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Pentax thumbs up for pentaprisms

While the other camera manufacturers embrace mirrorless technology, Pentax has made a firm commitment to continuing with DSLR cameras.

The forthcoming, unnamed Pentax APS-C DSLR – with new, improved viewfinder.

It’s probably a canny move by Pentax – it may see the venerable brand ‘owning’ the DSLR segment by default, with the common wisdom being that pentaprisms and optical viewfinders are in the past, and electronic viewfinders represent the future of camera technology.

However if all the other camera makers follow the leader (whoever that is these days) into mirrorless cameras, there may be a critical mass of camera buyers who still hanker for a more analogue picture-taking experience.

‘When you take a picture with a single lens reflex (SLR) camera, the light passes through the lens, and in turn the optical viewfinder. You view the image directly with your eyes, and feel it with your heart,’ states the new Pentax microsite
‘Pentax is  committed to the future of SLR photography through the continued development of camera technology, making it more fun and exciting than ever before for all Pentax users.’
The pro-SLR message is in preparation for a new (unnamed) APS-C format DSLR from Pentax to be available this year – probably sooner than later.
The company was originally going to make the announcement at CP+ 2020, but the show was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
According to Ricoh, the most notable feature on this as-yet-unnamed camera is its entirely new optical viewfinder, which uses a special glass that ‘excels in refraction’. Magnification is likely to be 1.05x (0.7x 35mm-equivalent), the same as on the full-frame K-1. An eye sensor below the viewfinder automatically dims the LCD panel, and the eye cup protrudes further away from the back of the camera than previous models. The shape of the pentaprism is a bit different, as well.

3 Comments

  1. Alan Small Alan Small July 27, 2020

    I agree with Pentax on this design. There is a growing niche for pentaprism/mirror cameras and all other makers (that survive the changing world scene) will need to address both mirror and mirrorless designs until we see where this rocky road leads, in order to keep their market share. (Sony excluded perhaps) Clearly this new design from Pentax has been influenced by the K-3 and K-1 models, the K-3 being one of the best C-size SLR’s in its era. And as sensors evolve along with the firmware process, the need for full frame cameras will plateau at best or slowly decline over time as photographers discover that the new C-size, all things being equal, will easily match full frame up to 16″x 24″ (or larger) without the weight, the extra cost, plus the additional versatility of the lenses in terms of focal length. Now, if only the Japanese companies knew how to market instead of giving away their souls we could all grow the market once more. Alan Small

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | July 29, 2020

      Thanks for that, Alan – always good to have your insights. If only 10 or 15 percent of the market turn out to be rusted on optical viewfinder ‘true believers’ that’s probably the kind of market share Pentax can thrive with. And there’s 45 years of K-mount glass out there.

      • Prashanth Prashanth August 12, 2020

        I agree. Using an optical viewfinder is a different experience no matter how good EVF is. The size benefits between mirrorless and DSLRs is not huge. I think Sony successfully managed to turn the market towards mirrorless after failing to dent Nikon/Canon’s DSLR dominance for years. It is sad that companies with backing of press/social media trying to move users towards something that would require them to throw away the gear and switch to something new and make huge investments. I am a DSLR user and when I see cost of new lenses in a any new Mirrorless system, it makes little sense for a non pro user. Both traditional leaders Nikon and Canon have great new lenses for Mirrorless but the prices are too steep, especially Nikon. There is fantastic glass available in F and EF or K mount which can be had a fraction of cost compared to their mirrorless counterparts and I don’t see a huge cost to performance justification. Photography is an art not to be made dependent on what gear you use. I don’t care if its DSLR or any other format as long as we can learn and become photographers using our gear for years or decades so that it becomes an extension of our 5 senses. Proud of what Pentax is doing, I sure financial constraints is also a driving factor but its bold to stick to principles. They will never be mainstream but there will be a niche and passionate user base. I believe there are enough DSLRs users out there who will switch to Pentax due to selection of lenses and killer performance to price ratio they offer with legacy glass….I am one of them.

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