Pentax has launched a new DSLR camera, introducing the 24.32-megapixel Pentax KP – price tag £1,099.99 – with a sensitivity range that reaches ISO 819,200.
Pentax KP sensor
Inside the new Pentax camera is a newly developed APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor with 24.32 million effective pixels, which has no anti-aliasing filter.
This new sensor, in combination with a PRIME IV imaging engine, enables the Pentax KP to shoot night scenes at the super-high sensitivity of ISO 819,200, Ricoh (Pentax’s parent company) says.
Even though the Pentax KP’s new sensor adopts an optical low-pass filter-free design, Ricoh says it has introduced technology that simulates the effect of an AA/OLPF filter… if you want it.
By applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure, the Ricoh says the Pentax KP’s anti-aliasing filter simulator offers the same level of moiré reduction that you’d find from a sensor with an optical AA filter.
Unlike an optical AA filter, which always creates the identical result, Ricoh says its new simulator enables photographers to switch the AA filter effect on and off and adjust the level of the effect, making it possible to set the ideal effect for a particular scene or subject based on the light conditions.
However, it’s worth noting that Ricoh says this simulator function works more effectively with a shutter speed of 1/1000sec or slower and may not be compatible with some shooting modes, including the Pixel Shift Resolution System.
Pentax KP shutter speed
Speaking of shutter speeds, the Pentax KP shutter unit combines a mechanical shutter mechanism (with a top speed of 1/6000sec) with an electronically controlled shutter mechanism that offers a maximum shutter speed of 1/24,000sec. Burst rates are also achievable at 7 frames per second.
Pentax KP autofocus
Ricoh says it has also beefed up its autofocusing algorithm for better accuracy and speed. The Pentax KP incorporates the company’s SAFOX 11 phase-matching AF sensor module, which offers 27 focus sensors, of which 25 are cross-type sensors positioned in the middle with a minimum brightness level of -3 EV.
The Pentax KP also offers new customisation features to assist in AF mode, such as a choice of operation modes — focus-priority, release-priority or advance-speed-priority — and the Selected-area Expansion function to automatically refocus on a subject when it moves away from the initial point.
Pentax KP video
Unlike many new cameras, the Pentax KP doesn’t offer 4K video recording. However, it does include a new 4K Interval Movie mode that stitches together a series of 4K-resolution still images (3840 x 2160 pixels) at a fixed interval to create a single movie file.
The Pentax KP also records Full HD video at 60i/30p frame rates in the H-264 recording format.
Pentax KP Pixel Shift Resolution System
The Pentax KP also features a Pixel Shift Resolution System, as seen in other recent Pentax cameras and similar to what we’ve seen from recent Olympus cameras. This technology enables the KP to capture four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image.
The KP then stitches them into a single, high-resolution composite image.
Ricoh says that compared to the conventional Bayer system in which each pixel has only a single colour data unit, this new system obtains all colour data in each pixel to deliver ultra high-resolution images with more accurate colours and much finer details than those produced by conventional APS-C-sized image sensors.
Ricoh says it has also added an ON/OFF switch for the motion correction function to make the Pixel Shift system usable with a wider range of subjects. The motion correction system promises to automatically detect a moving object during continuous shooting and minimise negative effects during the synthesising process.
The Pentax KP also has a five-axis SR II shake reduction mechanism that delivers a compensation effect of approximately five shutter steps.
When taking a panning shot, this mechanism controls the SR unit to compensate for all external factors without requiring any switching action, Ricoh says.
Pentax KP body design
Like other Pentax cameras, the new KP is made of lightweight magnesium alloy and features 67 weather seals around its body, making it resistant to dust and water. It can also operate in temperatures as low as -10C.
Other key features on the Pentax KP spec sheet include a 3in, 921k-dot, tiltable LCD screen, an optical viewfinder offering nearly 100% field of view, built-in Wi-Fi and new Motion Bracketing and Depth-of-field Bracketing modes.
Pentax KP Price & Release Date
The Pentax KP price tag is £1,099.99 body only, with a release date set for the end of February 2017.