Ricoh has introduced the Pentax K-1 II. This full-frame DSLR is the successor to the K-1 released in 2016. The most important two innovations are the addition of an accelerator chip for a higher ISO range and an improved Pixel Shift Resolution function, which does not require a tripod.
The accelerator chip is an image processing chip that Pentax already introduced in the Pentax K-70 and KP-aps-c cameras, and has now been added to the K-1 II. This chip provided the KP with a high iso range up to 819,200 iso, in addition to an improved signal-to-noise ratio in low-light conditions. The K-1 didn’t go beyond 100 to 204,800 iso; with the K-1 II this has been increased to 819,200 iso. According to Ricoh, the chip in combination with the not renewed Prime IV image processor provides even better performance in the dark, with relatively little noise.
The second innovation in the camera is an improved version of the Pixel Shift Resolution function. Allows the camera to take four photos in a row and merge them into a higher resolution photo. This function bypasses Bayer interpolation for color production by shifting the sensor one pixel at a time, so that each pixel contains the full RGB data. According to Ricoh, this function has now been improved with the so-called Pixel Shift Resolution System II, which further improves details and color reproduction and eliminates the need for a tripod for the series of four photos taken in succession.
The most important innovation of the improved pixel shift function is the so-called Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode, which makes it possible to use pixel shift from the hand. The five-axis image stabilization system is used for this. This system detects small vibrations during the shooting of the four photos and uses that information to merge the four photos into a photo with increased resolution and better color reproduction. Hand shake, which sensor stabilization normally compensates for, is used in Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode to produce sharper images with no color errors and less noise.
Ricoh also reports that the autofocus tracking algorithm has been revamped, which should improve tracking of moving objects in continuous autofocus mode. However, the autofocus module required for this is unchanged from the K-1; it is the Safox 12 autofocus module with 33 focus points, 25 of which are cross-sensitive. The maximum shooting speed also remains 4.4 fps and 23 raw files or 70 jpegs fit in the buffer. It is possible to film with the camera in a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels with a maximum of 30fps.
There are also no changes in other areas and in the design of the camera. The Pentax K-1 II will cost 1999 euros as a body. According to a spokesperson, there is no option to purchase the camera in combination with, for example, the existing 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom as a kit version. The dslr can be ordered and will be delivered from the end of March.
Ricoh offers existing K-1 owners the option to send their camera to the manufacturer, who will replace the circuit board for at least $550 in the United States, so that the camera is essentially a K-1 II. including all innovations and the renewed logo on the front. This is possible in the US in a limited period, between May 21 and September 30. It is not yet clear how this procedure works in Europe and how much it costs here. Presumably the procedure requires sending a copy of the K-1 to Ricoh in France. According to a spokesperson, Ricoh will provide more information about this update program at the end of March.