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08-11-2010, 12:41 AM   #196
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I completely disagree. Pentax does need a FF body that is killer in low light, much faster than anything built today by them and much more responsive. They also need to be smart about it and use a sensor no bigger than 18MP IMO. Otherwise the low light benefits will be lost.
Quite difficult, don't you think? A D3S competitor, how many would pay for something like that? And who will make that sensor? If custom designed, it would add to the price even more.
Please, be careful what you ask for - your wish may come true

However, there is still hope. Better in low light, faster - maybe we'll see something like that at Photokina. Just... not "FF"

obheng, there is hope, there is obsession and there are reasonable expectations One can't deny the "FF" market is very small - I can't stop asking the question Pentax people are asking, themselves: would it make sense for Pentax, to launch a "FF"? It's not a trivial task, and it has to pay for itself (no loss leader, no Pentax back in red).
I'd still like to see a Pentax "FF", as soon as they can make one; but I strongly disagree with the doom&gloom scenarios (e.g. the one on which the <2% market share FF would kill the APS-C).

08-11-2010, 01:35 AM   #197
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I would like to see FF DSLR from Pentax and if it come I would buy one. Feeling from the photo from FF is overall better than from APS-C or smaller sensor. You can see it for the first blink. I'm not hurry, I will wait, but I would like to know if someday will come FF(or camera very similar to it) or not. I don't want to stick with APS-C forever and the 645D not an option for me. Yes, it's very well made camera, but not for every purpose and there's the gap where FF will fit ideally. If Pentax declines FF plans on Photokina not only me, but also another people wanting FF will be seriously thinking if there's any reason to stay with Pentax or not. I will wait what future brings, but will be the others too? :-)
08-11-2010, 02:30 AM - 1 Like   #198
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
However, there is still hope. Better in low light, faster - maybe we'll see something like that at Photokina. Just... not "FF"
I see this as follows:
  1. Pentax decided to keep its foot in the enthusiast market which is a good thing.
  2. They had to decide whether to go after the 5D2 or 7D market. According to the BCN stat I linked in my article, in 2010H1, the (older) 5D2 had half the unit sales of the (newer and cheaper) 7D.
  3. For Photokina 2010's K-5, they obviously decided to go after the 7D market share (probably with somewhat better low ISO performance). I can't criticise that decision (*).
My point is that the year is close where the reverse decision is the better one. One could ask that Pentax does both but I'm not sure they have the resources.

__
(*) Only critics: 7D excels in the AF department. It may have been too tough for Pentax engineering to meet this challenge. Then, it could have been better to go after the 5D2 market instead. We'll see. A great AF module from Pentax would be ... great, of course.
08-11-2010, 03:21 AM   #199
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I don't think it's entirely fair to compare the 5DII with (only) the 7D's sales. Yes, it's 1.8 vs. 3.5 for the first half of the current fiscal year, but...
- the 7D is the highest level APS-C camera on the market, the 5D the lowest level "FF". Different cameras with different purposes...
- it's also not the only high-level APS-C camera Canon has; the 50D is still available, and with 1.7% it was just behind the 5DMkII
- there is no other "FF" in top 20; the low-light king D700 has under 1.1%.
- for Pentax to duplicate the 5DMkII's success, is not a certain thing - but trying would require considerable resources (R&D, new lenses). I doubt it'll be able to break the 1% barrier, even temporarily (iirc the K-7 did it).

I understand what you're saying, it make sense - but I believe we must wait a bit longer.

08-11-2010, 05:10 AM   #200
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
I don't think it's entirely fair to compare the 5DII with (only) the 7D's sales.
I tried to simplify. And 7D and 5DII are Canon's only current offers for the enthusiast market (which I defined to be between $1200 and $1800 in my article).

(note: actually, 5DII in Germany is at $2000+VAT and prices in the US seem to be a bit higher. So, simplification again...)
08-11-2010, 06:04 AM - 1 Like   #201
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Quite difficult, don't you think? A D3S competitor, how many would pay for something like that? And who will make that sensor? If custom designed, it would add to the price even more.
Please, be careful what you ask for - your wish may come true
There's a US$5,000 difference between the Sony A850 and the Nikon D3 series.

Which one is over-priced based on the assumption that the Nikon loyal will pay that premium?

Which one comes closer to the actual cost of design, production, and ROI of a FF system?

Sony isn't stupid. They know that losing $$$ on their FF line is a long-term investment. Do they have the guts to stick it out for the duration? Hard to say. They are likely taking a loss per unit, but it's not US$5,000 per. It's probably in the low hundreds of $$$, sen as an investment to build a long-term market. Sony's strategy may be right, but their execution is horrible. Their low-end line gets awful, awful reviews, dragging down the brand.

But what their pricing does tell us in the tech, materials, and ROI of FF is not notionally $5,000 different.

There is one overwhelmingly mistaken assumption made by the anti-FF crowd:

The FF market is "small".

Actually, it's as big as the pricing model will allow it to be. As can be seen by the Nikon/Sony comparison, the market is small because Nikon prices it that way using brand loyalty to extract their margins (and spurring the Hitler parodies). The market is NOT small because it is driven by the "good enough" and "consumer demand" assumptions. It is NOT small because of added costs producing FF bodies and sensors. It small because the market is driven by marketing.
08-11-2010, 06:40 AM   #202
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
(*) Only critics: 7D excels in the AF department. It may have been too tough for Pentax engineering to meet this challenge. Then, it could have been better to go after the 5D2 market instead. We'll see. A great AF module from Pentax would be ... great, of course.
The 5D is already so similar to a a Pentax already in so many ways. What I mean is that it is NOT a technological/engineering marvel. The AF performance is well below that of 1DmkIV, it only shoots 4fps, it has a serious lack of AF points, the sync speed is only 1/200... but it has a really nice view finder and a really nice sensor. It is just a very stripped down camera that takes beautiful pictures. To me this seems more in line with what the Pentax photographer is after than a 7D rival with super fast AF and 8fps and a brand new shutter
08-11-2010, 06:55 AM   #203
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Aristophanes: Yeah, but the A850 is not " killer in low light, much faster than anything built today by them" I don't know how fast the AF is, but at least when talking about FPS it's definitely slower than the K-7. I'd say, only 10fps+ would qualify as "much faster" (of course, doubled by a re-vamped AF system)
IMO, it's quite unreasonable to expect such a speed demon from Pentax. A decent quality but not so fast "FF", on the other hand... IMO, if Pentax would make this step they would try to offer image quality as the differentiator from their APS-C cameras, and not speed.
The D3S is 5200$, btw. D3X is the expensive one.

Pentax/Hoya will not accept the loss leader strategy; that's what they said, and I believe them. Unlike Sony, they can't afford to do it.
About market shares... the FF market is small. Canon, Nikon (which btw have cheaper "FF" cameras than the D3X ) and Sony - why none of them is trying? Sony, at least, with their dreams for (photographic) world domination, could've tried this strategy. Maybe... it's not possible? Maybe it's not that easy to make a cheap "FF"?
You should also note that I'm not "anti-FF". I'm just nowhere near as "pro-FF" as you are

08-11-2010, 07:22 AM   #204
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QuoteOriginally posted by cwood Quote
The 5D [...] seems more in line with what the Pentax photographer is after than a 7D rival
I thought the same.
When I first learned Pentax goes after the 7D rather than 5D2, I was stupefied, I must admit. But it's not me to judge. Maybe, just maybe, it was too early this year and to go after 5D3 is the next logical step saved for next PK.

Somewhere I remember to have read an interviewed Hoya manager say that they want to target a higher valued market segment and aren't yet completely sure yet where to put emphasis. Don't find the quote and it's context wasn't all too clear. In retrospect, it may have been a decision between a 5D and 7D rival for PK2010. Maybe, it was a closer tie than we all think
08-11-2010, 07:30 AM   #205
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Aristophanes: Yeah, but the A850 is not " killer in low light, much faster than anything built today by them"
Sony's FF's are a first generation effort. It only gets better and cheaper from hereon in. For that, they need patience. It helps to have another market for the FF sensors. That's what spurred the Thom/Nikon angst furor.

For pure photographic IQ, they are very good value. The lens system...?

Last edited by Aristophanes; 08-11-2010 at 07:55 AM.
08-11-2010, 07:54 AM   #206
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Looking at the D700 sales, you have to also account for it being a 2008 model. Those that want it upgraded, some time ago and they are getting sales from new converts from other brands. In fact I'm surprised that the sales are still this strong and just shows how great that camera is. It can still get solid sales numbers even though it's nearly 3 years old. No other 3 year old body comes to mind that can do this.

D700 owners are still very happy with the body and would like a higher MP count with the rumoured new version as long as the high ISO's can match or exceed the current camera. If it were to perform like the Sony's in low light, they won't upgrade. I tried the 850. Sucks pure and simple. I could give a rats-a$$ about 24 MP if the camera can't be used above ISO 1600 well. It can't IMO. It's a failure because of that. IMO Sony used consumer camera thinking when they designed a FF body aimed at the more serious shooter.

Getting sensors is not the issue, the issue is building the right camera at the right price with the right features. If it was sub $3000 camera. Could shoot a nearly noise free, sharp image at 6400. Clean image at 25,600 with headroom to get a usable image at 51,200. A "well if you really have to in an emergency" image at 102,400, then you have a winner. The camera would have to be built better/faster than today's Pentax APSc and have a brand new flash system.

But to make this really work, SDM has to go. It's just not working as it is. The DA* 55mm is not up to spec, too expensive and far to slow for a fast new body. Pentax would have huge hurdles to jump in order to make this move. New lenses, flash system, new accessories, better service, new SDM. One example is 85mm. There is no good quality and affordable portrait lens in the line. Yes the 77mm is stunning but the A*/FA*85mm is a better lens. It's been gone for what? 10 years? Just comparing the 77mm vs the Nikon 85mm f1.8 D, they are both excellent units with similar speed. The 77mm Limited is better built but the optics are marginally better at 3x the price. There's also no 77mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4

So if you are going to design a FF body, you better have the parts to be able to make it work. Right now, that's not there. Sad but it's the reality.

Pentax has the right design thinking IMO. Canon's rear wheel design sucks. Try a 7D with a grip. You need monkey fingers to change the aperture in portrait orientation. Body shapes are one of the worst. Personally I hate the IQ from their camera's and they always look washed out to my eye.

Nikon's body design is similar to Pentax but Pentax's is better, both have the dual E-Dials in the right place. The shape fits the hand better, the lens release button is on the correct side of the body. ISO adjustments are much faster and easier on a Pentax. The menu system is better on a Pentax in most ways. The buffer and processing in the FF Canon's and Nikon's is superior but that can be improved on a Pentax I'm sure. Nikon doesn't offer a WS body/lens combo. Not one of their lenses is truly WS (only dust). SR vs VR is a winner for Pentax.

So Pentax can design the body better than most IMO if they follow the heritage and learn a few things from other brands. The real problem and to my point of view, this is huge, is Pentax has nearly nothing to go with a FF body. Few lenses and a poor SDM system, a sub-par flash system and no accessories.

Somebody (Falk?) posted that they need to figure out a better focusing system and that it might be beyond their abilities? Why? The current K-x is pretty close and just need to be refined to be even faster and more accurate. How hard is this anyway? I'm no engineer but don't other sectors buy the competitions products and see how they work to look at their own designs for improvement? Why couldn't Pentax tear apart a few top end Canon's and Nikon's to use the information to design a new focusing system for a FF body.?

You'd see Pentax shooters who switched coming back if these needs were addressed. But they ALL have to be. Particularly with the lenses available. No one's going to look at this seriously if we were faced with the lens situation of 3-4 years ago. Where we had cameras like the K10D and very few lenses to choose from.
08-11-2010, 08:12 AM   #207
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Falk, IMO a higher level APS-C camera (though, not 7D-level, price wise) is required; an even pricier "FF" is desirable. Let's wait 'till Photokina; I have a feeling that, if we'll see new "FF" products (the D700's successor?) it/they won't be cheaper.

Aristophanes, please don't misunderstand. I admit, I never played with a "FF" Sony; but everything tells me the A850 is an excellent photographic tools.
It's just not a speed demon - that's all. But at that price, of course it can't be.

Peter Zack, you're talking about something well over entry-level "FF"; and also, the insanely high usable ISO would need an extraordinary sensor (unavailable, so far). I don't think we can expect/demand this from Pentax.
Entry level or not, we agree it's a lot of work. And everything Pentax makes, need to generate a profit.
08-11-2010, 08:27 AM   #208
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The FF market is small?
I don't think so.
At least there is no FF camera targeting right price (<$2000) and light weight/small size.
And I believe Pentax can get a big market share from this.
Current FF market share doesn't mean the market share in the future!!
5D mkII, D700, A850 they don't have the features of Pentax FF camera (if there will be one).
Small size, light weight, weather resistant... that is the new market for FF body.
Before Panasonic and Olympus, the market of EVIL is 0.... so what?
Now Samsung and SONY also jumped in...
Pentax has to create the market using his own strength, or he will always be the follower and loser.
And the examples of sales of existing FF bodies mean something, but not everything.
08-11-2010, 08:44 AM   #209
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I'm not saying the sensor needs to be a D3s. That is has to be solid at 6400 with available settings above that. You may never use them but they are there in a pinch. This is available now. The D700 can go to 51,200, it's not much good there but comparing that to a K20D, the camera can take a shot at 3200 if you really had to but also isn't much good. 6400 is there but only in an emergency. That's what I'm saying.

Who says that the camera has to be entry-level? The 645D sure isn't. It might be a lower price than the Hassy or Mamiya cameras (although those have dropped in price recently) but can easily perform as well from what we've seen/heard so far.

So why not make a good solid FF body right from the start? Use the K-7 designs with improvements as suggested and build on that platform. I wouldn't look to Sony for answers! Who are they? A TV and Video maker that bought a dieing (mismanaged) camera brand. So far they havent put the world on fire and are not the answer to look toward IMO.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 08-11-2010 at 08:55 AM.
08-11-2010, 08:53 AM   #210
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Lenses make profit. Pure and simple. Bodies are the doorway to the brand. If the door is there, then the lenses will follow. Prices on bodies may drop over time but lenses always hold value and make a company money. Look at Sigma. They make bodies but who cares? They concentrate on glass and do very well.

If Pentax had 15-20 good lenses for FF (backward compatable to APSc) then they would make a profit on FF even if the margins on the bodies were low.

Plus you have to factor in increased APSc sales. A lot of FF buyers would get a top end APSc body as a spare and a lot of buyers would consider Pentax knowing there is an upgrade path if the ever chose to get a more expensive camera. Right now, it's a niche brand that gets passing interest from new buyers who have dreams of a bigger better camera at some point.
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