dial and the set dial on the camera’s upper panel, without referring to the menu screen on the LCD monitor.
  • Control panel customize function, which allows the user to change a listing and/or position of the on-screen menu.

10. Compact, rugged body with dustproof, weather-resistant construction The camera’s bottom panel and front and back frames are all made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy. Although the camera features a dependable, durable shutter unit that can withstand 300,000 shutter releases (measured under actual shooting conditions) for professional use, its body has been downsized to the minimum possible, thanks to the incorporation of a unique floating mirror structure. With the inclusion of 87 sealing parts in the body, the camera also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring solid operation at temperatures as low as -10°C. All these features make the PENTAX K-1 Mark II a dependable, all-purpose performer, even under demanding shooting conditions.

11. Full HD movie recording with an array of creative tools The PENTAX K-1 Mark II captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30p frame rate) in the H.264 recording format, and comes equipped with a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection, and a headphone terminal. The user can also adjust the audio recording level manually, monitor sound pressure levels during microphone recording, and cut down wind noise using a new wind-noise reduction mode. In addition to a host of distinctive visual effects for movie recording,* the camera also provides the interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) movie clips at a fixed interval.

* When special image processing is required, the frame rate may vary depending on the selected special-effect mode.

12. Built-in GPS module The PENTAX K-1 Mark II provides a variety of advanced GPS functions, including the recording of location, latitude, longitude, altitude and UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) and direction at the time of shooting. The user can easily access images containing GPS data using a computer, to browse them, check on shooting locations and position data on the screen, or save them. The camera also provides a set of other unique tools, including: Electronic Compass, which displays the camera’s direction on its LCD monitor; GPS log, which keeps track of the photographer’s movement; and Astro Tracer, which simplifies the tracing and photographing of celestial bodies by coupling GPS data with the camera’s SR mechanism.

13. Other features

  • High-grade DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism for effective elimination of dust on the image sensor using ultrasonic vibration
  • Crop mode with a choice of image area from AUTO, FF (Full Frame), APS-C and 1:1
  • Wireless LAN connection to support the operation with smartphones and table computers, the transfer of captured images, and remote shooting operations ?HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode with RAW-format data filing, usable in handheld shooting
  • The PENTAX-invented hyper operating system for quick, accurate response to the photographer’s creative intentions
  • Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 bus speed mode)
  • Compensation of various parameters: lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, diffraction, and brightness level at image-field edges. Fringe effect compensation is also available in RAW-format processing.
  • Bulb Timer function to improve operability in bulb shooting
  • Compatibility with PENTAX Image Transmitter 2 tethering software (software update required from RICOH IMAGING official website)
  • Digital Camera Utility 5 software (latest version) included

Pentax K-1 Mark II specifications

MSRP $ 1999/£1799 (body only), $ 2399 (w/FA 28-105mm lens)
Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR
Body material Magnesium alloy
Max resolution 7360 x 4912
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 36 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 37 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor PRIME IV
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
ISO Auto, 100-819200
White balance presets 8
Custom white balance Yes (3 slots)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating 5 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Best, better, good
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (PEF/DNG)
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 33
Number of cross-type focus points 25
Lens mount Pentax KAF4
Focal length multiplier 1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3.2
Screen dots 1,037,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture and shutter priority
  • Sensitivity priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Flash modes Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Trailing Curtain Sync, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync
Flash X sync speed 1/200 sec
Drive modes
  • Single Frame, Continuous, Self-timer, Remote Control, Bracketing, Mirror- up, Multi-Exposure, Interval Shooting, Interval Composite, Interval Movie Record, Star Stream
Continuous drive 4.4 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 12 sec, custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 60i, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 50i, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I)
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port Yes
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n
Remote control Yes (wired, wireless, or smartphone)
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description D-LI90 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 670
Weight (inc. batteries) 1010 g (2.23 lb / 35.63 oz)
Dimensions 137 x 110 x 86 mm (5.39 x 4.33 x 3.39)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes (Still or video)
GPS Built-in

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Pentax K-1 Mark II: What you need to know

22 Feb

Pentax K-1 Mark II: What you need to know

The Pentax K-1 was one of the most-anticipated cameras in recent memory. After many starts-and-stops, this full-frame DSLR finally arrived in 2016, much to the delight of Pentax photographers. It offered superb image quality from its 36MP CMOS sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization with several tricks up its sleeve, a unique (to say the least) articulating LCD and a body built like a tank.

The K-1 Mark II carries all of that over, but improves upon the K-1’s image quality thanks to a new ‘accelerator unit’ while adding the ability to use the Pixel Shift high-res mode without a tripod. Ricoh also mentions that the Mark II’s AF tracking algorithms have been improved.

Image Quality Enhancements

The K-1 II’s main addition is an ‘accelerator unit,’ which is a pre-processor that sits between the 36MP CMOS sensor and the PRIME IV image processor. Ricoh says that this pre-processor increases the signal-to-noise ratio, thus reducing noise, which implies it’s a a noise reduction process. Ricoh told us that the accelerator unit, which was found on other Pentax models like the K-70, was not ready for the K-1 when it launched.

Thus, the company has increased the top ISO to 819,200 – a big jump from 209,400 on the original model. We’d be shocked if anything near that ISO is usable, seeing how the K-1 looked at 209,400 (hint: poor, like all cameras in its class), but we’ll find out soon enough.

Ricoh says that ‘deep blues’ and ‘lively greens’ are more ‘true to life,’ as well.

The unit does put the hurt on battery life, though, reducing it to 670 shots per charge from 760 shots on the original K-1.

Pentax K-1 II: Shifting Pixels

Pixel Shift is a clever feature first seen on the K-3 II that uses the in-body image stabilization system to create a high resolution image by combining four images that are offset by a single pixel. This process cancels out the Bayer color array used on nearly all digital cameras, which both eliminates color aliasing and artifacts and removes the need to demosaic, thus improving resolution.

Pixel Shift is best-suited for shooting still objects on a tripod. On the K-1 II Ricoh is trying something that sounds a bit crazy, by using the natural shake of your hands to collect the four images needed to combine into a single high-res image. Ricoh calls this called Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode, and we can’t wait to see how well it works.

What hasn’t changed

As mentioned earlier, the K-1 II retains the 36MP full-frame CMOS sensor from its predecessor, along with its PRIME IV image processor, 33-point AF system and 5-axis in-body image stabilization. In addition to its Pixel Shift and shake reduction duties, the IBIS system also allows for automatic horizon correction and AA-filter simulation.

The unique ‘Cross-Tilt’ LCD makes an appearance on the Mark II, complete with LEDs that can shed light on nearby controls. You can compose your photos through a large pentaprism viewfinder with a magnification of 0.70x and 100% coverage (naturally).

The built-in GPS on the K-1 II not only allows for geolocation but is also used for the camera’s Astrotracer feature, which lets you capture celestial bodies without star trails.

We could keep listing the K-1 II’s features, but since they’re identical to those on the original, check out our review of that camera for all the details.

Good News for K-1 owners

Nobody wants to be left out in the cold when their camera gets replaced. Ricoh hasn’t forgotten this, and will be giving current K-1 owners the opportunity to upgrade to the K-1 Mark II for a limited time.

Between May 21st and September 30th (in North America), K-1 owners can ship their cameras to a Ricoh service center, where the logic board will be replaced with the one found in the Mark II. Pricing for the upgrade is set at $ 550 in the US and $ 690 CAD in Canada.

Pricing and Availability

The K-1 Mark II will begin shipping this April. It will be sold body-only for $ 1999 or with the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens for $ 2399.

If you’re a current K-1 owner, are you thinking about upgrading to the Mark II? Let us know in the comments.

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Associated Press photographer’s video shows ‘travel photographers’ staging photos

22 Feb

Last month, Associated Press photographer A. M. Ahad shared a video on Facebook that shows something disappointing… if not terribly surprising. His video, captured at a train station in Bangladesh, shows photographers shooting staged images of a boy who is posing out a train window as if in prayer.

Ahad criticized the photographers’ actions, saying such staging is used in an effort to capture award-winning images at the expense of professional etiquette.

Speaking with PetaPixel, Ahad explained that a large number of camera-wielding tourists show up for Eid al-Adha and Bishwa Ijtema to snap images that are often posed: “They are all around making images and ruining things for professional photographers.”

“Bangladesh is not for people like this who came to ruin professional photographers etiquette for the sake of winning medal,” Ahad said in the Facebook post that accompanies the video, expressing frustration that photographers who are staging scenes are getting in the way of actual professionals. “Stop telling us that you are foreign media covering the congregation when you have no proof to show us […] just stay home, for goodness sake.”

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The Chroma is a lightweight, affordable, easy-to-use 5×4 field camera

22 Feb

A UK photographer and custom-built camera maker has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new 5×4-inch field camera that he intends to be lightweight, easy-to-use, unique, affordable and upgradable… as well as a bit funky. To that end, the Chroma will be made from brightly colored sheets of acrylic, laser-cut for accuracy.

Steve Lloyd has spent fifteen years creating custom cameras as one-offs, but decided to make a production 5×4 camera using modern materials and technologies.

The 3mm and 5mm acrylic sheets he uses allow cameras to be made in a range of colors—including Red, Pink, Blue, White, Green, Matte Black, Glossy Black, Purple and Yellow—while the lightweight nature of the material means the Chroma will weigh much less than a traditional wooden model. Even with the ground glass screen, the camera weighs just 1592g.

Here’s a quick intro to the colorful Chroma camera:

Lloyd has designed Chroma to provide a good range of movements in both the front and rear standards, with 40mm of rise and fall when both standards are in operation, and 30mm of shift in either direction at the front. Both standards allow 45° of tilt forwards and backwards, and Lloyd claims swing is limited only by the coverage of the lens in use and the ability of the bellows to flex.

The camera uses a clever back that is fixed with magnets built into the body, so it can be lifted off and rotated in seconds. The back is designed for standard 5×4 double dark slides, and Lloyd says he is working on designs for roll film and Graflok backs, as well as one for wet plate holders.

When fully extended the Chroma can stretch its bellows to 300mm, and it can be used with focal lengths from 65mm to 280mm. In the extended pose the camera measures 180x330x235mm, but it folds away to just 210x180x117mm.

The camera comes with a ground glass screen and a pin-hole lens to get new 5×4 photographers started. Users can choose Copal 0, 1 or 3 sized holes in a Linhof/Wista-style lens board, and those with existing Linhof/Wista boards will be able to fit them.

The Chroma starts at £250 (approx $ 350) for Kickstarter backers, and Lloyd says he expects to deliver between June and November 2018 according to the pledge you choose. Of course, no crowdfunding campaign is a guarantee, but given he’s already raised over $ 40K on a $ 13K goal, Lloyd is well on his way to a successful delivery.

For more information or if you want to put down a pledge and pick up a Chroma for yourself, visit the camera’s Kickstarter page.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

22 Feb

Waterfalls are some of the most beautiful natural features you will ever get the chance to photograph and are a very popular subject for landscape photographers. Photographing waterfalls provides a great way to get outdoors and explore nature.

 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

There is something magical about the patterns and sounds of flowing water that really heighten your senses and make you feel at one with nature. Although waterfalls look great, you may be wondering well how do I photograph them? Here are six tips to help you on your way.

1 – Get the right equipment

You will be better equipped to photograph waterfalls if you have the right equipment. A wide-angle lens is essential to broaden the angle of view and ensure you are able to photograph the whole waterfall. You will also be able to get up close to the falls rather than photographing them from a distance.

Once you have found a great waterfall and have the right equipment to capture it, you are ready to take some photographs.

6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

2 – Experiment with different shutter speeds

So now that you have the gear, how do you take photos that capture the authenticity and beauty of the scene?

When photographing waterfalls, finding the ideal shutter speed involves a lot of experimenting. This step is all about trial and error, which is part of the fun. Try taking shots with different shutter speeds and check out the results to see the differences.

I would recommend taking pictures with both fast and slow shutter speeds ranging from between 1/500th of a second to a few seconds and see which style of image you prefer.

3 – Freeze motion

How you shoot waterfalls effectively depends on the look and feel of the image you are trying to achieve. If you want to capture the water in a static way, you will need to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the water. This isolates the water in motion and gives a very different result to using an extended shutter speed.

See the difference between the three images below and how the change in shutter speed affects the water. (Images courtesy of dPS Managing Editor, Darlene Hildebrandt)

ISO 100, f/4, no ND filter, 1/640th of a second.

ISO 100, F/22, o.3 sec with ND filter

ISO 100, F/22, 1.3 sec with ND filter

4 – Blur motion

Using a slow shutter speed will help you to capture the water’s movement. You will find that the longer the shutter is open, the smoother the water will be. Be careful not to use a shutter speed that is too slow if the water is very fast flowing as the water may become one large white mass without any definition.

6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

Generally, you will obtain better results by using an extremely slow shutter speed of over a second. However, this will not be possible if you are hand holding the camera due to excessive camera shake, which brings us to the next tip.

5 – Use a tripod

Investing in a tripod will help to keep the camera more stable and enhance your chances of getting good images. The main advantage of using a tripod is that you are more likely to capture images of waterfalls that are sharper as the camera is less prone to movement during slower exposures.

Using a tripod will allow you to use slower shutter speeds to give you a smoother look and feel to your waterfall images. Images captured using long shutter speeds tend to look more dramatic and the silky water looks more appealing and pleasing to the eye.

If you do not have a tripod, you could set your camera on a stone or some other object to capture part or all of the waterfall.

6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

6 – Use a polarizing filter

One of the best ways to add some color to your images is to use a polarizing filter. This is a great way to deepen colors by increasing their saturation. But be aware that the polarizer also cuts the amount of light entering the camera, and thus increases your exposure by up to two stops of light.

6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls

Polarizers also help to eliminate glare and reflections from the surface of the water and can be used to increase contrast. This is especially true when shooting during the day in bright conditions.

When adding a polarizer, the water you capture should become blurred, depending on how fast it is flowing. The advantage to using a polarizer is that you can increase the exposure time and slow the shutter speed, as the amount of light going through the lens is decreased. This allows you to create images with motion and silky-smooth water action.

Your turn

With these practical tips, it’s time for you to get out there and start photographing your next waterfall!

The post 6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfalls by Jeremy Flint appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Digital Photography School


Fujifilm interview: ‘We want the X-H1 to be friendly for DSLR users’

21 Feb

Fujifilm’s new X-H1 sits above the X-T2 in the company’s X-series APS-C lineup. As well as offering several enhancements in its core stills photography feature set, the X-H1 also brings high-end 4K video capture with up to 200Mbps capture and 5-axis in-body stabilization.

At the X-H1’s launch in Los Angeles last week, we sat down with the camera’s product manager, Jun Watanabe, to get a detailed look at the new camera. The following interview has been edited for clarity and flow.

Jun Watanabe is the Manager of Product Planning in the Sales & Marketing group of the Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Products Division at Fujifilm.

Fujifilm has stated previously that IBIS would not be possible in X-series cameras because of the small imaging circle of some XF lenses. What changed?

We have spent the past two or three years developing a system where using both hardware and software, we can cover [the necessary] imaging circle. The most important thing is precision. Because a sensor with IBIS is a floating device, it has to be perfectly centered and perfectly flat. We had already achieved a sensor flatness tolerance down to an order of microns, but the challenge was to maintain this precision with IBIS.

A laser measurement device is used during the process of manufacturing the image stabilization unit, and the assembly process also includes inspection and adjustment of each individual camera. For that reason, a micron order level of sensor parallelism is realized even while IBIS is activated.

A chart showing CIPA figures for image stabilization benefit of all compatible XF lenses, when used with the X-H1. As you can see, the least amount of benefit comes when the 10-24mm wideangle zoom is used. Users of the vast majority of XF lenses should see 5 stops of stabilization benefit.

Are there some lenses that will deliver better stabilization than others, as a result of having a larger imaging circle?

Yes. The most effective is the 35mm F1.4. But every XF lens without OIS will benefit from five stops of stabilization.

When you were developing the X-H1, how important was the requirement to add high-end video features?

Many videographers gave us input. A lot of them said they needed in-body stabilization, and F-Log in-camera recording. Those were the top requests from video users.

Compared to the X-T2, the X-H1 is a larger, more DSLR-styled camera which inherits a lot of styling cues from the medium-format GFX 50S. It is also 25% thicker, and better sealed against the elements.

What kind of feedback have you had from videographers since the X-H1 was announced?

Pretty good. We’ve heard from videographers that they really like the 200Mb/s internal recording and 12 stops of dynamic range with the Eterna film simulation. They’ve told us that this combination is the best solution for quick, high-quality video capture.

We wanted to create a more cinematic look, so we studied ‘Eterna’ – one of our cine film emulsions

We received a lot of feedback after we launched the X-T2, from videographers and DPs who said that our film simulation modes in video were unique, but too still photography oriented, with the narrow dynamic range. They wanted a real cinema look. On the product planning side we wanted to create a more cinematic look, so we studied one of our cine film emulsions – ‘Eterna’. That was the starting point.

Velvia is tuned to give you colors as you remembered them. More vivid blue skies, for example. Eterna is tuned in the opposite direction, for moderate saturation, with more cyan and green bias. With Eterna, combined with the X-H1’s dynamic range settings, we have achieved a 12 stop dynamic range.

How did you decide on what video features to include in the camera? Some expected features – like zebra – are missing.

Honestly, we couldn’t add zebra because of hardware constraints. The processor cannot support it. It requires too much processing power. At this time, we’ve achieved the best possible performance for the processor.

The X-H1 (on the left) features a substantially deeper handgrip than the X-T2, which we’re told was a major feature request from existing X-series customers. It also sports a top-plate mounted LCD, which should make it more familiar to photographers coming from using an enthusiast DSLR.

Is 8-bit capture enough, for F-Log recording?

There are 10-bit cameras on the market, but we recommend using Eterna to short-cut the recording process. We think 8-bit is enough for good quality.

Do you think the X-H1 will be bought mostly by stills photographers, or videographers?

We are targeting both. We have greatly upgraded the video performance [compared to the X-T2] but we have upgraded the stills performance too, especially autofocus in low light, and subject tracking. We also added flicker reduction and dynamic range priority, and so on. We are targeting both kinds of professional users.

When it comes to autofocus, minimum low light AF response has been improved from 0.5EV to -1EV. We’ve also introduced a new phase-detection autofocus algorithm and parallel data processing. The X-H1 has the same processor as the X-T2 but the algorithms are new. A single autofocus point in the X-T2 was divided into 5 zones. In the X-H1, this has been increased to 20 zones.

Phase-detection autofocus will be possible with our 100-400mm lens in combination with a 2X teleconverter

Data from each zone is processed in three ways, for horizontal detail, vertical detail, and fine, natural detail like foliage or a bird’s feathers. This processing happens simultaneously, rather than in series, which is a big advantage over the X-T2. We’ve also achieved phase-detection performance down to F11, which means that phase-detection autofocus will be possible with our 100-400mm lens in combination with a 2X teleconverter, with a much higher hit-rate compared to the X-T2.

During shooting, the predictive AF algorithm now generates information from captured images in a sequence, for more reliable subject tracking while zooming.

Now that you have a powerful 4K-capable video camera with IBIS, how will this change how you develop lenses, in the future?

For stills lenses, our approach will stay the same. But we’ve also announced two cinema lenses. These both work with IBIS and the MKX 18-55mm zoom will deliver 5 stops of correction. This is a unique selling point.

We have had requests from some of our professional users for a bigger camera

The X-H1 is considerably larger than its predecessors. Is there a point when the size advantage of APS-C compared to full-frame gets lost?

Professionals are generally more accepting of larger cameras, and [compared to DSLRs] the X-H1 isn’t that big. And we have had requests from some of our professional users for a bigger camera, especially those photographers that use our longer lenses. A bigger grip and more solid body were both requested.

Here’s that deeper handgrip, in action.

When the camera gets bigger, does it make some aspects of design easier? Like heat management?

Yes, the increased camera volume gives us some advantages when it comes to heat and cooling systems. In fact the X-H1’s 4K recording time is 50% longer than the X-T2, thanks to a new cooling system and two large copper heat sinks.

How much technology from the GFX 50S has made it into the X-H1?

Some of the operation and operability improvements have made their way into this camera. We hope that some DSLRs users will come over to the X-series, thanks to things like the top LCD, and twin control dials and so on. We wanted the X-H1 to be ‘friendly’ to photographers who are used to DSLRs.

Editor’s note:

I always enjoy talking to engineers, even with the caveat that some of what they say occasionally goes completely over my head. I was very surprised, for instance, after hearing Mr. Watanabe detail all of the clever ways in which the X-H1 processes AF information, to be told that the new camera has the same processor as the X-T2.

It’s not impossible to imagine that the X-T2 might yet benefit from some of these advances.

Quite how Fujifilm has managed to eke such increased efficiency from essentially the same amount of computing power is beyond my intellect, but if the claimed increase in performance holds up in our testing, the company deserves a lot of credit. And given Fujifilm’s excellent track record of updating older models, it’s not impossible to imagine that the X-T2 might yet benefit from some of these advances.

Apparently there were internal discussions about including a dual, or even a completely new processor in the X-H1, but this would have added to development time, as well as cost. It’s possible too that some of the heat-management benefits of the X-H1’s larger internal volume compared to the X-T2 might have been nullified.

‘Silent control’ in movie shooting allows you to adjust exposure settings by touching the rear LCD – avoiding the noise and vibration of clicky buttons and dials making its way into your footage.

And in these days of 4K video capture, heat matters. The X-H1 isn’t a perfect video camera by any means, but it’s the most convincing X-series model yet. It should compare well against most of its competitors, barring only the more specialized Panasonic GH5/S. In-camera 5-axis stabilization is a big part of that (involving 10,000 calculations per second, if you can believe it), but features like 12EV of video dynamic range (Eterna + DR400%), internal F-log recording and a maximum quality of 200 Mbps are sure to attract the attention of professional, as well as casual videographers.

One of the most requested features from Fujifilm’s X-series customers was a bigger grip

Even for people with little or no interest in video, the X-H1’s enhanced feature set might still be enough to justify the extra cost over the X-T2. And possibly also its ergonomics. According to Mr. Watanabe, one of the most requested features from Fujifilm’s X-series customers was a bigger grip. The X-H1 gets bigger everythings, just about. Obviously this means that the camera is bigger as a result, but Fujifilm is hoping that this will make the X-H1 appeal to more traditional DSLR users.

Will the X-H1 prove a hit? I hope so. It’s an impressive camera, and a bold move by Fujifilm. I can’t see the company creating a dedicated video camera any time soon (and Mr. Watanabe would not be drawn on this question when I asked him) but however it gets there, one thing is clear: Fujifilm really wants to be taken seriously by filmmakers, as well as traditional stills photographers.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (