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Christmas Gift Guide

Pentax shows off three future lenses

The Japanese SLR maker is showing, but not yet selling, a weather-sealed telephoto zoom, a fast 50mm model, and a moderate-range 4X zoom.

LAS VEGAS--Lenses are as important as camera bodies in the SLR market, and Pentax is trying to keep its customers' appetites whetted by showing off three new lenses still under development at the Photo Marketing Association trade show here.

First up is the smc Pentax-DA*55mm F1.4 SDM, a model with a 55mm fixed focal length and wide f/1.4 aperture for low-light shooting or pictures with soft, undistracting backgrounds. Availability is undetermined so far.

Next is the smc Pentax-DA*60-250mm F4ED SDM, a wide-range telephoto zoom that should be available in the summer.

Third is the smc Pentax-DA17-70 F4 AL SDM. This moderate zoom also should be available in the summer, Pentax said.

These three models aren't yet available and shouldn't be confused with the five lenses for which Pentax last week announced prices and availability dates.

The names are all tentative, the company cautioned. If you want to decode them, here's a handy Pentax lens terminology cheat sheet I cribbed from my colleague Lori Grunin:

• AL = Aspherical Lens
• DA = designed for digital (not full frame) cameras
• DA* = DA with dust- and weather-sealing
• ED = Extra low Dispersion
• IF = Internal Focus
• SDM = Supersonic Drive Motor