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07-14-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
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Would you be happier if pentax refreshed lineup annually?

With all the chomping at the bit that goes on around here, how many people would be happier if Pentax released new versions of their cameras more frequently, even if it meant smaller incremental improvements rather than larger leaps inn all features?

07-14-2010, 09:45 AM   #2
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Not me. It would seem pointless to have multi variations.
07-14-2010, 09:48 AM   #3
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That would mean the K-7 would have never fallen to under $800.00 new. It would have been replaced before the price fell that low. I think 18 months is pretty good for cameras in the $1,500 and under price point.
07-14-2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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It would be better to release multiple versions at different price levels at the same time.
I remember in film SLR days, there was many ZX/MZ cameras at the same time at different price levels and functionalities.
For example, I would have loved to see a camera priced between K-x & K-7 (like K-7 body with K-x sensor... oops ) not as a separate replacement, but a 3 line up system.

07-14-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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No - replacement for replacement's sake. Mindless consumerism...
07-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #6
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Like others were saying, I don't think it would be good to have updates for the sake of it.

I do think having 4 models that update on different schedules would be a good way to stay fresh and visible in the market. The major issue there is development resources and whether they could make it viable having around 4 models always available (more manufacturing resources necessary, etc...). The entry models would update the most frequently and be the most gimmicky (colors, etc...).

I'd like to see:
entry (K-x or probably better to be below)
mid-level entry (mystical K-5)
entry pro (K-7... will eventually move toward the APS-C machinegun approach)
pro (above K-7, should be FF to differentiate and justify pro label)

645D (in a class of its own)
07-14-2010, 11:02 AM   #7
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Technology doesn't evolve as fast as cameras come out, but it would be nice to broaden the lens variety
07-14-2010, 11:43 AM   #8
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Since you asked ....

We've hacked this to death elsewhere but I cannot resist a direct question.

You didn't ask what is prudent for Hoya's long term interests in the consumer photo industry so we'll leave the big picture alone. Mostly.

For me:
  • Hardware replacement (new camera) every 18-24 months. I may have to skip one now and then but this post is about wishes rather than self-discipline.
    One software upgrade (for a fee) about half-way in the cycle.
    Bug fixes as needed but without new functionality. These have no fee.

There are plenty of people here who have announced that they wouldn't pay a farthing (or was that a ha'penny?) for any software upgrade - SW should always be free. Or left to the next model. Or something. That's fine. I'm answering the question: what would I like?

I am also proposing that anyone buying a software upgrade (maybe up to $100+ if there's really good stuff included) can be credited much or all of that amount on the purchase of the next body. They've already paid for part of the development of that new model. It would make sense at some level.

Why this approach?
  • I am able to get a partial upgrade earlier.
    I am able to spread my upgrade costs over two or three years.
    Hoya gets upgrade revenue sooner.
    Hoya gets SW revenue much closer to the expense to develop it.
    Hoya may have more incentive to invest in SW development. That's good for all of us.
    Hoya may get sell more new models as the loyal Pentaxian is obtaining the new model at a lower price than before, based on the earlier investment in a SW upgrade.
    Hoya has a competitive differentiator.
    If we get new stuff sooner and Hoya prospers, we all win big.

This model is not common in consumer products but is quite common in larger systems, particularly where the SW is a significant part of the value and cost of the system.

Punch line: new AF anyone?

Now this assumes that an existing camera has some headroom in terms of the memory, computing power, and power supply needed to handle the add'l or improved functions.

It also assumes that there are valuable improvements possible without new sensors or other hardware elements.

It also assumes that SW developed now can be readily re-used in the next camera model. I have no idea how portable the code is. It's not fun to develop and support SW for more than one current platform. NR code developed for one sensor may be of little value for the next sensor.

I don't know enough (or anything, really) about the development and distribution processes and cost models for cameras.

In some ideal (and entirely too complicated) world, I could buy some capabilities a la carte.
  • High-ISO NR? Love it. And love ambient light. It's about ambiance, not lumens.
    Faster AF? Bring it on! I'm shooting active subjects, not landscapes.
    Thirteen options for predictive AF tracking of moving subjects based on velocity vector, jersey color, current standing in the league tables? Ummm, no. I have enough trouble with AF-S, AF-C, and the other one. Oh ... right. Manual.
    Suite of scene modes, special effects, funky tones and textures? Nope. Don't know, don't care, don't bother me. That's better done elsewhere if I'm in the mood.
    And, of course, video. Not quite Apple versus Microsoft, but still a point of contention.

The list above is entirely hypothetical but I'm sure you see the point.

Perhaps I'm a sucker but Hoya and Panasonic can get a lot of money out of me $25-$50 at a time. Bleed me with small cuts - I won't notice.

07-14-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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Great idea! Absolutely love it!

I'd pay for better AF, better high-ISO (though they very probably can't do anything about the RAW, so - no), manual video control.
07-14-2010, 12:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
With all the chomping at the bit that goes on around here, how many people would be happier if Pentax released new versions of their cameras more frequently, even if it meant smaller incremental improvements rather than larger leaps inn all features?
Not me. Such frequent updates would make too much damage to my wallet.
07-14-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
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I think that cameras will be more modular in the future. See Thom Hogans blog about upcoming Nikon cameras, which may mean there won't be a new body every year to 18 months but modules. His logic really makes sense. It's kind of silly to keep buying a camera body every 18 months.


If you are interested in reading it, it's here under the part about Nikon's most likely upcoming mirrorless camera:

2010 Nikon News and Comments by Thom Hogan
07-14-2010, 02:49 PM   #12
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To all the Pentaxians out there I know it sounds fantastic to always have something new out there that is just beyond reach but it is futile as what most of us have has never been exploited to its full potential so I read with glee all the posts etc just about every day & just wish I could understand my k7 & few lenses but I do not & so I am truly blessed with just being a happy snapper with some of the best equipment in the world to date 30 years of equipment means 1 x67ii body 2 x 645 bodies with lenses from 35 fisheye to 300 tele 17 in all not counting my 6 for k7 sorry to bore an already overweighted & boring pentax comunity. cameraboy.
07-14-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
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I don't think modular cameras will take off at all. The cost benefit just isn't great enough to justify the increased bulk, weight, complexity and fragility - if there even is a tangible cost benefit at all.

And of course, all parts of the body advance: Imager, AF sensors, imaging pipeline, AF algorithms, display... so in the end, there's not even a huge benefit for the user. Ricoh GX-R, anyone?

Also, defining and maintaining future-proof interfaces would be very expensive and not even very future-proof.

No, cameras are integrated systems, and adding more modularity than exchangeable lenses, flashes, some accessories (like GPS, WiFi...) and maybe screens and EVFs is never going to happen, nor would it make much sense.
07-14-2010, 02:54 PM   #14
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Glanglois, I think that focusing on software or even opening it up to end user customization/programmability is a formula for success that no DSLR manufacturer is pursuing. It is working with the CHDK project without any manufacturer support. This was a major reason for the iPhone's success because no other manufacturer was being very open to letting third parties develop on their platform.

Stanley, are you talking about making it modular such that a user could upgrade a specific component themselves like we can do with computers or where the manufacturers product line is a more standardized common platform of sorts? I don't see the user interchangable modules coming for something like a camera but I would see the manufacturer using a more streamlined platform. They could use the same sensor across their product line and use faster processors and more memory/buffer on the high end cameras to provide a much better experience (canon is doing this with their 7D and T2i).
07-14-2010, 03:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanleyk Quote
I think that cameras will be more modular in the future. See Thom Hogans blog about upcoming Nikon cameras, which may mean there won't be a new body every year to 18 months but modules. His logic really makes sense. It's kind of silly to keep buying a camera body every 18 months.


If you are interested in reading it, it's here under the part about Nikon's most likely upcoming mirrorless camera:

2010 Nikon News and Comments by Thom Hogan
Stanley, thanks for the link, interesting stuff!!!

They said that Olympus is test leaking various rumours of a modular camera. I like the idea. Here's my pet peeve. One camera model will have a nice feature, like a really quiet shutter, e.g. K7, and then the upgrade will go back to a noisy shutter. I suspect that what's behind this step forward, step back cycle is "price points". They compromise on some of the equipment compared to previous years based on a target price for the new camera version.

What seems to be upgraded most consistently is the sensor, the firmware, the processing circuits and chips, etc. I have no problem with reusing a shutter for a 2nd or 3rd iteration of the electronics, the plastic body itself, the lens mounting ring, etc. In fact i'd rather have better mechanical stuff the first time around so that i could enjoy it for 2 or 3 circuit board changes.

I suppose like a lot of you, i used to buy the parts and assemble my own PC. The nice thing about that was if you had problems, you could fix your own PC by module replacement. No power? just put in a new power unit. Another nice thing is that the company continues to support the camera because they are continuing to sell parts for it. Perhaps we won't have these complaints about buying a camera and being unable to get firmware updates to it.
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