Pentax appear to have joined Nikon by announcing a new series of 'Digital Lenses' which are designed to provide an imaging circle smaller than 35 mm but large enough for the smaller 23.5 x 15.7 mm CCD's used. It's also clear indication that Pentax are happy with this sensor size and that the *ist D won't be their last digital SLR to use this size sensor. The Pentax-DA Zoom 16 - 45 mm F4 ED AL (tentative name) is a 2.8 times optical zoom lens and would provide the equivilent of a 24.5 - 69 mm field of view when used on the Pentax *ist D.

Press Release:

PENTAX Develops the New DA Series of Interchangeable Lenses for Its Digital SLR Cameras

PENTAX Corporation is proud to announce that it is currently in the final stage of development of the compact, high-performance smc PENTAX-DA series of interchangeable lenses, exclusively designed for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras.

The image circle in the DA-series lenses is designed to perfectly match the size of the CCD (23.5mm x 15.7mm) incorporated in PENTAX's digital SLRs, optimizing the performance of these cameras. The new design also contributes to a drastic reduction in size, weight and production cost, compared to 35mm-format counterparts with similar specifications.

As the first model of the new DA series, PENTAX plans to market the smc PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm~45mm F4 ED AL (tentative name, equivalent to 24.5mm~69mm in the 35mm format; marketing date to be announced), which features a three-times zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges when mounted on the new PENTAX *ist D digital SLR camera. It also incorporates an Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass lens element and two aspherical lens elements for true-to-life image reproduction and size reduction. Its simple, functional design, coupled with the elimination of an aperture ring, considerably improves the camera's operability.

Further specification of this lens will be announced at a later date.