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06-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
FF EVIL. Let's not get ahead of ourselves
Well, don't be short-sighted.

Pentax can release K n times. With n being 0 or 1.

Existing and potential EVIL mounts so far have diameters of 46.1mm (E-Mount), 44mm (Leica M and FT) and 42mm (NX).

The K mount has a diameter of ~44.5mm which fits nicely within current EVIL mount specifications

I can only seriously advice Pentax to make K having the same diameter as K which is ~44.5mm and costs nothing. Hell, they could obviously license the E-mount from Sony and call it k. That would be interesting An FF EVIL down the road in the future will be the natural implication. Sony seems to understand that already. Not ahead of ourselves. Only as smart a move as necessary to survive past the era of the mirror.

06-22-2010, 09:28 AM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
If you think about it, Pentax being small, they better leverage on what they have and after filling the K-7 slot with FF, offer an FF EVIL too. So, their optical investments return maximum.
Your ideas intrigue me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Really though, if Pentax did this it would be a slam dunk for them. I think it is true that the days of APS-C as king are numbered - as sensor prices plummet, there's no reason to stick with a smaller sensor. For those who like the extra reach of a small sensor, assuming that IQ per sensor area stays the same, you can get the exact same results by cropping in PP.

If Pentax released an EVIL FF, who would be their main competitor? Just Leica, I think. Small body, huge sensor and quality. Pentax is already doing a decent job cultivating some mystique thanks to the sexy limited primes.

The biggest problem I see with this is lens size, though. FF lenses are bigger than crop lenses, and more so if they are fast and high quality.
06-22-2010, 09:42 AM   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
If Pentax released an EVIL FF, who would be their main competitor? Just Leica, I think.
I think we all forget the time factor.

I am talking about say 2016, 5 years after K was introduced say 2011. A moment where K APSC is successful with adapted DA lenses and beautiful small wide angle K pancakes.

2016, also the year where APS-C dSLR has disappeared and FF has become mandatory for all image quality enthusiasts. And the year the stunning Sony NEX-XX is available for $199. A tough market to compete in. Fortunately, Pentax started selling its FF dSLR in 2011 to generate some revenue.

So, at Photokina 2016, Pentax is glad to announce their new FF-SLD (aka EVIL) and that K is actually compatible with FF and always was meant to be, incl. the K-K adapter and all available glass made for the FF-dSLRs. It will release alongside a new FF K kit and K UWA. And sell like hot cake. And nothing prevents them to do excatly this for Photokina 2014. Or 2012. The technology is here today ...

If they don't blow it up in 2010 or 2011 ...

Because if they release an APSC-only K in 2010/2011, they will be dead by 2017.


P.S.
I am pretty sure the Sony E-mount is meant to support FF lenses and sensors at some moment in the future. Despite Sony's agressive miniaturization effort, they made the E-mount 4mm larger than the NX mount, both supporting APSC. Samsung however, seems to require some good consultancy

Last edited by falconeye; 06-22-2010 at 09:52 AM.
06-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #94
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The only problem I see with developing EVIL APS-C (or smaller) first is that once again we'll have tons of resources sunken into tiny wide-angles that will be discarded. If you were ever going to make a FF system, it would be more efficient to design for it from the beginning instead of necessitating yet another lens line.

Plus, why not do it when you can be the first? Some of these EVIL cameras are selling for more than the K7 right now, and way more than the Kx. Since we've got APS-C sensors in both of these, we could surmise that sensor costs aren't really the controlling factor in pricing for Pentax. If R&D is where most of the expense is, then why not be the first to market with a more expensive FF EVIL rather than being a "me too" with another EVIL clone?

There would be a lot of benefit and efficiency to gain from developing multiple FF platforms at once. There would most likely be many areas that sharing could happen across the line then.

At first, there would be (in order of size and not cost)

K-EVIL
K-x successor
K-7 successor
K-FF
645D

Long term, the K7 and Kx would probably be replaced by FF models.

Although in reality this would probably take a long time, I still think there's a good argument to be made that Pentax should skip EVIL APS-C entirely. They couldn't get all of these things out by next year, but they could maybe do FF. Year after that do EVIL FF.

06-22-2010, 10:18 AM   #95
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You are only forgetting that Pentax do not manufacture their own sensors. Only Canon, Samsung, Sony and, to a lesser extent, Nikon (Renesas) do. Only one of those can decide to launch massive production of FF sensors to reduce costs and allow for mass market products such as FF.
06-22-2010, 10:24 AM   #96
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Any push towards FF all the way down to EVIL is going to come from either Nikon or Canon, most likely the latter.

But I am not convinced that the market equilibrium of APS-C is over and FF inevitable. The $70 cost advantage APS-C has over FF may not go away due to economies of scale. Companies have a strong incentive to keep certain technologies in the high-margin range. And there are other form factor and design trade-offs that may squeeze the room in the box. Ergonomics, flash requirements, rotating LCD, etc., all take up space. Add in an aging, bifocal-laden generational consumption pattern and miniaturization may not be the end all-be-all of design. in fact, I predict otherwise.

Most importantly, every $ will count. The enormous sunk cost of APS-C cannot be overlooked. It's opened up hobbies dependent on telecentricity [sic] like macro and birding that have become staples in the niche markets. Sony may have forward-engineered the NEX for FF, but that's a hedge, not a certainty. With most images going straight to JPEG for the web, even HD photo display means APS-C is still relevant at a lower price point for probably 99% of Joe Public IQ demands. I see sensor size as being somewhat fungible (as does Canon with APS-H). Other market and design factors have their role, too. There may be a continuing market for a $199 APS-C DSLR over tricked out, eensy weensy EVIL do-it-all beasts.
06-22-2010, 11:06 AM   #97
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06-22-2010, 11:13 AM   #98
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Well, I certainly agree that APS-C will still be useful in some areas, but the only advantage it will have is cost. And maybe smaller wide lenses.

As well, cranking up volume on FF sensors to lower costs sounds very much like what Pentax just did to the MF world.

The big companies are comfortable with expensive, high margin full frame cameras. However, the trend in digital technology has always been that yesterday's top-of-the-line is in today's cellphone. Everything we've ever seen is that we get more sensor for less money as time goes on, and although the big guys might resist that as long as they can, it is totally inevitable that FF is going to be available in $400 cameras before long. Whoever makes the first move in the race to the bottom will make a killing, even if it reduces margins in the long run.

06-22-2010, 11:21 AM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
If you think about it, Pentax being small, they better leverage on what they have and after filling the K-7 slot with FF, offer an FF EVIL too. So, their optical investments return maximum.

This is why I wrote what I wrote above (K and everything). Otherwise, we seem to agree pretty much. Except maybe that I see a need to announce (not deliver) FF this year. Too many Pentaxians would switch brands if not.
QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
Well, I certainly agree that APS-C will still be useful in some areas, but the only advantage it will have is cost. And maybe smaller wide lenses.

As well, cranking up volume on FF sensors to lower costs sounds very much like what Pentax just did to the MF world.

The big companies are comfortable with expensive, high margin full frame cameras. However, the trend in digital technology has always been that yesterday's top-of-the-line is in today's cellphone. Everything we've ever seen is that we get more sensor for less money as time goes on, and although the big guys might resist that as long as they can, it is totally inevitable that FF is going to be available in $400 cameras before long. Whoever makes the first move in the race to the bottom will make a killing, even if it reduces margins in the long run.
Noooo...

Today's smartphones are normalizing in the market, but they are costing considerably more than previous units. They surf the web, that's why.

Not quite an analogy to cameras because a photo is still a photo, and video still video. By this logic, if the camera gets smaller and has FF, we'll normalize a higher cost permanently for the camera as part of our discretionary income. I do not see that happening. The camera market dynamics and price points have barely budged in decades for middle class consumers in the West.

There will be room between FF and P&S and APS-C can slot in there nicely being both a legacy format with excellent IQ at an unbeatable value.
06-22-2010, 01:13 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Noooo...

Today's smartphones are normalizing in the market, but they are costing considerably more than previous units. They surf the web, that's why.

Not quite an analogy to cameras because a photo is still a photo, and video still video. By this logic, if the camera gets smaller and has FF, we'll normalize a higher cost permanently for the camera as part of our discretionary income. I do not see that happening. The camera market dynamics and price points have barely budged in decades for middle class consumers in the West.

There will be room between FF and P&S and APS-C can slot in there nicely being both a legacy format with excellent IQ at an unbeatable value.
People may be spending more money because they are getting higher featured phones, but that doesn't mean that prices aren't continuously falling. Smartphones have been around for ages... look at the HP iPaq or whatever it was and the Palm Treo. These phones were selling for $600+, but now we have phenomenally more capable phones available for much less. As the technology continually gets cheaper, the cost of a smartphone will get closer and closer to that of a common phone. Of course, the trend will stop eventually, because at some point the plastic and parts and mechanical bits require a basic minimum price.

The thing is, I don't think we'll ever see SLR's selling for much less than $300. The glass and mechanicals and everything won't get any cheaper than they are now without a decline in quality. However, things like LCDs and sensors are digital tech, certain to plummet in price, so eventually you'll be able to offer a bigger sensor and nicer screen for the same amount of money. We see it with screens already, and you can look at the Kx and see a camera that is technically better in every way than the *istD yet sells for 1/3 as much. That same process will get us FF bodies selling for current SLR prices.
06-22-2010, 02:04 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The camera market dynamics and price points have barely budged in decades for middle class consumers in the West
Your argument doesn't hold true for camera-technology reasons.

An FF camera system with body, sensor and appropriate lenses, for a given image quality (about high end APSC today), will soon be cheaper than an APS-C camera system with equivalent image quality. That's because the sensor cost goes down and an FF lens (with a given FoV, diameter in mm and LW/PH number) is cheaper to manufacture than the same lens for APSC. Miniaturization doesn't come for free.

APSC dSLRs will disappear, not because they will be obsolete but because they will become too expensive as a system.
06-23-2010, 06:20 AM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
Your argument doesn't hold true for camera-technology reasons.

An FF camera system with body, sensor and appropriate lenses, for a given image quality (about high end APSC today), will soon be cheaper than an APS-C camera system with equivalent image quality. That's because the sensor cost goes down and an FF lens (with a given FoV, diameter in mm and LW/PH number) is cheaper to manufacture than the same lens for APSC. Miniaturization doesn't come for free.

APSC dSLRs will disappear, not because they will be obsolete but because they will become too expensive as a system.
That may be true in a forecast future, but this does not explain why the big players like Nikon and Canon have invested so much into APS-C. Same for Panasonic and Samsung and Olympus with APS-C and M4/3 (because if the argument for APS-C is true, it's 20% more true for M4/3).

Clearly these large companies have not invested their resources in a dead-end. There may be a floor to sensor cost where the FF obviates the advancements in lenses. Maybe telecentricity is far more salable than WA.

APS-C may also hit a sweet spot for video that FF (power being one) may be at a disadvantage. Looks like Panasonic is taking aim at that with M4/3.

Finally, there may be simply be de facto collusion to keep FF high-margin. With only 4 sensor suppliers, this is possible. This occurs in other industries.
06-23-2010, 06:29 AM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
That may be true in a forecast future, but this does not explain why the big players like Nikon and Canon have invested so much into APS-C. Same for Panasonic and Samsung and Olympus with APS-C and M4/3 (because if the argument for APS-C is true, it's 20% more true for M4/3).

Clearly these large companies have not invested their resources in a dead-end. There may be a floor to sensor cost where the FF obviates the advancements in lenses. Maybe telecentricity is far more salable than WA.

APS-C may also hit a sweet spot for video that FF (power being one) may be at a disadvantage. Looks like Panasonic is taking aim at that with M4/3.

Finally, there may be simply be de facto collusion to keep FF high-margin. With only 4 sensor suppliers, this is possible. This occurs in other industries.
I get a hard time about sensors suppliers.

I count :
  • Kodak,
  • Dalsa,
  • Sony,
  • Samsung,
  • Panasonic,
  • Canon,

Sure capabilities and offering are very different from one to another. But still we have more than 4...
06-23-2010, 06:44 AM   #104
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
That may be true in a forecast future, but this does not explain why the big players like Nikon and Canon have invested so much into APS-C.
In the early days of digital SLRs, even APS-C was more expensive than FF is now. So, you either made a new (small) mount (FT) or you've put the largest sensor which the market could afford into your 35mm mount.

I am still thinking that dSLR are far too expensive compared to analog SLRs. Sooner or later, dSLRs won't be any more expensive than film cameras used to be. And who would want to own an APSC camera then?

And no, there is no floor to sensor cost. After all, its made of sand
06-23-2010, 07:24 AM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
In the early days of digital SLRs, even APS-C was more expensive than FF is now. So, you either made a new (small) mount (FT) or you've put the largest sensor which the market could afford into your 35mm mount.

I am still thinking that dSLR are far too expensive compared to analog SLRs. Sooner or later, dSLRs won't be any more expensive than film cameras used to be. And who would want to own an APSC camera then?

And no, there is no floor to sensor cost. After all, its made of sand
Hah! We could harvest the retinas from the dead as an alternative, yet to be invented tech interface permitting.

If you factor in film development costs (and the time is $$$ cost therein) they may average out, especially for the convenience factor of the P&S sector which account for the vast majority of unit sales and gross revenues. A can still buy a 200ISO all-in-one fixed Fl camera for $12 from my grocery store and at f8 held stable in not too harsh light it can take a terrific shot. But I'll pay vastly more for the here/now convenience of digital.

I still have very good Minolta X-500 because I lost my Nikon F in the Limpopo River (long story involving a hippo) and my much loved Rollei simply could no be repaired anymore. The cost of shooting film is proportional to the convenience premium I will pay for digital, even though my Rollei took far better 35mm than any P&S can shoot digitally.

On a per unit basis, yes, DSLR is too expensive. All of them, APS-C or FF. But I have never seen so many good (and trillions of bad) photos from so many people, Flickr and elsewhere, shot in this digital age, shared ubiquitously. Clearly cost is not inhibiting the enjoyment and explosion in sales and use of cameras. As with cellphones, people will pay more for more features and convenience. Add in video, GPS, immediate online sharing...

Great. Now you've made me nostalgic comparing eras and costs. I now have to go to eBay and find a Rollei. The I am watching the World Cup on my iPad.
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