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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Super-Premium Pentax Lens Series

Speaking of lenses for DSLRs, Pentax has just announced a new series of top-of-the-line, premium digital-only lenses called DA* (say "dee-ay-star"). The first two DA* lenses are constant-aperture ƒ/2.8 zooms with focal lengths of 16–50mm (above) (roughly 25–75mm equivalent) and 50–135mm (left) (roughly 75–210 equivalent). They bring together aspherical elements, special optical-glass elements, and original lens coatings, and are designed to cover just the area of a digital sensor. Both lenses have 9-blade apertures and impressively short close-focus distances (.3 and 1 meters respectively). Pentax promises the new DA* lenses will be "superior to any existing lens series in terms of contrast, clarity and edge-to-edge sharpness."

The lenses boast an impressive array of special features. On the K10D they have near-silent "Supersonic" SDM focusing (similar to Canon's USM), but can also be used on older bodies that have focusing motors built into the bodies; full-time manual focus override that works on both body types; and they are heavily sealed and water- and dust-resistant, to match the weather-sealed K10 body—and this includes a special, super-hard fluorine vapor-deposited coating on the outermost element that repels dust, moisture, grease, and dirt.

List prices are $900 and $1k respectively; no word on street prices. Typically for pro-quality, fast, constant-aperture zooms, they're fairly big 'n' heavy honkers. These two lenses will ship this Spring.



Blogger Jeromie said...

And to think I just ordered a Pentax 16-45/4 yesterday. Oh well, I don't have $900 dollars to spend on lenses right now, and if I did I'd probably come home with two or three nice primes instead of one huge zoom. It's still great to see the DA* finally nearing release, though!

9:28 AM  
Blogger eolake said...

What do you mean, Jeromie? Is DA* a system?

Good on Pentax. I amazed they have the funding, not to mention the balls, to go for something like this.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Huffy said...

I don't believe Pentax is doing all the funding here. Tokina's recent lenses all seem to be either followed or preceded by identical spec Pentax lenses. Check out:

BTW, my Tokina 12-24mm ATX Pro lens seems to be identical to the same Pentax lens. I don't really think Pentax is making lenses for Tokina but the reverse is probably true...

9:42 PM  
Blogger Yuda said...

I don't know for sure that DA* is a system, but if you go to Pentax's site, they've added a DA* header to all of their lens pages (wide angle, standard, telephoto, zoom). Obviously, the only one where there's anything listed under the header is the zoom page.

Obviously, this doesn't tell us anything for sure, but it certainly implies that more are coming...

10:41 PM  
Blogger Wieland said...

The Tokina and Pentax lenses are co-developed. It's not that one did it for the other, it is a 50/50 collaboration.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Jeromie said...

I meant to say DA* lenses.

My understanding is that Pentax has two lens lines that denote superb quality: the Limited lenses and * lenses. The Limited lenses have, thus far, been unique prime lenses of the sort unlikely to be found in another camera manufacturer's lineup. They include the 31mm, 43mm, and 77mm lenses in their full frame line and the new 21, 40, and 70mm pancake lenses in the digital lineup. (plus the recently announced 35mm macro Mike mentioned the other day.)

The * lenses have been the designation for their more common high quality lenses. I don't believe their have been any DA* lenses yet (DA is the Pentax digital specific line). These new lenses fill in some gaps in the Pentax lineup: professional quality digital specific zooms. Even if they aren't what I would get, I'm glad they will be available in the Pentax mount for those who need them.

All of these high quality lenses are but dreams for me at the moment, but no one can claim I haven't done my research!

9:58 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I thought the * just denoted ultrasonic in-lens focusing motors.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Guilherme said...

Peter, you are wrong.
star denotes high quality lenses in pentax line.
At this time, all DA* lenses are SDM (ultrasonic motorized lenses) but I belive it will not be true forever.

2:06 PM  

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