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Ricoh announces HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW rear converter

By dpreview staff on Feb 5, 2014 at 22:00 GMT

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
5
I own it
33
I want it
1
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 52
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (2 months ago)

The Kenko Pro 300 1.4x and Sigma APO 1.4x teleconverters both have 5 elements. This Pemtax has only 4 elements. Even though more isn't necessarily better, you have to wonder how well it performs against the Kenko Pro, which is unfortunately not available in Pentax mount. This teleconverter is also designated a DA, not a DA*, for what it is worth, but its pricing is more DA* than DA.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Pablom
By Pablom (2 months ago)

Never in the history of Pentax any converter was given a * to its name. That is a designation for lenses only.

0 upvotes
PrakticaB
By PrakticaB (2 months ago)

Not many expected the TC coming out before the review of K3 here!!
The price is "recommended", so the actual one will be probably 30% less.
Regarding the compatibility issues, it's hard to believe is not compatible with K10, K-20 or even earlier ones! Ricoh jus didn't test the TC with these "antique" camera!!

2 upvotes
audiobomber
By audiobomber (2 months ago)

I expect the older cameras will not recognize the TC. In other words, you will see 1.4X the focal length through the OVF, but the camera will not know to correct for aperture reporting or the extended focal length for Shake Reduction.

0 upvotes
beholder3
By beholder3 (2 months ago)

In Germany the new TC is offered at a MSRP (399 EUR) that is 20% lower than that of Canikon (500 EUR) and actually lower or equal to the street prices of these after years on the market.
Nobody is complaining here. :-)

2 upvotes
FW Birds
By FW Birds (2 months ago)

I want one of these to go along with my K-3 and DA*300 for birding. The price is expensive, but if the reviews are good I'm definitely going to get one. I really like the fact that it's weather and dust sealed.

0 upvotes
Ulfric M Douglas
By Ulfric M Douglas (2 months ago)

Hang on, does this mean there was never a real Pentax 1.4 converter until now?

0 upvotes
miles green
By miles green (2 months ago)

Ehmmm, no, not since the days of manual focus lens. The latest Pentax brand TC was the Auto-focus adaptor (1.7x) launched in 1987. T'was about time....

0 upvotes
GrayW
By GrayW (2 months ago)

At $600 it is no substitute for my Tamron 1.4x AF-PZ, which cost $200 and works very well with my Pentax DC/SDM and Sigma HSM lenses - not to mention good reliable screw drive lenses like the FA 100/2.8 macro. Excellent IQ from the Tamron too. Ricoh pricing - meh.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (2 months ago)

The Tamron in Pentax mount has 4 elements, and so does this Pentax. Therefore they are probably similar in performance.

0 upvotes
DrugaRunda
By DrugaRunda (2 months ago)

finally.

0 upvotes
Suave
By Suave (2 months ago)

I'd rather see them bring back 1.7 AF converter.

0 upvotes
davecamerator
By davecamerator (2 months ago)

Looks like K-10D K-20D owners are out of luck with this one.

0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (2 months ago)

I've pre-ordered it.

If it works as well as I hope on my macro and longer lenses, it will be a cheap way of extending the capability and options of my equipment.

0 upvotes
rtogog
By rtogog (2 months ago)

When I read this compatibility camera & lens, make me curious that this TC just re-badge of existing TC from third party manufacturers (Tokina, Tamron etc). Just check on the needs to update firmware for the existing body. May be some hackers will help us to make our existing AF TC to work.

0 upvotes
Alex Sarbu
By Alex Sarbu (2 months ago)

Breaking news: Pentax is an optical company at heart, and knows how to make their own RCs ;)

1 upvote
cocopro
By cocopro (2 months ago)

Looks like a reversed version of speed booster...

0 upvotes
Alex Sarbu
By Alex Sarbu (2 months ago)

It actually looks like a rear converter.

5 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (2 months ago)

DPR never tested the 43mm limited. It's supposed to be the perfect Normal lens.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (2 months ago)

The 43mm is only a 'perfect' normal lens on full frame, as then its focal length is equal to the frame diagonal. Sadly, though, Pentax has yet to make a full frame DSLR. On APS-C, a 'perfect' normal is about 28mm.

1 upvote
Infrabasse
By Infrabasse (2 months ago)

I thought it was about 31mm ?

1 upvote
drummercam
By drummercam (2 months ago)

I'm not sure if it's sad that Pentax has made no FF DSLR. As we all know quite well, Pentax hasn't had the budget to fight that battle and might well have been smart to stay out of it. Certainly they would have gotten very little love in some places had they jumped in.

So what Pentax did instead was make the perfect APS-C DSLR. APS-C has probably plateaued, but the Pentax K-3 has, in the end, come out as King of that particular hill. I don't see that as a third place finish at all.

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (2 months ago)

Pentax FF = 645D :-)

1 upvote
SungiBr
By SungiBr (2 months ago)

I've had the Tamron 1,4x PZ-AF MC-4 converter that have a power zoom contact and those worked perfect with SDM and DC lenses, with almost zero penaulty on quality. But don't understand the need of a firmware upgrade in order to use it. Could it be the camera will recognize the TC and do proper adjustments in SR?

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (2 months ago)

Probably gets the camera to display the "new" lens focal length when the converter is attached. I used to have the same Tamron TC and it always displayed the original lens FL in exif data. I found my DA*200 lens worked very well with that converter.

1 upvote
bossa
By bossa (2 months ago)

DA*300mm is a FF lens as is the DA*200, DA*55 and a number of other DA lenses. The fact this converter is listed as 35mm FF may auger well for a Pentax FF camera in the near future.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (2 months ago)

However, I wonder what a DX converter could achieve? I think a Pentax FF would rock, they need to pick up the ball though.

Come on Pentax, Ive loved you for years. It's time to release an enthusiast FF but in true Pentax style it will be so punching above it's weight it will tempt commercial photogs!

2 upvotes
justin23
By justin23 (2 months ago)

aaah no where does it mention FF. In fact none of the compatible lenses are FF except the two DFA macros. Yes some lenses cover an FF image circle, it doesn't make the lens an FF lens.
You are twisting what is said to confirm your belief a FF is coming soon.

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (2 months ago)

DA*200 is in fact the FA*200 in a new outfit and it has been shown on PF that the other lenses I mentioned are indeed FF (as in they cover the image circle). They may not be telecentric re' FF though.

PS: I don't have to twist anything as I have two D800E's.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

Even if DA*200 really covers FA, Ricoh can state it as compatible even if the combination only covers DA, I assume.

0 upvotes
brosenz
By brosenz (2 months ago)

No compatibility with the 18-135mm lens?

0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff
By completelyrandomstuff (2 months ago)

If it gives a comparable quality to a non-converted lens, it could be worth it.

0 upvotes
MrLuffy
By MrLuffy (2 months ago)

FA 31,43 and 77 lenses are not supported?

1 upvote
D1N0
By D1N0 (2 months ago)

they are not warned against either, so it will just have to be tested.

0 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

From what I am reading, it is a DA (ie Digital only) converter, rather than an FA converter. From this I think I can deduce that it will work with the FA limiteds you mentioned, but only on APS-C Digital bodies. The proof will be someone giving it a go on a Pentax Film camera to see it if vignettes. Pentax/Ricoh appear to just cover themselves for film users. (Until the FF Pentax appears :-) )

0 upvotes
Cheng Bao
By Cheng Bao (2 months ago)

@offertonhatter
Max Format size: 35mm FF

that says all

2 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

Where does it say max format size 35mm? I don't see it in the text.
Anyway it is a DA type converter. DA=APS-C digital.
Still Pentax users do know that certain DA lenses will work with FF without issue, certain lenses will not.
All I can say is that unless the lens stated of the OP are tried with the converter, there is no guarantee that the will work with it.
Only by trying will a tog know......

1 upvote
Frodo at work
By Frodo at work (2 months ago)

it should make all DA lenses capable for FF ,-)

1 upvote
Cheng Bao
By Cheng Bao (2 months ago)

@offertonhatter

there is a specification table in same page

0 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

Thanks, missed that. ;-)

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

It is not unreasonable that it covers FF, even from DA lenses. It do enlarge the image and therefore possible also the image circle.

I wonder what the DA on the converters means though.

Does it mean that it only covers DA input from the lens or that it only covers DA sensors?

Hmmmm ... the info is not conclusive.

Someone has messed up data here.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (2 months ago)

$600 for a freakin' 1.4x TC is ridiculous. Street price needs to be half that.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (2 months ago)

Pretty insane, isn't it?

0 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

In the UK it is still £20-30 less than the Canon version. Still it is £80 more than the Nikon version. Mind you the Canon is quite recent and the Nikon one is now a few years old. So yes, it is a steep price, but compared to others, it is not bad. Street price will probably drop.

3 upvotes
audiobomber
By audiobomber (2 months ago)

Are the Canon and Nikon TC's all-weather? I use my K-3/DA*300 often in rain and snow.

6 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

Good point Audio. I believe from Canon user friends that the TC's are sealed. I don't know about the Nikon ones.
Third party ones are not sealed from experience.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (2 months ago)

I paid $450AUD for my Canon 1.4x III and 2x III Tc's and they are a ripoff at that price, even though optically very good. Yes they are sealed.

2 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (2 months ago)

My Nikon TC-14E II cost AU$645 and that's a ripoff when you consider grey imports are 1/2 that price.

0 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (2 months ago)

£380? Wow!

Actually, on certain Pentax Forums, that was the ballpark price for this (between £300 and £400). So in the end it seems to be spot on.

I will still get one, I have a funny feeling that it will be superb with my DA*300mm F4.

:-)

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

I bet 90% of people buying this will use it for the DA*300 and the DA*60-250, seems like an ideal match for them. And although not cheap, it helps make those lenses much more capable. A TC isn't that useful for shorter focal lengths except as a stop-gap measure, and an expensive one at that.

1 upvote
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (2 months ago)

Gary Martin:

Yes to both of those lenses! But I also want to use it on the DA-F 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR, because sometimes a bit of extra distance is useful for macro work.

1 upvote
oeriies
By oeriies (2 months ago)

The Tammy 1.4 on the DA*300mm f/4 was not a very useable combo for me -- a lot of hunting for autofocus and not fast enough at f5.6 for many circumstances in which I needed a telephoto lens. Maybe the Pentax 1.4 will perform a lot better, but in my experience with a lot of TCs for Pentax and Nikon you need an f2.8 lens to use a TC to best advantage, and even then there are compromises in IQ.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 52