After sharing an updated brand vision remaining stubbornly loyal to the DSLR, Pentax shared a peek at an upcoming new flagship APS-C camera that focuses on the few features that mirrorless cameras don’t offer. The unnamed camera will have a newly developed optical viewfinder on a body with a large grip controls, features that remain high on the list of reasons DSLR diehards haven’t yet made the switch.
The upcoming camera will have a newly designed high refractive glass pentaprism, which is the component that directs light into the viewfinder (not to be confused with the optics in the actual viewfinder). Pentax says this material has never been used before inside a camera. The result? A clearer, broader view that faithfully reproduces colors and the focal point, according to Pentax President Shinobu Takahashi. The optical viewfinder has a 1.05x magnification for a closer, clearer view, one of the few actual specifications shared during the online presentation.
The teaser, an interview between Takahashi and Pentax photographer Keita Sasaki, also shows off the camera’s compact slimmer body — compared to earlier Pentax DSLRs — and the DSLR-sized grip that comes with it. Starting with a clay mockup, Pentax says the designers started shaving off clay until finding that just-right grip size.
The often smaller grip and the lack of an optical viewfinder are both features that DSLR photographers cite as reasons not to make the move to mirrorless. (The other is often battery life). The focus on these elements suggests that Pentax’s plan to move forward is to focus on making those few things mirrorless is unable or unwilling to replicate, and making them as good as they can be, now that performance and image quality is nearly identical, and in some cases, better from a mirrorless camera.
Sasaki also noted the larger buttons and top LCD screen, with mirrorless cameras offering less physical real estate to house controls.
While the interview focused on that optical viewfinder and grip, Pentax also noted that the DSLR will have a newly developed sensor and processor, along with faster autofocus than previous generations. The upgraded sensor offers cleaner images, even at base ISO, Takahasi says. The company also aims to launch both black and silver colors of the body at the same time.
Pentax did not yet share a name for the camera, or a release date of when the new APS-C flagship will hit the market.