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03-03-2013, 08:45 PM - 3 Likes   #91
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Okay -

I have been following this thread. The previous remarks were sufficient for me to chime in. Hopefully this can act as a retardant for a stupid flame war.

Seems nobody can figure out what the K-o1 "is." And the fact that consumers cant figure it out, that Pentax missed a marketing point, or that it isn't this or doesnt have that are all reasons to hate this camera. Nobody really is approaching the camera for what it is.

I own a K-o1 and just bought one for my wife who has been shooting Pentax since the early 90s. Started on a K-1000, I bought her an ME Super. She later picked up a K-10-D and recently bought me a k-o1 as well. After about 90 days with this camera, I am going to tell you what this camera is, and then everyone can just STFU about it. The fact that this camera has inspired so much controversy to me is evidence of its overwhelming strengths over other more popular cameras, systems, and trends right now. Speaking particularly of micro 4/3rds, renewed interest in rangefinder and vintage cameras, and popular APS-C sized consumer-targeted dSLR cameras. It would seem that if it cannot be marketed on the strengths of one of these categories, then it is a piece of crap, in some people's eyes. Well, no camera maker is giving every photographer everything they want is a single camera. That said, here is my analysis.

Since the camera is a mirrorless camera, it is not in the same category as a dSLR, though it has the same sensor as the flagship K-5. Since it has no viewfinder, it cannot be in the same category as a rangefinder, even though its dimensions and weight are nearly identical to rangefinder offerings by Leica specifically the M9 (and I dont hear anyone bitching about the size of the M9...compare the dimensions on the two cameras. The K-o1 is only slightly larger owing to the right-handed grip portion of the body) and Fuji -- a ridiculously overpriced camera if ever there was one (the x-100) with a fixed lens. Compare these three cameras form factor and you will see that the differences in size and weight are negligible.

It certainly cant compete in terms of compactness with svelt offerings from Olympus, for instance, which are micro four thirds, in terms of form factor, but uses a similar LCD screen method instead of a viewfinder. Then again, the IQ and output of the images on the APS-C sized sensor kill any MFT sensor...that's just physics.

Okay, so these are all things that the K-o1 are not, which leaves us with...nothing. The K-o1 is the K-o1. I dont think Pentax was trying to imitate anything that had gone before it. It wasn't trying to compete with MTF cameras. It wasnt trying to compete with dSLR's. Practically nothing will compete with an M9, though the Fuji x-100 camera is an interesting comparison. In both instances, Fuji and Pentax put together offerings which were not conventional, though arguably, the x-100 had a more or less identifiable user-base (rangefinder enthusiasts), whereas, there is no real identifiable user base for what the K-o1 offers. There is a first time for everything. Personally, I think this is a camera which isnt trying to be anything other than a fully digital camera in every way.

There it is. Why people cant get away from evaluating a camera based on its "target market" or "sellability" rather than its usability, its strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately image quality (which is simply outstanding. DxO rated the camera only slightly below the NEX-7..which has a MP count on a proprietary sensor which is almost double that of the K-o1--24mp as opposed to the K-o1's 16mp).

So, what, then, are the K-o1's strengths, where does it excel? Personally, with using many different lenses on this camera of various focal lengths, I feel the maximum focal length which is useful on this body is about 135mm. Anything larger becomes difficult to compose with or focus properly, even with focus peaking. So that gives us the standard focal lengths from wide to short tele.

In addition, the form of the camera -- unless you are using the 40mmXS -- simply favors manual focusing, hyper-zone focusing etc. The idea that the camera--in its very form, how it fits in your hands and interfaces with your eye-- informs photographic technique I think was not ignored in the k-o1. I think that the camera favors the older manual lenses, of standard and wide length with manual focus (there. can we all stop bitching about the AF? If you cant manually focus a lens, dont understand DOF, using hyperfocal zones, then I am sorry if this sounds blunt -- you are not a photographer. Or at the very least, you are a lazy photographer).

I shoot with this camera every day. Every day I shoot at least 100 - 150 photos. I have used a large variety of lenses on this camera. Even the much lauded 40 cannot compete with some of the older manuals...the SMC M 50 f1.7 in particular is obscenely good on the K-01. This camera has forced me to re-learn all the stuff I slept through when I was learning photography on an OM-1 in high school. How many other cameras can say that they made you a better photographer.

The closest thing I can compare this camera to in terms of form/size/weight is a digital rangefinder.
The closest thing I can compare this camera to in terms of IQ and image quality is the highest end dSLR's on the market.
The closest thing I can compare this camera to in terms of interface is a micro-four thirds camera, or something like higher end point and clicks.
Ultimately, though, I think this a stellar camera that informs technique in a very positive way. Therefore, I think it is an unfair and rather myopic approach to the evaluation of this camera if making comparisons to other cameras. Since it defies categorization, it is almost by definition a benchmark camera -- a standard against which other cameras should and will be judged. Could the concept be improved and implemented better? absolutely. Therefore, I hope Pentax does not abandon the line.

03-03-2013, 10:32 PM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
You, specifically and personally, had a significant hand in convincing people not to try it in the first three months, as you and I discussed at length last year, and you persist even as the last stocks are being fire-saled.
You overestimate my influence. If I would be as influential as you claim, then more Pentax users would have purchased the Q in the first months. In the end, both cameras were overpriced and that was the main reason why they did not sell well initially. One of them was also pointless and that is the reason why it was discontinued. The only thing that surprises me a bit is that they kept the Q - I was afraid they would kill that too - they might still do if they don't exploit the concept effectively.

So, to summarize:

I defended the Q and it got a sequel.
I criticized the K-01 and it got discontinued.

I did not influence camera sales in either case and based on what Pentax did with these products, I can claim that I judged both of them fairly. And I judged the K-01 even better than Pentax did because I would have killed it in the concept stage. You can wait for the day I'll be wrong about a Pentax product, to make fun of my predictions, or you can save your time by realizing that I do not make wild statements and it is hard for me to be wrong that way.

QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
It certainly cant compete in terms of compactness with svelt offerings from Olympus, for instance, which are micro four thirds, in terms of form factor, but uses a similar LCD screen method instead of a viewfinder. Then again, the IQ and output of the images on the APS-C sized sensor kill any MFT sensor...that's just physics.
Even assuming that the K-01 is smoking MFT cameras, its problem was that it did not provide any advantage over APS-C MILCs either, as you noticed later in your message:

QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
DxO rated the camera only slightly below the NEX-7..which has a MP count on a proprietary sensor which is almost double that of the K-o1--24mp as opposed to the K-o1's 16mp).
The problem with the K-01 is that it is a DSLR without a mirror and without any form of viewfinder. That is the concept, in a nutshell - and Pentax tried to hide it within a Marc Newson body design. That is what I always criticized and that is why other reviewers couldn't figure out its point either, because there is none once you look at it from outside the bubble of Pentax users. Sure, the camera works and can take pictures, but that is not a novelty these days - that is the point of cameras and these days they are all competent at working and taking pictures.

Inside the small world of Pentax users, the perceived benefit was the use of the K mount and the fact that Pentax could technically claim that it produces an APS-C MILC. But if you stop and look outside that bubble, you can see some interesting things. Take Canon, for example, which is the uncontested leader of photography today, personal feelings aside. They sell more cameras than anyone else and more importantly, they sell more lenses than anyone else. Pentax users get warm and fuzzy about the Pentax lens legacy, but Canon has produced 3 times more modern EF lenses than Pentax did in their entire history. So Canon has all this modern legacy glass and what do they bring to the MILC market when they decide to enter it? Is it a MILC built around their DSLR mount so that users can access all their lenses without an adapter? No, it is a proper MILC with a short mount registration distance plus an adapter for using legacy lenses. This is why Canon is #1 and Pentax management could learn a few things from watching them. People look at the Canon MILC as a failure, but that is where they are again wrong - Canon is just cautious - watch them and learn from them.
03-04-2013, 09:16 AM   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
Okay, so these are all things that the K-o1 are not, which leaves us with...nothing. The K-o1 is the K-o1. I dont think Pentax was trying to imitate anything that had gone before it. It wasn't trying to compete with MTF cameras. It wasnt trying to compete with dSLR's. Practically nothing will compete with an M9, though the Fuji x-100 camera is an interesting comparison. In both instances, Fuji and Pentax put together offerings which were not conventional, though arguably, the x-100 had a more or less identifiable user-base (rangefinder enthusiasts), whereas, there is no real identifiable user base for what the K-o1 offers. There is a first time for everything.
I agree the K-01 is the first of its kind, so it doesn't fit into and hence doesn't compare well to any other camera in other categories.

It is in fact a whole new category, in which it is the (by default) best of its kind so far. For want of a better name, I've been calling this category the DSLnR - basically a non-Reflex camera which uses exisitng SLR lenses/mounts.

It would be a pity if Pentax abandoned this category after actually creating it as it would seem extremely likely that Canon and Nikon will follow suit with their own DSLnR models eventually if purely for cost-effective reasons (no mirror/prism costs) to replace their cheapest entry-level DSLR models for 'P&S upgraders' who never use the viewfinder anyway. My own opinion is that Pentax would have maybe had more success if they had aimed it squarely at this cheaper polycarbonate entry-level market rather trying it as an aluminium-alloy premium-priced model.
03-05-2013, 02:19 PM   #94
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So today I see that Nikon has introduced the coolpix A. let's see APS sensor, focus peaking, NO viewfinder, fixed 28mm F2.8 lens and its only $1100. I got all on my K-01 and it has interchangeable lens for $400 And it looks better too!!

03-05-2013, 02:26 PM   #95
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QuoteOriginally posted by wolffy Quote
So today I see that Nikon has introduced the coolpix A. let's see APS sensor, focus peaking, NO viewfinder, fixed 28mm F2.8 lens and its only $1100. I got all on my K-01 and it has interchangeable lens for $400 And it looks better too!!
No focus peaking on the Nikon. But on the other hand it's less bulky.
03-05-2013, 02:34 PM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by NickLarsson Quote
No focus peaking on the Nikon. But on the other hand it's less bulky.
You have to pay more to get less! (bulk, that is)

I think it says something that the battery life is only 230 shots. For the K-01 body to have been significantly thinner (not counting the snout to maintain register distance for the lens mount), they would have to have used a smaller battery, probably with a similar small shot count.
03-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #97
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
You have to pay more to get less! (bulk, that is)

I think it says something that the battery life is only 230 shots. For the K-01 body to have been significantly thinner (not counting the snout to maintain register distance for the lens mount), they would have to have used a smaller battery, probably with a similar small shot count.
Indeed. Actually what bothers me more on the K-01 is the weight rather than the size, I sometimes wish that's it's 100g lighter. But it would impact the battery life as well.

I think the Coolpix A is not really comparable, it's way less versatile and more geared towards street photographers - small size, unobtrusive look, 28 mm lens, perfect combination for street shots.

I'm now waiting for the GRD V, I hope it comes with a faster lens, more controls and $200 less
03-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #98
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The K-01 could be classified as unique - with some features above any individual mirrorless camera class it gets compared to (aside from pocketability without a lens mounted, which I think is a false comparison).

Unfortunately the community has chosen to focus on the K-01 as not comparable to whatever feature is the single strongest feature in every individual camera class to which it is compared, ignoring the fact that the K-01 often exceeds every other feature of whichever camera is at that moment the subject of comparison..

How this unfortunate polemic came to pass remains a mystery to me.


Last edited by monochrome; 03-05-2013 at 07:00 PM.
03-05-2013, 04:09 PM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by wolffy Quote
So today I see that Nikon has introduced the coolpix A. let's see APS sensor, focus peaking, NO viewfinder, fixed 28mm F2.8 lens and its only $1100. I got all on my K-01 and it has interchangeable lens for $400 And it looks better too!!
What does this tell you about the future of Nikon 1?

Nikon is slow on the uptake too. They are the last company to produce a compact camera with a large sensor. This Coolpix A camera now competes heads on with the Sigma DP cameras. If it sells poorly, Nikon is likely to conclude that compact cameras with large sensors are not a marketable concept.
03-05-2013, 06:14 PM - 1 Like   #100
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Look --

I think some of my comment may have been misunderstood.

First of all -in regard to DxO's comparison to the Sony NEX7...The NEX7 beat it only by a narrow margin with a sensor that is almost twice the MP count. I hope that is not lost on you. Basically, one might be able to deduce from that that Pentax has done an outstanding job in implementing the sensor.

Second-- in regard to a viewfinder. When I said..Pentax was releasing a truly digital camera, this speaks to the lack of viewfinder. TTL viewfinder's, SLR themselves even, arose from a need for photographers to be able to frame what they were composing accurately, Even the much-lauded Leica rangefinders suffer from parallax distortions. But in regard to viewfinders as a whole, they were a technological innovation designed to give photographers a better way to compose an image. That's all they were. They became a convention, but they are by no means a necessary component to photography or even composition, and they are by no means a perfect solution, either. Some medium format cameras and 8x10 field cameras dont have a traditional viewfinder either, but I would be hard pressed to find anyone willing to say that Sally Mann or Richard Avedon aren't really photographers because they dont use a camera with a viewfinder. When I say 'truly digital' I mean through and through, the camera's method of composition -- the much derided "live view" (which, yes...sucks in direct daylight, but excels in other ways over a viewfinder. The magnification ability, for one.), is simply a digital way to do what most optical viewfinders cannot do -- give you 100% corner to corner look at what you are composing. Most SLR viewfinders can deliver...what? 90...95%? I dont know, I havent shot with a viewfinder lately or shopped a camera that has one since I was shooting with an OM1 (which was around 90% of what you saw in the VF was what was going to end up on your negative, meaning 2.5% on each side roughly..something like that).

The focus peaking, I see it as nothing more than being comparable to the way my OM1 center dot turns transparent when I am in focus.

Faulting a camera for what it DOESNT have is not a good way to go about evaluating a camera -- that is all I am saying. It's like criticizing an OM1 for not being able to shoot a 4x6 negative. I mean come on. Apples to apples. And since the K-01 is more of a banana (pun intended), and has no comparison (or had no comparison at the time of its release, and really no comparison at its price point, now or ever), then it is in a class of its own and must be evaluated on its merits and faults.

The DxO results were impressive. The photos that keep coming on this forum and elsewhere are proof that the k-01 is a good camera. Sh**, even Kai in his video review of the K-o1 (a Pentax hater if ever there was one) stopped short of faulting the camera for anything other than its flap door and 'artsy' look. He is even forced to admit in that review that "Pentax really does make some good lenses."

In regard to the discontinuation -- which this thread is about -- this should not come as a surprise. Most camera makers announce a product, and then by the time it is released, it is already obsolete (blame Sony). That is the nature of digital cameras.

In any case, I just wanted to clarify those points
03-05-2013, 06:24 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
In any case, I just wanted to clarify those points
The most cogent post in this entire thread, perhaps in the entire history of the K-01.
03-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #102
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Agreed..

I know my K-01 won't be Resting In Peace for some time to come
03-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #103
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also, I just wanted to clarify one other thing. I think my initial comment may have been called a polemic..perhaps it is a tad polemical, but the inspiration for it is that I am drawing a distinction between evaluating a camera as a consumer product (how it sells against other comparable products) and evaluating a camera as a tool for artistic composition in utilitarian terms, and ultimately, in terms of what kind of images a camera can deliver. I am a bit dismayed that the majority of the evaluation seems to be focused on the marketing strategy of coming out with an unidentifiable or unclassifiable camera.

What i would encourage is more of an evaluation in terms of what the camera is in terms of its utilitarian potential and whether it can be trusted to deliver quality images. In terms of utilitarian potential, I believe this camera is, as I said above, perfectly suited to shooting in the style of rangefinder photography. The largest lens I have had on it is a 135 and it is a bit unwieldy. I can only conclude from this that it was intended this way in its design. Why they expanded the prior FW update to include AF support for the telescope lens is a bit of a mystery to me, but I am sure that the camera would deliver a quality image nonetheless.

Which brings me to the second point. Can the camera be trusted to deliver consistently good and clear images? I should say that it does. The high ISO performance is quite good, the available lenses perform very well and the overhead for non-destructive post production work is more than acceptable. Quite good if you ask me.

If, on the other hand, you find the K-o1 to be a completely non-utilitarian piece of crap that produces unpredictable images and you may as well have just bought a broken HOLGA or LOMO, then that is another story, and you may have a valid point and I encourage people to discuss that. The placement of the green button for instance. User THoog in the forum here has an awesome scotch tape hack which sort of allows you to use AV mode with a manual lens -- that is some cool shiz,, but I dont think (I dont know for sure, but I'd imagine) he would have come to that had he not had to experiment with the unusual placement of the green button. I have had to adapt my technique to this camera, sure, but in the end, I can honestly say that it has been for the better and I am taking the best pictures I have ever taken with this camera as a result. When I hear someone fault this camera for lack of an optical viewfinder, for instance, I hear a reluctance to change, to experiment etc...at least for me, these are the things that make photography fun. experimentation, trying different combinations of filters, settings, double-exposures etc..

That is all that inspired this. I draw a distinction between the K-o1 as a 'product' and the K-o1 as a device for artistic expression. Frankly, if I were interested in how a camera performs in the market, I would probably just buy stock in the camera's manufacturer. I am much more interested in how the camera performs in the field, how it interfaces with the user and what the resulting images are.
03-05-2013, 07:09 PM   #104
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Polemic?

Your post is neither contentious nor intended to establish the truth of your argument and the falsity of another argument, therefore yours is not the (polemic) argument to which I referred. Your posts are reasoned, even-handed and focused on the output of the camera, its positive uses and your personal experiences with it.
03-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #105
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You guys need to shoot more pictures and spend less time posting.
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