Pentax announced three new camera bodies and a lens today including two DSLRs: The K50 and K500, which will be available this July. Also announced: The Pentax Q7, the newest member the World's most adorable ILC family, will be available this August. An 11.5mm, f/9 Mount Shield Lens, for the Q system will (body cap-style lens) also makes its debut this September. Both the K50 and the Q7 will be sold in a choice of 120 color combinations. That's 20 more color combinations than the Q10 is available in. It is also 119 more color combinations than the K500 will be available in.
The K50 is the most rugged of the bunch, sporting 81 weather seals so you can pair it with one of Pentax's WR lenses and go shooting in the rain. At the heart of the camera is a 16MP APS-C-sized CMOS sensor (12-bit RAW capture), Pentax's PRIME M processing engine, and their SAFOX IXi+ 11-point (9cross-type) AF system. Shutter speeds go as fast as 1/6000 second, ISO reaches up to 51,200, H.264 video can be captured at up to 1080p 30fps, and bursts top out at 6 frames per second for up to 30 JPEGs or 8 RAW images per burst.
EyeFi card control is built into the cameras menu system. The finder is a pentaprism, rather than a less fancy pentamirror, and offers a 100% view of the frame and magnification of 0.92x. As always with Pentax's DSLRs, the K50 employs sensor shift image stabilization, so any lens you mount on the camera can benefit from stabilization. A 3-inch 921,000-dot LCD lets you navigate the menus, review your shots, or frame during live view or video capture. The K50 is expected to cost $780 with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR kit lens, $880 for the body, 18-55mm WR lens and 50-200mm WR lens, or $700 body only when it hits stores in July.
The K500 is essentially the same as the K50 without the weather sealing or the weather sealed kit lens. As such, it becomes one of the least expensive camera bodies to have two command wheels, or to reach up to ISO 51,200. Plus, the fast shutter speed of 1/6000 second is quite rare in this price range, let alone the pentaprism's 100% finder coverage. The other big difference between the K500 and its pricier sibling is that the K500 uses AA batteries. You can step up to a Li-ion battery if you choose, though the price of the battery hasn't been released at press time. The K500 is expected to sell for $600 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DA-L kit lens, or $700 for the body, that 18-55mm lens, and a 50-200mm DA-L lens. So far, it doesn't seem like the K500 will be offered body only, which isn't uncommon for entry-level Pentax DSLRs.
The Q7 represents a step up for Pentax's line of ILCs with its move to a 1/1.7-inch backlit CMOS sensor. With 12.4MP, the camera won't lack for pixels, despite the size of the sensor. Like the Q10 and Q1 before it, the top mechanical shutter speed is 1/2000 second, though you can engage the electronic shutter to reach 1/8000 second. Burst top out at 5fps for up to 5 JPEGs per burst. Video capture again uses the H.264 codec and tops out at 1080p 30fps. Like the DSLRs, the Q7 includes sensor shift stabilization, though the camera's sensitivity tops out at ISO 12,800. The screen on the camera back is 3-inches with a pixel resolution of 460,000 dots. Autofocusing uses a contrast detection system with 25 selectable points.
Despite the camera's tiny size-- 4x2.3x1.3 inches-- Pentax still managed to include a pop-up flash with a guide number of 16 (feet, ISO 100). To go along with the new Q is the new 11.5mm f/9 07 Mount Shield Lens. It provides a 53mm equivalent on the Q7 and is meant to stay on the camera body instead of a body cap. Though slow, it's essentially a normal field of view and makes for one of the smallest full-featured camera experiences you can have today. The Q7 is expected to cost $500 with the 02 zoom lens that covers an equivalent of 27.5-83mm with a maximum aperture range of f/2.8-4.5, when it hits stores in August. The 07 Mount Shield Lens is expected to cost $80 when it becomes available in September.
All of the cameras included in this announcement are now available for pre-order through PentaxImaging.com.