To shoot medium format has been a yearlong dream, but I have to admit I didn’t know it would be such a mind blowing experience. The Pentax 645Z (51,4 mega pixels) arrived on the market in 2014 and was the first camera to ever exceed 100 points in the DxOMark sensor test. For some unknown reason the score and review wasn’t published before 2017. There is plenty of info to be found on the internet concerning the camera specs so I won’t cover that in much detail. What is of greater interest to me and hopefully the reader is the medium format experience.
It feels like forever ago since I posted about the new Godox XPro-P flash trigger for Pentax. But it’s actually only been about three weeks. When I went out to test it, I only had the opportunity to really use it with the AD400Pro. We had other lights with us, though, which we tested to varying degrees of success.
Today, though, Godox has released a number of new firmware updates to add Pentax support to a bunch of their other lights.
I’ve reviewed the Godox XPro trigger before, a little over a year ago. Normally, I wouldn’t review the same product again just because it comes out with compatibility for a different camera system. My original review was with the XPro-C, but I didn’t review the XPro-N, XPro-F, XPro-S or XPro-O. So why am I posting a review of the XPro-P for Pentax?
Well, to put it simply, it’s kind of a big deal – at least for Pentax shooters. Pentax has traditionally had very little 3rd party flash support. It’s had some from Cactus with the whole X-TTL thing, but the recent demise of the RQ250 has left Pentax shooters with very little confidence in Cactus’ future. Other options have been iffy at best. But now there’s a new kid in town. The Godox XPro-P.
New firmware updates for various pieces of Godox kit show a couple of very nice additions. The big news for most Godox shooters is that 1/10th stop support has now come to the XPro triggers & AD600 Pro strobe. The big news for Pentax shooters is that Pentax X flash system support has now been added to the AD600M, AD600 TTL and AD600 Pro strobes.
Yes, that’s right Pentax shooters. The wait is almost over. The Pentax FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW lens you’ve all been coveting is finally being released. Pentax says that this is the first new lens which follows a new set of standards for their top-of-the-line Star series lenses. New standards that will, they claim, help to minimise aberrations and deliver the highest possible image quality.
Pentax users seem to have been neglected when it comes to the world of flash. There’s been very little 3rd party support at all. Pretty much their only option, if they want TTL or High-Speed Sync is to go the Cactus route if they don’t want to go with Pentax branded speedlights. Ok, you could go with Metz, but your options become even more limited with those if you want to combine it with strobes.
It seems, though, that Godox may have listened to the cries for help from Pentax users. According to a listing on the Godox UK online store for the dual AD200 kit, Pentax TTL support is coming sometime in June. Yes, this month. Or, maybe next year.
The Pentax K1 was already an impressive camera. It’s cherished by everybody who owns one. It contains features unique amongst DSLRs, such as its Pixel Shift Resolution feature. It’s seen an update, now, though, with Ricoh recently announcing the Pentax K1 Mark II, offering a couple of pretty significant upgrades. We went along to the Ricoh Pentax stand during The Photography Show to go check it out.
Pentax shooters waited for the original Pentax K-1 with great anticipation. After a few delays and issues, though, it was finally released in 2016. A full frame 36MP CMOS sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, an articulating LCD and build as solidly as one would hope from a pro body. Now, though, the K-1 Mark II is here, with a couple of nifty improvements.
The image quality’s improved, thanks to a new “Dynamic Pixel Shift” mode which allows you to shoot pixel shift without a tripod. They say that the autofocus tracking system has also been improved. Oh, yes, and it can see in the dark, thanks to the new ISO 819,200 top limit.
There’s been a whole lot of new lens announcements lately. This latest pair are coming from Ricoh, with a 50mm f/1.4 full frame prime and an 11-18mm f/2.8 APS-C zoom for Pentax K-Mount. They form the beginning of a new generation of “Star series” lenses aimed specifically super-high resolution photography.
Ricoh say that the final specs, and even the names of these lenses are subject to change before official announcement next year. But here’s the information they’ve released so far.
Just when Pentax seemed like it might be starting to pick up, Nikkei Asian Review are reporting that Ricoh may be dropping the brand. There’s no doubt that smartphones are continuing to eat into camera sales, and Pentax has become a “money-losing” business.
Nikkei say that Ricoh plan to “radically review” a production and manufacturing strategy targeting the Pentax and GR brands. One of the options includes withdrawing from the segment completely.