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10-28-2019, 05:00 PM   #1
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What does it really take to create a mirrorless camera?

Let's try to keep it civilizated, i'm just a car mechanic that is passionate about computers, and happens to know how to use a camera, but zero idea about building them.

But who knows how to properly create a camera is Pentax, or let's say Ricoh, and we can see it either with big bodies like the 645 or the K1, or either with tiny bodies like the Ricoh GR III.

My question is, what does it really take to create a mirrorless camera?

There are actual differences between a ML sensor and a DSLR sensor?
If not, how hard should be for Pentax to optimize development costs to slap like, whatever they have? Let's say, a KP/K1 sensor, the Q mount (probably impossible on an APS-C or FF sensor) or even a full K mount (i know that would add some thickness to the camera as we saw on the K-01), and combine what they already have to create something competitive on the mirrorless market? The Pentax user, i think, is more rationale when compromises come to mind, for example, i put the example sometimes that i prefer the weather sealing on my camera than some fancy WiFi connectivity.

I know this isn't that easy, but for example, on my car perspective, isn't that crazy to take a shell, pick whatever engine you like, craft some bits, and end with a pretty dope car which can, or can't, be street legal. I want to believe this can be done by Ricoh if there was some kind of market for mirrorless on the Pentax buyer standpoint.

What do you think?

10-28-2019, 05:03 PM - 6 Likes   #2
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10-28-2019, 05:18 PM - 1 Like   #3
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A mirrorless camera doesn't differ much from a DSLR, though ideally you'll want a nice EVF and fast on-sensor PDAF for the shooting experience to be comparable (things Pentax currently lacks).

Without compactness, though, mirrorless doesn't bring much more to the table. That's why Pentax wouldn't benefit from rebooting a mirrorless K-mount camera, and that's why the company has consciously decided against it, instead catering to those who prefer shooting with traditional DSLRs (and experimenting with innovative ideas through cameras like the GR or Theta).

To have a clear game plan while letting others battle it out until the dust settles is a wise move, IMO.

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10-28-2019, 05:20 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
:deadhorse:
Welp, when i asked to keep it civilizated, i was trying to avoid comments like this one. Anyway, if mods see fit, they can close this thread, but i'm not going the way the "WhY dOeSN't PenTAx maKE a mirROrlESS" but more like "What does a mirrorless actually need on technical aspects" and, specially, why can't a camera be a mashup of parts. You do you.

---------- Post added 10-28-19 at 05:22 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
A mirrorless camera doesn't differ much from a DSLR, though ideally you'll want a nice EVF and fast on-sensor PDAF for the shooting experience to be comparable (things Pentax currently lacks).

Without compactness, though, mirrorless doesn't bring much more to the table. That's why Pentax wouldn't benefit from rebooting a mirrorless K-mount camera, and that's why the company has consciously decided against it, instead catering to those who prefer shooting with traditional DSLRs (and experimenting with innovative ideas through cameras like the GR or Theta).

To have a clear game plan while letting others battle it out until the dust settles is a wise move, IMO.
Catched me writing the other one;

Yes, i see that the Pentax user base isn't really that much interested on a mirrorless setup, "not with my K glass!" (as i would definetely want to save it), and i can understand the engineering costs asocciated with a new mount. But still, i don't see the compactness of slapping a 600mm lens on a tiny body, apart of the loss of ergonomics, so there must be something more. Something that did pass over my head definetely was that that those Ricoh smaller cameras would do as a testing area, for sure.

10-28-2019, 05:28 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by CapitanXeon Quote
Something that did pass over my head definetely was that that those Ricoh smaller cameras would do as a testing area, for sure.
These are also not to be underestimated. My educated guess would be that the GR III is currently outselling all Pentax DSLRs combined


To the second point: why bother building a new Pentax mirrorless mount to directly complete with other brands which already have a technological advantage? What value would Pentax bring to the table that other brands lack?

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10-28-2019, 05:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
These are also not to be underestimated. My educated guess would be that the GR III is currently outselling all Pentax DSLRs combined


To the second point: why bother building a new Pentax mirrorless mount to directly complete with other brands which already have a technological advantage? What value would Pentax bring to the table that other brands lack?
Agree!

Also the K-01 was (I think) a pretty good attempt at a mirrorless camera while retaining the same lens mount (and associated flange distance). To get one the biggest advantages of mirrorless (size) they would need a revised mount with a shorter flange distance. This would either break mount compatibility or (more hopefully) create the need for an adapter to support existing lenses. So more development effort needed to maximise advantages.
And of course making it smaller can lead to handling disadvantages.
10-28-2019, 06:20 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I am just wondering.
Does make a new mount is the only way to go for developing a mirrorless body?

K01 is using the K. yes, It is thicker than every other mirrorless brand but it is not heavier. And if they implement the KP style of outer shell design, it doesnít look and feel as thick to me.

The advantage of Mirrorless is not only size but also weight, focus accuracy and etc. More selection, cheaper and smaller K mount lenses can be outweighed a few mm thicker in body size when do the right marketing. But I don't really know what it takes to build a mirrorless..

10-28-2019, 06:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoscape Quote
I am just wondering.
Does make a new mount is the only way to go for developing a mirrorless body?

K01 is using the K. yes, It is thicker than every other mirrorless brand but it is not heavier. And if they implement the KP style of outer shell design, it doesnít look and feel as thick to me.

The advantage of Mirrorless is not only size but also weight, focus accuracy and etc. More selection, cheaper and smaller K mount lenses can be outweighed a few mm thicker in body size when do the right marketing. But I don't really know what it takes to build a mirrorless..
This is me, who likes cameras as i like my girlfriend but i don't really care about a slim camera. But i have to agree that, either by market trends, or just by purely technical aspects, mirrorless cameras have a bit of "niceness" for example on video recording or the fact they can quickly focus directly on the sensor (live focusing on my K-5 doesn't really go well, focusing "the traditional way" is much better)

And by the way, Pentax cameras, while well built, doesn't feel like extremely heavy (okay, a canon plastic entry level body is going to float on my hands) and isn't that much big. I can imagine a world where, while K mount and flange distance can be maintained, short lenses can also offset this difference (the 40mm pancake comes to mind with a length of just 18mm), and i'm not talking about only Pentax but every other brand, they could make a successful hybrid. But hey, that's just me, and i don't see myself anywhere near an imaging company business meeting decidiny what their next camera should look like.

But i'd definetely buy a camera with a DSLR form factor but without a mirror, as well as maintaining the K mount on them. I could compare them to what AMD has done on computers, where they preserved their CPU mounting system for so much longer than usual, specially their competitors, while changing so much parameters on the entire system. I always feel that something always can be done, if the company behind it really wants to. I might digress this into a completely different post.
10-28-2019, 07:02 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CapitanXeon Quote
But i'd definetely buy a camera with a DSLR form factor but without a mirror, as well as maintaining the K mount on them.
What is it about the absence of the mirror that makes the camera more attractive?

The big difference between MILCs and DSLR isn't the lack of the mirror, it's that MILCs are basically video cameras that can take still images. That difference is more than just taking some parts out and putting some other parts in. It's really in the software needed to do high quality video AF, high quality video display, and high quality conversion of raw sensor data into video. That's the part Pentax lacks. They've never invested in video and don't have a video camera division to rely on (like Sony, Canon, and Panasonic do).
10-28-2019, 07:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
What is it about the absence of the mirror that makes the camera more attractive?

The big difference between MILCs and DSLR isn't the lack of the mirror, it's that MILCs are basically video cameras that can take still images. That difference is more than just taking some parts out and putting some other parts in. It's really in the software needed to do high quality video AF, high quality video display, and high quality conversion of raw sensor data into video. That's the part Pentax lacks. They've never invested in video and don't have a video camera division to rely on (like Sony, Canon, and Panasonic do).
My k-5 is on its 60k actuations and the sutter box already is making fun noises. I know its gonna die sooner than later, and ideally the lack of a mirror should be the end of this issues altoghether.
10-28-2019, 08:04 PM   #11
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It's not just about external size. Internal volume is critical here. If you take out the mirror and keep the K-mount, you have a huge empty hole in the middle of your camera that you can put NOTHING in, while the other makers can make their camera smaller, use that space for additional electronics, or BOTH. Additional electronics mean more processing power, which means more features, like better video, more powerful autofocus, faster processing, larger buffers, better wireless, etc.

Adopting a new mount really isn't an option - this is a company that can barely produce one new body and one new lens per year for their existing mounts. (An interesting feature of these discussions is that the same people who hand-wave away the cost of developing a new mount and family of lenses frequently think there could be significant savings from leaving off video.)

The next problem is that Pentax is tied to SocioNext's Milbeaut image processor, which is lagging behind the other makers in power and video capabilities. It's not that Pentax doesn't do enough with video, it's that they don't do ANYTHING with video, apart from provide hooks to the video modes that SocioNext provides. A lag-free display with onscreen prompts probably requires some decent processing power as well. It may be that the Milbeaut/PRIME simply does not have the power to drive a decent EVF - I can remember the K-01 screen lagging massively when enough features were turned on. To do what other MILCs can already do, Pentax would need additional processors, which would require an even larger body (and require more power). Or else, they have to switch to another image processor vendor (if they could find one), which would require a complete redesign from scratch with a different architecture. Either option is going to be time consuming and EXPENSIVE. It's not a question of whether Pentax CAN do it - of course they can - it's whether they can afford to do it.
10-29-2019, 01:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by CapitanXeon Quote
y k-5 is on its 60k actuations and the sutter box already is making fun noises. I know its gonna die sooner than later, and ideally the lack of a mirror should be the end of this issues altoghether.
I thought it was the shutter who had that limit...
10-29-2019, 08:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
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Love it! I hope you don't mind that I copied your smiley?
10-29-2019, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #14
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A mirrorless camera offers nothing a DSLR can't. The compactness argument has repeatedly been shown to be a myth - what you lose in the body, you gain in the lens (and guess what, you have more lenses than bodies!), and you're often left without an appreciable grip to hold on to. EVF is just LiveView caged into a viewfinder. Canon's recent 90D has made that very clear. It seems that Canon is the other player hanging on to its wisdom - the next 1DX will have continuous shooting rates that are competitive with current mirrorless bodies, even in mirror configuration, never mind LiveView (where there is no practical difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera).

Pentax' DSLRs already rival and often exceed mirrorless cameras in compactness. Pentax has no reason to get in on this hype.

---------- Post added 10-29-19 at 09:43 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
The next problem is that Pentax is tied to SocioNext's Milbeaut image processor, which is lagging behind the other makers in power and video capabilities. It's not that Pentax doesn't do enough with video, it's that they don't do ANYTHING with video, apart from provide hooks to the video modes that SocioNext provides. A lag-free display with onscreen prompts probably requires some decent processing power as well. It may be that the Milbeaut/PRIME simply does not have the power to drive a decent EVF - I can remember the K-01 screen lagging massively when enough features were turned on. To do what other MILCs can already do, Pentax would need additional processors, which would require an even larger body (and require more power). Or else, they have to switch to another image processor vendor (if they could find one), which would require a complete redesign from scratch with a different architecture. Either option is going to be time consuming and EXPENSIVE. It's not a question of whether Pentax CAN do it - of course they can - it's whether they can afford to do it.
I have not been able to find anything that says that the latest generation of Nikon's Expeed platform, driving the Z7, isn't also a Milbeaut chip. In fact, I found one person specifically claiming it is a Milbeaut.

Is the Z7 considered underpowered, as you suggest, or does it have unacceptable screen lag?
10-29-2019, 10:17 AM   #15
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