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02-24-2011, 03:50 PM   #391
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I am of the opinion that Pentax should join micro4/3, and out compete Olympus AND Panasonic at their own game. Using APS-C would tend to cannibalize their DSLR sales.

Pentax have a strong history of innovative designs and great pancake lenses, and this would fit nicely with micro4/3, along with an adapter that has aperture and AF control. (the adapter being partially retractable for pentax pancake lenses)

Going with their own mount with a 2.5 x crop would differentiate the cameras with the DSLRs, but will introduce yet another format. While legacy Pentax lenses could be used (with a suitable adapter), the 2.5 crop would give a 50mm lens a FOV of a 125mm lens (on a FF), and a 28mm -> 70mm, which is starting to make a range of existing lenses top heavy.


Last edited by dnas; 02-24-2011 at 04:02 PM.
02-24-2011, 04:07 PM   #392
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This is exactly why I believe Pentax should not join m4/3; it would be very difficult to play Oly/Pana's game and win. Olympus themselves are falling behind...
02-24-2011, 05:13 PM   #393
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I hope they do not use a 5.5x crop sensor for an interchangeable lens system. There's no point! The travel zooms on such a sensor are already small enough. And the cameras are so small that there's no need to change the lens on the camera, when it's just as easy to change the whole camera. The interchangeable camera system has been around for a while, and no-one has a patent on that

Another reason is that with a 5.5x crop there is hardly any shallow depth of field ability.

I also agree they cannot go it alone with a unique sensor size. They just wouldn't be able to order enough sensors to get a good price, not to mention convincing a sensor company to design a sensor from scratch just for them.

That's why I think they'll either use the m43 sensor size or a new size that will be common between them and another maker such as Nikon or Canon.

A 2.7x crop camera would still have some shallow depth of field ability. The additional depth of field would appeal to casual snapshot shooters because it means less out-of-focus throwaway photos. Sensor and lens alignment issues would not be such a big deal as they are on APS-C, as in general they autofocus accuracy would not have to be quite as perfect. (I admit, I may not have the whole picture regarding AF ... someone please correct if I am wrong).

One of the reasons Canon/Nikon/Pentax may have had for delaying mirrorless this long was to wait for image quality on a 2.7x sensor to reach some acceptable level.

By the way, I have no fear that Pentax will be able to differentiate itself from others, no matter what sensor format they choose. The K-5, and the WR snapshot cameras are proof. I wish I had bought a Pentax WR snapshot instead of the Olympus I bought, which got sand in the movable lens cover that broke the seal. Above all, the K-7 and K-5 prove that Pentax can "do it right" after others have almost done it right.

And their marketing's getting more powerful, particularly in Canada, from the looks of this thread

An FF mirrorless SLR would also be a unique product hopefully much more compact than current FF offerings, with super backward compatibility, and there again they get to buy popular sensors.
02-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #394
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
This is exactly why I believe Pentax should not join m4/3; it would be very difficult to play Oly/Pana's game and win. Olympus themselves are falling behind...
Er, isn't that kind of contradictory?

02-24-2011, 09:08 PM   #395
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnas Quote
I am of the opinion that Pentax should join micro4/3, and out compete Olympus AND Panasonic at their own game. Using APS-C would tend to cannibalize their DSLR sales.
Companies don't make the bulk of their money off of body sales, they make it off of lens sales. Pentax joining m43 would mean:
- competing with a company using a standard owned by that competitor
- Making Pentax bodies that can mount those competitors lenses (so now instead of competing with Sigma and Tamron for K mount, they can compete with Olympus, Panasonic, Zeiss and Sigma)
- Thus cannibalizing both body AND lens sales

Pentax gains nothing by joining someone else's system, and doesn't have the market position to start their own. Whatever Pentax does has to somehow leverage their installed base of K mount lens, which is their biggest asset at the moment, or it's likely DOA.
02-25-2011, 12:28 AM   #396
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
Er, isn't that kind of contradictory?
I don't see any contradiction. It's difficult for Olympus, and it can't be easier for an outsider like Pentax.
Of course, there is always the idea that Pentax can, somehow, make better and at the same time cheaper products. But no sane company would chose a path that leads to smaller profits

Junyo, well said.
02-25-2011, 02:23 AM   #397
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QuoteOriginally posted by junyo Quote
Companies don't make the bulk of their money off of body sales, they make it off of lens sales. Pentax joining m43 would mean:
- competing with a company using a standard owned by that competitor
- Making Pentax bodies that can mount those competitors lenses (so now instead of competing with Sigma and Tamron for K mount, they can compete with Olympus, Panasonic, Zeiss and Sigma)
I agree with that.

QuoteQuote:
- Thus cannibalizing both body AND lens sales
Please clarify what you mean by "cannibalizing" here, it's generally not used that way.

QuoteQuote:
Pentax gains nothing by joining someone else's system, and doesn't have the market position to start their own.
That implies Pentax has no move and is left to APSC DSLR attrition.

I think there is a lot to gain by joining someone else's system - they can start selling products immediately and be competitive immediately without having to invest massively in R&D to start with a somewhat complete lens line-up. They also may somewhat benefit from marketing and "mount brand awareness" already done to date by the other companies sharing the standard. And they gain from economies of scale in sensor manufacture.

Doing their own system makes the stakes higher - both in case of a win and in case of a loss.

Pentax's core competency is in lenses. If, what you say about most profits being in lens sales is true, a viable strategy could be the exact opposite of starting their own system - it would be to produce lenses for the most popular mirrorless systems.

Also, whenever you say "Pentax will have to compete with Olympus/Panasonic/... if you join m43 or with Sony if you join NEX", think about this - they will still have to do the same even if they start their own mirrorless system, albeit in a slightly different way. The customer will still evaluate Pentax's mirrorless against those established systems.

QuoteQuote:
Whatever Pentax does has to somehow leverage their installed base of K mount lens, which is their biggest asset at the moment, or it's likely DOA.
That limits the crop factor - 2x would be stretching it, 2.5x and above might be out of the question.
02-25-2011, 02:28 AM   #398
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Of course, there is always the idea that Pentax can, somehow, make better and at the same time cheaper products.
Actually, that is currently the case only in entry-level camera bodies (K-x, K-r) and lenses, where they are cheaper and better than the competition.

In other cases, such as more expensive camera bodies (K-5) and lenses, they are (often) better and also more expensive.

So I think they could follow a similar approach when joining another system, or even just stick to the premium products as the entry-level products which get people hooked to the system are already provided by others (in case of m43, Olympus).

02-25-2011, 07:23 AM   #399
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QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Pentax's core competency is in lenses. If, what you say about most profits being in lens sales is true, a viable strategy could be the exact opposite of starting their own system - it would be to produce lenses for the most popular mirrorless systems.
That's the second worst thing it could happen (first it's to go bankrupt).
Once they'll become a 3rd-party maker, bye-bye margins... since they aren't Zeiss, they would have to compete on price. Sigma does it well, but only because they're the largest 3rd-party lens maker.

Last edited by Kunzite; 02-25-2011 at 09:16 AM.
02-25-2011, 08:45 AM   #400
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Pentax is already in some cases positioning its products as premium, the pricing of some of the lenses in UK is an example of that. They could attempt to position themselves as the "Zeiss of mirrorless" or something .

I'm not saying they would succeed, but I think they have better chances than launching a mirrorless mount alone.

Are you really with Pentax only because of the price? If not, why would competing on price be their only option?

It appears I'm of much higher opinion of Pentax than you.
02-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #401
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Zeiss could have something to say on that case

No, I'm not with Pentax because of the price; the K-5, 60-250 and even my DA Limiteds are not the cheapest options on the market.
But a 3rd-party just can't ask similar prices as the OEM. Unless they're trying to be a "Zeiss of mirrorless", with an abysmal market share.
02-25-2011, 10:38 AM   #402
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I haven't ranted about this in a while so it's time to annoy the Forum again:

If Pentax were to adopt the Sony E mount for a new mirrorless line, it creates a symbiotic relationship in which Pentax helps fill the E mount lens lineup (good for both companies) and Sony has a sustained home for sensor production (good for both companies).

Sony sells to consumers on name and style; Pentax sells to enthusiasts on software capabilities. It seems commonly held (and perhaps correct) that Pentax does more with Sony sensors than Sony does. And Sony is not a corporation that understands and succeeds in a niche market.

They'd have to split the color spectrum between them, though, and that might hold up the whole project while Sony tries to make up its mind about who should get fuschia.


OK - end of repetitive rant. Thanks for listening ....
02-25-2011, 10:57 AM   #403
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QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Please clarify what you mean by "cannibalizing" here, it's generally not used that way.
"cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the same producer."

If Pentax were to release a m43 body, some consumers would choose those bodies over their DSLRs. And the real issue is that Pentax would realize lower profit from lenses because the lens sales that traditionally follow a body purchase, which are now shared with the 3rd party lens makers and the used market, would now be shared with the 3rd parties, used, and at least two active competitors.

QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
That implies Pentax has no move and is left to APSC DSLR attrition.

I think there is a lot to gain by joining someone else's system - they can start selling products immediately and be competitive immediately without having to invest massively in R&D to start with a somewhat complete lens line-up. They also may somewhat benefit from marketing and "mount brand awareness" already done to date by the other companies sharing the standard. And they gain from economies of scale in sensor manufacture.
By chooosing to wait until now, it's my belief they've left themselves with a finite list of options.

Pentax saves minimal R&D costs/time by joining someone else's standard; they still have to figure out how to implement it, and in such a way that their first gen product would present a feature/value proposition against their competitors 2nd and 3rd gen offerings, a home run on their first at bat. And not having to "invest massively in R&D to start with a somewhat complete lens line-up" is a humungously positive spin on "abandoning all aftermarket lens sales". It took Pentax how long to repackage a plastic version of the cheap 35mm prime? if they can't hustle out a revamp of one of their own lens, theirs no chance that they bring a decent lineup of m43 lense to the table for a couple of years. In the meantime, those sales go to Oly, Panasonic and Sigma.

And the situation just gets worse as time progresses because, at the end of the day, despite the screaming of camera nerds, cameras are increasingly commoditized products. There are a finite number of opportunities for differentiation, and your competitors aren't stupid. Wait long enough and all the niches are filled. AND, the competitors can always choose to "tweak" the standard every now and again, adding ongoing costs to you, or making your products work slightly worse.

QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Doing their own system makes the stakes higher - both in case of a win and in case of a loss.
This is me, beating my dead horse. Except that overlooks the fact that Pentax already has a very mature system, that they know inside and out, and can implement immediately. It's called K mount. Yeah, yeah, register distance. Doesn't matter, they have to leverage K mount, otherwise there's not reason to buy from Pentax. Go completely the opposite direction, release a full frame EVIL, shoved into the K-x/K-r platform. Shave it down to it's bones. Figure out how to stick a decent EVF in the rangefinder position, and remove the prism hump. Make a cheap 35mm lens, as thin as possible. Congratulations, you're in the EVIL business. No, it's not the smallest/lightest/sexiest. But it is a highly unique product, that cost you virtually nothing to develop, and leverages your existing mount, and can be sold at a decent profit because it's not competing with a bunch of other similar cameras. Advertising line: "The only compact system that's 100% lens compatible with your DSLR system, from day one, without adapters." promise a "micro k" in a year that will be smaller/lighter/sexy, but still 100% K compatible, via adapter. And then...

QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Pentax's core competency is in lenses. If, what you say about most profits being in lens sales is true, a viable strategy could be the exact opposite of starting their own system - it would be to produce lenses for the most popular mirrorless systems.
Setup a separate brand, make m43 and E mount lens, ruthlessly steal the best bits for micro K.

QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Also, whenever you say "Pentax will have to compete with Olympus/Panasonic/... if you join m43 or with Sony if you join NEX", think about this - they will still have to do the same even if they start their own mirrorless system, albeit in a slightly different way. The customer will still evaluate Pentax's mirrorless against those established systems.
But with proprietary mounts, it's not a simple case of evaluating products; it's evaluating products plus the cost acquisition. And the mount acts as a switching barrier, which means that to a consumer whom Pentax convinces to buy their product, the cost of switching to the hot new Panasonic that came out just as they're looking for a new body is substantially higher, and thus weights that evaluation heavily in favor of Pentax's new model. Yes, they have to work harder to sell bodies, but once you've sold a body, the customer is likely locked in for a bit, and thus peripheral sales are easier. The alternative is a war of constant technical oneupsmanship, which doesn't favor a small competitor.

Sorry for the long post. It's probably all wrong, and full of grammatical errors. No warranties expressed or implied.

Last edited by junyo; 02-25-2011 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Editing mistake in the original post.
02-25-2011, 11:21 AM   #404
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"This is me, beating my dead horse." - junyo, what's with the false quoting? Should I start randomly inserting text you haven't written in your quotes from now on?

Other than that, I agree with most of what you say, and I like the FF K-mount EVIL idea, however, I'm not sure the market will like it. We will have the traditionalists claiming "we waited 15 years for a FF Pentax DSLR and now they insult us by producing an EVIL; EVFs will never replace OVFs; and so forth" and the modernists claiming that "EVIL is all about register distance, Pentax just doesn't get it, this thing is too huge".

Last edited by juu; 02-25-2011 at 11:27 AM.
02-25-2011, 11:37 AM   #405
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QuoteOriginally posted by junyo Quote
they have to leverage K mount, otherwise there's not reason to buy from Pentax
I don't think keeping compatibility with existing lenses is going to be very optimal if the goal is creating a compact system to offset their existing system, like what Sony has done. Keep selling SLRs or SLTs that leverage the existing system, and develop new compact lenses for a compact system, with an appropriate price/performance ratio.

Although I seem excited about all this, I still think EVFs are still in the early-adopter stage. Pentax could take the lead in delivering highest quality EVFs while solving usability problems with auto-sensing when you bring your eye to the VF, and knowing/choosing when and when not to show exposure preview, and not sucking the battery and heating up the camera by running the sensor constantly, and not using semi-silvered mirrors that create flares and ghosting.... They can lead by the control system they provide. Will they go with touch screen controls, or manual dials?

They can lead the pack in many respects, but will they? We shall see.

Last edited by Michael Barker; 02-25-2011 at 11:49 AM.
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