K-mount adapters for Pentax new-mount cameras

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
Barry Pearson
OP Barry Pearson Veteran Member • Posts: 8,723
Summary of "adapters" @ 2018-09-08
2

For various reasons I wanted to explore what Nikon and Canon are up to with their new-mount mirrorless cameras. I especially wanted to form a view about the potential lessons for the future of Pentax equipment.

Key items are their lens-mount adapters, and I started this thread to identify the implications of these, and record what I found. In the last few days, I've discovered a lot, from what others have posted in this thread and elsewhere, and by examining external sources.

This page is an attempt to summarise what I've learned at 8th September, and to add analysis and guesses and my own opinions. (I may post updated summaries in future).

New mounts are a good idea for new ranges of mirrorless cameras

I started a thread about various options that Pentax might adopt:

Some mirrorless options for Pentax

I was slightly in favor of not developing a new short registration mount. Posts from other people, and further analysis, show I was wrong. If Pentax mirrorless APS-C and/or FF cameras are introduced, they should use such a new mount.

Pentax should also release a good lens-mount adapter from the start.

Adapters can be fully featured

Examples posted by others, and further searches by me, show that a Pentax lens mount adapter could support features of older Pentax lenses, such the aperture lever and screw-focusing.

I believe it should do so. (Or if Pentax releases more than one adapter, at least of them should do so). This is for a variety of reasons:

Avoiding alienation of K-mount users with an investment in K-mount lenses.
Avoiding the need for an aggressive/impossible lens-delivery schedule.

Canon and Nikon new-mount lens schedule

The Nikon new-mount lens roadmap for 2018/2019/2020 is instructive. The longest lens is a 70-200mm zoom. The second longest lens is an 85mm prime. [Ref 2]

I haven't found a Canon RF-mount roadmap. But Canon and Nikon are starting with mid-range zooms, and 35mm and 50mm primes. No long lenses. [Ref 1]

Canon's and Nikon's own UK Stores give the following numbers of FF lenses:

Nikon: 77 (plus 3 Teleconverters)

Canon: 54 (not including M-mount) + 13 APS-C lenses and 2 Teleconverters.

These include: normal and telephoto zooms, primes, macro lens, tilt-shift lenses, and manual focus lenses. (Plus those Teleconverters).

Neither Canon nor Nikon could cover that range with new-mount lenses for many years, if ever.

Adapters will be strategic items in the Canon and Nikon catalogues

This follows from the above. But it is also essential from the user-perspective.

Many users of the new cameras will start with just the camera plus an adapter.

Many users of the new cameras will continue to use at least some SLR-mount lenses with those cameras for very many years, perhaps the rest of their lives!

These adapters must not be treated only as temporary/tactical items. They are here to stay, possibly with the occasional upgrade.

Weights and sizes (and prices) of adapters

For illustration:

The Nikon Z 7 weighs 335 grams less than a K-1-series. The Nikon "Mount Adapter FTZ" weighs 135 grams. Even with an adapter fitted, the Z 7 weighs less than a K-1-series.

These adapters weigh vastly less than many of the current Canon and Nikon lenses they will be used with.

Analogy with Teleconverters

Teleconverters are different types of equipment! But they share a feature of lens-mount adapters: their users fit them between their camera bodies and their lenses.

Teleconverters typically cost a lot more than these lens-mount adapters. And they typically weigh more. (The Pentax DA 1.4x Rear Converter is an exception at 126 grams).

For example, Canon Teleconverters may weigh 200+ or 300+ grams. Nikon's, from nearly 200 to about 300 grams. Tamron's and Kenko's, either side of 200 grams.

People don't appear to complain about the weights of their Teleconverters, even though they are typically heavier than the new-mount adapters. I don't believe the weights (or prices) of these adapters will be much of an issue with users.

Prices of adapters

I'm not seeing what I would consider to be excessive prices for the adapters.

(Although I suspect the Canon "Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter" plus the drop-in filters themselves will be too expensive for many people).

I also also observe kits/bundles, which considerably reduce their price. "Camera back plus adapter", or "Camera back plus mid-range zoom plus adapter".

Lessons for Pentax

The first lesson for Ricoh management is that these new systems from Canon and Nikon are changing the marketplace compared with a year ago, and any decisions based on last year's situation need to be re-visited.

(Perhaps this will confirm whatever decision they made last year. Or perhaps not).

If they haven't already started development, (and I have no evidence that they have), it will take X years before they can release their first such camera. What will be important isn't what the environment and market is now, but what it will be in X years time.

And that will be significantly different from now, as evidence and experience appear, more Canon and Nikon new-mount cameras appear, and some existing Pentax users adapt to the new situation.

I've already thought about what my reaction might be to a mirrorless FF camera: probably positive . (Perhaps not so positive about an APS-C camera).

References

[1] Initial lenses:

Nikon:
24-70mm f/4
35mm f/1.8
50mm f/1.8

Canon:
24-105mm f/4
28-70mm f/2
35mm f/1.8 macro
50mm f/1.2

[2] Nikon 3-year roadmap:

Nikon roadmap for their new-mount lenses.

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