Ricoh files new lens patents – Is Pentax finally considering going mirrorless?

Oct 20, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Ricoh files new lens patents – Is Pentax finally considering going mirrorless?

Oct 20, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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A few days ago, Ricoh filed a patent application in Japan for three new full-frame telephoto lenses, one of which is for mirrorless cameras. These aren’t the first they’ve filed, either, having filed patents for a couple of other mirrorless lenses a month ago. Could this be a turning point for Pentax, the one company that’s been holding onto DSLRs for dear life while the rest of the world goes mirrorless?

The three new lenses described by the patent aren’t particularly high end. They’re all variable aperture, although the one for mirrorless has a max variable aperture of f/2.8-4, so not too terrible. It’s doubtful, though that Pentax is planning to pursue the mirrorless market. At least, not yet.

70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (for DSLRs)

  • Focal length: 72.08-291.32
  • F value: 4.6-5.7
  • Half angle of view: 17.2-4.2
  • Image height: 21.64
  • Overall length: 190.18-259.23
  • Back focus: 42.56-66.55

100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 (for DSLRs)

  • Focal length: 103.00-388.00
  • F value: 4.6-5.7
  • Half angle of view: 11.7-3.1
  • Image height: 21.64
  • Overall length: 234.40-340.41
  • Back focus: 55.31

100-300mm f/2.8-4 (Mirrorless)

  • Focal length: 103.00-292.00
  • F value: 2.9-4.1
  • Half angle of view: 11.9-4.1
  • Image height: 21.64
  • Overall length: 259.72
  • Back focus: 18.00

The obvious giveaway on that last one being a mirrorless lens is that 18mm flange distance. It’s physically impossible for a DSLR to have one that short due to the size of the mirror.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Ricoh is designing this lens for somebody else – assuming it ever actually comes to fruition – and they’re not planning to go mirrorless at all (which is what Asobinet believes). But, the idea of Pentax finally caving and going the mirrorless route is quite interesting. They do have a couple of interesting innovations in their DSLRs that could potentially apply well to mirrorless, especially if they target the relatively untapped mass consumer market.

[Asobinet via Pentax Rumors]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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