What new stuff to expect from Pentax at the 2009 PMA?

Started Feb 11, 2009 | Discussions thread
dave9t5 Regular Member • Posts: 215
22MP DFX body

The mythical large-sensor K3D* 22MP body. But rumour has it as a 1.30x crop bridge-format...with an important twist (or lack of twist, if you will).

The concept is to finally shake the creative shackles of the 35mm 'full-frame' format legacy which is based around motion-picture film format. In the digital age, it is an anachronism to rely on a physical selection of a landscape or portrait modes.

The newly coined DFX sensor will be a square-format (23.5 x 23.5mm).

The width is that of the current Pentax APS-C DX sensor, while the height is that of a full-frame FX sensor. (Hence, the "DFX" bridge designation between DX and FX formats.)

Because the image-circle of the square DFX format is no larger than that of rectangular DA format, it could allow complete compatibility of Pentax DFX bodies with DA lenses (and of course FA, A, M, K, S lenses).

The total DFX sensor area is 1.5x larger than APS-C. Based on the same pixel-pitch as the K20D's sensor, the new DFX sensor in the K3D* should field 22 megapixels (21.94MP).

The standard shooting mode of the K3D* will be with an APS-C sized image crop. The user can change the crop orientation from landscape to portrait in-camera . This eliminates the need to rotate the camera to achieve a portrait orientation.

However, full sensor RAW data will be captured (except for high-speed shooting) from the DFX sensor, no matter which crop is selected in camera. The user then has the full square frame to make the full-latitude of creative decisions later at the editing stage. They can change the crop-orientation, reposition the crop, fix rotation on the crop, or keep the full-square image.

The user also has the option to shoot square in camera.

The continuous shooting speed of the K3D* is 3.5 fps in square format. In high-speed shooting mode, the continuous shooting mode increases to 5.5fps, however this mode is only available in crop-format, as the camera only captures the image data in the crop-area.

While the K3D* body will be taller than the K20D body due to the taller sensor, taller viewfinder and taller rear-LCD, the K3D* will not be bigger than the K20D+vertical grip, and much smaller and lighter than 35mm full-frame cameras.

Since a vertical grip is no longer desirable or necessary, the elimination of hardware and contact points for a vertical grip simplifies the internal design and frees up space for improved features that are important to photographers:

  • 100% pentaprism viewfinder

  • Vertically articulating 3.2" square-format LCD, high-resolution (530K dots) with SMC anti-glare coating for shooting at all angles indoors or out

  • Improved Live View

Another benefit of in-camera image orientation is that on-camera flash (either the built-in flash or hotshoe-mounted flash) will always be above the subject. This eliminates unsightly side-shadows or the need for unwieldy off-camera flash-brackets.

There will be one new flash accessory, a Fresnel lens which fits on the AF540FGZ flash to refocus the flash output from it's current landscape pattern to uniform square-pattern.

In summary, the new 22MP K3D* will offer the photographer greater creative control than possible, compared to current APS-C offerings, while in a relatively compact and convenient package, compared to current full-frame offerings. In the great Pentax tradition, there is full backwards compatibility with the legacy of Pentax SMC lenses.

(I would expect the K3D* body-only price to be just under USD2000 which would be very competitive against the D300/5D/E-3 considering the K3D's larger-than-DX sensor and effectively built-in vertical-grip.)

-Dave

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