Ricoh announces HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 lens, set to go on sale in August for $1,400: Digital Photography Review


Ricoh Imaging has announced the HD Pentax-DA* 16–50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW lens, the latest lens in its Pentax Star (*) lineup that’s designed for APS-C Pentax K-mount DSLRs.

The all-weather (AW) lens offers a 24.5-76.5mm full-frame equiv. focal length and is constructed of 16 elements in 10 groups, including one extra-low dispersion (ED) element, one anomalous dispersion optical element, two ED aspherical elements and Ricoh Imaging’s HD Coating, designed to reduce ghosting and flaring. Ricoh Imaging says the lens is ‘dustproof’ and ‘weather-resistant’ when paired with an accompanying weatherproof Pentax DSLR camera body.

Ricoh Imaging notes this is the first large-aperture Pentax lens to use an ‘advanced pulse motor’ (PLM) to drive the autofocus (AF). In addition to better AF performance, the lens also promises an improved manual focus (MF) experience, including a quick-shift focus system that will switch to MF if you rotate the focus ring after locking focus by half-pressing the camera’s shutter button. The minimum focusing distance is 30cm (1ft) and the maximum magnification ratio is 0.24x.

The lens uses an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism for controlling the nine-blade aperture. The nine blades are curved so that they provide a circular aperture between F2.8 and F5.6 at 16mm, and between F2.8 and F8 at the 50mm end of the zoom, helping give round bokeh at the settings with the shallowest depth-of-field.

However, this electromagnetic diaphragm control only works when using cameras that support the latest KAF4 mount specifications (a full list of compatible cameras can be found in the press release, embedded below). When used on full-frame Pentax K-mount DSLR camera systems, the camera will only work in Crop mode.

The lens (without the included lens hood) measures 84mm (2.2″) in diameter by 117mm (4.6″) in length and weighs 712g (25.1oz).

The HD Pentax-DA* 16–50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW lens is set to retail for $1,400 when it becomes available in August 2021 at Ricoh Imaging’s website and authorized retailers.

Press release:

Ricoh announces HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW for K-mount digital SLR cameras

Large-aperture standard zoom lens is latest addition to new generation, high-performance PENTAX Star series

PARSIPPANY, NJ, July 14, 2021 – Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW lens, the latest addition to the new generation PENTAX Star (★) lens series. Designed for use with PENTAX K-mount digital SLR cameras, Star-series lenses boast the highest imaging performance of all PENTAX lens lineups. This large-aperture standard zoom lens features an open aperture of F2.8 over the entire zoom range to deliver exceptional optical performance and is an ideal regular-use lens for the recently announced PENTAX K-3 Mark III.

The HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW lens incorporates a newly designed optical system and—for the first time in a large-aperture PENTAX lens—an advanced pulse motor (PLM) to assure smooth, high-speed, high-precision autofocus (AF) operation with minimized noise. The lens has been fine-tuned for greater operability in manual-focus operation and includes a quick-shift focus system to provide an instant shift from AF to manual. It provides a minimum focusing distance of just under 12 inches and a maximum magnification of 0.24x. This new standard zoom lens allows users to fully enjoy the process of photography according to their own preferences and can be used in a variety of applications including landscape, snapshots and portraits.

The HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW lens also features an electromagnetic diaphragm control mechanism to assure high precision exposure control and smooth focus tracking when used in combination with compatible digital SLR cameras. The mechanism also enables the capture of video clips using automatic exposure control, even when there are considerable differences in brightness when shooting.

The lens has been designed to provide sharp, clear images free of flare and ghost images, even under demanding conditions like backlight. It features a nine-blade circular diaphragm to produce a natural, beautiful bokeh (defocus) effect even at open aperture. It has been treated with the PENTAX-original HD coating, which assures much higher light transmittance than conventional multi-layer coatings.

The new AW (All Weather) lens features dustproof, weather-resistant construction to prevent the intrusion of water and dust into the lens barrel. When paired with a dustproof, weather- resistant PENTAX digital SLR camera body, it assures a durable, reliable digital imaging system that performs superbly in demanding shooting settings — even in rain or mist, or at locations prone to water splashes or spray.

Pricing and Availability

The HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW lens will be available August 2021 at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com as well as at Ricoh Imaging-authorized retail outlets for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,399.95.

Main Features of the new HD PENTAX-DA★ 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW

New-generation Star-series lens, designed for optimal image quality

The latest addition to the new-generation Star-series lenses — which provides the greatly improved resolving power that will accommodate the super-high-performance digital cameras of the future — this standard zoom lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum and delivers sharp, clear images, not only in the middle of the image field but at the edges. Incorporating one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical element, one anomalous glass optical element and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) aspherical glass optical elements, it effectively reduces chromatic aberration to a minimum over the entire zoom range. Coupled with high-grade, multi-layer HD Coating,* which reduces the average reflectance in the visible ray spectrum to less than 50% that of conventional multi-layer coatings, it effectively minimizes flare and ghost images even in demanding lighting conditions such as backlighting.

This standard zoom lens delivers exceptionally high resolving power and outstanding contrast even at open aperture, while capturing beautiful images with a smooth transition of the bokeh (defocus) effect and a true-to-life depth of field. Since its maximum aperture is fixed at F2.8 over the entire focal-length range from 16 to 50 millimeters (equivalent to 24.5mm to 76.5mm in 35mm format), this large-aperture zoom lens makes it an ideal regular-use lens for the PENTAX K-3 Mark III.

* HD stands for High Definition.

High-speed AF system with a minimum focusing distance of 0.3 meters

This zoom lens incorporates a newly designed optical system which features a lighter, more compact focus-lens group. By driving this focus-lens group with an advanced PLM (Pulse Motor), it assures smooth, high-speed autofocus operation with minimized operational noise. Thanks to the redesigned focus mechanism, it provides the minimum focusing distance of just 0.3 meters, and the maximum magnification of 0.24 times, making this a versatile, regular-use lens for capturing all types of subjects — from everyday snapshots to close-ups and landscapes.

Electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism for high-precision diaphragm control

This zoom lens features an electromagnetic diaphragm control mechanism* to assure high- precision exposure control when used in combination with compatible digital SLR cameras. It also lets the user capture video clips using automatic exposure control, even when there are considerable differences in brightness during the video shooting. When mounted on a PENTAX K-3 Mark III, PENTAX KP or PENTAX K-70 camera body, the PLM (Pulse Motor) assures smooth focus tracking operation and flawless exposure control, while considerably reducing annoying noise generated by focus and diaphragm control operations during video shooting. It assures smooth, worry-free video shooting in locations prone to considerable brightness changes — such as a stage with rapidly changing lighting conditions, or a forest with filtering sunrays — or with active, fast-moving subjects such as athletes or animals.

* The lens features the KAF4 mount and is compatible with electromagnetic diaphragm control. Electromagnetic diaphragm control is available in combination with PENTAX K-3 Mark III, PENTAX K-3 II, PENTAX K-3, PENTAX KP, PENTAX K-70, PENTAX K-50, PENTAX K-S2, PENTAX K-S1, PENTAX K-1 Mark II or PENTAX K-1 camera bodies. We advise that users upgrade the camera’s firmware to the latest version to properly use electromagnetic diaphragm control. When mounted on a PENTAX K-1 Mark II or PENTAX K-1 camera body, images can only be captured in Crop mode because the lens image circle is exclusively designed for the APS-C format.

Dustproof, weather-resistant construction

Developed as an AW (All Weather) model, this zoom lens features a dustproof, weather- resistant construction to prevent the intrusion of water and dust particles into the lens interior. By pairing it with a PENTAX dustproof, weather-resistant digital SLR camera body, the user can create a highly durable, reliable digital imaging system that performs superbly even in the most demanding shooting conditions — in rain or mist, or at locations prone to splashing water.

HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size APS-C / DX
Focal length 16–50 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount Pentax KAF4
Aperture
Maximum aperture F2.8
Minimum aperture F22
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Optics
Elements 16
Groups 10
Special elements / coatings ED + anomalous glass + aspherical elements, HD coating
Focus
Minimum focus 0.30 m (11.81)
Maximum magnification 0.24×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Stepper motor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Focus distance limiter No
Physical
Weight 712 g (1.57 lb)
Diameter 84 mm (3.31)
Length 117 mm (4.61)
Materials Magnesium alloy
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (extending)
Zoom lock No
Filter thread 77 mm
Hood product code PH-RBN77
Tripod collar No



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