Pentax Full-Frame

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Questions thread
James O'Neill Veteran Member • Posts: 4,656
Re: By June??

Rod McD wrote:

Andrew53 wrote:

I think an announcment sooner than later. It has been usual that Nikon gets the first crack at a new sensor, then Sony then everyone else. With the release of the A99 I expect Pentax will be allowed to market a FF camera by June.

By June? I doubt it.

Don't confuse a date at which Sony is willing to enter into a contract to supply the chips to Pentax (for which the first half of 2013 is quite reasonable  - and "already" might be right answer). And a date at which Pentax is ready to bring the camera to market.

This is a complex business decision that will set a part of Pentax's direction for years and have major financial consequences. It shouldn't be underestimated. In this thread we've seen Pentax executives charged by their consumers with everything from conservatism to superstition. Perhaps people should be a bit more judicious in their thinking. Before you can be successful you must survive and Pentax have trodden a difficult road for the past few years.

In the latest interview, we heard that Pentax's FF design is still with the marketing department to decide the feature set that will differentiate their FF offering.

Right on all counts.

That means they haven't concluded the design stage let alone proceeded further. I'm happy to be proved wrong, but I don't think we'll see anything more than an announcement this year. Perhaps at CP+ (or whatever it will be called this year) in September. And that's if they can make a business case to go ahead.

They have shown cameras long ahead of release - the K10D was shown 6 months ahead , and the 645D was even longer. I would imagine there are various FF engineering mules around Pentax, the questions are more when will have something to show and when will they have something to ship.

Everyone in this thread has been making comments underwritten by their desire for the improvement in IQ they perceive they'll get from an FF camera. But what FF camera? What type? What resolution? What performance? What features? And at what price? There have been many, many threads on this and all they go to prove is that even amongst those that desire FF, there are very different holy grails....... Pentax will probably bring out one FF camera and it will need to be successful at their chosen price point. It won't please everyone here just because it's FF. And they'll need to sell cameras and lenses. They make nothing from legacy glass.

Again right on all counts.  There are a couple of observations to go with it.

1. Cost.  I paid £1299 for my *ist-D in 2003.  Adjusted for inflation current FF cameras are less than that

2. Laws of physics. We're getting great DR (and high ISO performance) from the K5 because of the deep well depth. You can't keep the ISO up, increase the well depth and shrink pixels for ever (there are only so many photons per unit area).  Sony has a 24MP sensors APS-C sensor and we will probably see that in a Pentax body this year. But that is might be as far as APS-C  can go. So then what.

3. Marketing. Canon, Nikon and Sony can all offer an upgrade path to FF. Right now Pentax can't. It doesn't matter that (a) Only a small fraction of users will upgrade because it means a change of lenses akin to swapping systems and (b) APS-C already delivers results better than 35mm film (and a lot of people are finding Micro 4/3 quite good enough) so many people simply don't need the improvement of FF. In order to sell APS-C to the masses you may need to have FF in the range.

Quite apart from developing an FF camera and tooling up to make it,

I'm not sure if this is any greater than for an APS-C camera with a new sensor. One obvious issue is if you look inside a *ist-D body the shutter is a 36mm wide and there are no intrusions into the mirror box - that would take a FF sensor more easily than the K5 / K30 series bodies.

they've got to design and make some FF lenses, notably lenses wider than 31mm and some key zooms.

There is certainly a shortage of lenses. It's worth saying that the 645D doesn't have the biggest range of lenses in the world (and no 3rd party ones) yet that is selling in respectable numbers. It's also worth saying that a 1.4x teleconverter will give the same effective focal length and coverage (at a cost of 1 stop) with DA lenses on FF bodies. The big issuse (again you're right here) is at the wide end.  There a few FA lenses still in production, some DFA micros, and some * designated lenses which I suspect will work with full frame.

They've told us they're working on an APSC DSLR above the K5 series.

Shall we call this the "K4" for now ? Anyone want to bet against that having the 24MP sony chip in it ? Possibly a new version of the prime chip with the 14 bit abilities of the k5's prime II and the video and focus peaking of the prime M. It also needs to be able to cruch more MP/Sec to be able to keep the K5's 7FPS

Some people are tipping an entry model too. They've also got an APSC lens roadmap. (I suspect the road now goes somewhere else.....)

Actually the APS-C range of lenses looks fairly complete, though it has taken 8 years from the first DA lens.

They've told us they're still working on the 645 and its lenses.

I don't think that is major task: my  hunch was always that the 645D shared a lot of the support electronics with the K7/K5 - same Prime II, same CPU, massively overlapping firmware, just a different chip.  If you were Ricoh you have to imagine that they want the 645II , the "K4" and any FF camera to share the maximum number of parts.

They've told us that the K01 has finished production - we don't know if that means they're going to invest further in mirror-less.

I missed that annoucement but think they have make more investment in mirrorless. Firstly Ricoh allowed the K-01 to launch, it would be a loss of face to turn their back on it. There was a time where the only credible interchangable lens format was SLR. That's no longer the case. I prefer an SLR, but I have read plenty of posts where I have thought, what you want, isn't really an SLR.

They've also told us they're definitely producing a new Ricoh camera. Sounds like they've got a bit on their plate to me.......

Yes. But Pentax weren't raking in the profits so all Ricoh needed to do was sit back and count the cash. So you have to assume Ricoh were expecting to invest. If you look at what was release in 2010 it's not an imposible ask. If you look at 2011 or 2012 it looks a bit more of an uphill struggle.

Interesting year? Yes. FF in five months? Perhaps not - but like I said, I'm happy to be proved wrong.

If I had to make a bet I'd say shown in public , but not on sale in 5 months. But let's be honest we're all guessing - some more educatedly than others.

 James O'Neill's gear list:James O'Neill's gear list
Pentax K-5 IIs Pentax K-1 Pentax smc FA 50mm F1.4 Pentax smc DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 Pentax smc FA 43mm F1.9 Limited +2 more
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