Pentax announces new full-frame DSLR - the K-1 Mark II
Pentax has taken the photo world by surprise by announcing the follow-up to its acclaimed full-frame DSLR, the K-1. Released back in 2016, the K-1 announced Pentax as a serious contender and even won a prestigious Gear of the Year award for its incredible image quality and resolution. We’ve not heard a great deal from the Pentax camp since. However, the K-1 Mark II is the new K-series flagship and promises a raft of impressive technology, including a new high-speed processor, improved noise reduction and innovative Pixel Shift Resolution System. Welcome back, Pentax! Keep your eyes peeled for a full review very soon.
Ricoh is pleased to announce the launch of the Pentax K-1 Mark II full-frame DSLR camera.
Developed as the successor to the Pentax K-1 full-frame DSLR camera (launched in April 2016), the K-1 Mark II was designed to be the new flagship of the acclaimed K-series lineup. In addition to the outstanding image quality, this model provides excellent super-high-sensitivity imaging performance and much-improved operability - important factors expected in a top-of-the-line model - to accommodate a wider range of subjects and scenes.
By coupling a newly incorporated accelerator unit with the Prime IV imaging engine, it assures flawless, high-speed operation and excellent noise-reduction, improving image quality and super-high-sensitivity imaging performance. The Pentax-developed Pixel Shift Resolution System - the latest super-resolution technology designed to optimise the image sensor’s imaging performance - has been upgraded to the Pixel Shift Resolution System II. This system features a newly developed Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode, which allows the photographer to capture super-high-sensitivity images in handheld shooting, by detecting the slight fluctuations of the subject’s position during continuous shooting.
In addition to the conventional shooting style using a tripod, this innovative mode provides a new option for the photographer to enjoy super-high-sensitivity photography with a wider variety of subjects and scenes. The camera also comes equipped with a host of features and functions designed to optimise the photographer’s creativity and operational comfort, including a dependable magnesium-alloy body with dustproof, weather-resistant construction; an optical viewfinder with a nearly 100% field of view for real-time subject confirmation; a sophisticated shake-reduction system; and a flexible tilt-type LCD monitor to accommodate various shooting angles.
1. Newly incorporated accelerator unit to assure high-quality images and excellent super-high-sensitivity imaging performance
To place priority on image resolution, the Pentax K-1 Mark II features a full-frame CMOS image sensor with an AA (anti-aliasing) filter–free design to produce high-resolution images with approximately 36.4 effective megapixels. It also features a new accelerator unit, which optimizes the image data obtained by the full-frame image sensor before delivering it to the high-performance Prime IV imaging engine. Because of this, the camera produces high-quality images with minimal noise, while retaining excellent resolution at all sensitivity levels, from normal to super-high sensitivities. Pentax has also made a thorough review of all image-processing parameters to assure adherence to its original colour scheme, with special emphasis on deep blues and lively greens. Pentax has also drastically improved the camera’s noise-reduction performance at a high-sensitivity range - up to ISO 819,200 - to expand creative possibilities in super-high-sensitivity shooting.
2. Pixel Shift Resolution System II to take advantage of advanced super-resolution technology in handheld shooting
In addition to the innovative Pixel Shift Resolution System — the super-resolution technology that uses the camera’s in-body shake-reduction mechanism to capture four images of the same scene by shifting the image sensor by a single pixel for each image, then synthesizes them into a single composite image — the Pentax K-1 Mark II also features the Pixel Shift Resolution System II, which obtains RGB colour data for each pixel to produce super-high-resolution images with finer details and more truthful colours than those produced by ordinary full-frame sensors. In the new Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode, which can be used during handheld shooting, this system can be used jointly with the camera’s shake-reduction mechanism, since it synthesizes the captured super-high-resolution images by detecting the slight fluctuations of the subject’s position during continuous shooting. The camera also provides ON/OFF switching of the Motion Correction function, which detects moving elements of the continuously captured images to minimize the effect of movement during the image synthesizing process.
3. High-performance five-axis, five-step SR II system
(1) In-body SR mechanism to assure optimal shake reduction performance with all compatible lenses
The Pentax K-1 Mark II comes equipped with the Pentax -developed SR II (Shake Reduction II) five-axis mechanism, which provides accurate control of the large full-frame image sensor with all compatible Pentax interchangeable lenses. In addition to camera shake caused by pitch and yaw, this advanced system also compensates for camera shake caused by horizontal and vertical shift (often generated in macro photography) and camera shake caused by roll, which is difficult for lens-installed shake reduction mechanisms to handle. It has a compensation range up to five shutter steps (measured in conformity with CIPA standards, using the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5, 6ED DC WR at a 105mm focal length). When taking a panning shot, this system automatically detects the direction of the camera’s movement, and efficiently controls the SR unit to produce the best image possible without requiring any mode switching operation.
(2) Innovative AA filter simulator to minimize moiré and false colour
By applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure, the camera’s anti-aliasing (AA) filter simulator provides the same level of moiré reduction as an optical AA filter. Unlike an optical filter, which always creates the identical result, this innovative simulator not only lets the user switch the AA filter effect on and off, but also adjust the level of the effect. This means that the ideal effect can be set for a particular scene or subject based on given photographic conditions.
(3) Supportive shooting functions
Since the camera’s SR unit has a flexible design that tilts the image sensor unit in all directions, it provides a host of handy shooting functions, including auto level compensation, image-composition fine-adjustment, and ASTRO TRACER, which simplifies advanced astronomical photography using a built-in GPS module.
4. Flexible tilt-type LCD monitor to assist shooting in the dark
On its back panel, the Pentax K-1 Mark II features a flexible tilt-type LCD monitor, which can be tilted to the desired angle horizontally, vertically or diagonally with a single action, without deviating from the lens’s optical axis. The user can not only tilt it approximately 35 degrees horizontally and approximately 44 degrees vertically, but also pull it out from its base to view the on-screen image from above for waist-level photography. This large, 3.2-inch LCD monitor has approximately 1,037,000 dots and a 3:2 aspect ratio, and provides a protective tempered-glass front panel for added durability. In addition to its wide-view design, it also features a unique air-gapless construction, in which the air space between LCD layers is eliminated to effectively reduce the reflection and dispersion of light for improved visibility during outdoor shooting. Its outdoor monitor function, which allows instant adjustment of the monitor’s brightness to the desired level, has also been improved to provide greater visibility in dark locations. Its red-lit monitor display function facilitates monitor viewing when the photographer’s eyes have become accustomed to a dark location during night time photography.
5. Safox 12 with 33 sensor points and full-frame-proportioned AF frame
Thanks to the Safox 12 AF sensor module with 33 AF sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle), the Pentax K-1 Mark II optimizes the autofocus process, and assures high-speed autofocus operation in the AF.S (AF Single) mode. The centre sensor and two sensors located just above and below it are designed to detect the light flux of an F2.8 lens, making it easy to obtain pinpoint focus on a subject when using a large-aperture lens. Its AF Tracking algorithm has also been revised to improve tracking accuracy of fast-moving subjects in the AF.C (AF Continuous) mode.
6. Pentax Real-Time Scene Analysis System, developed using artificial intelligence technology
By combining an approximately 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor with the high-performance Prime IV imaging engine, the Pentax K-1 Mark II’s advanced Pentax Real-Time Scene Analysis System performs real-time analysis of the brightness distribution over the image field and the subject’s colours and movement. Based on this data, it then measures the subject’s lighting conditions with great accuracy and optimizes the exposure. By adopting a breakthrough artificial intelligence technology, deep learning, to its algorithm, it assesses each individual scene more accurately, and optimizes the exposure settings for a given scene or composition.
7. Easy-to-focus optical viewfinder with nearly 100-percent field of view
Optimised for a full-frame digital SLR design, the camera’s optical viewfinder provides a nearly 100-percent field of view and an approximately 0.7-times magnification. Thanks to the combination of a condenser lens and aspherical lens, it provides a wide field of view and a clear, undistorted image of the subject. It comes with a Natural Bright Matt III focusing screen, acclaimed for ease of focusing during manual-focus operation, and true-to-life rendition of defocused areas in the viewfinder image. In addition, its transparent viewfinder display makes it possible to superimpose a wide range of photographic data over the viewfinder image.
8. High-speed continuous shooting
The Pentax K-1 Mark II allows continuous recording of as many as 17 images in the RAW format (or a maximum of 70 images in the JPEG Best format) in a single sequence, at a top speed of approximately 4.4 images per second. This is made possible by the combination of advanced mechanisms including a damper mechanism that effectively minimizes mirror shock; high-speed, high-precision control of the shutter and mirror units; and a high-speed data transmission system incorporated in the Prime IV imaging engine. In the APC-S Crop mode, the drive speed can be boosted to as high as approximately 6.4 images per second, and as many as 50 images in a single sequence in the RAW format (or 100 images in the JPEG Best format) to assure quick response to fast-moving subjects.
9. Supportive shooting functions to improve picture-taking efficiency and operational comfort
・Operation assist light function, which sets LED lights at four different spots around the camera body — above the lens mount, behind the LCD monitor, at the memory car slot, and at the cable switch terminal — to facilitate lens and memory card changes, attachment and removal of the cable switch, and control button operation at night and in poorly lit settings.
・Key lock function, which prevents erroneous operation of the four-way controller and other exposure-related control buttons.
・Smart Function, which allows the user to swiftly choose and set desired functions using just the function dial and the set dial on the camera’s upper panel, without referring to the menu screen on the LCD monitor.
・Control panel customize function, which allows the user to change a listing and/or position of the on-screen menu.
10. Compact, solid body with dustproof, weather-resistant construction
The camera’s bottom panel and front and back frames are all made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy. Although the camera features a dependable, durable shutter unit that can withstand 300,000 shutter releases (measured under actual shooting conditions) for professional use, its body has been downsized to the minimum possible, thanks to the incorporation of a unique floating mirror structure. With the inclusion of 87 sealing parts in the body, the camera also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring solid operation at temperatures as low as -10°C. All these features make the Pentax K-1 Mark II a dependable, all-purpose performer, even under demanding shooting conditions.
11. Full HD movie recording with an array of creative tools
The Pentax K-1 Mark II captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30p frame rate) in the H.264 recording format, and comes equipped with a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection, and a headphone terminal. The user can also adjust the audio recording level manually, monitor sound pressure levels during microphone recording, and cut down wind noise using a new wind-noise reduction mode. In addition to a host of distinctive visual effects for movie recording, the camera also provides the interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) movie clips at a fixed interval.
12. Built-in GPS module
Thanks to its built-in GPS module, the Pentax K-1 Mark II provides a variety of advanced GPS functions, including the recording of location, latitude, longitude, altitude and UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) and direction at the time of shooting. The user can easily access images containing GPS data using a computer, to browse them, check on shooting locations and position data on the screen, or save them.
The camera also provides a set of other unique tools, including: Electronic Compass, which displays the camera's direction on its LCD monitor; GPS log, which keeps track of the photographer's movement; and Astrotracer, which simplifies the tracing and photographing of celestial bodies by coupling GPS data with the camera's SR mechanism.
13. Other features
・High-grade DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism for effective elimination of dust on the image sensor using ultrasonic vibration
・Crop mode with a choice of image area from AUTO, FF (Full Frame), APS-C and 1:1
・Wireless LAN connection to support the operation with smartphones and table computers, the transfer of captured images, and remote shooting operations
・HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode with RAW-format data filing, usable in handheld shooting
・The PENTAX-invented hyper operating system for quick, accurate response to the photographer's creative intentions
・Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 buss speed mode)
・Compensation of various parameters: lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, diffraction, and brightness level at image-field edges. Fringe effect compensation is also available in RAW-format processing.
・Bulb Timer function to improve operability in bulb shooting
・Compatibility with Pentax Image Transmitter 2 tethering software (software update required from Ricoh official website)
・Digital Camera Utility 5 software (latest version) included