What do you think

Started Feb 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
sroute
Senior MemberPosts: 2,406
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Re: What do you think
In reply to anthony mazzeri, Feb 28, 2013

anthony mazzeri wrote:

sroute wrote:

this is why it didn't sell
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5MhZczJqWQQ/US2vzXNmrNI/AAAAAAAAD0E/BQxVF1G2odU/s640/k01-k5.jpg

Are you saying because it's the size of a small DSLR?

K-01 vs K-5, only 200 grams lighter and not much smaller in most dimensions.

Yes, that is precisely what I am saying, or at least part of it.

Well, that's because it's exactly what it is.

Actually, and it's important, no, it isn't a DSLR. You can coin the term DSLnR all you want but the only difference between the K-01 and the NEX-3 is a) size and b) mount.

That is the problem with the K-01.

Size isn't everything, but it can be. Myself I'd be willing to carry a larger mirrorless camera in exchange for other niceties and I've said so repeatedly over the years. One of those nice to haves is an eye level viewfinder and the larger the camera gets the more useful one becomes. If the K-01 had a tilt rear LCD that would allow for an against the chest TLR-like holding position which we know from other cameras can be very useful for discrete shooting or stability. The K-01 doesn't offer either type of finder.

It seems only logical that it didn't sell because it was priced like a small DSLR and it brought along with it most of the size and weight of a DSLR like the Pentax K-5, but for your dollar you get a camera almost as big, almost as expensive, but with far fewer features including a number of important ones:

  • no integrated through the lens viewfinder
  • no electronic viewfinder built in
  • no electronic viewfinder even available
  • contrast detect focus only
  • drops a substantial grip
  • drops photographer friendly ergonomic controls by the bushel (again speaks to a different target market)

It was never meant to be smaller like a CSC. So it didn't sell because you and DPR and everyone else compares it to a CSC, where it obviously fails by beiing too big.

Being too big isn't a failing *if you get something for the size* and that's the real problem with the K-01, you only get autofocus K mount compatibility. For me, I'd buy the K-5 over the K-01 any day, but since I don't have an investment in Pentax optics, I like most folks will just pass on the K-01. The Newson design certainly wasn't enough to intrigue me or apparently many into buying the camera merely to have a camera with an interesting design.

So Pentax failed to position it properly and creating a whole new category for it, the DSLnR, where it would shine as the most compact DSLR on the market.

Except that it isn't a DSLR and doesn't offer some of the key features that DSLR cameras are sought after for: stability and support for larger lenses, fast PDAF autofocus, *an eye level viewfinder* (!), ergonomics and photographer friendly controls.

Instead the K-01 is an alternative body to mount K lenses on, a second camera, an object d'art, a tripod camera, with the pancake lens - a compactish point and shoot.

At full price it was a hard product to market and that has been borne out by the camera's failure to sell.

At a deep discounted price for a discontinued product, the camera definitely offers value to some.

So things sell relative to perception of how it compares to it's competition, so Pentax needed to define the competition better instead of letting reviewers like DPR do it for them and lump the K-01 in with CSCs.

How exactly would Pentax "define the competition better" to its benefit?

Pentax's real problem is the designed a dog, there is just no other way to say it. It's a camera which can only appeal to a small group of photographers that can size it up for what it offers and see a place in their bag for it.

But the camera was not meant for a small group of photographers, it very clearly was *intended*, not designed, for the mass market which is precisely why they turned to Marc Newson. Other aspects of the camera aside, the funky design of the K-01 screams mass market. The problem is the feature set and scope of the camera does not scream mass market. There's a mismatch there which has a lot to do with the failure of the camera.

Much like the positioning Nikon and Sony took with the 1" sensor. Nikon positioned it against CSC where it looked abysmally small against m43 and APSC, while Sony positioned it against enthusiast compacts where it looked absolutely huge against the much smaller 1/1.7" sensors. Resulting in the Nikon 1 being panned by the photography community as a step down yet the very same sized sensor in the RX100 universally praised as a great leap forward.

I don't disagree that positioning plays an important role in the successful launch of a product, but the products have to be good and have appeal to the target market in the first place. With the Series 1 cameras Nikon faced an uphill battle from the start ... I believe much of the market were looking towards Nikon and Canon for a $1,000 interchangeable lens system camera, a compact mirrorless camera, that would respond to and better products like the Sony NEX or m4/3 OM-D and similar cameras with larger abd larger sensors at not dissimilar price points.

Instead folks waiting for such a product were disappointed because the camera wasn't for them. But does that matter? In Nikon's case maybe not - the camera was designed for parents and families not so much photography forum dwellers.

They certainly did a bunch of positioning but it didn't work out very well, at least not initially. Nikon unlike Pentax has a little more wiggle room to continue with the experiment. I don't expect Pentax to repeat the K-01 any time soon.

The RX100 is something of a different beast. It's a fixed lens camera. It has a smaller sensor but belongs to a product category were smaller sensors are the rule, and the RX100 has a heck of a sensor in it.

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