Some mirrorless options for Pentax

Started Aug 25, 2018 | Discussions thread
Fogel70 Senior Member • Posts: 1,302
Re: Some mirrorless options for Pentax

Barry Pearson wrote:

Alex Sarbu wrote:

Barry Pearson wrote:

I thought I'd sketch some of the options for hypothetical future mirrorless Pentax cameras.

All right, I'll chime in - basically by re-stating things that I've said in the past. Of course, this is just my opinion so please take it as such.

In short, IMO it's Option 1 for now, with Option 3 likely in the future.

Option 1: Don't do it!

(I don't want to start a rumour. I have no evidence that Ricoh/Pentax have any intention of releasing a mirrorless system camera).

This is primarily a short term solution IMO, which means it will work out for several years.

According to CIPA, DSLRs are still significantly outnumbering the MILCs - and any MILC advance is sluggish.

The same argument suggests that Ricoh/Pentax shouldn't have introduced an FF camera, because sales of APS-C cameras significantly outnumber sales of FF cameras.

As for a tipping point generated by Nikon's Z series (Canon, people forget, already has their MILC), I don't expect any dramatic effect. Maybe helping towards a 1.5:1 DSLR:MILC ratio.

Option 2: Mirrorless K-mount cameras

Pentax doesn't have to follow the examples of Sony, Nikon, etc.

A short term solution too, but of a different nature.

Ricoh Imaging could make one or a few more such cameras, the trick is to properly differentiate them from a DSLR. One possibility would be a video-oriented camera (that's something I don't see them doing, though).

They differentiate themselves! They could have pretty-much the same set of features as SLRs. But achieved without a mirror.

But they will never be able to compete with MILCs on size and weight, especially when considering wide and ultra wide lenses.

Given that MILC means "Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera", Option 2 is a MILC!

Note that I was careful with this option to show the camera being exactly as thin (from to back) as the option 3 camera, except for the region around the throat. That latter would add little to the size and weight.

There is too much stuff inside the K-mount for this type of design. The power zoom connectors and mech aperture lever limit the diameter of the protruding part so much that the rear lens diameter would have to be too small to be able to protude the lens much into the mount.

The diameter of the protruding part would have to be limited to 20-25mm, so rear lens element could probably not be more than 15-18mm, so it would only be useful for slow lenses and you would have to keep a small rear lens like that far from the sensor to avoid limiting image quality. So it will not make much advantage on design, only disadvantage as these K-mount lenses would not be compatible with K-mount DSLR.

To make it possible to use larger rear lens element a brand new version of K-mount have to be introduced, where power zoom connectors and mechanical aperture control are removed, but then it cannot support already existing K-mount lenses. So it would be a worse solution than a new short flange lens mount that can support K-mount lenses with an adapter.

If designing a mirrorless camera with an existing DSLR lens mount, all lenses designed for this lens mount should continue being compatible with both. Otherwise it's better to introduce a new optimized lens mount for mirrorless and use adapters for compatibility for older mount. A short flange distans mount offer more flexibility on lens design and would be more future proof. And like Nikon showed a short flange mount need larger diameter to support larger rear lens element close to the sensor.

Going with this might postpone a dedicated MILC mount.

Staying with K-mount doesn't necessarily prevent new lens designs taking advantage of having no mirror to avoid.

Like the prototype lens for the K-01, do you remember it? Had a back group protruding into the "mirror" chamber. But, this severely limits the optical design.

Option 3: New mount for mirrorless cameras

This could be done without alienating people with a large investment in K-mount lenses, while still enabling new lens designs to take advantage of having no mirror to avoid.

The long term solution, allowing them to compete even in a hypothetical "no-DSLR" world.

I believe this is more likely, and if there will ever be a choice between survival and this, they'd do it.

For the moment though, the K-mount/DSLR line takes precedence.

I'm currently investigating ways of avoiding the mirror-flickering (while panning) downsides of SLRs. That is important to me, if not to everyone else. I'm experimenting with Red Dot Sights; that is how seriously I see this problem.

If Ricoh/Pentax solved this mirror-flickering problem in a new camera, I would probably buy it to replace my K-3ii.

 Fogel70's gear list:Fogel70's gear list
Samsung GX-10 Pentax K-7 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony a7 Pentax K-3 II +17 more
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