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09-22-2012, 06:10 AM   #1
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K-mount will stay alive, but...

After contemplating about the most recent Pentax announcements and news everything falls into place and I would like to make a prediction of the future of the K-mount.

FA lenses are not part of the portfolio anymore as far as I can see from photokina material.
We are left with DA glass and some D-FA lenses. It would be a major effort to re-establish a whole line of full frame lenses next to the DA lenses.
The K01 was a prototype for a new line of K-mount cameras.
The K01 camera is not selling well, Pentax representatives use different wording like "the design community loves it"..., what about the typical customer base...

My best guess is that a) the K01 was a first try for a K-mount camera without mirror and that this test balloon failed badly needing major improvements, so b) the K5II was presented instead of a major new camera. c) the new Pentax camera will not be a SLR camera. Leica shows us that you can replace the mirror by an electronic viewfinder even in full 35 mm format. d) the K5II will be the last K-mount SLR from Pentax. e) APS-C will be the sensor size for the K-mount in the future. Why bother with something larger. Olympus is happy in 4/3 land and major investments are needed to go fullframe competing with even bigger companbies. Keep the small footprint and improving the lens line of DA glass. It also makes sense now that no really interesting wide angle glass has been presented yet and that the DA14 is gone as well from new Pentax material. New wide angle designs will be possible without mirrors in the light path.
This theory would actually include all the signs we got from Pentax in the last two years. I am not sure whether I like it, but my FA31 will be up for sale soon.
The Q system slowly establishes itself as the micro mount system while the medium format is alive. All interchangeable lens cameras will be Pentax brand and all integrated camera will probably become Ricoh brand. The X5 could be one of the last exceptions - maybe they need to get rid of some sensors...

Actually there is not much news in this thread, but I think that my combination could be interesting.


Last edited by zapp; 09-22-2012 at 06:18 AM.
09-22-2012, 06:22 AM   #2
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I suspect Japan thinks optical viewfinder DSLRs only have a 10 year future left at most. Which might be why the thrust of new product development would be around the k-01 platform and successive variants rather than optical viewfinder K-5s and K-30s. That doesn't rule out a FF K-01 variant in the future nor does it rule out a few more optical viewfinder DSLR models before their run ends.
09-22-2012, 06:38 AM   #3
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Pentax said in the interview that they will expand the DSLR range in both directions. So no, The K-5 II is not the last DSLR in K-mount.

It is obvious, though, that mirrorless gets a lot of attention everywhere. Even Hasselblad who otherwise is know for medium format cameras announced a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera in the APS-C format. They are following the Pentax lead in that they have an industrial designer design the exterior!
09-22-2012, 06:38 AM   #4
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Nothing is ruled out, especially not in the long run.

It is on the other hand more likely that Pentax will stick to the niche defined by DA glass and APS-C sensors rather than designing a completely new system with a new full frame camera and full frame lenses.
As soon as EVF are accepted there is no need anymore for moving parts in the camera and there are many advantages to this - no mirror slab, less retrofocus lens designs, smaller cameras (still need something to hold on to when working with large lenses). Smaller lenses (especially rear elements -> better glass for less! The only drawback current EVF systems still have is that contrast AF is not as fast as phase detection, but shortcomings will be solved in the near future. 2 years ago the Fuji EVF was a big thing, it will be standard fairly soon.

Who do you think designed the Hasselbald camera - probably some other industrial designer. I can see no lead by anyone here.

We have seen many new camera systems lately in all kinds of formats. Most new system do not involve mirrors anymore. I would give reflex cameras another 4 years at the most. Even medium format camera backs have some kind of live view these days...


Last edited by zapp; 09-22-2012 at 06:44 AM.
09-22-2012, 06:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Nothing is ruled out, especially not in the long run.

It is on the other hand more likely that Pentax will stick to the niche defined by DA glass and APS-C sensors rather than designing a completely new system with a new full frame camera and full frame lenses.
I think this is correct. Pentax have the largest APS lens line-up in the market; when the roadmapped ones are released next year the line-up is fairly complete. I believe Pentax answer to full fram will be a 24mp pro APS body. They will compete with FF from above with the 645D system. I believe we will have optical viewfinder DSLR's ten years from now. Mirrorless don't sell because they don't have an optical finder but in spite of it (proven by the K-01).
09-22-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
I think this is correct. Pentax have the largest APS lens line-up in the market; when the roadmapped ones are released next year the line-up is fairly complete. I believe Pentax answer to full fram will be a 24mp pro APS body. They will compete with FF from above with the 645D system. I believe we will have optical viewfinder DSLR's ten years from now. Mirrorless don't sell because they don't have an optical finder but in spite of it (proven by the K-01).
How will 24mp APS-C compete with FF if the competition will also have 24mp APS-C?

the more successful mirrorless have EVFs, the K-01 doesnt.

Last edited by illdefined; 09-22-2012 at 07:19 AM.
09-22-2012, 07:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Actually there is not much news in this thread, but I think that my combination could be interesting.
Which is why it's been moved from News and Rumors to General Photography.
09-22-2012, 07:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by illdefined Quote
How will 24mp APS-C compete with FF if the competition will also have 24mp APS-C?

Mirrorless doesn't sell? Are you really suggesting the high-end mirrorless that Fuji, Sony, Panasonic and Olympus have been making aren't selling better than Pentax?

Their APS camera will compete with a 24mp FF as well. I didn't say mirrorless didn't sell. I was commenting on why they sell.

09-22-2012, 07:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by illdefined Quote
Tthe more successful mirrorless have EVFs, the K-01 doesnt.
Agree. Personally I see K-01 as a low spec opportunistic product on which Pentax minimised cost as much as possible but dressed it up in fancy 'designer' clothes. Form before function.

I handled an Olympus OM-d this week, it's small, drop dead gorgeous and loaded with spec. That's what Pentax should do. A full frame LX-d.
09-22-2012, 07:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Their APS camera will compete with a 24mp FF as well. I didn't say mirrorless didn't sell. I was commenting on why they sell.
Yes, I reread what you were trying to say and edited my post.

QuoteOriginally posted by illdefined Quote
the more successful mirrorless have EVFs, the K-01 doesnt.
So Pentax's APS-C will compete with mirrorless, APS-C mirrorless, APS-C DSLR, and FF DSLR?

That's a lot to ask for. especially considering it will be bigger than mirrorless, with lower image quality than FF.

Trying to compete with a smaller sensor than the competition in an SLR drove Olympus out of the SLR game forever.

Last edited by illdefined; 09-22-2012 at 08:32 AM.
09-22-2012, 07:44 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I'm not crazy about the M43 cameras. I miss the traditional VF too much when I am dealing with digital cameras that don't have one. The main reason though that I just don't like the K-30 though is the body. I find it very unattractive. It reminds me way too much of the boxy plastic cameras they made in the late 80's and 90's.

It looks almost like something a kid would carry, a fake toy camera and I don't mean that in a cute way. They could make it in hot Barbie pink with high end Swarovsky bling and I'd still think it was butt ugly. They're trying to market that camera to us all but that camera just doesn't really appeal to the eye, I don't think. There's nothing wrong with the innards but the body could use a better design for sure.

I look at that camera actually and I just cannot believe that the same company that made the K-30 made it until I look at my P3 that is. That's the same thing to me. It's actually a very good camera, but the design just doesn't appeal to me at all.
09-22-2012, 07:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ole Quote
It is obvious, though, that mirrorless gets a lot of attention everywhere. Even Hasselblad who otherwise is know for medium format cameras announced a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera in the APS-C format. They are following the Pentax lead in that they have an industrial designer design the exterior!
"Who is the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?"
09-22-2012, 07:57 AM   #13
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EVFs are getting quite good and better everyday.

Even ultra-traditionalist Leica allowed an EVF port on their new M. It's essentially the same well-regarded unit as the (also well-regarded) Olympus OM-D.

I agree the K30 is hideous, especially compared to the near utilitarian perfection of the K5, but I recognize this is subjective and has a certain appeal to a certain market.
09-22-2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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Yeah. My previous evf experience was with my son's bridge camera. Low pixels, shuddery, unnatural colours. But 2 minutes with om-d and I'm convinced.
09-22-2012, 08:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by illdefined Quote
That's a lot to ask for. especially considering it will be bigger than mirrorless, with lower image quality than FF.
Don't you mean lower resolving power? IQ on high quality APS-C sensors is up there(And better in some cases) with the best of the FF world. Larger Sensor=/=Better picture. Just means there's more room to cover wide shots, in addition to there being more sensor sites, allowing for higher pixel total, without having to compromise high ISO capabilities and such.

Personally, I think APS-C is near the end of it's development phase, making it slightly more developed than FF.(They have less interest in FF typically, so they put less money into R&D around it.)
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