Pentax China Confirms FF DSLR and Pro APS-C body

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
KL Matt Veteran Member • Posts: 5,885
Been here before, but this time seems different

Just as a reminder...before the K5, k7, k10, *istDS, and certainly before the *istD was announced, the level of dissatisfaction and moaning was perhaps even more intense than it is right now. Each of those new cameras however blew us away and was released to, for the most part, rave reviews. None of them were true pro-level, flagship-worthy bodies. These were all upper-midlevel bodies representing a particularly good value for the features and performance offered.

What we're witnessing now, I'm fairly sure, is going to be a major expansion at the top end of the line. It really looks like a digital flagship is on its way. It may be APS-C, it may be FF, it may be something totally off the wall. But from the way Ricoh were talking about the Pentax brand after the merger, they seemed to understand that the whole DSLR system thing doesn't really work without a true high-end flagship body in the lineup together with affordable entry-level options.

It's not so much that a small manufacturer like Pentax will reap outrageous profits from the very limited production runs of their top-of-the line model, but rather the realization that the entire buyer psychology of investing in a system doesn't add up if there is nowhere to go from the buyer's entry point into the system (k5 for many). When I go out and buy a K5II right now, I've got in the back of my mind that if I ever desire a more powerful camera body, I will likely have to switch brands. That's a huge barrier to sales. So the absence of a K3 actually hurts both K5 sales and sales of interchangeable lenses, where the real money is at. The DA 560 is proof positive to me that Pentax finally gets this. At the price that lens lists at, they know no one is ever going to buy it. Since they didn't design and release this lens to earn a profit on it, however, it doesn't matter. That lens is there exclusively so that someone seriously looking at the Pentax system can't say, "WHAT? Not a single lens longer than 300mm? FORGET IT! I'm not buying into that system! They don't even have a full line of lenses!" That's why I truly believe a flagship capable of providing an object of desire for potential upgraders (whether those people can truly afford it or not is irrelevant) is on its way.

People new to the system are never, ever going to go out and drop 7 K on a Pentax lens when they go out and buy their first Pentax body. It just doesn't work that way. But many will first check to see if the lens lineup is complete before spending 2000 on a k5x and a DA* zoom. They figure, if I like the system, I may purchase more lenses later, so I want those lenses to be available now, before I even need them. Another way to look at it is, how in the world do you expect to sell a 7000-dollar lens if you don't have a pro-level body to put it on? Basically, an incomplete lineup is costing them sales, market share, and profit margins. I think Ricoh gets this. It's not just about beating the competition with your semi-pro body by a hair every year or two, it's about getting more people into the system and buying lenses. And people who intend to buy multiple lenses tend to look at the entire system before they make a decision.


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