Is this the year Pentax makes or breaks your FF dream?

Started Jul 16, 2014 | Discussions
geo444
geo444 Regular Member • Posts: 483
No FF 24x36 Pentax camera = No future !

No FF 24x36 Pentax camera = No future !
Just like car makers always tend to sell wider range of vehicles...
The luxe or niche makers tend to disappear or being swallowed by bigger companies
(Casio and Minolta cameras, Saab and Volvo cars...)

In ~3 years, an APSc CMos Sensor will cost less than the Leather Case for the same camera !
Margins for APSc cameras will tend to shrink down to margins for P&S cameras = Zero...
This exagerated by CanSoNyKon selling APSc cameras as call prices !
And as everyone here knows... Zero + Zero = ...

Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Lesson in economics

John_A_G wrote:

zakaria wrote:

2 years to 5 this system will be as full frame price. I MO.
--
pentaxian .

Why do you think cost will come down so rapidly?

Larger sensor, requiring larger optics and very small production runs. No manufacturing competition for sensors. There is nothing driving the cost down on that platform.

That's the chicken and egg fallacy in a lot of people's thinking. As the price goes down, so do the manufacturing costs because demand increases. Manufacturing costs are only relatively high as long as demand is low. Additionally, there are diminishing returns - small suppliers can reduce their costs more effectively in response to added demand than large suppliers can. So as demand increases, the gap between high volume and low volume producers closes.

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Confused of Malvern Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: Dose of reality

steephill wrote:

Screw drive AF just isn't going to be acceptable for flagship class lenses so a state of the art in-lens motor system will be needed.

Give me screw drive over SDM every time!

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'The greatest fool can ask more than the wisest man can answer'

Dale108
Dale108 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,994
Re: Mirrorless is Future?

While I have been am SLR/DSLR user for 30 years, it is obvious that mirrorless is the wave of the future.  Look at what Olympus, Fuji and Sony are putting out and how AFC is catching up to SLR.  While I wouldn't have said this 1 year ago, that appears to be the market direction.  I know people will point to sales not supporting that trend anywhere except Asia, but as soon as people accept the smaller size, it will catch on here also.

If Pentax goes FF, a mirrorless may be the best route for market diversification.  Make an adapter so the regular lenses will work and I would be interested.

Dale

cgarrard
cgarrard Forum Pro • Posts: 15,372
I like the way you think :)
1

MarBa wrote:

I'd like to know as well ... I also always "wanted" FF ... but ...

I have just spent some time comparing Nikon 610 and K3 and I have to say that I'm not sure I need FF anymore. Sure there are still advantages to FF, like DOF. But as far as pure perpixel image quality goes anything bellow ISO 6400 is almost identical. Above ISO6400 you get one stop advantage on FF. How many pictures do you take above ISO 6400? I take very few.

Best,

Marek

Hardly anyone asks that question on DPR forums.

Fact of the matter is that FF offers some advantages, but more problems optically, price wise, bulk wise, etc. The larger the sensor the more a camera is less likely to please the average photographer- that, is a fact.

FF is simply for less photographers on average, and many may get into it and bail later only to realize they didn't think of the disadvantages through well.

I shoot film cameras, that gives me my FF fix. Lighter, cheaper, with most of the advantages of digital FF.

Carl

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cgarrard
cgarrard Forum Pro • Posts: 15,372
A solution that isn't discussed.

Russell Evans wrote:

I was reading the selling FA thread, and was thinking that a number of people think there might be a FF this year. That's nothing new of coarse, but it seems like Pentax not announcing a FF this year will pretty much kill any thought of Pentax ever coming out with a FF for me, and I am wondering if that is universal?

It's been such a slow year for new Pentax products, that if all Pentax has to show at the next trade show is a new entry level DSLR, I'm sure I won't be the only one pretty disappointed with the brand. About the only thing I can think of that would or might counter that for some people, would be the announcement of immediate availability of the long zoom or a surprise announcement of a 400mm f5.6 telephoto.

I have to admit that Pentax just having an entry level camera to announce would be pretty jarring to me and it would definitely shake my commitment to the brand in a big way, even with a 400mm announcement. I don't do telephoto all that much, and definitely not enough to want to spend a lot of money on it, even if it was WR. I'd rather risk an older body with a non-sealed lens as the cost of that risk is going to be a lot less than a new Pentax WR long telephoto. I also have to admit my faith in Pentax coming out with lens that outperforms the rest of the field has taken a beating as well over the last few years.

I also expect Sigma to come out with an Art version of their 24mm and if it is priced in the same ballpark as their other Art lenses, then there is going to be a path for me to take into FF in another mount. That might be next year even, but I expect it to come sooner or later.

I can't say I'm really hopeful about the Pentax brand at this point. I have most of the kit I want, but the K-3 isn't really the type of APS-C camera I want from Pentax. My worry is that without a FF announcement, that the K-3 style is the direction Pentax will take going forward. The body would be fine with a FF sensor in it, but for APS-C, I really want something more like the K-5 series cameras. I definitely don't want something heavier than the equivalent Nikon body.

Thank you
Russell

How about a much more compact medium format camera body? Why not? Add a few more lenses and wallah, price is near FF price and you get to blow away FF performance on top of it.

It can be done.
C

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petreluk Contributing Member • Posts: 988
Re: Mirrorless is Future?

Dale108 wrote:

While I have been am SLR/DSLR user for 30 years, it is obvious that mirrorless is the wave of the future. Look at what Olympus, Fuji and Sony are putting out and how AFC is catching up to SLR. While I wouldn't have said this 1 year ago, that appears to be the market direction. I know people will point to sales not supporting that trend anywhere except Asia, but as soon as people accept the smaller size, it will catch on here also.

If Pentax goes FF, a mirrorless may be the best route for market diversification. Make an adapter so the regular lenses will work and I would be interested.

Dale

Asia and Japan together account for more than half of all cameras sold, nearly two-thirds in the case of some kinds of camera. What they want over there is quite likely to be what we get over here. Fair enough.

John_A_G Veteran Member • Posts: 7,448
lesson in manufacturing & marketing economics

Leandros S wrote:

John_A_G wrote:

zakaria wrote:

2 years to 5 this system will be as full frame price. I MO.
--
pentaxian .

Why do you think cost will come down so rapidly?

Larger sensor, requiring larger optics and very small production runs. No manufacturing competition for sensors. There is nothing driving the cost down on that platform.

That's the chicken and egg fallacy in a lot of people's thinking. As the price goes down, so do the manufacturing costs because demand increases. Manufacturing costs are only relatively high as long as demand is low. Additionally, there are diminishing returns - small suppliers can reduce their costs more effectively in response to added demand than large suppliers can. So as demand increases, the gap between high volume and low volume producers closes.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Manufacturing costs go down when:

1) raw material or vendor supplied prices go down

2) manufacturing process steps are reduced

Per unit costs go down when you have longer manufacturing runs.  In other words you want full utilization of your manufacturing equipment.

That's how manufacturing works in the real world.  Now, without demand increase you aren't going to get more utilization out of your manufacturing lines.  So, per unit cost isn't going down.

So, let's look at glass cost.  Why do you see that going down?  The cost of everyone else' pro grade lenses are going up not down.

While circuit board costs in general go down - unless you're sharing specific components with other buyers, again you are buying from low yield stocks so the price of YOUR circuits isn't going down.  I can't say whether the components the 645 uses are the same as what others are using.  BUT, the sensor is unique.  Again, the supplier isn't doing large runs because there is no demand.  So, the cost of those isn't going to come down.

I suspect that full frame cameras will be very much like the auto industry - extremely low margins.  So, you must sell volume to be successful.

Because medium format is such a small niche, the margins remain high.  Try to reduce those margins to bring in buyers and those enthusiasts are going to say "..gee, there's only a few lenses, it's not something that is designed to focus fast or have fast frame rate I'm just going to give up too much to get that extra resolution".  So, what ends up happening is with the lower margins to try and compete with full frame you end up having huge losses.

Sony, Canon and Nikon were able to keep margins a bit more in-check because they had more volume sales.  If the 5dIII and 645 had the same profit margin, Canon would sing but Pentax would sink because unit sales would be so small.

Trying to have a more expensive form factor, with less lens availability, little third party support (which Pentax users rely upon HUGELY) and a non-imaging feature set below the competition will fail.  Medium Format is Medium Format.  Trying to compete with Full Frame performance cameras is a recipe in disaster.  Keep it a niche where it can be a successful product line

Chris Mak Senior Member • Posts: 1,808
Re: Mirrorless is Future?

Dale108 wrote:

While I have been am SLR/DSLR user for 30 years, it is obvious that mirrorless is the wave of the future. Look at what Olympus, Fuji and Sony are putting out and how AFC is catching up to SLR. While I wouldn't have said this 1 year ago, that appears to be the market direction. I know people will point to sales not supporting that trend anywhere except Asia, but as soon as people accept the smaller size, it will catch on here also.

If Pentax goes FF, a mirrorless may be the best route for market diversification. Make an adapter so the regular lenses will work and I would be interested.

This may be a dilemma that Pentax is facing. I bought a mirrorless Sony A7r myself, and was with a friend recently who has a Canon 5D with the L-lenses. After only using the Sony for two weeks, I have already drifted from the idea of a FF Dslr for my needs. I use primes and MF and like to be able to take the FF camera along easily and everywhere. The EVF with 100% magnification is a revelation with good MF lenses. If I then see the Canon 5D with the L-lenses on, being used to the Sony, it starts to dawn that I would never buy a similar Pantax Dslr. On the other hand, if you need top AF and shoot fast moving targets, a camera like the Sony A7r is near useless.

What makes it so hard for Pentax, is choosing who and what to aim for with their FF camera. Apsc is easy: it's all about enthousiasts (or used to be anyway when they started it all). MF is easy: it's all about the pro. But FF is inbetween. That's why you have super expensive and large bodies with only moderate resolution, but also high resolution relatively affordable bodies, that are still very large though, and wouldn't exactly thrill the typical all wheather travelling Pentax shooter. Small and mirroless is an alltogether different world that Pentax is not really at home in.

Chris

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Rahto Contributing Member • Posts: 706
Re: Is this the year Pentax makes or breaks your FF dream?

A successful Pentax FF body would be achievable if it had a crop/FF switch on it so it could use both types of lenses. then make future lenses FF.

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Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: lesson in manufacturing & marketing economics

John_A_G wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

John_A_G wrote:

zakaria wrote:

2 years to 5 this system will be as full frame price. I MO.
--
pentaxian .

Why do you think cost will come down so rapidly?

Larger sensor, requiring larger optics and very small production runs. No manufacturing competition for sensors. There is nothing driving the cost down on that platform.

That's the chicken and egg fallacy in a lot of people's thinking. As the price goes down, so do the manufacturing costs because demand increases. Manufacturing costs are only relatively high as long as demand is low. Additionally, there are diminishing returns - small suppliers can reduce their costs more effectively in response to added demand than large suppliers can. So as demand increases, the gap between high volume and low volume producers closes.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Manufacturing costs go down when:

1) raw material or vendor supplied prices go down

2) manufacturing process steps are reduced

That's not an exhaustive list by far. Labour costs are often a major component, and they go down rapidly when idle time is reduced. Having more workers on a line makes things more flexible in terms of individual downtime (vacation, illness), so situations where productivity is reduced due to absence of critical expertise (assessing anomalous outcomes, fixing machinery) occur less often.

Per unit costs go down when you have longer manufacturing runs. In other words you want full utilization of your manufacturing equipment.

That should have been point 3.

That's how manufacturing works in the real world. Now, without demand increase you aren't going to get more utilization out of your manufacturing lines. So, per unit cost isn't going down.

Again, you're seeing only one side of the coin, and taking a simplified view where something is produced and then sold at a price that is some function of its production costs. That's NOT how pricing works in the real world. In the real world, prices are set by management as part of an agenda that is expected to increase overall profit for the company. For instance, entering a new market, pricing will generally have to be aggressive at a time when prior market research is the only evidence of sales. By your logic, the price of every first unit sold would have to cover the cost of the entire production run, because there is no absolute certainty that a second unit will ever be sold.

So your "lesson in marketing" is an absolute failure because it does not take into account the role of market research, among other things.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

waxwaine
waxwaine Contributing Member • Posts: 997
Just wet mirrorless MF dreams

Even a fixed wide angle mirrorless dream, Ricoh GR "big daddy" style.

And all for usd3000.

The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 18,993
Re: Is this the year Pentax makes or breaks your FF dream?

DAVID MANZE wrote:

Unexpresivecanvas wrote:

I was today at the largest camera store in town and there was the same pentax/Ricoh representative from the previous 12 years and he was talking very loud and animated with store manager.

Suddenly he lowered his voice and whispered to the store staff that big news, large news are coming for the next Fotokina.

Store Manager asked if it was the full frame. Sales rep blinked an eye and very subtle smiled. He started walking out of the store, still holding that smile...... got into his car parked in front of the store still smiling and off he went......

-- hide signature --

I think you'll find that is standard behavior for a sales representative! One thing is for sure, Pentax would not risk an industrial secret to a sales rep, especially one who goes around winking and smiling!

Dave's clichés

Agreed.  Totally ridiculous story.

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justin23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,347
Re: Lesson in economics
1

Leandros S wrote:

John_A_G wrote:

zakaria wrote:

2 years to 5 this system will be as full frame price. I MO.
--
pentaxian .

Why do you think cost will come down so rapidly?

Larger sensor, requiring larger optics and very small production runs. No manufacturing competition for sensors. There is nothing driving the cost down on that platform.

That's the chicken and egg fallacy in a lot of people's thinking. As the price goes down, so do the manufacturing costs because demand increases. Manufacturing costs are only relatively high as long as demand is low. Additionally, there are diminishing returns - small suppliers can reduce their costs more effectively in response to added demand than large suppliers can. So as demand increases, the gap between high volume and low volume producers closes.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Demand isn't growing for FF though. Its growing for mirrorless and smaller cameras.

-- hide signature --

Justin
--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/justinwatson

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justin23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,347
Re: Mirrorless is Future?

Dale108 wrote:

While I have been am SLR/DSLR user for 30 years, it is obvious that mirrorless is the wave of the future. Look at what Olympus, Fuji and Sony are putting out and how AFC is catching up to SLR. While I wouldn't have said this 1 year ago, that appears to be the market direction. I know people will point to sales not supporting that trend anywhere except Asia, but as soon as people accept the smaller size, it will catch on here also.

If Pentax goes FF, a mirrorless may be the best route for market diversification. Make an adapter so the regular lenses will work and I would be interested.

Dale

This to me makes the most sense in a few ways.  People want FF, people want smaller and lighter cameras, but they also want to use their K mount lenses.  If they design it well the k mount adaptor  can be no bigger than a TC.  Then bring out a mirrorless APS-C with the same new mount and gradually build new lenses to the new mount over time, phasing out the older lenses.

There will always need to be a transition period, right now i like my optical viewfinder, but in 10 years i may be happy with an EVF.

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Justin
--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/justinwatson

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Mark Ransom
Mark Ransom Veteran Member • Posts: 4,064
Re: A solution that isn't discussed.
1

It's not discussed because everyone knows it's impossible.

Pentax already makes the smallest and cheapest MF. What kind of magic do you think they're hiding that would bring it to FF levels?

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Rod McD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,574
Re: A solution that isn't discussed.
1

Mark Ransom wrote:

It's not discussed because everyone knows it's impossible.

Pentax already makes the smallest and cheapest MF. What kind of magic do you think they're hiding that would bring it to FF levels?

Hi Mark,

It's impossible as a DSLR but feasible as a mirror-less.  And the bigger the format the greater the saving by not having a mirror and prism.  It keeps coming up as conjecture over in the Fuji Forum, but hasn't even got as far as a rumor.

I think the source is a secret harking back to the days when Fuji made the world's smallest medium format cameras - their 645 RFs.  The whole genre of lightweight medium format cameras (like the Fuji 645's & 6X9s, the Plaubel Makinas and the Mamyia 6 & 7 etc) have all gone and have never been replaced in the digital world.  They were brilliant for those who needed both light weight and high resolution, but they were a niche in film and would be a niche in digital. I doubt we'll ever see one because the market would be so small.  But never say never - a lot of people said that about FF mirror-less too.......

Rod

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cgarrard
cgarrard Forum Pro • Posts: 15,372
What Rod said Mark

Rod McD wrote:

Mark Ransom wrote:

It's not discussed because everyone knows it's impossible.

Pentax already makes the smallest and cheapest MF. What kind of magic do you think they're hiding that would bring it to FF levels?

Hi Mark,

It's impossible as a DSLR but feasible as a mirror-less. And the bigger the format the greater the saving by not having a mirror and prism. It keeps coming up as conjecture over in the Fuji Forum, but hasn't even got as far as a rumor.

I think the source is a secret harking back to the days when Fuji made the world's smallest medium format cameras - their 645 RFs. The whole genre of lightweight medium format cameras (like the Fuji 645's & 6X9s, the Plaubel Makinas and the Mamyia 6 & 7 etc) have all gone and have never been replaced in the digital world. They were brilliant for those who needed both light weight and high resolution, but they were a niche in film and would be a niche in digital. I doubt we'll ever see one because the market would be so small. But never say never - a lot of people said that about FF mirror-less too.......

Rod

I concur.

Leica's S2 is smaller than the 645D/Z as well.

Have vision, open your mind Mark

C

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Also formerly AlphaMountWorld.com (Now off the web)

Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: Lesson in economics

justin23 wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

John_A_G wrote:

zakaria wrote:

2 years to 5 this system will be as full frame price. I MO.
--
pentaxian .

Why do you think cost will come down so rapidly?

Larger sensor, requiring larger optics and very small production runs. No manufacturing competition for sensors. There is nothing driving the cost down on that platform.

That's the chicken and egg fallacy in a lot of people's thinking. As the price goes down, so do the manufacturing costs because demand increases. Manufacturing costs are only relatively high as long as demand is low. Additionally, there are diminishing returns - small suppliers can reduce their costs more effectively in response to added demand than large suppliers can. So as demand increases, the gap between high volume and low volume producers closes.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Demand isn't growing for FF though. Its growing for mirrorless and smaller cameras.

When prices go down, demand goes up.  I don't think the downward trend in FF is big enough to not see demand increase when new price points are announced - that's the whole basis of retail dropping prices, after all. You can create new demand even for old cameras if you push the price low enough.

In any case, we weren't talking about full frame. This part of the thread follows from the suggestion that the 645D lineage is Pentax' answer to full frame. So demand projections for full frame are not all that relevant. Demand for "medium format" would be.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: Charity, the essence of marketing

Alex Sarbu wrote:

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Alex Sarbu wrote:

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Only I can write now is that you will be pleasantly surprised because Pentax FF will be unlike any other FF on the market, as stated by Mr Kawauchi of Ricoh Imaging in his 2013 interview.

This "unlike any other FF on the market" is an interpretation based on a translation from a foreign language. It's not easy to keep the meaning intact, when going from Japanese to English.

Don't put too much weight on it. It will most likely be a typical Pentax product, and that would be great news for me.

Alex

One more reason for it is that Ricoh Imaging and Pentax in particular did not want to go into that market segment for obvious reasons. But the user's demand for an FF camera, despite their wishes, was as such that the project was supported.

Can we say the FF from Pentax will come as an act of good will, charity and desire to please loyal customers, and not to compete directly in the market with others. The motives for it are different, and therefore it is reasonable to expect a very unique camera. I think that is important to understand.

Hmm... nope. Neither Ricoh Imaging nor anybody else is in this business for charity.

Alex

I think it's a language barrier.

Could be. I'm Romanian, you're from Italy (though, strangely, Uluru is from Australia) - we're both supposedly communicating using a foreign language.

Charity means benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavour. That is the essence of marketing — recognising market's (or one of its segment's) needs and acting in such way to fulfil such needs.

I'm not sure people willing to pay for a FF would be subjects for charity. Poor people, having the money to spend on expensive cameras and lenses!

By the way, I was interpreting it as "voluntary giving of help to those in need". Or, in a non-strict sense, as "voluntary giving".

I do see that Pentax/Ricoh has been a very customer-leaning company in the way Zvonimir suggests. Think of all the special editions over the years and decades, the colour variants that seem to be popular in the Asian markets, or the superb 560mm lens that nobody can quite yet afford (but fingers crossed). I think they do often go with what their customers ask for. Whether that sentiment extends to a full frame camera is not something I want to speculate on.

A FF product line is too expensive to be simply a charity act for the poor us. Mid-term profit, prestige, having a flagship product to raise confidence and sales of lower class products, marketing... they will have such targets.

Let's hope so.

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No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

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