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Ricoh announces 'HD' update to Pentax DA Limited primes

By dpreview staff on Aug 27, 2013 at 22:00 GMT

Ricoh Imaging has announced an updated set of Pentax DA Limited primes, with improved lens coatings and circular aperture diaphragms. Based on the existing 15mm F4, 21mm F3.2, 35mm F2.8 Macro, 40mm F2.8 and 70mm F2.4 designs, the 'HD' versions gain Pentax's multi-layer HD (High Definition) coating, promising reduced flare and ghosting, and include diaphragms that are completely rounded at large aperture settings to give attractive background blur. Other specs, including physical dimensions, optical formulae, minimum focus distance and maximum magnification remain largely unchanged. The lenses will all available in September 2013, in a choice of silver or black. 

US and UK suggested retail prices for the HD DA Limited lenses are as follows:

 US SRPUK RRP
HD PENTAX DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited  $699.95 £589.99
HD PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited $699.95 £589.99
HD PENTAX DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited $749.95 £639.99
HD PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited $549.95 £439.99
HD PENTAX DA 70mm F2.4 Limited  $749.95 £639.99

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Press Release:

Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation Introduces Five HD PENTAX DA Limited Lenses

New Lenses feature enhanced performance with high-grade HD coating and new rounded diaphragms for stunning bokeh effects

DENVER, CO, August 27, 2013 – Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation (Ricoh Imaging) is pleased to announce the introduction of five new HD PENTAX DA Limited lenses. The acclaimed HD PENTAX DA Limited series of prime lenses, specifically designed for the PENTAX  K-mount DSLR cameras includes the HD PENTAX DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited, HD PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited, HD PENTAX DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited, HD PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited and HD PENTAX DA 70mm F2.4 Limited, elevating optical design and performance.

Touting highly-enhanced optical performance the HD PENTAX DA Limited lenses feature treatments of both SP (Super Protect) coating and the PENTAX-original high-grade multi-layer HD (High Definition) coating, which assures much higher light transmittance than conventional multi-layer coatings delivering sharp, clear images with significantly reduced flare and ghosting, even under demanding, backlit conditions. All five lens models have also been upgraded with completely rounded aperture diaphragms at wide aperture settings for optimal optics performance and gorgeous bokeh effects.

“Ricoh Imaging continues to innovate and improve all aspects of photography,” said Jim Malcolm, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Imaging. “With an industry-leading 24 APS-C optimized lenses our family of K-mount DSLRs and lenses provides consumers with a system that has been fine-tuned and meticulously architected for optimal image output. And, with enhancements like HD coating, we are continuously helping consumers achieve more technically sound images.”

Inheriting the distinctive visual description and premium appearance of the lauded PENTAX Limited Lens series, the refreshed line of HD PENTAX DA Limited lenses features a meticulous finish in every detail, from the outstanding image rendition to the high-quality, hand-machined aluminum body, the refreshed lineup provides the utmost durability and elegant design.

Pricing and Availability

The HD PENTAX DA Limited Lens series will be available for purchase in a choice of black or silver at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com and retail outlets nationwide in September 2013 with the following suggested retail prices:

  • HD PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited- $549.95
  • HD PENTAX DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited- $699.95
  • HD PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited- $699.95
  • HD PENTAX DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited- $749.95
  • HD PENTAX DA 70mm F2.4 Limited- $749.95

Major Features (common to all five models):

1. High-grade HD coating for exceptional image rendition

HD PENTAX DA Limited lenses are treated with HD coating*, a high-grade multi-layer lens coating that assures higher light transmittance and lower reflectance than conventional multi-layer coatings. As the result, HD PENTAX DA Limited lenses produce sharp, clear images free of flare and ghost images, even under such adverse lighting conditions as backlight.
*HD stands for High Definition, and signifies the lens’s capacity to reproduce images that excel in transparency, definition, resolution and rendition.

2. Round-shaped diaphragm for beautiful out-of-focus rendition

All lenses feature a completely round-shaped diaphragm to optimize the performance of their distinctive optics. This diaphragm produces a natural, beautiful bokeh (out-of-focus) effect, while minimizing the streaking effect of point light sources.

3. Acclaimed Limited Lens-series qualities for distinctive visual description and a premium appearance

While inheriting the design concept of the Limited Lens series, these lenses were designed by combining a series of mechanical and numerical evaluations with human assessment of test-shooting samples to assure supreme image reproduction. Their optical design has been optimized for digital photography to deliver sharp, clear images with outstanding contrast, even at the maximum aperture. In addition, their lens barrel, hood and cap are all made of a high-grade aluminum material, hand-machined for perfect proportions and beautiful texture.

4. Enhanced exterior design signifying HD series

While inheriting traditional design features of DA PENTAX Limited Lenses the new HD PENTAX DA Limited lens series features a red anodized ring on the front of the focus ring to signify the presence of new HD PENTAX lens coating and enhance its exclusive appearance.

5. Other features

  • SP (Super Protect) coating (already featured in four other lenses) has been applied to the HD PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited to keep the front surface free of dust and stains.
  • All the lenses come in a silver version in addition to the black version.

Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Pentax HD DA Limited lenses specifications

 HD Pentax DA 15mm F4 ED AL LimitedHD Pentax DA 21mm F3.2 AL LimitedHD Pentax DA 35mm F2.8 Macro LimitedHD Pentax DA 40mm F2.8 LimitedHD Pentax DA 70mm F2.4 AL Limited
Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format sizeAPS-C / DX
Focal length15 mm21 mm35 mm40 mm70 mm
Image stabilisationNo
Lens mountPentax KAF
Aperture
Maximum apertureF4.0F3.2F2.8F2.4
Minimum apertureF22.0
Aperture ringNo
Number of diaphragm blades979
Aperture notesRounded aperture diaphragm
Optics
Elements8956
Groups65845
Special elements / coatings1 Hybrid aspherical element, 1 ED glass element, High-grade multi-layer HD (High Definition) CoatingHigh-grade multi-layer HD (High Definition) Coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.18 m (7.09)0.20 m (7.87)0.14 m (5.47)0.40 m (15.75)0.70 m (27.56)
Maximum magnification0.15×0.17×1×0.13×0.12×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeScrew drive from camera
Full time manualYes
Focus methodUnitExtending front
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleYesNoYes
Physical
Weight189 g (0.42 lb)134 g (0.30 lb)214 g (0.47 lb)80 g (0.18 lb)147 g (0.32 lb)
Diameter63 mm (2.48)
Length40 mm (1.56)25 mm (0.98)47 mm (1.83)15 mm (0.59)26 mm (1.02)
ColourBlack, Silver
Filter thread49 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codebuilt-in hoodMH-RBB43built-in hoodMH-RE49MH-RF49
Tripod collarNo

Additional images

15mm F4 in black 15mm F4 in silver, hood extended
21mm F3.2 in black 21mm F3.2 in silver, with hood
35mm F2.8 Macro in black 35mm F2.8 in silver, hood extended
40mm F2.8 pancake in black 40mm F2.8 in silver with screw-in hood
70mm F2.4 in black 70mm F2.4 in silver with screw-in hood
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Comments

Total comments: 198
12
Cane
By Cane (8 months ago)

I've never seen a bigger group of cackling hens. Embarrassing.

2 upvotes
Gary Martin
By Gary Martin (8 months ago)

I have all 5 of these lenses, and I love them dearly, but now they all feel a little bit less special today ;(

0 upvotes
DDWD10
By DDWD10 (8 months ago)

Gorgeous lenses.

7 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (8 months ago)

Best damn looking lenses in the entire DSLR universe right now. And I trust new improvements in coating and in iris shape add extra flavour to image quality.

17 upvotes
solarider
By solarider (8 months ago)

HD Coating

http://www.us.ricoh-imaging.com/about/press/285/PENTAX_Announces_Exclusive_HD_Coating_Technology

1 upvote
pedroboe100
By pedroboe100 (8 months ago)

A new refreshed line of lenses and Available in silver... I wonder what they are preparing for? ;-)

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

k-02 available in 9 different metallic finishes?

2 upvotes
pedroboe100
By pedroboe100 (8 months ago)

Very possible. They have been doing that a lot lately...

0 upvotes
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (8 months ago)

That silver DA15 is sexy as hell.

6 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

If they had added weather sealing to them, they may have enticed current owners to upgrade. I can't see many users upgrading because of a new coating, except for maybe the few diehard pentaxians who have to have the new stuff.

Should've added weather-sealing.

4 upvotes
udris
By udris (8 months ago)

Maybe just maybe a remote chance these are meant for new customers to pentax....... sigh

0 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (8 months ago)

Considering very tight tolerances in lens design, adding WR would change the design of all these lenses, add all new cost. We'd be paying twice this price. Not only that, lenses would inevitably change their look, maybe became "chunkier", and overall less appealing than they're now.
Or shall I rephrase — these are not workhorse, motorised, weather sealed monster lenses, but classically elegant lenses for screw drive only. They're your elegant convertible 2-seater, not your 4WD Hummer.

2 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (8 months ago)

Leica M are not weathersealed either.

1 upvote
tripodfan
By tripodfan (8 months ago)

@Zvonimir: Look at the 100/2.8 WR Macro. It small, metal, weather-sealed, and not ridiculously expensive. In fact, it's pretty much a DA limited 100/2.8 in every possible way apart from the name.

I really think they should have taken to opportunity to make these weather sealed, especially since they just introduced the weather-sealed flash units. As it stands, these don't seem enough of an upgrade for me to get rid of my current DA Limiteds.

2 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (8 months ago)

I think if they did introduce WR throughout the line, in their books that would be an all new production cost which isn't justified, I'm afraid. This is an upgrade with a minimum of interference in current design and appeal.

0 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (8 months ago)

@tripodfan

The 100 f2.8 Macro WR is metal, weather sealed but unfortunately, not Limited small.

0 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (8 months ago)

@fakuryu

It's actually quite small compared to other 100/2.8 lenses and compared to it's immediate predecessor it has actually shrunk in size:
http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4052/4260211866_b004424077_o.jpg

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (8 months ago)

This is a kick in the balls for current owners of this new system.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (8 months ago)

This isn't a new system; it's the 40+ year old K-mount.

11 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

How so?

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

I can answer that: prices.

Pentax glass continues to climb up to the stratosphere. And perhaps most attractive aspect of K-mount - DA and FA primes - are now well past being competitively priced.

11 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

That's fair enough - I was trying to work out if this was one the 'there's a new product that somehow undermines my existing purchase' arguments that I don't quite understand.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

Anyway, my answer was a guess, and is really a personal pet peeve about a system that I've enjoyed tremendously in the past.
Perhaps Mssimo was hoping for a FF DSLR or some updated SDM zooms.

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (8 months ago)

You can always switch to Sony. They seem to be looking for folks like you.

2 upvotes
lecoupdejarnac
By lecoupdejarnac (8 months ago)

Canon's prices are shooting way up too. It sucks for users of both systems. Look at the new 24-70L II for example. Maybe this a trend manufacturers are taking to move DSLR products up-market.

And yet the Yen has been weakening lately vs. the USD (prices should actually be going down).

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (8 months ago)

ohh sorry..thought this was the Q system!

0 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

When I was shooting pentax I remember those lenses being almost half that price. $750 for a 35/2.8!?! Yikes.

Pentax should've done this with the Fa limiteds(31/43/77). Those are the best lenses pentax makes, wonder why they didn't get the treatment?

8 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (8 months ago)

The FA Limiteds have been on the market longer, they're larger and more expensive - and they are officially FF-compatible. Maybe Pentax/Ricoh has a more substantial upgrade planned for them.

I wouldn't mind if they (re)launched a set of DFA Limiteds (with WR) with their first FF-DSLR (Photokina 2014?).
With less emphasis on size (at least compared to the DA Limiteds), there is more room to add WR. And a new ~20mm (D)FA Limited would be nice, too.

Let's hope...

0 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

They look fantastic in silver!

1 upvote
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

High Definition coating, eh? So does this mean the updated versions will resolve more detail than their predecessors? Will they have improved T-stops, considering Pentax seem to be claiming higher light transmission? Wouldn't it be fantastic to get even 1/4 stop more light? (I can't imagine it's really that much in practice, however).

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

Beautiful lenses, far too expensive for APS-C lenses, metal barrels or not. The DA primes are a main reasons to shoot Pentax, but they have slowly but surely increased the prices of these primes, until Pentax has simply stopped being such an attractive option, even for people who don't mind spending on quality gear.

5 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

You mean FA primes. None of those lenses above are very interesting...

3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

The FA primes are even more expensive, but they've always been priced higher because they are FF lenses.

The above lenses are interesting to APS-C shooters (meaning ALL Pentax shooters). The 70 f/2.4 is superb, and the others are quite good. When the K-30 first came out the 40 2.8 was $296 at B&H. Now it's $500 and the red ring version will be even more. It's an f/2.8 APS-C lens, and for some reason Pentax thinks close to $600 is a fair price for it. Puzzling.

6 upvotes
zlatko
By zlatko (8 months ago)

Such beautiful lenses. If only they made a full-frame camera and full-frame lenses. If Pentax can make aps-c and medium format, why not full-frame?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

Dude don't even ask about a FF pentax lol. They've had a mock up for like 10 years. It's the reason I (and many others) have left Pentax. No pro bodies and lackluster lens releases over the past decade(except for the da 55/1.4).
Hopefully Ricoh rights the ship. Pentax was a very respected name back in the day. It sucks seeing them focus soley on the amateur/enthusiast market and put out gimmicky crap like custom colored bodies instead of badass pro gear.

7 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (8 months ago)

Buy the 645.

4 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (8 months ago)

Sure. It's only, what, $ 9-10K?

0 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (8 months ago)

the DA 40 and DA 70 covers the FF circle (at least in film, should be the same in digital format)

1 upvote
Rod McD
By Rod McD (8 months ago)

These are incremental improvements to five good existing lenses that will offer a little extra to new buyers. It's probably uneconomic to upgrade for those like me who already own the current versions. It's also a pity Pentax didn't add seals to make them water resistant to match its camera bodies

10 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

Bingo. They should've had seals.

6 upvotes
blåland
By blåland (8 months ago)

I'd prefer if they had penguins.

9 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Puffins, maybe.
I don't know where all this penguin business comes from :^|

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

Seems pretty expensive for such slow lenses.

8 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (8 months ago)

You need to look beyond mere aperture here. The lenses aren't that slow and a K-5/K-5ii/K-5iis with its class leading ISO can certainly use them in a wide variety of situations.

1 upvote
Heie2
By Heie2 (8 months ago)

And don't forget that all of these are stabilized, even the 15mm :)

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Yet 21mm f/3.2 wide prime should be $100, not $700. Even if it was very sharp at f/3.2, which it is not. See Sigma 19/2.8 for NEX which was selling for $99 (MSRP $199).

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Yet 21mm f/3.2 wide prime should be $100, not $700. Even if it was very sharp at f/3.2, which it is not. See Sigma 19/2.8 for NEX which was selling for $99 (MSRP $199).

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

You guys are making lots of excuses here. You could essentially replace the whole set with a single 17-50mm f2.8 zoom.

1 upvote
Silvarum
By Silvarum (8 months ago)

@tkbslc: Good luck with that!

2 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (8 months ago)

You're paying for aesthetics and build quality as well as optics, to get anything similar for F/EF and you have to look to Zeiss

0 upvotes
iamphil
By iamphil (8 months ago)

Quick! Everybody dump their old out of date lenses on Ebay now!

1 upvote
udris
By udris (8 months ago)

I am sure first time buyers shall be pleased

0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff
By completelyrandomstuff (8 months ago)

do it, these will be so much better, it is very well worth it to sell your non-hd limiteds for pennies.

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (8 months ago)

Nice looking lenses and look at those wonderful DOF markings.

5 upvotes
minzaw
By minzaw (8 months ago)

design or proven IQ??

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

So, they have no lens designers left and have to reuse old designs to issue "new" lenses. :(

3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (8 months ago)

No they just updated the coating and aperture shape and changed the color accents. Pentax has in body sr so it doesn't need to incorporate it in lenses. New Designs will come a 12-28 zoom for example.

1 upvote
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

Is that the same as the Tokina design?

2 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (8 months ago)

Probably

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (8 months ago)

Tokina and Pentax have a strong relationship. The Pentax 16-50mm f2.8, 10-17mm fisheye, 35mm f2.8, 50-135mm f2.8 and 12-24mm f4 are all Tokina designs.

0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (8 months ago)

The 16-50 f/2.8 is a terrible lens, and for some reason Tokina's best lens the 11-16mm f/2.8 is missing from the lineup. The 50-135mm is stellar though.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

"No they just updated the coating and aperture shape and changed the color accents."

How is it "no"? It is exactly what lead me to believe they have no more lens designers.

0 upvotes
RobertSigmund
By RobertSigmund (8 months ago)

Good incremental progress for aficionados!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Total comments: 198
12