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Pentax 'pancake' lens to hit full-stack status

Pentax shows off a new 35mm F/2.8 macro lens, the latest and the largest in a series of diminutive models.

Pentax's emphasis on compact SLR cameras and lenses yielded its "pancake" lenses, tiny lenses so thin they can be mistaken for the camera body cap that's put on just to keep the dust out.

The smc Pentax-DA 35mm F/2.8 Macro Limited Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

The Japanese camera maker has released three such models, but it began showing a fourth here at the Photo Marketing Association trade show.

The new lens is a 35mm F/2.8 macro, said John Carlson, imaging systems product manager, in an interview here. He declined to offer details on price, availability date, or how closely the macro lens will be able to focus.

The diminutive lenses all are part of Pentax's high-end "Limited" lens line. Though small, they're not cheap: Current models cost between $450 and $600 apiece, he said.

Lenses are a key part of SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, and Pentax is working to beef up its portfolio to compete with the two dominant companies in the market. "Canon and Nikon have a lot more lenses, but we're catching up," Carlson said.