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Gear Rumors

Upcoming Pentax Full Frame Could Feature Sony Sensor

By Anthony Thurston on May 29th 2015

Pentax turned a lot of heads towards the end of last year when they announced that they would be developing and releasing their first full frame DSLR by the end of 2015. Details on the new camera have been scarce, but a new rumor has shed some light on the possible sensor to be used in this new camera.


According to a report over on Sony Alpha Rumors, the Pentax full frame DSLR will feature none other than a Sony sensor. To be more specific, the camera is expected to feature the same 36MP sensor found in the current Nikon D810 and Sony A7R. It is a sensor that we know is capable of good things as results from the D810 and A7R prove that.

It is an interesting choice, as both the A7R and D810 have been around for a while now, by the time the Pentax is released, it could be almost two years behind the D810, and 1.5 years behind the A7R. So the question becomes, how many years of use can this Pentax camera get before it is surpassed by the next version of these cameras. Just a thought that crossed my mind after reading this.


The more important aspects to this new Pentax camera will be what they choose to put around the camera, as in the processor and other key internal features. They will be what make or breaks this camera, and which has the potential to possibly usher in a new era for Pentax – if they get it right.

What are your thoughts on this rumor regarding the Pentax full frame? Do you think that the 36MP Sony manufactured sensor is a good choice? What other features would you like to see make it into this camera? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. 

[via Sony Alpha Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Arnold Ziffel

    I kind of consider this a “duh”. Where else would they get a full frame sensor? I’ve always had a soft spot for Pentax and though I shoot Canon mostly, I still try and get the latest Pentax flagship offering sooner or later.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Basically, yup you said it. There aren’t many sensor factories out there, and Pentax has already been using Sony sensors for their 1.5x crop cameras; from the 16 and 24 MP sensors seen in both Sony and Nikon cameras, as well as the newest 20 MP Sony sensor.

      The real question, up until now, was merely, will the sensor be the 24 MP FX breed, or the 36 MP breed?

      Personally I’d be OK with both, but since the K-3 II seems to be offering a ground-breaking 24 MP sensor that any landscape / adventure / astro photographer should love, …I’m actually happy that the FX sensor is going to offer the full 36 MP.

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  2. Dave Haynie

    Like Canon and Nikon, Pentax has dedicated users, some of whom go back to the film days. So they aren’t necessarily going head to head against Sony or Nikon in all things… but if they don’t offer enough of what the others do, they will eventually lose users and not attract as many new users.

    It’s also certainly possible that they’ve been talking with Sony over newer sensors, but either the new one won’t be available on schedule, they’re using it (maybe just a tweaked version of the current model), or they can’t get it at the volume or price-point they’re after. If I were Pentax, I’d be a little concerned that my sensors don’t show up until Sony and Nikon get all they want…

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    • John Cavan

      My experience is limited to shooting Pentax and Nikon in the digital world, but I would say that Pentax has routinely offered far more in camera features, at a lesser price, than the alternatives out there. Definitely not a case of failing to offer enough.

      Sadly, doing that hasn’t really seemed to improve their share of the market all that much, but it remains to be seen where Ricoh takes it in the long run. At least they’re backed by much deeper pockets, with an interest in growing, than they have been in prior years.

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    • Ralph Hightower


      I go back to the film days when I bought my first SLR, a Canon A-1, in 1980. I still use that camera; I bought a used F-1N in July 2013 and in December 2013, I bought a 5D Mk III. Sure, switching to Nikon or some other brand would be easy since I would have to invest in a new lens system, but I stuck with Canon.

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  3. Matthew Saville

    Considering how many years AHEAD of the rest of the pack the D810 and A7R sensors are, I’d say Pentax can get plenty of use out of them, lol.

    The K-3 has a 24 MP DX sensor that has Sony origins; it is approximately a Nikon D5300 sensor, given the DR, high ISO performance, and lack of AA filter. That is roughly the same sensor as in the D5500, and the D7200 is indeed improved but not earth-shatteringly.

    All in all, A D810 sensor would be an amazing score for Pentax. That sensor in particular is already a step above the D800, D800e, and A7R sensor, keep in mind.

    An actual bummer would be if the Pentax FF body received a sensor more like the D800e / A7R sensor, not the D810. I wouldn’t put it past Nikon and Sony to come up with some sort of “hand-me-down / leftover” contract with Pentax, too. Still, even the D800e sensor is incredible, and the type of folks who will buy such a camera will be very pleased.

    The real question is, as Yankel mentioned, how big / small will the camera be? Pentax prides itself in huge viewfinders, so they may go for broke with their first FF DSLR body. I’m honestly more in favor of the camera being as D750-sized as possible, for weight and portability reasons. I hated lugging the D800e around for adventure projects…

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  4. Yankel Adler

    Would like to see how compact they can make it while keeping it rugged,
    Also would like to see focusing & video ability.

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  5. Thomas Horton

    If it has the actual weather-sealing that past Pentaxs have had, it will sell for a while.

    The question for me would be how soon will Sigma be releasing lens conversions for the new Pentax FF?

    FF with IBIS, with actual weather-sealing (not marketing department weather-sealing). I wish Pentax had come out with this in 2014 when I was upgrading my system. :(

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    • John Cavan

      Me too. I jumped ship a few years ago when I came to the conclusion that FF in Pentax-land was dead. They surprised me, but it’s too late now, I’m way too invested in the Nikon system to consider a switch back.

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    • Thomas Horton

      I wonder if my Sigma Art lenses could be replaced with Pentax mounts? That would save some lens money

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    • Matthew Saville

      John, you’re never “too invested”! I’ve shot Nikon all my life, and I’ve already dumped my full Nikon DX kit for the K-3 II, and I’m eagerly awaiting initial results from the K-FX.

      But, I buy almost all my gear used, and I hunt for a good deal, so when I resell gear I usually don’t lose anything, and sometimes I even come out ahead.

      Thomas, I don’t see why not, since Sigma’s Global Vision does offer mount conversion services for your Art lenses, and Pentax is already one of their options at least for stock purchasing…

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    • John Cavan

      More of the case that my better half might just kill me if I was to do it again. Though, to be fair, I’m quite happy with my current setup and so see no need.

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  6. John Cavan

    They’ve been using Sony sensors for a while, so I would expect that to continue given the high quality Sony has been demonstrating with them. Pentax has excelled at getting really good output from them too, the K5 was killer camera because of it, so I don’t find it a stretch to think that they could extend the “life” of the current 36mp Sony sensor which, in all fairness, is still a phenomenal piece of kit.

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