A simpler digital camera

Started Nov 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
Eric C in OK
OP Eric C in OK Senior Member • Posts: 2,328
Recap

I'm going to recap what's been said so far. I might've dropped one or two peoples' pet features. Chime in if you feel strongly they should be included...

If you think this is a stupid idea, that's fine. If everyone thought it was stupid, I'd drop it right now. But the votes seem to be split evenly. I've refined the ideas of the people who think it has merit. Maybe I've been drinking the Kool-aid, but it's been a fun exercise. And it gives us something to talk about until the new cameras are announced.

For the record, I do have a sister and she does love her ME. I apologize for the misdirection, but I was trying to get the people who were focused on the current batch of cameras to step back and think of something else. I love my Little Pentax Cameras. Otherwise I wouldn't hang around here making a pest of myself. But, I think there is room for talking about more than one kind of camera. This would not be your only camera if you were an enthusiast--your K10D will still be in your kit. This might be the digital camera you haul to the top of Mt. Everest though.

The Pentax Whatsit (tm pending)....

Target demographics:

1) Technically non-savvy with a desire to take better photos than digital compact cameras (point and shoot) can deliver.

2) Older film photographers with Pentax lenses who haven't made the jump to digital due to the confusion of features.
3) Digital savvy photographers who want to connect to their analogue past.
4) The next generation of students, whose parents cut their teeth on the K1000.

5) Retro hipsters who want a modern camera that looks like it came from an older era.
6) DPReview Pentax SLR Talk members to give to their spouses and siblings.

Mantra: This camera will still be sold 10 years after release. It will still be used in 20 years. The people who started with this camera at age 20 will remember it fondly when they are 50. The students who start with this camera will prefer Pentax cameras the rest of their lives.

Packaging: Will need to be packaged with a very good processing tool in terms of features, quality, speed, and documentation. The camera is just for capturing images so the computer must process them. Workflow-based documentation is a must.

Marketing: It is important that this is not marketed like any other DSLR in the stable. It's not an "entry level SLR" for soccer moms. The K100D is still the choice there among Pentax offerings. For that reason, it needs a name that isn't in the current lineup. Avoid giving it one of those stupid manufactured names that marketing consultants seem to churn out (i.e. Imation, Accenture). Nevermind. Here you go: Lumenos. Hoya/Pentax can have that one for free. OK, maybe too close to Lumix.

Design: Does not look like any DSLR on the market today. May look like a rangefinder or classic film SLR. Consider silver. A solid, durable body that can be hauled to the top of a mountain or thrown in a backpack. Weather seals would be nice. Design it so it won't need to be serviced.

Price: Does not have to be the cheapest camera in the lineup, but should not be designed out of the price range of enthusiasts. A clone of the Leica M8 isn't necessary. The Ricoh GR is something in this category to be studied, but perhaps the price on it is still a little high.

Lenses: Interchangable lenses aren't absolutely necessary, but if a single lens is used, it must be top quality and cover the 35mm range of 16-80mm (5x). If interchangable lenses, the kit lens is something small, similar to DA21 pancake.

Sensor: 6MP

Body: Aluminum or Magnesium frame

Viewfinder: Penta-prism preferred rather than pentamirror with split-screen focus

Power Source: 4AA or 2CRV3 only. No external power adaptor. 2 fully-charged Lithium** CRV3 batteries in the box. Do not put Alkaline AA's in the box.

Flash: Hotshoe only, supports TTL and P-TTL, 1/180s sync speed

Modes: Av, Tv, M, B, P only. Also 15 second timer.

ISO: 100-1600 or 200-3200 on a dial. Auto ISO not necessary.

Auto-focus: Up for debate. If AF, have 3-point AF like DL. No strong mandate for AF, so could be discarded for significant savings in parts and complexity.

Aperture control: Supports M, K, F, and FA lenses in A or manual mode. An affordable aftermarket adapter for DA lenses or a collar that gives an aperture to those lenses.

Controls: Most things done through manual dials and buttons. Avoid creating a menu on the LCD. No repurposing of any button or control. ISO has its own dial.

LCD: 2" LCD only

Formats: RAW and JPG (sRGB). No adjustments to processing of JPEGs. Consider NOT using the JPEG formula used in *ist and K series digitals.

Storage: single slot SD/SDHC. Offload via card-reader (included in box). No USB connector.

White Balance: Auto and manual only

Menus: I think it's inevitable that there will be a menu system. Have to be able to do some things like setting time/date, formatting data card, etc. Nothing goes in the menu that affects the modes or taking of photos. Should be able to go a day of shooting without bring up the menu.

Shake-reduction: negotiable. Discard if it will prevent the camera from having 100,000 actuations MTBF.

Connections: External trigger cable

So there you have it. Available Q3 of 2009...

Eric

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