updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri June 1, 2007
Pentax this morning kicked off the 50th anniversary of its camera brand with a special digital SLR camera. The AP50 is a tribute to the original film camera released in 1957 by the company (then known as Asahi Optical) with digital hardware inside to showcase the advancements made in the half-cenutry life of the firm. The modern components are built on the readily available K10D but includes much of the vintage design, including the pyramid housing for the pentaprism viewfinder that delivered some of the first truly accurate preview in a camera and eventually inspired the change to the Pentax name.
Most of the digital controls remain in place, including the main and top LCDs, keypad, and mode selector. To accommodate the design, however, positions of the controls have moved around from the K10D and the pop-up flash has been stripped out, reflecting the original's dependence on a hot-shoe mounted external flash.
Pentax calls the AP50 a design study and says that there aren't any current plans to produce the camera beyond the show model, which will be on display at the company's Tokyo headquarters until the end of July. [via Impress]