Pentax Announces Its Entry Into the Full-Frame Market, the K-1, and New Lenses

Pentax Announces Its Entry Into the Full-Frame Market, the K-1, and New Lenses

Today, Pentax has announced their entry into the full-frame market, the K-1. Slotting in-between the company's APS-C and medium format offerings, the K-1 aims to be the do-it-all solution for working photographers. In addition, the company has also announced two lenses to complement the new system.

We've been eagerly awaiting the announcement of Pentax's full-frame offering and happily, we are not disappointed. The camera follows Pentax's tradition of offering its unique take on features, incorporating some highly useful and intriguing capabilities that are sure to please photographers of all types. These features include:

  • 36.4 MP CMOS sensor with no AA filter, but with an AA filter simulation effect to eliminate moire
  • ISO sensitivity up to 204,800
  • Five-axis in-camera shake reduction, offering up to five stops of compensation
  • Pixel-shifting technology that shifts the sensor to create high-resolution images, complete with motion correction
  • Continuous shooting of up to 4.4 fps (17-shot raw buffer) in full-frame mode, or up to 6.5 fps (50-shot raw buffer) in APS-C mode
  • Dual SD slots
  • 33 AF points (25 cross-type), sensitive to EV -3, including an LED AF assist lamp
  • 100% coverage viewfinder with 0.70x magnification
  • Illuminated controls and lens mount
  • A 3.2-inch LCD display that can be tilted along multiple axes: 44° down, 90° up, 35° left and right
  • Weather and dust resistance
  • Built-in GPS and electronic compass
  • AstroTracer function that shifts the sensor to follow the motion of stars, enabling blur-free long exposures
  • Wi-Fi control and file transfer
  • Ability to capture files in Pentax raw, DNG format, or JPEG
  • Diffraction correction
  • Focus peaking in video mode
  • Optional adaptor to use 645-series lenses
  • 1080p video at 30 fps in both full-frame and APS-C modes

Pentax has also announced the PENTAX-D FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR, with 11" close focus distance, 18 elements in 13 groups, nine rounded apertures blades, and full weather and dust resistance. Its companion, the PENTAX-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR, features similar weather and dust resistance, 15 elements in 11 groups, and nine rounded aperture blades. 

Pre-orders are available below:

Pentax K-1

PENTAX-D FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR

PENTAX-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Are you excited for the new gear? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Log in or register to post comments


Kyle Medina's picture

That's a very competitive price tag!!

Adam Ottke's picture

And with in-body stabilization and Auto Tracer for astrophotographers. Huge bonus. High ISO with high MP combination. Electronic AA filter simulation (with light vibration of the stabilization motors -- the way it should always have been). This should be awesome.

Nathan Hamler's picture

Well, looks like all those FA* lenses are getting ready to SKYROCKET in value....

Henry Canyons's picture

$1799? Nikon will have to reduce the price of the D810. For the $800 in savings someone could buy decent glass.

Pentax (Ricoh) has given a lot more bang for the $ in recent years, particularly with the 645Z. Now they are going after the D810 giving a lot more for the money. There is a big backlog of Pentaxians that want this camera and already have been hoarding older lenses for it. There won;t be a price drop for a while, although there could be a bunch of used K-3 for sale soon at great prices.

Spy Black's picture

I doubt people who have invested on Nikon gear will drop it all for this, any more than Canon users will drop their gear for a D5 or D500. It is a good option for those just getting into photography seriously, or those that only have a body and one lens, and it may become the camera of choice for astrophotographers on a budget. If anything it may affect the price of the astro Nikon.

Deleted Account's picture

I don't know about that... After all, I left Pentax for the D800 a few years ago, despite having two K5 bodies and 10 lenses.

Anyways, for astrophotographers, this clearly becomes a compelling option. Pentax has a long history of really good noise management, a bonus here, and the GPS/astro function is very good and has been around with them for a while (could be done with the hot shoe GPS unit on a K5 and up). That's not just a budget thing, nobody else is really lining up with them there. I don't know that you can find a better option when you put the plusses and minuses together.

Spy Black's picture

Most people won't do what you've done. No point in the loss. You also left Pentax for full frame, which you couldn't get from Pentax back then. Other than possibly astro shooters, I don't see a valid reason anyone with a D810 will be wanting to jump to this.

Deleted Account's picture

People looking to upgrade to full frame on a Nikon or Canon body and who don't have FF glass may consider the option as even in-brand upgrades can carry the investment penalty for many users because of lens differences. At which point, considering some other brand options may be worth doing.

However, despite being a Pentax fan still, I think this camera is more about table stakes these days rather than any serious bid to take market share. I would call it loss prevention, I wasn't the first to jump ship for full frame a few years ago and if they hadn't gone down the road, I wouldn't have been the last.

Spy Black's picture

Yeah, I think this may be a good option for people who want to upgrade to full frame. Assuming they've only invested in crop frame optics, it wouldn't make any difference. If you don't need the options of lenses afforded to you in the Canon or Nikon rosters, then this is a viable alternative.

Henry Canyons's picture

You said something similar about the 645Z, and look at the MF sales numbers now. This is actually better than the D810 for $800 less.

Spy Black's picture

Show me those numbers.

In what way is this "better than a D810" to someone who owns a D810 and an array of lenses for it?

This will appeal to the Pentax loyal, and new users who haven't committed to any one platform yet. I think Pentax will do pretty well with this, and I wish them well with it.

mike hiran's picture

With the K-1's Pixel Shift, you'll get a lot more detail and much more color info. Check out the info on diglloyd regarding the Super Resolution Mode. This pixel shift also reduces noise. Some have compared an APS-C camera with pixel shift with a D810 and found it to be nearly equal. The K-1 could give many medium format cameras a run for it's money!

When using my fast glass indoors, the K-1 can use much lower shutter speeds with the 5 stop shake reduction. You'll need to up your ISO resulting in softer grainier images. Until many of Nikon's fast primes start including in lens stabilization....

The K-1 has auto horizon correction where if your camera is tilted, it's corrected by rotating the sensor - your picture will have to be cropped and hopefully someone's shoulder doesn't get chopped off.

The K-1 has AA simulation - if someone is wearing a suit of a certain pattern, the K-1 can eliminate moire before it happens.

Spy Black's picture

That's all good stuff, but if you have a D810 and an arsenal of lenses, it's not going to convince anyone they need to dump it all for the Pentax.

It's all good for Pentax.

Mark Davidson's picture

I would actually consider it. It has a lot more resolution than my 5Dmkiiis and their glass is good and plentiful. In addition, its super res mode beats the daylights out of my Canons for my still life images.

Spy Black's picture

The Mk II and Mk III are great, robust cameras, but their image quality is crap. I work in a studio where they shoot with Mk IIs and IIs, I know them well.

So yes, resolution aside, you're right that this will probably be better than what you're getting now. Not sure where you're getting the "plentiful" part of their lens lineup, unless you're referring to legacy lenses. They need modern lenses, primes, macros, etc. in their lineup.

How many lenses have you invested in your Canon system? A lot? Not many? If a lot, are you ready to take the losses and reinvest in a whole new system? If so than go for it. I would wait a while first to see how this new camera shakes down before jumping on it however. Chances are good it will be a very good camera judging by the other Ks, but unless you just need to be the new kid on the block with the latest toy, I'd kick back and watch where this goes.

Mark Davidson's picture

I have a number but nothing that Pentax doesn't have in excellent examples. 24-70, 70-200, 16-35, 100 macro and a 50 Sigma.
All of these are covered except my 17 TS-E which I am selling anyway.

I would always wait before jumping.
The real issue for me is what service looks like from Pentax.

Spy Black's picture

Wishing Pentax users mazel tov on this. Hope it delivers without glitches.

Now they just need some modern lenses.

Henry Canyons's picture

Where have you been? They have new glass, a boatload of legacy glass, and I imagine Sigma or Tamron (probably not both) will add more glass in the future. The pixel shifting makes this camera far superior than anything Canikon is offering for product shots, the in-camera IS really is good for around 5 stops (although this could be less handheld since this weighs more than a K-3), the astro function will have its niche with the weatherproofing being a bonus.

Spy Black's picture

"They have new glass, a boatload of legacy glass, and I imagine Sigma or Tamron (probably not both) will add more glass in the future."

I said MODERN lenses. Yes it's fine to use legacy lenses, I do it myself, and as I've said in a different thread, Pentax should work with third-party manufacturers to get the K-mount on their wares. But what you "imagine" and what may happen may not be one in the same, and Pentax have no real modern lenses of their own design and manufacture. Even these zooms they're selling are re-branded Tamrons.

But that's alright. As long as Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina support them, they should do pretty well. They need some modern primes to make the best of the new camera.

brady burmeister's picture

By modern, do you just mean upgrading to an SDM or DC focus motor from screw drive? Because you will still not find modern lenses by Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tokina, or Tameron that will render better images than the 3 FA Limiteds by Pentax; the 31, 43, and 77. And you will not find a sharper 1:1 100mm macro than the D-FA WR 100. As far as telephoto goes, the 150 -450 is not a rebranded lens, and DA* 200 and DA* 300 are full frame designs. There is no point in modernizing lenses for the sake of saying they are modernized. Sure, there are some gaps that need filled, but a Pentax shooter will not be left without options.

Spy Black's picture

That's a matter of opinion I guess. I've seen images from those lenses, nothing special.

Pentax needs modern lenses. They'll get there, even if it's with a little help from third-party manufacturers. This full frame Pentax will do well.

mike hiran's picture

Here's an interesting article in Luminous Landscape from a while back about some of the best lenses around - the Pentax FA Limiteds are front and center:

Spy Black's picture

I didn't say they were bad lenses, I just said I didn't think they were anything special. The real topic here however is not the lenses Pentax already has.

mike hiran's picture

Spy Black writes "Pentax have no real modern lenses of their own design and manufacture."

Well that's spurious and wrong. The following are "designed for digital" full frame lenses:
DA*55 f1.4
DFA 150-450
DFA 70-200
DFA 28-105
DA* 200 2.8
DA* 300 f4
DA 560
DFA 100 f2.8 macro
DFA 50 f2.8 macro
DA50 f1.8
DA35 f2.4

And I've used many FA (designed for film) lenses on high resolution APS-C cameras and many have used them on Sony A7's with superb results. Pentax has long had some of the best coatings around so they are full of contrast, great color, and extremely sharp. Take a look at the FA31 f1.8, FA43 f1.9, or FA77 f1.8 - they are amazing lenses in a small light package.

In the end, what difference does it make who makes or designs the glass when, so long as it's good glass?

Spy Black's picture

My point was they weren't made by Pentax. You're correct however that it's not a deal breaker. Hopefully for Pentax Sigma, Tokina, and more Tamrons will become available for the new body. The new body is a good addition to the world of full frame DSLR options available to people. More competition pushes everyone forward in new, more capable and affordable options. In comparison, just look at Adobe. ;-)

Fritz Asuro's picture

The camera do have good specs for it's price tag.
But it is one ugly cluttered camera!

mike hiran's picture

Yeah, there are a lot of wheels on that camera. Plus being able to configure multiple buttons the way you'd like can take a bit of effort to dial in.
But I kind of like that 3rd control wheel even if it starts to look a bit cluttered. Being able to control aperture, iso, and shutter speed without multiple button presses or menu diving is great.

I'm not sure what kind of person buys a camera as a fashion accessory, but I just want a camera that becomes something I don't have to think about so I can focus on my subject and the result.

Fritz Asuro's picture

i didn't say it was ugly as a "fashion accessory". I meant design wise, it's a pain in the eyes.

You can't tell me that aesthetics and design won't matter because manufacturers do hire designers for their products. Almost every product was designed by industrial designers and molded with industrial engineers.

Take a look of brands like Nikon, Canon, & Fuji. Most of their products do look good and functional at the same time.

It's not purey about functionality. Designers have to consider other aspects such as ergonomics, aesthetics, future proofing, etc.

Mark Davidson's picture

Hooray for Pentax! A beautiful camera with content to back it up. I am hoping they sell a ton.

Jim Bolen's picture

This is an interesting offering, but for the person (like me) who is looking to get into FF, and possibly go with a new system, you can get FF mirrorless from Sony for about the same price (A7II). Haven't seen tests from the Pentax, but it sure would be hard to beat the DR on the Sony, and that's crucial for us architectural and landscape shooters.

More comments