More details on Pentax’ retractable kit zoom lens

10 Feb

With the release of the Pentax K-S2, Pentax is also releasing a new kit zoom lens, the retractable HD Pentax DA 18-50mm f/4-5.6 DC WR RE. It’s a retractable lens that needs to be manually zoomed forward to its operating distance before you can use it. I suspect in actual operation, this will feel seamless to the user. In exchange, you get the world’s shortest DSLR zoom lens (when it’s stowed away in your bag):

combined

It starts at a sensible f/4, collapses to 1.5 inches (41mm), is weather-sealed, and claimed by Ricoh to be optically superior to its predecessor, the 18-55mm (AL II design) kit zoom. The filter thread is 58mm rather than the 52mm previously used by Pentax. This could be an indication that they are adjusting filter thread sizes on APS-C to be more in line with future full frame lenses. (Previously, 52mm was used on both the 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses, which were sold together in a dual lens kit with some cameras; the 55-300mm which also exists in a DA-L plastic variant that is exclusive to such bundles (but only available in some localities), always used a 58mm thread.) The front element does not rotate when zooming or focusing. Also, contrary to some rumour, this is not a power zoom lens.

It has a “silent” DC focus motor and HD and SP coatings. Ricoh US customer service told me that the lens must be moved to its extended position manually using the zoom ring, no second motor involved, which presumably helps with both the shortness and longevity of the lens. So everything about this lens is “silent” to the extent that manual operation and DC motors are.

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One Response to “More details on Pentax’ retractable kit zoom lens”

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  1. Pentax’ follow-up to the K-S1 combines competitors’ best features | breakfastographer - February 10, 2015

    […] According to Ricoh, it is currently the smallest dust- and weather-sealed DSLR on the market. It will be launched together with the world’s shortest DSLR zoom lens as a kit option, the new HD Pentax DA 18-50mm f/4-5.6 DC R…. […]

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