Astro Lens Frenzy and Zeiss Confusion: Weekly Photo News #22/2023

A short astro lens and confusion about Zeiss - the photo news of week 22/2023

Summer is here and Pentax and Sigma have launched new products that are perfect for astrophotography. Despite the shorter nights in the European hemisphere, the companies are hoping to benefit from the traditional boom in the photo business during the summer. The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome was launched in April 2023 and has since sold out, but is finally starting to become available. The camera promises brighter images and no color noise due to the lack of a color filter in front of the sensor.

Pentax’s video function was creatively used by author Peter Mein to create a series of images of the moon that were later combined into a “moon mosaic” of 7000 x 4000 pixels in Photoshop. This technique also works with individual photos and is superior to the automatic astro tracer that comes with the camera. However, the price tag for the K-3 III can be steep, with the achromatic body costing 2500 euros while the color version is only around 1800 euros.

Sigma has launched the 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens, which is currently only available for Leica, Panasonic, and Sony’s E-mount, not for Pentax’s K bayonet, and is a full-frame lens, while Pentax only has an APS-C sensor. The lens can be used for half the sky as well as landscape and macro shots.

There have been speculations about Zeiss getting out of the photo business entirely and returning to smartphone optics. However, nothing is confirmed, and those interested can read Petapixel’s continuously updated article.

As holiday pay is booked and summer vacation approaches, Pentax and Sigma are hoping to capitalize on the traditional boom in the photo business, despite the shorter nights. The Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome promises brighter images and no color noise, while Sigma’s 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens can be used for landscape and macro shots. Despite speculations about Zeiss, nothing is confirmed, and their status in the photo market remains uncertain.

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