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09-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #151
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
But there's something you aren't factoring in. Consider how few of the large number of lenses that were made for, or are adaptable to, K mount have attained legendary status for quality.

The quality of FA Limiteds and to a lessor extent the DA Limiteds, for example, are not seen in every generation of new lenses; and there's just one Zeiss 21mm, or Voigtlander 125, or Leica R 50mm f/2 Summicron, or Pentax A 85 f1.4, etc. (I'm sure the experienced photographers here can add a few more to the list). The ability to not have to settle for consumer quality lenses is the number one thing that keeps my interest in photography equipment. And LBA is no small issue, as you can see here. Excepting the sensor, what mechanical aspect is more important than glass to picture quality?

So it isn't just "old" or legacy per se that means anything . . . it's that it seems a truly great lens is not so easy to produce (or the commitment isn't there from manufacturers). If the past is an indicator of how often we'll see Limited-quality lenses, then a new lens mount only promises to reduce things to consumer photography for many years.
i own a copy of the voigtlander so i know what u're talking abt. yes. good lenses don't come around everyday and they simply don't make them like they used to.

but in my view, k-mount or otherwise, pentax needs to move ahead and come up with better product offerings - no mean feat considering that they are victims of their own success - if an old A 50 F1.4 is nearly as good as the DA*55 F1.4, who in the right mind would buy the DA* if they could still get a cheap copy of the A50 off fleabay and retain most of the functions (minus AF)?

support for legacy lenses is important in some ways. it gives users choices and makes the product relatively more attractive to enthusiasts who are looking for such adaptability. but does this represent the future market segment? is this where the money is?

i think the answer is "no". most consumers want a continual stream of shiny new stuff to fuel their buying urges.

i have friends that shoot canon and nikon and they look forward to new lenses, new bodies, new accessories all the time. they will look at you funny if you ask them to buy a 20 yr old manual focus lens off ebay to use on their DSLR bodies if there is a more modern version available for new. (ok, to qualify, the canon pple can't do it cos they can't mound old FD lenses )

they don't need a "legendary" old lens. a well-reviewed modern version will do most of the time. THAT is where the money is.

09-20-2011, 07:11 PM   #152
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Mirrorless alternatives don't appeal nearly as much to enthusiast or professional photographers. I think most of the folks buying mirrorless cameras are newcomers to the game. Yes, sales of mirrorless bodies are on the upswing right now, but that's largely due to the fact that they hadn't previously existed. It's not hard to double your sales volume when coming from nothing.

So Sony is stealing a few Canon and Nikon users away, big deal, it doesn't signal the fundamental shift in the market that people imagine. Eventually the mirrorless trend will level off when everyone who is interested in one, owns one, but I can tell you with certainty, there are many who simply aren't interested. Should pros and semi-pros abandon their FF and APS-C bodies simply because there's a "hot new thing"? No, and neither should camera companies abandon their traditional mounts just because of a slight shift at the entry level.

If I were just buying into an entry level system, I'd want to it to be one where I didn't have to buy new lenses when I'm ready to make the transition to a more professional setup, so an APS-C SLR would have more appeal. Maybe that's just me, I'm sure a healthy percentage of mirrorless buyers don't intend on ever upgrading, but I've got bad news for them if they buy into a specialty mount and then decided to move up.
09-20-2011, 07:11 PM   #153
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
The number of lens mounts matters a great deal if each mount requires a set of unique lenses - more R&D time and money for more models with fewer lenses sold per model. Drives up unit cost.
If each model is a discrete category and market opportunity then what maters is the profits. The medium format Pentax line kind of made Pentax viable (and Mamiya) when the Canikon and Minolta dominance emerged in the 1980's.

QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Buyers will always demand more lens options. This forum is evidence. It becomes a competitive necessity at some point. A few lenses will almost certainly need to become quite a few lenses.
True, but with a point of diminishing returns to the manufacturer. Look at an 1980's Pentax or Canon catalog. It's insane how many lenses and accessories there are. Some items were only produced in the hundreds because there was so little demand. The goal was to bulk the brand not with revenues from the actual per unit sales of each item, but on the whole package as a marketing opportunity.

The first company to get out of that arms race was the one that started it: Olympus. They pretty much dropped out of SLR's when autofocus came along. They very successfully went for the jugular on small P&S cameras and pretty much abandoned the OM line. They did so because the unit cost of producing so many lenses became ridiculous when what you were manufacturing was inventory for a marketing shoot.

QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
TBH the most significant arguments for K mount APSC surviving long term are made by those that are heavily invested in it. Pentax won't completely abandon it but the money is going to be spent on attracting new customers. I can see Pentax continuing to develop new bodies since most of that is software and sensor improvement that will be developed regardless of product line. But you can forget about new lenses. And at some point the existing users will migrate also. Maybe they migrate to a different brand in 5-10 years but if Pentax is going to survive it will be because they released the best possible mirrorless product instead of one full of compromises to keep the Kmount. note - I will be very sad to see K mount go.
The best example for what the future holds probably comes from Leica. They held on the manual focus rangefinder line, added an SLR line, got into P&S, went digital, almost went bankrupt doing stupid things to dilute the brand, and then reintroduced a staggeringly expensive DSLR line. Tie and again Leica has proven that old quality tech with methodical, slow innovation sells cameras. They mess up (the M8) and almost completely tanked financially about 5 years ago, but someone pulled a Steve Jobs on the company and now they are in demand again with talk of a new digital system on the horizon probably aimed at a lower price tier than uber-silly M9 prices.

The point is that the DSLR has created a stunning boom in photography since the Nikon D100 and Canon Rebel came out. The user base for the SLR format has never been bigger. It is still growing, if not share, in aggregate volume. A great number of people love the form factor and the OVF. A substantial number of pros will never give up an OVF in the same way that those favouring a street shooter style never gave up on Leica's rangefinders.

This is not about replacing one type of camera wit another. It's about new systems for evolving market while the entrenched systems still exist because we want them to. Ricoh probably bought Pentax precisely to leverage that conservative philosophy guiding the SLR market. The idea that all cameras will be mirrorless, EVF, pocketable items is simply not borne out by either current market data or history. I am pretty sure mirorless will take a hefty, even majority share, of the large sensor market, but it will not eliminate the DSLR.
09-20-2011, 09:11 PM   #154
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Interesting thread, and so many opinions... so let me add mine

Ricoh would be nuts to introduce a 4th mount. If I were them, I'd be rubbing my hands with glee at how well this mirrorless trend matches with the DA pancakes, and I'd do anything to get the K-mount onto a compact mirrorless body. The logical option would be (as someone brought up on another thread) folded optics.

Bring out a small folded optic K-mount mirrorless with in-body SR first, then a slightly larger full-frame version later (with lens-specific auto-crop as was mentioned earlier on this thread).

Pair those two with the K-r and K-5 successors plus a K1 full frame (with a couple of FF 2.8 zooms) and you have an entire ecosystem on one mount.

That's how to sell more lenses; give people a great reason to choose K-mount in the first place and expand your market share of bodies. I'd bet that percentage-wise, a lot more owners of a compact K-mount mirrorless body would buy DA pancakes as compared to current owners of K-mount DSLR bodies.

I guess we'll all find out soon enough...


Last edited by Unsinkable II; 09-20-2011 at 10:33 PM.
09-20-2011, 09:31 PM   #155
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QuoteOriginally posted by detritus Quote
but in my view, k-mount or otherwise, pentax needs to move ahead and come up with better product offerings - no mean feat considering that they are victims of their own success - if an old A 50 F1.4 is nearly as good as the DA*55 F1.4, who in the right mind would buy the DA* if they could still get a cheap copy of the A50 off fleabay and retain most of the functions (minus AF)?
The DA* 55mm actually has a lot going for it, but as you are saying it has diminishing returns...

It is sharp for a 50mm, it has a quiet SDM motor which is great for events, and it has weather resistance which is great for outdoors photography. Pentax also specifically designed the lens to be a go-anywhere portrait lens (just look at the hood that comes with it). Oh, and it has a nice large/smooth focus ring. Those reasons are why I replaced my FA 50mm with it. My only complaint is that the casing is plastic instead of metal like the DA* 300mm.


QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
Interesting thread, and so many opinions... so let me add mine
Ricoh would be nuts to introduce a 4th mount. If I were them, I'd be rubbing my hands with glee at how well this mirrorless trend matches with the DA pancakes, and I'd do anything to get the K-mount onto a compact mirrorless. The logical option would be (as someone brought up on another thread) folded optics.

Bring out a small folded opticK-mount mirrorless with SR first, then a slightly larger full-frame version later (with lens-specific auto-crop as was mentioned earlier on this thread).

Pair those two with the K-r and K-5 successors plus a K1 full frame (with a couple of FF 2.8 zooms) and you have an entire ecosystem on one mount.

That's how to sell more lenses; give people a great reason to choose K-mount in the first place and expand your market share of bodies.

I guess we'll all find out soon enough...
While I don't think it's impossible for someone like Pentax to do something novel to get a full k-mount into a small camera, it's unlikely. Like you were saying, it is probably possible to divert the light like they do with their waterproof Optio camera (would probably have to drop SR though). Or maybe they would make something in the shape of a Twin-lens reflex camera (TLR minus the twin part). The camera would be thick enough to handle the k-mount registration distance, but would be a vertical design with the viewer/lcd on the top. With all of the extras taken out and a re-purposing of the main LCD into a viewfinder of sorts I think it could be pretty small.
09-21-2011, 07:50 AM   #156
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
And you will need new glass to use the new mirrorless. That's the point. That's where the money is.
Actually, the money lies in convincing people they need to "upgrade" their camera body every year to keep up with the new "features". Most people will never buy a second lens for their cameras.
09-21-2011, 09:00 AM   #157
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Actually, the money lies in convincing people they need to "upgrade" their camera body every year to keep up with the new "features".
After expressing my own concerns about losing K mount (and therefor lenses), and reading what everyone has said in this thread, I think what you say is a logical prediction.

Reducing all decisions Ricoh will make (regarding Pentax) to dollars on new lenses might cause one to overlook advantages of what at first seems mere sentimentality for old lenses. There are market niche factors a smart development strategy should keep, namely, that Pentax has always been the "alternative" brand, and part of that identity is backward compatibility, affordability, and compactness.

Access to so many lenses is no small marketing feature . . . why throw away any advantage when trying to acquire a bigger share of the market? If we assume mirrorless is the future of photography, then based on its history it is logical to predict that Pentax will try to keep its lenses compatible with mirrorless. New lenses can still be developed (just look at all the calls by users here for various new lenses); and like DA lenses, possibly there will be specialty uber-compact lenses made for mirrorless that allow those who are looking for the smallest possible footprint to have that too.

Also, just how much more width will accommodating K mount add to a mirrorless camera? My rough measurement of the distance from the sensor to the back of the lens is 4mm -- that's pretty narrow. Surely clever design engineers can find ways to get everything out of the way between sensor and lens to keep the camera slim. Even if the mount requires being raised slightly in the mount area, the overall camera can still be kept pretty thin. And as I asked earlier, if the sensor stays the same size (or gets bigger, a distinct possibility), how much smaller (in diameter) can a lens be?

My point is, I don't think abandoning K mount just to make a buck on new lenses is very smart financially because it goes against one of best selling points for buying Pentax camera bodies, and will hurt current users trust and good will. If Pentax camera bodies can be every bit as good as Nikon and Cannon cameras (as the Ricoh exec indicated was their aim), then also having so many lenses available is a marketing advantage.
09-21-2011, 09:12 AM   #158
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
AAlso, just how much more width will accommodating K mount add to a mirrorless camera? My rough measurement of the distance from the sensor to the back of the lens is 4mm -- that's pretty narrow. Surely clever design engineers can find ways to get everything out of the way between sensor and lens to keep the camera slim. Even if the mount requires being raised slightly in the mount area, the overall camera can still be kept pretty thin. And as I asked earlier, if the sensor stays the same size (or gets bigger, a distinct possibility), how much smaller (in diameter) can a lens be?
You're off with a few mm...

Hell the Pentax Q even has register distance off 9.2 mm

K mount use 45.46 mm.

You can't change these numbers.. although you might if you add lens elements to correct it but that won't benefit the image quality.

A k mount CSC will be roughly the same size as the Kx or Km with the viewfinder taken off, not worth it in my opinion.

09-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #159
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
You're off with a few mm...

Hell the Pentax Q even has register distance off 9.2 mm

K mount use 45.46 mm.

You can't change these numbers.. although you might if you add lens elements to correct it but that won't benefit the image quality.

A k mount CSC will be roughly the same size as the Kx or Km with the viewfinder taken off, not worth it in my opinion.
Oops, I meant 4cm (I forgot I was using a cm ruler), but as you point out, 4.5cm or so.
09-21-2011, 09:23 AM   #160
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Sorry guys, I just don't see the reason that mirrorless should always be smaller. I am comfortable with K-5 + grip. If mirrorless added some value to this setup, I want it! Q should have solved the miniaturisation need for some, now let's focus on common sense.
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09-21-2011, 09:37 AM   #161
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote

My point is, I don't think abandoning K mount just to make a buck on new lenses is very smart financially because it goes against one of best selling points for buying Pentax camera bodies, and will hurt current users trust and good will. If Pentax camera bodies can be every bit as good as Nikon and Cannon cameras (as the Ricoh exec indicated was their aim), then also having so many lenses available is a marketing advantage.
You don't abandon K mount to make a few bucks on new lenses. You abandon K mount to maintain your market share. If you can the lens mount rearward 2 cms then that is a huge advantage reducing the most awkward dimension on a DSLR. and if Pentax doesn't do it the others will and new customers will choose those products once they match DSLR capabilities.

Here's sony's soon to be released adapter. Pentax needs to make the new mount capable of receiving a fully functional adapter while gaining the benefits of mirrorless. I don't know if there is something that prevents this but it's the best solution imo. Sony reveals three new NEX E-mount lenses, LA-EA2 A-mount adaptor with translucent mirror -- Engadget

QuoteQuote:
And finally, Sony's LA-EA2 A-mount adapter lets you use your full-size Alpha lenses with the NEX cameras without losing functionality, thanks to built-in Translucent Mirror Technology and a dedicated AF motor. NEX-3, NEX-5, and NEX-C3 owners will need a firmware update to take advantage of the adaptor, but if you already have a collection of A-mount lenses, $400 may be a reasonable price to pay for full compatibility when it ships in November.
09-21-2011, 10:06 AM   #162
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QuoteOriginally posted by davidsladek Quote
Sorry guys, I just don't see the reason that mirrorless should always be smaller. I am comfortable with K-5 + grip. If mirrorless added some value to this setup, I want it! Q should have solved the miniaturisation need for some, now let's focus on common sense.
David
A mirrorless design *allows* building thinner cameras, *not* necessarily smaller-lighter otherwise. The mass and volume of a SLR's mirror-box etc can be eliminated; some of that real estate could be occupied with a better AF system, bigger battery, etc. Fewer moving parts and vibration-free quietude are real benefit.

For much photo work, a form-factor smaller than a Kr just isn't desirable. Yes, very small cameras with very small frames have their place, but so do their larger kin. All are part of a nice mix of tools. Don't use a geologist's hammer to pound railroad spikes, eh?
09-21-2011, 10:06 AM   #163
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QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
Here's sony's soon to be released adapter. Pentax needs to make the new mount capable of receiving a fully functional adapter while gaining the benefits of mirrorless. I don't know if there is something that prevents this but it's the best solution imo. Sony reveals three new NEX E-mount lenses, LA-EA2 A-mount adaptor with translucent mirror -- Engadget
And here is a very awkward looking camera system Sony reveals three new NEX E-mount lenses, LA-EA2 A-mount adaptor with translucent mirror -- Engadget
Why worry about 2cm when you're going to be mounting lenses that are up to 10 times longer? So it can fit in your pocket? Please! There are other considerations besides compactness.

Mirrorless is NOT the future, it is merely a new alternative, one that holds no appeal for some. Why then should we embrace a new mount just for the folks who want a mirrorless body? If Ricoh doesn't support the K mount, there will be nothing to keep me with the brand. I can either buy old gear on the secondary market, or sell off my stuff and switch to Canon or Nikon who will continue to make high end SLRs.
09-21-2011, 10:08 AM   #164
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QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
You don't abandon K mount to make a few bucks on new lenses. You abandon K mount to maintain your market share. If you can the lens mount rearward 2 cms then that is a huge advantage reducing the most awkward dimension on a DSLR. and if Pentax doesn't do it the others will and new customers will choose those products once they match DSLR capabilities.

Here's sony's soon to be released adapter. Pentax needs to make the new mount capable of receiving a fully functional adapter while gaining the benefits of mirrorless. I don't know if there is something that prevents this but it's the best solution imo. Sony reveals three new NEX E-mount lenses, LA-EA2 A-mount adaptor with translucent mirror -- Engadget
Makes sense too, except I continue to dislike cameras that are too compact because there is a trade off between weight and carry convenience and being able to grip the camera well. I love the size of the K7 with, say, the FA31 or Voigtlander 90mm-sized lenses. I have enough camera to grip with my right hand, and enough lens (but not too much) to grip and support with my left. Too much thinner and my left (focusing or zooming) fingers start getting tangled up with my right gripping fingers. I mean really, are we designing pro-level cameras to carry or use?

On a completely unrelated subject . . . boy do I envy Sony Alpha users having that Zeiss 24mm f2 . . . have you seen the review at Photozone for that one? Very nice.
09-21-2011, 10:36 AM   #165
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
And here is a very awkward looking camera system Sony reveals three new NEX E-mount lenses, LA-EA2 A-mount adaptor with translucent mirror -- Engadget
Why worry about 2cm when you're going to be mounting lenses that are up to 10 times longer? So it can fit in your pocket? Please! There are other considerations besides compactness.

Mirrorless is NOT the future, it is merely a new alternative, one that holds no appeal for some. Why then should we embrace a new mount just for the folks who want a mirrorless body? If Ricoh doesn't support the K mount, there will be nothing to keep me with the brand. I can either buy old gear on the secondary market, or sell off my stuff and switch to Canon or Nikon who will continue to make high end SLRs.
The NEX form factor is the reason that I'm not considering it currently. But the panasonic form factor with the nice grip is attractive especially when you mate it with lenses similar to DA ltd's.

I think we'll laugh about this in 5 yrs (or less) when mirrorless technology matches these high end DSLR's that you speak of. Unless your talking about FF DSLR's. And I hope Pentax goes there also. I disagreed initially but now I see the future as smaller fully capable mirrorless entry level cameras and higher end FF K mount cameras. In the meantime Pentax should of course milk the Kmount APSC for all that it's worth since the development cost is either done or will mostly be developed in the other lines.
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