Notes on being competitive

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bob5050 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Notes on being competitive

The question of whether the K-3 iii is 'competitively priced' keeps coming up. Some thoughts on what 'competitive' really means.

Pentax seems to have realized two things:

  1. The APSC market and FF market are distinct. Some will switch to FF, others never will.
  2. The DSLR and MILC markets are distinct: some will switch, others never will.

To evaluate competitiveness, then, you have to know your preferred quadrant, and how permeable the boundaries are for you. We don't all want the same thing. But Pentax being happy to have a designated APSC flagship and FF flagship clearly indicates that it recognizes two markets, and wants to offer the best it can do in each. It took them a while to come to this realization.

Finally, I'd offer a 3rd consideration: (3) within the sweet spot (which essentially means for most shooters, most of the time), ANY quality modern camera will deliver superb results. Especially in the context of routine post-processing, there's really no discriminating difference. I shoot a DSLR, my wife shoots a MILC; we each get quality results that are hard to tell apart, and intermix freely.

But there are differences in the corner cases: when the question is whether the camera can get the shot at all (primarily action too fast, conditions too harsh, light too low). If we need a short video, that's her job. If it starts to drizzle, her camera goes in a plastic bag, while I can continue to shoot. Different cameras and designs actually are different at the margins of being shot-capable.

My own conclusions from the above considerations:

  • Gear-heads and benchers are really losing any relevance they once had: again, "for most shooters, most of the time" specs don't actually matter. They're all good enough.
  • Where specs do matter is at the extreme margins of light, speed, and environmental conditions. But because these corner cases are just that, their relative importance is going to vary for every purchaser. Even at the margins, the verdict of 'good enough' is perfectly reasonable, and becoming more so. You have to know your own characteristics and desires as a shooter, because if you want to shoot at the margins, different cameras can be better at different things.
  • In light of the above, ergonomics matters more than ever for the mainstream: what Pentax tends to call "the whole process of photography." In a world where smartphones are increasingly capable of being good enough, the most important remaining reason for buying a camera is because you enjoy using it, and feel that the camera focuses you. Does the camera augment, or detract from, your pleasure and experience of being there? That is, ultimately, the only thing that matters for every shot.
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I just hope that everyone who's complained about the K-3iii delay actually buys one. One wonders, otherwise, about the sincerity of their complaints.

 bob5050's gear list:bob5050's gear list
Fujifilm XP130 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.4 AL +4 more
Pentax K-3
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