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08-08-2010, 01:48 AM   #16
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I doubt they would enter the MF market (with an expensive buy-out of a MF company) just to stop/slow down Pentax. If there will be a war, IMO, it will be in the "even smaller format" (aka APS-C) arena.
I also doubt any of Canon, Nikon or Samsung for that matter would enter the DMF arena. Why now? Why waiting for Pentax to make their move? The best way was to do a "645D" - exactly what Pentax did, a modern DMF solution at a reasonable price. Guess what, Pentax did it first
And even if they do it today, it's not like new products will be on the market tomorrow. It's a game I'm not sure Canon knows how to play - against a competitor that would dominate the market.

Pixel Pusher: still in it's infancy? A strange way of saying the competing products are obsolete technology sold for inflated prices

08-08-2010, 02:07 AM   #17
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my first thought was Mamiya too. But considering the Hy-6, and the resurrection of the Rollei mount, they could do the same with Bronica. Kill off lens compatibility in genuine canon fashion, and try to compete against Pentax.
08-08-2010, 04:49 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
my first thought was Mamiya too. But considering the Hy-6, and the resurrection of the Rollei mount, they could do the same with Bronica. Kill off lens compatibility in genuine canon fashion, and try to compete against Pentax.
I doubt Pentax is the competitor. It's more like the margins of Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Leica Canon would be after, plus the concept that they offer a complete professional solution.
08-08-2010, 05:23 AM   #19
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Rumour (from k-rumours) about samsung buying Alpa.
BS IMO.....

08-08-2010, 06:09 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
It would be cheaper to buy a company with and existing network and legacy glass. It is the same reason Sony elected to buy Minolta than to start from scratch. YOu are buying a network and user base.

Canon's support network for professionals is huge. If they added something like a 645D to that line-up they would take a big chunk of the MF market.

The problem is that the legacy is minuscule compared to Minolta. In addition, the cameras available (except for the 645D) are primitive. The lens mounts (except the Pentax) are out of date with 60's or 70's mechanical linkages. Canon with their complete electronic mount is not likely to sell something that is 40 years behind their EOS line.
Not that many lenses are needed for MF initially - Canon had 12 lenses initially for the EOS - it took off immediately. The legacy buyers are few. Canons potential is to make EOS users to upgrade not please old MF farts with cameras and lenses made 40-20 years ago.
08-08-2010, 06:16 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
For all the immense resources of Nikon and Canon, neither were first to the table with an EVIL or MF camera. Ironic.
Not so very ironc. The first one is probably not profitable. Canon's reply to EVIL is most likely a DSLR at the same size; no need to remove the optical finder.
The whole MF digital marked is 6000 units world-wide last year. Why should Nikon or Canon be interested? True, Pentax will make more 645D's this year than this number, but we are still talking about a small niche....
08-08-2010, 06:53 AM - 1 Like   #22
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The sins of the father

The shortfall Pentax ALWAYS has when speculating why they can't make a truly "professional" camera (by which is meant a camera useful to sports/action and nature photographers who must TRAVEL to the action to earn their livings) is the global support network. Canon and Nikon have an embedded network of retailers, service centers and equipment rental outlets globally that support the professional shooter, at costs that permit such a professional to earn a living, after costs.

A significant part of the cost of a Hassy or Phase One is the commission paid to the salesman, who "supports" the buyer literally for the remaining life of the camera. Hassy's closed DB architecture is as much a closed salesman support architecture as it is a closed technology architecture - have to keep the buyer buying upgrades to support those salesmen.

Pentax's strategy, both in DSLR's and in the 645D, is to remove the retail mark-up for commission paid to the B&M distribution, sales and support network and the marketing expense necessary to generate volume. They thus lower the end-product price, add back more features for the price point and hope to earn a profit at a 5% market share.

The DMF market is ripe for this kind of sales channel creative destruction, as long as the end user accepts that, to them, a Pentax 645D is a throw-away camera at every upgrade and there isn't nearly the personal support available, especially outside Japan.

It's a hang-fire strategy, but if these rumors are true it has sent a shock wave through the market.

Long-term Pentax's principal shortcoming (and CONSTRAINT) is lack of capacity. Hoya (or some other buyer) will at some point need to make significant capital, marketing and assembler training investments to broaden the product line and increase capacity of existing products to meet demand.

Hoya is no doubt reluctant to invest scarce capital in the fragmented DSLR market, at their current 5% market share and 4% margin on Pentax, when their other lines command at least a 10% share, up to 90% (according to Citi) and 20% ROIC (Return on Invested Capital).

What a business tragedy - to have a great product that you can't afford to develop and properly market.

The sins of the father . . .
08-08-2010, 07:55 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Canon rumors is reporting that Canon is looking at buying a MF company and watching the 645D very closely to see if it is stealing sales from the 1Ds line.

This is not the first time rumors of Canon moving to MF have emerged. Canon bought most of the Contax equipment when Contax shutdown its 645 production. I guess I will be holding on to my Contax 645 and lenses a little while longer. Nothing would make me happier than Canon bringing back the Contax 645 mount in a digital platform. The Contax glass is some of the best you buy.
Canon will only ship mounts with fully electric like EOS. If Contex mount with machemical transmission, you are lucky to see a new mount from Canon.

08-08-2010, 07:59 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
The MF industry is a dying group. The 645D is a game changer for this industry. When Pentax turns on supply globally Hassy and Phase One will be hard pressed to justify their prices. You can buy a 645D for $10-12K with the same 40MP sensor that is in the Leica S2 ($30,000.00).

Do you buy a 25MP Nikon for $8,000 or a 40MP Pentax for $10-12K? This could push FF pro bodies down to $6,000 which will push the $5,000 bodies down. There very well could be a trickle down effect in the industry.
Sorry, I disagree.
MF is not a dying group. You think in terms of mass product, but MF market was never a mass market. It is a gear for specific needs.

Same for Nikon_vs_Pentax645D. You think in terms of megapixels. If I had such money I would choose the gear that suits and satisfies my needs most, not megapixels count ego.
08-08-2010, 09:14 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The shortfall Pentax ALWAYS has when speculating why they can't make a truly "professional" camera (by which is meant a camera useful to sports/action and nature photographers who must TRAVEL to the action to earn their livings) is the global support network. Canon and Nikon have an embedded network of retailers, service centers and equipment rental outlets globally that support the professional shooter, at costs that permit such a professional to earn a living, after costs.

A significant part of the cost of a Hassy or Phase One is the commission paid to the salesman, who "supports" the buyer literally for the remaining life of the camera. Hassy's closed DB architecture is as much a closed salesman support architecture as it is a closed technology architecture - have to keep the buyer buying upgrades to support those salesmen.

Pentax's strategy, both in DSLR's and in the 645D, is to remove the retail mark-up for commission paid to the B&M distribution, sales and support network and the marketing expense necessary to generate volume. They thus lower the end-product price, add back more features for the price point and hope to earn a profit at a 5% market share.

............

Long-term Pentax's principal shortcoming (and CONSTRAINT) is lack of capacity. Hoya (or some other buyer) will at some point need to make significant capital, marketing and assembler training investments to broaden the product line and increase capacity of existing products to meet demand.

Hoya is no doubt reluctant to invest scarce capital in the fragmented DSLR market, at their current 5% market share and 4% margin on Pentax, when their other lines command at least a 10% share, up to 90% (according to Citi) and 20% ROIC (Return on Invested Capital).
....
.
monochrome,
Congrats., very well writtten discussion that ought to be mandatory reading for any new (or old) owner.

We pentax owners (notice i said "we") want our relatively inexpensive cameras and lenses, but then we want firmware and warranty support and upgrades for free. As someone said, "there is no free lunch"

Well hello, unless a company charges for firmware improvements, repairs (warranty or not), or support actions, such actions are charged as "overhead" which is ultimately paid out of the "profit" on each and every camera. The reason new lenses or upgraded lenses are so expensive is that they are being designed and built by a labor force using today's material costs and per hour costs, not those of 1980. All those legacy lenses out there on ebay have helped the Pentax owner work with many different lenses at low cost, but that is never going to extend to new product.

The other day i read some criticism on a popular blog site about Nikon's increasingly poor warranty service and policies. I suspect all camera mfr are suffering in the current global economic downturn. Except for professionals, cameras are a luxury item and sales are necessarily going to be slowed when employment and salaries are down.

Regarding Hoya being reluctant to invest capital in the fragmented DSLR market:
I thought that i read on the Rumours forum about a month back that pentax, Panasonic, and Olympus all had a higher percentage of increased sales year on year (in Japan?) than Nikon or Canon. Actually, need to go and find it as the details are vague for me. My suspicion is that all camera mfrs are short money for new projects at the present time. I doubt that many, if any, would provide huge amounts of front money instead of a pay as you go program. Some have suggested this poor world economy could last 10 years.

Thats probably why some of you are suggesting Canon's purchase of an existing camera maker is so unlikely at the present time.
08-08-2010, 09:41 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pixel Pusher Quote
Time's ticking away for the likes of Canon and Nikon. Hope they can see the writing's on the wall...
Good thing cameras isn't the only thing Canon+pentax do
If that was the case, Hoya wouldn't of bought up Pentax and who knoes what would have happened.
08-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Well, if Canon jumps into MF it will force competition to step up and prices to fall. Pentax is making big waves in the pro market with the 645D. Might force Nikon to follow.
Nikon never did follow into MF when it was big in film. They did make Nikkor lenses for large format cameras though.
08-08-2010, 09:59 AM   #28
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Thank you.

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
We pentax owners (notice i said "we") want our relatively inexpensive cameras and lenses, but then we want firmware and warranty support and upgrades for free. As someone said, "there is no free lunch"
I am sometimes surprised that we want what Canikon users get, with better IQ and features, with our glass, at our prices. You'd think we were a bunch of socialists (intentional lower-case "s") and Hoya are the big, bad, exploitative capitalists (I don't believe that is the case, but sometimes we just don't think).

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Regarding Hoya being reluctant to invest capital in the fragmented DSLR market:
I thought that i read on the Rumours forum about a month back that pentax, Panasonic, and Olympus all had a higher percentage of increased sales year on year (in Japan?) than Nikon or Canon.
RE: percentage increases, I also recall reading that. But starting from a small number it is easy to have a large percentage revenue or unit value increase. What was the dollar value (Yen value?) increase? In a pay-go world, cash flow is what matters, not percentages increases. Canon's small percentage increase was likely significantly more revenue than the lower-tier makers' larger percentage increases.

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Actually, need to go and find it as the details are vague for me. My suspicion is that all camera mfrs are short money for new projects at the present time. I doubt that many, if any, would provide huge amounts of front money instead of a pay as you go program. Some have suggested this poor world economy could last 10 years.
Companies generally are not only NOT short money, they have more cash on hand than ever in the entire history of the world! They can borrow at ridiculously low interest rates. Scarce Capital is an investment term, meaning that every dollar is precious and must be invested for a good risk-adjusted return. It doesn't necessarily mean capital is not available.

But everyone is reluctant to move - there is little comfort that an investment will earn a higher risk-adjusted return than just holding cash. In the US, what will health care costs a company? What will the tax rate be next year? What regulations will this radical adminsitration change? What will happen with cap-and-trade (global environmental legislation)? NO ONE knows the answers to these questions. Until the uncertainty passes NO ONE will move (invest any money). They really don't care what the answers ARE, they just want answers. Until they get them - they're not going to do anything. These are not customary investment risks - these are legislative risks. Our government in the US is the risk-agent right now - and we're affecting the entire world economy.

This global economy will all be resolved, one way or the other, in less than three years. Just hope it isn't resolved in "the other" way.

Accept that North America and Europe are growing more slowly than in the past (but still growing) and the Pacific region is better off financially and growing faster than in the past. They will become better consumers; we will increase our manufacturing. But we are still huge.
  • The US economy is still larger than the next four combined - Japan, China, Germany, France
  • The US manufactures twice as much as China twice as much as Japan, etc
    • In 1830 China was the world's largest manufacturer
  • US GDP 2010 will be higher than in 2008 - the recession has ended
  • When we return to building more than 950,000 new homes and 13,000,000 light vehicles (both 30% increases) our economy will be perking along, interest rates will be up, unemployment will be 5.5% (the real normal UE rate) - and inflation will be over 7%. That will happen during 2013.

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Thats probably why some of you are suggesting Canon's purchase of an existing camera maker is so unlikely at the present time.
All about balance sheets and cash flow. Over the next three years the strong will get stronger; the weak will get weaker. Canon has the strength to take advantage of the current market to buy market share / market niches, if the price is right. The jury is out on Nikon (look what happened to their photo-stepper market in just 18 months!). Sony has caoital available but appears incompetent.

Whether Hoya views Pentax as strong (within Hoya) or weak (therefore a potential spin-off from Hoya) is the real debate.

Last edited by monochrome; 08-08-2010 at 10:14 AM.
08-08-2010, 01:12 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Pixel Pusher: still in it's infancy? A strange way of saying the competing products are obsolete technology sold for inflated prices
Kunzite: Interesting misinterpretation of what I wrote

Would you call Pentax's first foray into medium format a "mature" product? I'm not saying it isn't ready for prime time, it most definitely is. But, how many generations of digital backs has Phase One produced? Hasselblad? Leaf?

The point I was trying to make is that there are more mature products out there.
08-08-2010, 01:51 PM   #30
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But... this is far from Pentax's first foray into medium format. It's also far from their first foray into digital photography It's just the first time they combine those together.
"Mature" is just an polite word for "obsolete", in this case. But I wouldn't blame Pentax for that, nor for not making countless generations of technologically inferior products
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