Pentax has today announced a new companion lens for the *ist D digital SLR camera. The compact, high-performance, interchangeable smc PENTAX-DA 16 mm - 45 mm F4 ED AL lens features a 3X zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges for the angle of view equivalent to 24.5mm-69mm in the 35mm format. Pentax U.S.A. will preview the lens at the PEPCOM Digital Focus media event on January 7 in Las Vegas during the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show.

UPDATE: Samples from an *ist D with this new lens posted on the Pentax Japan website.

Click here for the Pentax *ist D & DA 16-45 mm F4 ED AL samples

Press release (Pentax USA):

FIRST PENTAX DIGITAL SLR LENS INTRODUCED

GOLDEN, Colorado (December 9, 2003) PENTAX U.S.A. has announced a perfect companion lens for the *ist D digital SLR camera. The compact, high-performance, interchangeable smc PENTAX-DA 16mm-45mm F4 ED AL lens features a 3X zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges for the angle of view equivalent to 24.5mm-69mm in the 35mm format.

The DA-Series features a responsive “Quick-Shift Focus System” that allows photographers to instantly switch the focus mode from auto to manual with a slight twist of the focus ring. Coupled with a simple, functional design and the elimination of an aperture ring, this new mechanism considerably improves the camera’s operability. The lens also incorporates an Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass lens element and two aspherical lens elements for true-to-life image reproduction and overall size reduction. The image circle in DA-series lenses, including the smc PENTAX-DA 16mm-45mm F4 ED AL, is designed to perfectly match the 23.5mm x 15.7mm size of the CCD used in PENTAX digital SLRs to optimize camera performance. The new design also contributes to a drastic reduction in size, weight and production cost, compared to 35mm-format counterparts with similar specifications.

PENTAX U.S.A. will preview the lens at the PEPCOM Digital Focus media event on January 7 in Las Vegas during the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show.

Pentax DA 16-45 mm F4 ED AL Specifications

Focal length range 16 - 45 mm
Equiv. FOV (*ist D) 24 - 68 mm
Maximum aperture F4 constant
Minimum aperture F22
Construction 13 elements in 10 groups
Minimum focus distance 0.28 m (0.92 ft)
Maximum magnification 0.26x
Filter diameter 67 mm
Dimensions (dia x len) 72 x 92 mm (2.8 x 3.6 in)
Weight (no hood) 365 g (12.9 oz)