Ricoh has announced the HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW Rear Converter - a weather-resistant 1.4x teleconverter. It's designed to maintain autofocus both with lenses that use built-in focus motors, and those which are driven from the camera body. It employs a four element, three group optical design and is compatible with most current Pentax lenses (see list below). It'll be available in March 2014 for a price of $599.95 / £379.99.

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Press Release:

Ricoh Imaging Enhances K-Mount Lens Lineup with Debut of Rear Converter 

Autofocus Functionality and Weather-Sealing Maintained with HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW Rear Converter

DENVER, CO, February 5, 2014 – Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation  (Ricoh Imaging) is pleased to announce the release of the HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter. Measuring only 20 millimeters in length, the compact, lightweight  HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter closes the gap between the photographer and subject, enhancing the versatility of their telephoto lenses by extending the focal length by 40%.

Optimized for Ricoh Imaging’s acclaimed lineup of PENTAX K-mount lenses, the HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter is the ideal product for the photographer that requires the additional flexibility accompanied by added focal length. Additionally, the HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter has been engineered to maintain the autofocus (AF) functionality while working seamlessly with both camera-driven as well as lens-driven AF systems.  

"The introduction of the HD PENTAX rear converter exemplifies our commitment to providing photographers with useful products and accessories that enable them to execute their creative vision," said Jim Malcolm, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Imaging. "The rear converter makes good on that promise by giving photographers the extra focal length they need to realize the image."

Composed of four elements in three groups, the HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter features superior optics and incorporates the PENTAX-developed HD coating. This high-grade, multi-layer coating is designed to minimize reflectance inside the converter while optimizing light transmittance letting the user capture crisp, high-contrast images free of flare and ghosting, even under adverse backlit conditions. 

Finally, thanks to its three airtight seals, photographers can combine Ricoh Imaging’s lineup of PENTAX weather-resistant, dustproof DSLRs and lenses to assemble a dependable digital imaging system that performs superbly even under harsh outdoor conditions.

Pricing and Availability

The HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter will be available at retailers nationwide and online in March 2014 for a price of $599.95.

Major Features

1. 1.4-times focal length extension 

By mounting this rear converter between the camera body and main lens, the user can extend the focal length 1.4 times.* Measuring only 20 millimeters long, its compact, lightweight design allows the user to more easily reach out to distant subjects. The minimum focusing distance of the main lens is retained despite the extended focal length, providing for the capture of larger, more detailed images of  subjects in close-up shooting.

*When this rear converter is mounted, the lens maximum aperture will be smaller (darker) by 1 step.

2. AF compatibility Maintained

When coupled with an AF lens, the autofocus operation can be performed. This rear converter works perfectly with both the camera-driven AF system and the lens-driven AF system (such as the  SDM- and DC- series lenses).**

**The camera’s firmware must be updated to the latest version before using the autofocus function. Compatible camera bodies are: K-3, K-50, K-500, K-30, K-5 II, K-5 II s, K-5, K-01, K-7, and K-r. Autofocus is possible with a PENTAX lens having maximum aperture of f/4 or brighter.

3. Weather-resistant, dustproof construction for active outdoor shooting

Equipped with three airtight seals, this model is the first PENTAX rear converter with a weather-resistant, dustproof construction. 

4. Exceptional optical performance

Thanks to its state-of-the-art optical design, this rear converter assures the exceptional optical performance that optimizes the potential of the master lens. The application of PENTAX-developed HD coating*** — a high-grade, multi-layer coating designed to minimize reflectance inside the converter while optimizing light transmittance — lets the user capture crisp, high-contrast images free of flare and ghost images, even under such adverse lighting conditions as backlight.

*** HD stands for High Definition.

Note: Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Compatible Lenses

Compatible (AF-enabled) lenses for HD PENTAX-DA AF REAR CONVERTER 1.4× AW

  • smc PENTAX-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL[IF] 
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL[IF] SDM
  • smc PENTAX-DA 17-70mm F4 AL[IF] SDM - 1*
  • HD PENTAX-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED[IF] SDM 
  • smc PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED - 3* 
  • HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR - 3*
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 60-250mm F4 ED[IF] SDM
  • smc PENTAX-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] 
  • smc PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.4 AL 
  • smc PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
  • HD PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
  • smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
  • HD PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
  • smc PENTAX-DA 50mm F1.8
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 55mm F1.4 SDM - 2*
  • smc PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited
  • HD PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 200mm F2.8 ED[IF] SDM 
  • smc PENTAX-DA★ 300mm F4 ED[IF] SDM 
  • HD PENTAX-DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW - 3*
  • smc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 50mm F2.8
  • smc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR 

1* Could be out of focus with contrast AF
2* Maximum aperture from F2.4 
3* Could be out of focus with phase matching AF

•  Compatible (AF-enabled) cameras are as follows: K-3, K-50, K-30, K-5 ll ,K-5 lls ,K-5, K-01, K-7, K-r
(Update of camera’s firmware is required)
•  Could be out of focus with contrast AF of K7
•  Maximum aperture (F number) will be one-stop larger 
•  Please refrain from equipping the following lenses since the rear converter lens might touch the joint part of those main lenses - HD PENTAX-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited / HD PENTAX-DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited / smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS

HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW 1.4x rear converter with mc PENTAX-DA★ 300mm F4 ED[IF] SDM on Pentax K-3, to give 420mm F5.6 combination

HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW Rear Converter Specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeTeleconverter
Max Format size35mm FF
Lens mountPentax KAF2
Optics
Elements4
Groups3
Special elements / coatingsHD coating
Focus
Full time manualN/A
Physical
Weight126 g (0.28 lb)
Diameter65 mm (2.56)
Length20 mm (0.79)
SealingYes