What happened to the FA 21 Limited?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Phil A Martin
Phil A Martin Veteran Member • Posts: 5,960
Re: What happened to the FA 21 Limited?

James O'Neill wrote:

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

MarBa wrote:

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

James O'Neill wrote:

Breakfastographer 2 wrote:

James O'Neill wrote:

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.

There are 3 groups of possible customer. Existing K1 users. Non-FF K-mount users moving up to FF. Outside of K1 and K3-iii owners there is a choice go stay APS-C or go FF, and the K3-iii offers better high ISO, better AF, better wifi, and faster FPS in a more portable package without needing to the change any lenses. The K1 offers a tilting screen, built in GPS and the last word in image quality - though this is more in theory than leaping out of the prints.

Have you compared prints between the K1ii and the K3iii and if so, at what size?

The brighter viewfinder which comes with full frame is mostly offset by the new prism in the K3-iii. The third group don't own a Pentax want an SLR and are interested in FF. Why wouldn't they buy the camera K1-ii ? For 2021 36MP is below expectations at this level. The AF wasn't great for 2016, and really won't do for a new camera today. It has WiFi but it takes 45 seconds to transfer a raw file. It's a Pentax so a huge range of old lenses but not so many new ones.

How can we appeal to them?

New sensor, new AF. And ship it. Oh, well, put the K3-iii motherboard in an all that comes with that

Touchscreen to me seems a given in the K-1 III.

TBH I don't think many care much. Quite a lot of people would like it, but not many see it as must have. Offer me a 50-60MP version with much better AF and it's "Shut-up and take my money"
However to get sensible throughput with 50-70% more pixels (and useful WiFi) means a new motherboard. Barring stupidity, the K3-iii motherboard will have been designed to go in other cameras. (IIRC the 645Z uses the K7 motherboard, and it would be extremely sensible if the boards in the K5, K3, K1, KP, and K3-iii were all the same form factor). Changing the MB means new CPU and new OS which is touch driven

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).

The question re-working the K1 is can they put a touch screen in the present articulating arrangement, or can they keep the body shell with a non-articulated screen, or do they need to something else.

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

We agree, see above.

So let's see what else we could include that isn't the new OVF, adapted for FF.

That's one possible, but we don't know what the effect would be. It might be the thing that tips the balance for some people.

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).

63MP crops to 28, 54 crops to 24, 45 to 20 (4/9 of the number). The need to wrangle more pixels pushes the new mainboard - see above.

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.

How many K1 owners have you met who say it just doesn't have enough pixels ? A new camera needs to have a life of 3-5 years so selling 36MP in the late 2020s may not work but it's the least needed upgrade. 44MByte files from the K1 are killing me today. I shot 500 frames last weekend. ~20GB and my laptop is already full (2/3 of the disk space has gone in pictures).
I tried out 4 frames with adobe's magic up sampling and stitched them to make an 30,000x8,000 image - the DNG file was over 1GB in size, and lightroom just about coped, but I couldn't print it big enough to see the difference from 15000x4000

I've said for some years that A1 size paper (841x595mm or 33x23") is big as anyone is likely to print, and 30x20" @ 300 pixels per inch is 9,000x6000 pixels. 54MP. Outputting more than that doesn't have great deal of point. 4K screens are only 3840x2160 ~ 8MP.

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).

Very little is order n-squared, but even adding 50% to the time wouldn't be great

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.

We have a couple of unknowns here. The size of the buffer looks to be 1GB (frames x size isn't 0.5GB or smaller or 2GB or bigger). One could change the size of RAM chips on the motherboard and make it bigger for a high-end or smaller for an entry level camera. We don't know if the buffering is between sensor and Prime and how much between prime and SD card.
Can the prime + accelerator crunch more than the sensor/shutter can send it AND more than the SD interface can write so the buffer is a write through cache for the disk ? OR Is the prime only able to do 26MP frames at the rate of 2-3 sec , and buffer is frames waiting to be processed (slow SD would mean the prime taking frames from the buffer more slowly)

In my mind, you'd leave off many of the convenience features for entry-level. No joystick,

The joystick might be thought essential to the new AF. The main thing for entry level is would it still be saleable without the new AF

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.

Old shutter, old body, no premium prism makes sense. Buying more of the same sensor might be cheaper, and entry level buyers might be less hard core about shooting stills and want better video

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!

Probably keep an entry level small with the slim battery. I've doubts about selling any more cameras with the old AF.

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.

A slightly smaller off the shelf display ? Perhaps. But what what we know from phones, tablets and laptops with touch displays is that's not a big factor. I suspect there is some excess chimping with new cameras, more use of machine gunning frames, and the new chips may do more processing and use slightly more joules per frame. Again there's an assumption a new entry level camera would use the same motherboard but possibly with half the RAM and a smaller buffer.

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 reason we talk about K1 / 645 first is those things they've made for the K3-iii need to go on a high priced camera. Once the K3-iii has been out for 12-18 months they can think about putting some of it's tech onto entry level cameras.

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.

See above. New camera = new motherboard. New motherboard = New (touch) OS. Therefore touch screen is a given (whether we want it, or not) with whatever changes are forced (hopefully none).

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,

GPS may be determined by the motherboard. One version I read said the choice of material for the top plate meant it didn't go in the K3-iii. If the choice is between brighter prism and GPS, my hunch is more people would take the prism....

I get that you don't want the new pentaprism in the FF camera...

It's desirable rather than essential.

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).

I think I said something similar. I don't think we need a 12fps FF. 98% of the time I'm on single shot, the rest it's slow speed continuous so I would think that.

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.

And we're back to new motherboard.

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!

AIUI the K3-iii doesn't down-sample 6K native to 4K, but crops. I can see a sensor having a "8K area, read alternate rows and columns" mode, but that's for Sony to put on the sensor. To date the K1 has been aimed at people who don't use it for video.


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.

The last shoot I did was 500 in four hours and the battery read full. I wouldn't mind if the camera told me to change batteries at 400-500 shots (the *ist-D took AA batteries and need changing at 150-200 shots) It's a non-issue to those who chimp little and machine gun less.

... 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.

More capacity in the same space, yes good. A bigger body to let us shoot 1000 frames between changes instead of 600-700 , no thanks. I'd like the K1 to get smaller (it won't)

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+").

Bracketing and focus peaking, come with the new mainboard. Changing how raw the data in a DNG file is probably won't happen - it only matters to the most committed pixel peepers.

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