What happened to the FA 21 Limited?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
MarBa Contributing Member • Posts: 877
Re: What happened to the FA 21 Limited?

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

MarBa wrote:

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

James O'Neill wrote:

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

James O'Neill wrote:

5r82 wrote:

Since this is a full frame lens, it will could be released with new K-1 Mark 3 one day.

Possibly the announcement it is shipping will coincide with the first showing of K1-iii prototype.

Not sure if you're being sarcastic now, because that would be a long way off - the next camera to be released will be APS-C.

General consensus is not. The investment in things which we see on the 3-iii was substantial and those things need to go other high price cameras. There was something Asahi man said a few months ago which made those of us waiting for the next FF feel optimistic. I'm hoping to see a K1-iii this year, but next year is more likely. But shown this year and shipping next year is possible.

Fair enough, maybe it's one rumour against another.

But having heard how much trouble they had scaling up the pentaprism production for this camera, and that the overall process took five years, I'm not too hopeful they can make an even bigger one with a low failure rate in production quite so soon, for a realistically priced K-1 III that includes it.

I don't think they need new pentaprism for K1. It has a large OVF. The problem always was APS-C, not FF. The OVF in K1 is bigger than in K-3 III. And I don't see any difference in "brightness/clarity". Remember that the FF OVF has 2x the amount of light to begin with (with the same max aperture lens).

With an upgrade of the K-1 line, the question in my mind would be how to create a substantial upgrade that would appeal at least to previous K-1 line users. Why is that so particularly relevant? Because the existing K-1/II users have shown that they are willing to go the full frame path, or at least live in a dual world of shooting both formats. So they are, obviously, the biggest, or at least safest, potential market for a K-1 III.

How can we appeal to them?

Touchscreen to me seems a given in the K-1 III. The required electronics are probably thin enough that the back of the camera doesn't have to be substantially changed. If it does, we're back at the discussion over the OVF, because one publicised property of the new prism material is that it results in greater eye relief, allowing more display tech to be installed behind the sensor (touchscreen, articulation).

Is that in itself enough to make folks upgrade? Hardly, imo.

So let's see what else we could include that isn't the new OVF, adapted for FF. A sensor resolution bump also seems a bit lame to me, honestly. A global shutter, on the other hand could be rather interesting, and there are already products advertised using those new sensors and e-shutters, albeit in other domains than consumer cameras.

A 60-megapixel sensor would give you an APS-C crop mode of about 26 megapixels - but then you have to wrangle with 60 megapixels when you take full frame images (I'm assuming you want to process raw - JPEG would presumably have downsampled modes).

So I'm not personally sure 60 megapixels is for everyone, given how often we hear of people waiting for the post-processing apps to get on with the job. Going from 36 megapixels is going to approximately double the wait (or worse for operations that work in context, i.e. O(n**2) or thereabouts - probably applicable to some "AI" features).

However, if they do go for a higher res sensor, it makes a lot of sense to go for the 60 megapixels one.

The advantage of 60Mp is that it is a substantial upgrade to the 36 we have now on K-1 in terms of resolution. So for people who want to squeeze a lot out of their lenses this might be important. So ... yes it might have to be the 60Mp sensor that is in A7RIV. I would upgrade even if it were the 45Mp in Z II. Hard to know what are the other pros/cons of those sensors. Like video, power consumption, read-out speed etc.

Getting back to the 26 megapixel mode - that's going to be afflicted by being small in the OVF! (But rangefinder users have lived with that for decades, and still do.)

I'm going to hold back belief that any major project that hasn't been firmly rumoured yet (which would be a reasonable prequel to it being "shown" by the end of the year) could be shipping before 2023. An APS-C body that's an update to the K-70 and/or KP, presumably without the new pentaprism, but maybe some other features carried across (touchscreen, AF using metering matrix) - sure, I can see that, even releasing by the holiday season if the upgrades are relatively minor and straightforward, or the platform is essentially the K-3 III with just a few differences in hardware (pentaprism, shutter-mirror-assembly, sensor, display articulation).

I agree .. the rumors should start soon .. then we will have at least half a year of teasers and then it will be postponed at least once. So earliest before the next summer?

I see no reason to push out "cheap" APS-C. Why? K-70 is still produced .. what improvements you could possible make that would not result in cannibalizing K-3 III sales?

I hear you, and I'm just following what the rumour said, rather than advocating. But let's look at whether and how there is a way to do it.

Well, the K-3 III has kinda laid the scene for that more than the K-70/KP if you see what I mean. Buffer performance could have been one of the big differentiators, but it's really so-so as you've pointed out in your review.

In my mind, you'd leave off many of the convenience features for entry-level. No joystick, old OVF, old sensor or take it down to 20 megapixels (but then give it touchscreen). Keep it plastic, lower max. burst rate. I'm torn on omitting 4k, because it's such a silly feature to have in the first place.

But you'd use the old AF sensor field, but you might include the cross-talk with the metering matrix. It would still be a good chunk less accurate than the K-3 III is capable of. And, of course, the old slim battery! A major factor given how you've seen the K-3 III consume more power than previous generations. If it really is the display sapping the juice, and you stick a similar display into the "KP-90", it would quickly prove that the bigger battery is a real advantage.

An entirely different possibility is that they're not looking to launch an entry level camera, but a differentiation at the top end, which is where the market is going!

The thing with the K-1 III is that they need to learn from the K-3 III and put all those lessons into the K-1 III for it to be a real success. And then iterate that again for the K-3 IIIs or whatever comes next in that line. The platform they have now has some very good parts, they just need to take a step back, take a good look, and tweak it right.

K-1 III needs to get a new sensor ... maybe the same as in Z7 II ... needs to keep everything that it already has (GPS, flip-screen etc.) and add AF module from K-3 III.

Well, would you want a touchscreen? Because I actually don't know the size of additional components required, and whether that means the display area at the back would need to be redesigned. So that might not be completely trivial.

I don't think the touch screen is a big deal, I rarely use it. But .. many people find it convenient and there are some advantages in LV/video. I would hope that the "touch" tech does take much of space these days.

Next redesign question, if they do include a new pentaprism, would they be able to fit the GPS? The bigger camera might give a bit more flexibility in that respect, but I don't have THE solution ready right now. I have ideas, but that's between me and Ricoh if they hire me. 😈

I have taken apart my 7years old GPS watch (Garmin) .. and the GPS antenna is not all that big. I think that placing it under the top display might make sense. Or even cutting a hole into the metal chassis. ... well .. even a weird bump somewhere would be better than no GPS.

I get that you don't want the new pentaprism in the FF camera, but you need to remember the pentaprism is about four things:

- larger image

- slightly brighter

- better eye relief

- negligible distortion

I would argue that the last one is the reason you want this kind of technology on every camera, and there are reasons I believe it is one of Ricoh's most promising recent patents. It's possible they could make a version where the image isn't larger, only brighter, and I imagine you wouldn't oppose that.

No, I would not oppose a better OVF .. but question is .. would you really see a difference? Larger - that is easy to see! And if they make K-1 even bigger, great! .. brighter (depends on how much but most of the time you probably have a lot of light going through anyway so it would be perceivable only under some conditions). And distortion? Maybe I would have to directly see a comparison .. but I don't think I see much distortion in K-1. I tried to look through K-1 and K-3 III back and forth .. and I did not see much of a difference  ... witch is great for K-3 III but I'm not sure how much better the K-1 can get. It could be one of the things that once you see it .. you don't want to go back

But to take advantage of the AF, it would probably also need new mirror box and shutter for faster frame rate?

I don't think that's necessarily related, or perhaps I'm reading it wrong. You'd get benefits from better/faster AF even with a lower frame rate, and we know the currently known K-1 design can do at least 7fps (because that's what the APS-C mode does).

Yes .. sure. I was thinking beyond 7 frames/s. But I agree even 7fps and better tracking is great. I seem to recall that Pentax mentioned that the faster mirror helps (is needed) for faster AF .. because the AF system is active only when the mirror is down.

However, higher megapixel count with higher frame rate would also require a bump in processing power, buffer size and write speeds. But that would need redesign of the electronics.

If you want the same or faster frame rate and same processing, then likely yes.

In addition, it would be nice to get 4K/60 with no crop, no time limit, maybe 10bit etc .. that would be great .. but that would require even better electronics!


I think this is the main problem at moment. Pentax probably struggled with this even before .. they were never very good/best as far as electronics is concerned ... and now we have global shortage of processors/chips .. this will slow down development/ production even further.

And actually .. even new battery! K-3 III is worse than K-1 and if the future K-1 III would be even worse than that ... it would be bad.

They would have to look into that eventually, no doubt. But they should still be miles ahead of mirrorless cameras. If they can manage with normal size batteries, why shouldn't Pentax? I also keep hearing new battery technology is just around the corner. Been that way for five years now. Camera makers who have introduced new batteries have shown relatively modest improvements while maintaining form factor. I guess the major breakthrough(s) is/are still coming.

I think it is related also to the issues with no so modern electronics ... think about laptops ... these things have more and more processing power and last more and more on battery (roughly speaking). So .. Pentax needs better and more energy efficient chips. Smaller transistors, optimizations etc. I don't know where they stand on this compared to others but .. I kind of suspect that they are behind. That their chips are not as powerful and power efficient as others. So .. improving electronics will give them also better battery life.

Seeing that K-3 III (current action camera flagship) is lagging in buffer size, speed of image processing and writing even behind 5-years old D500 .. I think it is fair to say that massive improvements in processing power are unlikely .. especially now during massive shortages of chips everywhere.

Remember that the D500 uses XQD cards. It has an SD slot as well, but I suspect you need XQD to get that peak performance. No IBIS, no accelerator... hard to say what role the accelerator plays in power consumption or pipeline delays, or how much lens it takes for IBIS to be the cheaper option.

Yes.. but the modern UHS-II cards can write 300MB/s .. about 3x the speed that K-3 III is actually writing with at the moment. I would not think that IBIS plays a role ... I would hope that control of that is an independent process that does not slow down image processing. I'm not sure what the "accelerator" is doing exactly .. if it is not just a fancy name for something that other manufactures just have in their main processor. Again .. comes back to electronics design.

Well .. actually just these shortages could be the reason why we'll not see anything new for a while!

That is a possibility.

Last note on the K-1 III: What I would personally like are the new bracketing and focus peaking modes from other current Pentax cameras, and the ability to switch OFF the accelerator for raw (and raw in "RAW+").

YES!! I agree ... to have focus bracketing would be GREAT! Also .. I would like to have an option to do exposure bracketing and time-lapse at the same time. And I absolutely agree that there needs to be a setting to turn OFF any noise manipulation in raw!

 MarBa's gear list:MarBa's gear list
Pentax K-1 Pentax K-3 Mark III Pentax smc FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited Pentax smc FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Pentax smc FA 77mm 1.8 Limited +3 more
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