Ricoh(Pentax) FF - issues and strategical opportunities

Started Jul 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
tigrebleu Senior Member • Posts: 2,020
Great thread, I totally agree.

Yanko Kitanov wrote:

To have a FF body a company needs to get many things right, to mention just a few of them - the appropriate AF system - speed, accuracy, consistency, C.AF.

To have a FF body a company needs to have the appropriate lens line up to get the full potential out of current FF sensors (30+MP ?) - this means fast, high resolution lenses with good contrast and colour rendition, not to mention - lacking any AF issues. All the way from fish-eye to super telephoto.

To have a FF body a company needs tethering support and third party producers (lenses, lighting, accessories) support. Also flash system - a modern flash system is always a big advantage and a dated one is a disadvantage of course.

Canon and Nikon have met these requirements and they have FF systems. Sony is working hard on these.

What does Pentax do in these terms? The AF system is behind the competitors, noticeably and visibly. The lens line-up is dated and no matter that some of these are really good lenses they are not on pair with the Canon's L glass or Sony's Zeiss glass both in terms of resolution and in terms of corrections.

Pentax does not develop its software anywhere near Nikon's or Canon's proprietary solutions.

Pentax is not supported any more by third party producers due poor ROI of theses producers and the poor ROI is due to its poor ranking in terms of sales - Very far behind the market leaders.
Pentax has a dated flash system.

I am not trolling or insulting Pentax - I use Pentax myself and like it, I am just being realistic regarding FF.

Agreed. I moved to Nikon FF because not only of the FF, but because of the AF system, advanced flash system, etc. Because with the K-7, I always need to use a "work around" solution for at least one or two things. With my new DSLR, I don't need any work around. It works as expected and as advertised.

I still have my K-7 and two DA lenses, but I might sell these soon. Why? Because I'd rather use an APS-C DSLR with better AF and flash system than stick to my K-7, now that I had a taste of what's on the other side of the fence. I'll only miss the lighter and smaller body and lenses — but not the sluggish, prone to hunting AF nor the lack or dynamic range in high constrast situations, nor the ISO 3200 image quality.

What I mean is - Pentax has no FF, but has perhaps the best in terms of IQ APS-C DSLRs (together with Nikon). Canon has excellent Pro FF cameras with exquisite L lenses, but has quite mediocre APS-C cams with lower IQ and quite average cheap APS-C lenses. What happens? People see the excellent Pro gear from Canon and don't see any such gear from Pentax and they react - they believe that Canon is the producer with the best quality and buy as crazy the crappy EOS xxxD and xxD while not even taking a couple of hours to compare them with the Pentax APS-C cams, as they see no reason doing so.

Now back to the big picture - no matter the excellent FF Canon cams and the great L series these result some 20% of their sales and have poor ROI, but their marketing effect is massive - the crappy already low CoS APS-C sell with great ROI and excellent economies of scale, because as noted above people buy them like crazy, since they just see that most Pros walk around with the Canon brand on their necks, socks, underwear, etc.

So should Ricoh(Pentax) try this?

Well no matter my experience in management consulting and M&A I lack the information and the research to give any conclusive advise in such a difficult industry, but I know that just for the marketing’s sake this option should not be easily dismissed, no matter what will the issues Ricoh and Pentax will have to solve on their way.

The industry clearly shows - FF is always a huge cost centre, but no matter what the actual revenue centre will be – APS-C, mirrorless or advanced P&S the presence of a Pro level FF system with Pros actually using it and advertising it will greatly benefit the sales of all product lines. Top 3 - Canon, Sony and Nikon are a good support for this point.

A pro FF Pentax DSLR used by pros would actually draw sales to Pentax cameras indeed. I agree 100%, this would help Pentax get "their name out there", provided the camera has competitive AF, flash, IQ, etc.

For me, it's too late, though. I could not waiting another 5 years to get there. I made the move, and I'm not coming back. However, I wish Pentax the best of success with Ricoh. The more competition there is on the market, the more customers can expect from their cameras, lenses, flashes and accessories, whichever brand they're using.

Very good thread.

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If photography can be considered like painting, then I'm still at the preschool "paint with your fingers" level.

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