Ricoh Imaging has put an end to years of speculation by formally announcing that it's developing a full frame Pentax SLR, which will be exhibited at the CP+ trade show in Yokohama, Japan.

Ricoh says the camera should appear on the market towards the end of 2015. Naturally it will feature the Pentax K mount, making it compatible with a huge range of lenses. It will also work with DA-series lenses designed for APS-C SLRs, using a 1.5x crop mode.

Beyond this, Ricoh has released precious little further information about the new camera. A single product shot suggests that it could be relatively small for a full frame DSLR, and have a pronounced pentaprism reminiscent of classic manual focus 35mm SLRs.

Ricoh says the exterior design is ‘yet to be finalised’, but a number of familiar Pentax design motifs appear to be present, including a locking exposure mode dial and a focus mode switch on the lens throat. An electronic control dial is placed on the handgrip in front of the shutter button, which itself is surrounded by the on/off switch. There appears to be a receiver for an infrared remote control, and a PC socket for studio flash units on the side of the pentaprism.  

It’s worth noting that relatively few current Pentax lenses are designated as being full frame compatible ‘FA’ models. These include three premium Limited series primes (31mm f/1.8, 43mm f/1.7, and 77mm f/1.8); two Macro primes (50mm f/2.8 and 100m f/2.8); and the two large telephoto zooms Ricoh has announced at the same time as this SLR  (which have been confirmed as being a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6).  So we’d expect Ricoh to have a few more in preparation to be ready alongside the camera, including such staples as a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom.

If you’re at CP+ in Yokohama from 12th-15th February 2015, you’ll be able to see the camera for yourself on Ricoh’s stand (doubtless kept securely under glass). We’ll be keeping an eye out for any further information on this exciting development for Pentax users.