September 20, 2010

Photokina 2010: First impressions

Marie showing the Pentax K-r.

This morning, I made a first tour across Photokina opening tomorrow in Cologne. It is already open to the press and most booths are still under construction. I'll report more about Photokina later today and this week. Nevertheless, I have a couple first impressions to share.

Pentax K-5
Pentax officially launched the K-5 which is the successor to the K-7. A body is still on its way to Cologne and I'll have more about it soon. The press kit is out though and these are the specs:
  • Same specs as the Pentax K-7 which it succeeds, except:
  • New CMOS sensor with integrated A/D converter and 16.3 MP (4928 x 3264).
  • Noise reduction configurable per ISO.
  • New prime II four channel processing (but I believe K-7 had prime II too).
  • 7.0 fps.
  • New SAFOX IX+ 11 point autofocus with higher light sensitivity (larger light intake).
    "Complete rehaul and faster and more accurate".
  • ISO 80 to 51.200 (standard is 100 to 12.800).
  • Sensor position is adjustable in order to tune to lens (whatever this means, I will clarify).
  • Full HD video with 1920x1080 25fps.
  • HDR with image alignment and adjustable equalizing parameter.
  • Golden rule grid and scale grid in LV.
  • Electronic horizon for roll (old) and pitch (new).
  • 670g body only w/o batteries.
  • German list price body only €1.459,- which includes 19% VAT.
  • Available in October 2010.

The press kit is full of errors and I'll have to verify a number of other details first. E.g., I doubt that the camera ships June 2009 ;) Meanwhile, I verified and it ships next month already! They fixed a number of other errors too.

The price hints at a US list price of $1,399.- which is only $100 more than the D7000 and means that both cameras will have an equal street price.

Let me repeat: The K-5 is not more expensive than the D7000!

... updated and continued from the break ...

Two points I have run a quick test for are (i.e., I may have missed a hidden custom function): no manual control in video (merde) and almost certainly no f/2.8 center AF sensor. However, the AF box on the bottom of the mirror box changed indeed. I took a photograph of it. The AF feels faster too.

"Sensor position is adjustable in order to tune to lens" and "New prime II processor" are two questions Pentax has to call back Japan to find out what this actually means ...

I'll have more about the K-5 in a separate blog article.

Pentax DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED WR new kit lens

This lens has the additional "DC" designation. I asked. It stands for a new, faster ultrasonic focus motor. Pentax could not answer the question if this implies a ring type motor. The list price is 799.- € incl. 19% VAT.

Pentax 645D

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Pentax introduces the applauded 645D medium format digital camera in the Europen market. It is the same model as in the Japanese market and will be available January 2011 for 10,000.- € incl. 19% VAT list price. Add another 1,000.- € incl. 19% VAT list price for the 55/2.8 lens.

The positioning is straightforward: best image quality for both the entire range of outdoor as well as indoor photography. What a well defined positioning ;)

I heard people say that the backlog of orders in Japan is slowly decreasing now and this is why delivery outside Japan has become possible. In other words, it was sold out which is why we haven't seen more gray imports actually.

The 645D press announcement contains no mention about a creation of a professional support network. I heard that this is under consideration though. Strange.

For anybody visiting Photokina: Pentax has one single 645D in the business area behind the public area of their booth. This is an restricted area. You normally have to be press or a business partner to enter. But insist a bit, maybe refer to my blog, and I think you will be able to do a quick test. Bring an SD card because you can put your own card if you don't ask ;)

Fuji Finepix X100

Fuji announced a camera in development, the Finepix X100. They showed a prototype and it is awesome. It is the perfect blend between a rangefinder and an EVIL camera. Well, almost because its lens isn't interchangeable.

It is an APS-C camera with a an "exceptional resolution" 23mm f/2 fixed prime lens and a very rangefinder-like viewfinder: It is both optical and electronic! You switch between optical and electronic. Additionally, the optical viewfinder may display an electronic overlay for additional information. And so, it is no surprise the camera looks like a rangefinder.

I asked why not with a lens mount? Answer: We want see how this one sells first. I asked: but you know that if this version does not sell it may be because it has no mount? Answer: no, is it so...?

Obviously, the X100 was made to compete against the Leica X1. With the optical viewfinder as its bonus. I asked if its cheaper than Leica X1. Answer was hesitant. Eventually they gave me "1000" as a ballpark number which would be about 2/3 of a Leica X1.

The Finepix X100 was one of the positive surprises of the Photokina.

More colors

Who says that Pentax is the only company with colorful bodies?

An Olympus P&S embedded into a frozen block of melting ice. Marie is behind the block though :)

Ah yes, Olympus showed the E-5 of course and a concept camera which is said to compete against the Panasonic LX5 with a high resolution Zuiko lens. They denied to answer questions about its sensor size. However to my eye, the camera looked larger than an LX5.

Lomographical bodies in various colors.

I'll update my blog with more articles about the Pentax K-5 as soon as possible. Enjoy the read for the time being.


  1. falk,
    have fun and pleeeezzzeee report back ASAP.

    information shortage is a real pain :)


  2. I am soooooooooo happy YOU are there. Les bon temps roulet!

  3. Sounds good! I've heard it here first... :)

  4. Any 645D News?

    I go to the photokina, if I can grab a demo 645D in the booth.

  5. same body as the k-7, right? any assumption about the shutter blur effect?

  6. Digit-photo already lists it at 1249€...

  7. Both the K-7 and K-x has the Prime II engine.

    If you can check the K-5 out, please see if it has manual control for video, and if not, yell at them for me for being stupid! It really should have manual controls :(

    Also, great stuff =)

  8. Hey Falk,

    maybe you could provide some of your lenses for testing on the K-5. ;-)



  9. I imagine "Sensor position is adjustable in order to tune to lens" means a lens of poor QC with a non-parallel focus plane to the sensor can be made to focus properly, but looking forward to the official word. Thanx for updating us.

  10. Hey Falk, Thanks for your early bird sharing. Could you also pls. check if K-5 has 6 image blended in 1 snap shot (steady night shot for sony A55) or is there any night function that work the same way (as in hand-held shot).
    Dont get me wrong but i rely on your expertise.

    Thanks and enjoy your early hands on..


  11. Falk, can you please confirm with Pentax Rep over there about K-5 price? Their website( the price of K-5 is $1599.95 for body only. I believe that website if for US customers too.

  12. For everybody browsing by: The most active discussion of this article can be found at:

    I'll look into shutter blur as soon as I get the opportunity to do the proper testing. Same body, right. But the cause may be so minor that they fixed it. So, we don't know.

    that kind of tuning would require the sensor plane to move in the z-direction which isn't possible probably. I miss the corresponding text in the English press material (checked now). So, it may be nonsense actually.

    what an honour to have you comment here :) It would be my pleasure to help you retesting some lenses. Just drop me a call.

    @Anonymous (a name would be welcome though),
    I don't think the US dep. adjusted their list price after the D7000 came out. And lists list prices, nobody buys there. The German guys had to do something after the D7000 sits just opposite to their booth :)

  13. @Darelo,

    I have to check. My understanding is that the night shot stacking (which was always there with Pentax) didn't receive the alignment update like the HDR feature did. So no, no steady night shot. But the camera hardware is capable enough. I'll ask for a planned firmware update. But this kind of questions is not normally answered, unfortunately.

  14. @DLacouture,
    I checked and don't see the offer. But it is plausible. They list the D7000 at 1199€. So, they are just 50€ off, almost the same.

  15. Falk, just wanted to thank you for posting the info so many of us are dying for. your efforts are appreaciated by many.


  16. Thanx for the update on the adjustment blurb.

    oh, and p.s. I too am very intrigued by that Fuji X100. ;)

  17. falk,

    AF center pt is NOT f2.8 and no manual video control? what about VIDEO af?

    can/did you test the AFc tracking?


  18. Hey Falk, glad to hear you're working hard at Photokina :-p

    So far the most exciting thing has been the Fuji X100, but I was sad at the reply you got about why it doesn't have interchangeable lenses. I suggested this could be the reason in my article yesterday, while secretly hoping Fuji wouldn't be so naive:

    I get the feeling that Fuji are sniffing out the market with this camera, and if sales and customer satisfaction are positive, they’ll consider either releasing another model with a different focal length or maybe going the full monty and releasing an interchangeable system. [...] But I’m afraid it’s not going to make Fuji enough money for them to believe they can roll out a full interchangeable lens system based on the concept, which is a shame because that’s exactly what most people would have liked them to do.

  19. Fuji X100

    Misere has left a comment which doesn't show up. That's not the first time a comment was eaten by blogspot. Strange bugs really.

    Anyway, he has written a great blog article about the X100 himself which I recommend. This is the link:

    I've a couple more photos and images of the four wall posters but I think they provide no additional info beyond what Misere wrote.

  20. @jordan,
    Correct and no video AF either.

    I didn't test AF.C tracking. For that kind of topics, I prefer quantitative tests which wasn't possible in a show room atmosphere. For the time being, this may be the best source to answer your question:

    However, they didn't look at actual focus speed (how fast a subject is allowed to move) and accuracy.

  21. @Darelo,

    I am not sure anymore that my answer about the night shot feature was correct. I have to look into the new night HDR feature of the K-r and K-5 first. This option doesn't show up in the HDR menu though.

    The new HDR menu has 6 options: off, auto, normal, string 1, string 2, string 3.

  22. Falk wrote:
    Misere[re] has left a comment which doesn't show up. That's not the first time a comment was eaten by blogspot. Strange bugs really.

    Falk, you've said this before. Does it have anything to do with there being URL links in the comment? I blog on a different platform so can offer you no assistance here. I hope you figure it out!

  23. No manual control for video is truly a big disappointment. The "DC" on DA 18-135mm looks like a lower version of in-lens motor like sony's SSM but is actually an updated version of SSM?

    Thanks for the great post Falk!

  24. I don't really understand some of you guys.

    1. "no manual control for video". Ask a pro movie guy. Or you can use manual lenses (as they do most of the time), and you can handle focal length, zoom and aperture. What else do you want? :)

    2. DFP stuff. There is a little bug in my head that says: why don't one doing long exposure photography with analog equipment? Get a somewhat cheap mid-format camera, buy some good film, and voilá, your results will be astounding. And you don't have to worry about temperatures or battery life also.

    I am not a "back to the film era" guy. I like my K-7. I shoot a lot of things, like dancing, where I want the better AF and the high ISO (for a lot of dancing events are inside). But I was learning some useful techniques to avoid the limitations of my gear. That's all.

    It's like you want a box with a "make a great picture" button on it.

  25. About the night shot: If it isn't, or maybe it isn't there "YET". Am just hoping that if it is the same sensor as in the new sony dslr, so it might do the same trick what sony has done with their new dslr otherwise it depends on the hardware differences between K-5 and sony-dslr.
    As long as it produce a long awaited low-light-high-iso cleaner image than K-7 then there's gonna be many happier pentax-shooter am sure will welcome this upgrade.

    thanks .....darelo

  26. Hi Falk!
    The K-5 seems to be hot - but finally we need RAWs to see whether the technical descriptions can be fulfilled! (I just say noise on high ISO).
    Honestly, the 18-135 lens sucks! Nobody does need new kit lenses! The community is waiting for a 70-200 f2,8 oder a 18-105 f2,8 or equal!
    Thanks so far for you reports and comments!

  27. Hello

    I dont want to create a new pentaxforums account.

    I have been on PK today and it looks like DFS can be disabled completly, you have the "Auto, Yes, No" Modus (non final Firmware)

    I switched it of and used bulb for more then 30seconds, next picture in <1sec

    I talked to a staff member who confirmed that thethering will be delivered later by firmware (final or later)

  28. $999 sounds like a sensible introductory price for the X100. People would admire it but won't buy it if Fuji tried to charge Leica prices.

    One subtle thing that concerns me is the talk of a "custom" sensor alongside an "EXR processor". If the sensor in this camera has same-colour photosites next to each other it will ruin the maximum resolution of the camera, making it in effect a 6 megapixel unit.

  29. @Mehlsack,

    thanks for your info! :)

  30. falk,

    have you seen Ned Bunnell anywhere at Photokina?
    just curious.

    btw, any tests on that 18-135 DC?




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