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09-22-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Imaging-Resource Pentax/Ricoh interview

Q&A with Pentax’s John Carlson and Genichiro Takaoka: Is full-frame coming, and what’s next for medium format? - Imaging Resource


Q. A big trend of Photokina 2012 seems to be “Full-frame goes mainstream.” We’ve seen Nikon, Sony, and Canon have all announced full frame cameras at lower price points. At Pentax, you have the K-5’s low light capabilities and you already have a medium format offering. And years ago, you showed one of the first full-frame SLRs that didn’t actually make it out into the market. Where do you see the role for full-frame generally and then in particular with respect to Pentax?

JC: It’s a very difficult question. Everybody is asking us about how Pentax is approaching full frame products. As always, we’re saying that we’re continuing to develop full frame technologies. We have also found some issues and challenges, but we continue to develop it.

We also believe the APS-C sensor has a lot of future potential. APS-C used to have noise problems, and so on. But with the evolution in technology, for example, the K-5 has an available ISO of 51,200.

So as of today, we will continue focusing on the APS-C cameras. It depends on the user demands, also the market situation. We will study continue to study the market.

JC: It’s a big commitment because while it’s not a different mount, you have to create lenses for that, because all of our current lenses, except for three Limiteds, are designed for the APS-C sensor. We have the Q mount that we’re dedicated to. We have the K mount that we’re dedicated to with the APS-C sensor, and we have the 645D. So we have a lot going on already.

GT: And also, the medium format sensor has a lot of potential. It used to be that 40 megapixels was a lot, but now Nikon’s D800 has 36 megapixels. So if we launched a future 645D product, it might need, I don’t know, 60 or even 80 megapixels.

And also we understand that full-frame has disadvantages. The body is bigger, heaver, more expensive. There are disadvantages to full-frame as well.


Last edited by ogl; 09-22-2012 at 11:32 AM.
09-22-2012, 11:29 AM   #2
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DE: Jumping to lenses, to the DA series, a reader asks, “So we’ve seen prime lenses become very popular on mirrorless cameras for their street photography appeal. Do you have any plans to produce more pancake primes like the DA limited offerings from a few years back?”

JC: The DA Limited line is--besides the telephotos--it’s pretty complete. I mean, you have the 15mm, you have the 21mm, you have the 35mm macro, the 40mm, the 70mm. So there’s a lot to it right now. The only hole there is maybe a telephoto. But then you look at our 100mm macro--while it’s not considered a limited lens, it has the build quality.
_________________


It seems to me - no NEW DA LIMITED primes.

Last edited by ogl; 09-22-2012 at 11:45 AM.
09-22-2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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I think - no Pentax FF next year...It could be K-3 APS-C and 645DII.
09-22-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Pentax either needs to produce a FF or they need to bring the cost of the 645D down to the $6,000 range and those $5,000 lenses don't cut it unless you are Leica.
The gape in the line up is pretty big and the void is pretty obvious. I don't think Pentax can avoid producing a FF in the long run. The new entry level FFs from Canon and Nikon are going to attract a lot of high end enthusiasts.

09-22-2012, 12:37 PM - 1 Like   #5
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We're not talking about a Hasselblad Loony here; it's a full fledged medium format; and the most affordable one.

How can the low end camera attract high end enthusiasts?
09-22-2012, 01:20 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
We're not talking about a Hasselblad Loony here; it's a full fledged medium format; and the most affordable one.

How can the low end camera attract high end enthusiasts?
What are you calling a low-end camera? In many some the D600 is better than the K-5 and we are already seeing a couple of people on this forum who have ordered D600s. The K-5 is built better, but that's about it. D600 will have better IQ, AF, more lens options, more resolution, better flash system, better HD video function, more 3rd party support. Build quality is important, but so is IQ and focus accuracy.

The 645D is not really a "full-fledged" MF camera. It is using a 44 x 33 mm CCD sensor compared to 53.9 × 40.4 mm used by Phase One or even a true 60 x 45mm which would be a true 645. The 645D is the cheapest "MF" camera on the market, but compared to the D800E, which will be very close to matching it and is many times more flexible and functional, the 645D is way over priced.

Pentax needs to either cut the price of the 645D to compete with the FFs or they need to really improve the 645D so that it can compete with other MF options. Right now the Nikon D800E is a much better value and a much more capable camera for people who need that resolution.

A true medium format 645 would be 3.125 times larger than a FF. The Pentax 645D is only 1.6x the size of the Nikon D800E. The 645D is out classed in many ways by the D800E. Hopefully the new 90mm F/2.8 lens is $5,000 because it can handle a true 645 sized sensor and Pentax has one ready to go.
09-22-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote

Pentax needs to either cut the price of the 645D to compete with the FFs or they need to really improve the 645D so that it can compete with other MF options. .

Huh? It already outsells all other MF DIgital on the marked....
09-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Winder, take a look at how much a "full 645 frame" Leaf or Hassie cost. Mamiya's newly launched camera, with no digital back, is $6000 - yet you claim that Pentax complete DMF camera should cost the same? Mamiya's old 22MP back + camera is more expensive than the 40MP 645D, but that's not good enough?
Of course, if anyone can do it that would be Pentax; but don't be angry if they can't do it.

I don't think any 645 camera used a 60x45mm frame; do you?

D800, aka the small format is not their competition.

09-22-2012, 01:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
I think - no Pentax FF next year...It could be K-3 APS-C and 645DII.
That ties very well in with the lenses they have roadmapped for next year...
09-22-2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
That ties very well in with the lenses they have roadmapped for next year...
If this is true then Pentax need to actually produce a full APS-C range. Their main problem is that they've been bought and sold twice in six years and this obviously disrupts things but at the end of the day they've never had more than two (I think that's right) DSLRs in their lineup at a time.
09-22-2012, 02:23 PM   #11
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And what's stopping them from getting over this disruption, stronger than ever before?
FTR, they've been taken over once and sold once.
09-22-2012, 02:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Winder, take a look at how much a "full 645 frame" Leaf or Hassie cost. Mamiya's newly launched camera, with no digital back, is $6000 - yet you claim that Pentax complete DMF camera should cost the same? Mamiya's old 22MP back + camera is more expensive than the 40MP 645D, but that's not good enough?
Of course, if anyone can do it that would be Pentax; but don't be angry if they can't do it.

I don't think any 645 camera used a 60x45mm frame; do you?

D800, aka the small format is not their competition.
Yes. Take a look at how much they cost, but Pentax is not really competing with them so that is pretty irrelevant. Serious studio and commercial shooters will laugh at the 1/125 flash sync speed of the 645D. I can buy a Hassy H4D-31 is a budget MF with flash sync of 1/800. Nobody but a Pentax fanboy is going to shell out $8,800 + 5,000 for the new 90mm lens to be stuck with the Pentax flash system. The Hassy H4D-31 with 80mm kit lens comes it at about $900 more than the 645D + new 90mm. The H4D-40 is about $3,000 more, but you get a real flash system and a real line-up of lenses. The Hassy 80mm F/2.8 sells for less than half of the announced price of the new Pentax HD 90mm F/2.8.

People are too hung up on the fact it is a 40MP and is called medium format. The 645D doesn't really compete very well as a system against the rest of this segment. Even at its price point it is not a good value. It doesn't even compete well against the Nikon D800E when you look at the total system and what buyers in this market actually needs. The majority of the professional MF market is not comprised of a bunch of broke legacy lens owners looking for budget options.

The D800E is very much a competitor for the 645D. Since the 645D does not have the flash system to compete with the commercial studio cameras it is forced to compete as a field camera where portability, size, and often tripods can't be used. The D800E has advantages as a system on every point. The D800E has a much better flash systems and would actually be a better studio camera. I can put together a much better system with the D800E for the $13,800 I would spend on a 645D and a 90mm lens.

People who are on a budget and can afford the $13,800 would be better off buying a Nikon D800E. People who need a real MF system camera are wasting their money on a 645D. Prior to the D800E the 654D could claim better IQ than any FF camera, but that is not currently the case.

In what regard do you think the 645D beats the Nikon D800E?
09-22-2012, 02:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Huh? It already outsells all other MF DIgital on the marked....
Post a link to the sales numbers.

Prior to the D800E the 645D could claim to be the best value for people needing high resolution and IQ on a budget. That is no longer the case. Sales numbers prior to the D800E are not relevant to what I am saying. Going forward the D800E is a better option for people in the 645D price range and needing that level of IQ.

Last edited by Winder; 09-22-2012 at 02:40 PM.
09-22-2012, 02:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
And what's stopping them from getting over this disruption, stronger than ever before?
FTR, they've been taken over once and sold once.
Well they merged with Hoya and then Hoya sold them to Ricoh didn't they? They've changed ownership twice certainly. And Hoya were so much bigger than Pentax that it was more a shareholder enforced sale than an amicable merger.

Their main problem is that no one has been willing thus far to invest in them. Ricoh has said they will change this.

However at the end of the day the market doesn't care that there are reasons why Pentax has failed to get anywhere in five or six years. In a way Pentax needs to take a hit for a couple of years by supporting a deep DSLR line up that their market share doesn't currently justify in order to attract people to grow it's market share going forward. This is where the need for investment comes in.
09-22-2012, 02:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
The Hassy H4D-31 with 80mm kit lens comes it at about $900 more than the 645D + new 90mm. The H4D-40 is about $3,000 more, but you get a real flash system and a real line-up of lenses. The Hassy 80mm F/2.8 sells for less than half of the announced price of the new Pentax HD 90mm F/2.8.
Pentax has a "real line-up of lenses" for the 645 D

Pentax 645 Mount Lenses - Digital SLR Camera Lenses - Page 1 - SRS Microsystems

At least available in the UK they do.
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