Pentax just announced the HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR Pentax K-mount lens. For Pentax APS-C cameras that is equivalent to 107–322mm. The lens will start shipping mid-March with a price tag of $1100.
Pentax informs us that this is a compact, lightweight and weather-resistant telephoto zoom lens for use with 35mm-format full-frame digital SLR providing great portability.
The 70–210mm f/4 will be smaller, more affordable and about half the weight compared to the Pentax 70–200mm f/2.8 lens. The f/2.8 version is very sharp with beautiful bokeh but is a beast of a lens in terms of size and weight.
According to Ricoh, the lens is coated with high-grade, multi-layer HD Coating which optimizes the overall lens coating performance assuring edge to edge sharpness and also minimizing flare and ghost in difficult light situations like, for instance, backlit scenes.
The lens is weather-resistant to prevent the intrusion of water into the lens barrel. If it can match its big brother in this regard remains to be seen.
The HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR incorporates a ring-type SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) to assure quiet, high-speed AF operation and improve operability in outdoor shooting.
The lens construction consists of 20 elements in 14 groups with nine diaphragm blades. The lens boasts a minimum aperture of f/32 for increased depth of field. Shooting such a narrow aperture will also result in softening of the image due to diffraction.
The HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR specs closely resemble those of the Tamron 70–210mm f/4 Di VC USD lens for Nikon and Canon. Both the Pentax 15–30 and Pentax 24–70 are Tamron lenses built for Pentax, and both are great performers. In other words, that the Pentax 70–210 f/4 is a re-branded Tamron lens isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
Many Pentax full-frame landscape photographers had hoped that a new lens announcement from Ricoh would entail a wide-angle or an ultra-wide-angle prime, but they will still have to rely on third-party offerings.
You can find more information about the lens on Ricoh’s website.