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09-26-2012, 12:52 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Thanks for the link. This interview reveals more about Pentax future plans than I saw in previous interviews.
From this one I can surmise:
1.) K-01 will be a one off product
2.) We will not see the lenses that will take advantage of the empty mirror space in K-01.
3.) Any FF camera will be an (expensive) pro high spec unit, Pentax expects APS-C to cover the entry and mid level spots as the image quality is excellent for this use
4.) No more SDM for new lenses, will use DC
5.) The Q will be supported going forward
6.) Japan market is the product focus target for Pentax, whatever that market deems desirable is how the roadmap will pan out. - Global trends are secondary

In summary, if you like what Pentax produces enjoy it in good health.
If you think your suggestions/petitions/complaints have any bearing on what Pentax does you will be disappointed.
For clues as to where Pentax is going next, rely on Japan market trends and get a good translator so you can read the Japanese photography forums.

For quite a while, a similar idea has be rattling around in the back of my mind. I tend to think that this speculation is right, but possibly out on the edge of the diving board. In some way I could (and still can't) fathom, how Pentax could let a Japan centric train of thought run the company so completely. I think that is the single largest mis-understanding that we here in the US have been missing. That said, it does - to me, start to explain a lot of their actions and approach to markets outside Japan. Pentax, I am observing is a much more Japanese company than Canon, Nikon or Olympus, or that any of us really understand.

We in some respects look at Pentax's lack of marketing and shake our heads at missing opportunities. They don't care - pure and simple. They are focused on Japan, and what we are seeing is the export of a Japanese product to the rest of the world. Take it or leave it - we are the left overs. We have taken the products (excess supply), purchased and use them. In terms of expanding the markets in our respectively local geographic regions - fine, knock yourself out - just don't cost us anything or bother to try to change Pentax Corporate perspectives. Think about it a bit - that has been what has been occurring up to now. Pentax has not been taking a Nissan or Toyota global approach.

QuoteOriginally posted by cfraz Quote
I didn't pick this up at all, though it's clear that in the past Pentax has been much more Japan-market-centric than Nikon and Canon. But appointing Mr. Noboru Akahane, Pentax Ricoh Imaging President, as P-USA President, and appointing a VP of P-USA that has been involved in the Ricoh/Pentax integration, and who directly reports to Mr. Akahane sends a completely unambiguous message that Pentax management intends to take the USA market seriously.

There is no way they would make that move without intending to elevate P-USA performance - there is too much at stake for Mr. Akahane's reputation and therby his influence in the company for it to be a half-hearted move.
In taking the thought process from above a bit further and fleshing it out some more, I am thinking that P-USA is being looked upon not quite as you have described. I think / surmise that we are looking from the outside in, at a tug of war of wills. In some ways, I am looking at Ned in somewhat of a kinder light. I think that he was trying to leverage Pentax out of their Japan centric focus - and finally lost. I am not looking at this as a positive, I am looking at Pentax's President personally pulling a regional company back from having gone rogue (in his view), and administering some corporate discipline on an unruly / defiant teenager. I believe that this is a regressive action. I do not think that sufficient opportunities existed (finance$) were/are available for P-USA, so Ned's experiment was doomed from the beginning. A real clash of corporate cultures. Ricoh is the wild card here. A while ago Ricoh and Pentax's MAP actions, were described by a past US employee, as typical Ricoh. That coupled with the re-badging and overpricing of the Tamron lens, lends me to think that Ricoh itself, does not currently understand the Japan centric focus of Pentax, and it is just overlaying their focus and policies on Pentax. That may in our view (from the US and else where), may make the appearances a bit worse. Pentax still has not really announced anything more about MAP - just gone silent - other than the management change.

Am, I being overly pessimistic? Possibly, but to me, it explains quite a bit. Going forward, the only thing that counts is their announcements and follow through actions. I believe that the real indication of any change will be in marketing. If the current prevailing attitude on marketing changes, that will be an indication of change - hopefully for the better. If Ricoh is going to have a significant return on their investment, they need to sell more product, and marketing is the key ingredient here.



09-26-2012, 01:09 AM   #17
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It sounds as if they regard the K-01 as not a very interesting product. And as much as a sceptic I was at the K-01's release, I still think they should learn from it and improve on it.

Moreover, a K-01 with a really good integrated EVF and the promised recessed lenses would be a killer product. Especially if it uses that sensor format that I hate to bring up but did anyway.
09-26-2012, 03:21 AM - 1 Like   #18
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Adam's and this interview combined and taking into account that this guy is head of Pentax product planning and doesn't speak English, I guess we saw part of the problem here:

A lack of forward thinking and entrepreneur-oriented management. Even under Ricoh, despite all the ambitions.

Their basic way of reasoning ( didn't get much feed-back, so didn't decide to make it ) is a problem in a fast moving industry. Without accepting the risk of wrong decisions, there is no way to increase or even maintain market share. I mean, did Apple ask customers before doing the iPhone, or did the Newton's failure stop them to try again? No, you must have and apply your own imagination or you stay runner-up forever. Ok, like in the case of Samsung, it may work out ok, but I'd rather want to be with the original then.

I take it they didn't even launch an FF project or a true CSC project (the fact that they believe into the Q just highlights how big the problem really is ... -- they don't see that very soon all smart phones will have larger sensors than the Q. They don't see a tsunami coming even if all alarm bells are already ringing).

They want to protect the K mount which is a great thing. But at the same time, it paralyzes them because they have no clue of how to proceed then. There is a lack of knowledge of engineering options at the management level. Like the option of a fully capable K mount adapter with embedded screw drive motor and CPU.

Maybe they got the ring at this Photokina and launch an FF project now (after all, it was now they left their island and they're doing it every two years only ...). But it would deliver at Photokina 2014 and would be on par with the competition (AF, lens options etc.) at Photokina 2016 or so. Problem is that by 2016, the hot products will be larger than full frame mirrorless and smart phones with a lens mount ... Or something more visionary than I can think of within 2 minutes of writing this.

Last edited by falconeye; 09-26-2012 at 03:26 AM.
09-26-2012, 03:24 AM   #19
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Thanks, Ogl, for sharing this.

Very good questions and the answers actually contained some pieces of information.

09-26-2012, 03:51 AM   #20
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Falk, it could be entirely possible that most of Pentax's answers in the various interviews were pure lies to distract the competition. Of course, they knew about the recurring questions regarding a FF camera, so they had time to study on a good answer prior to the Photokina. And in this case I think they plainly lied about the products currently under development.

Of course, it could be all real. But I don't believe for a moment that Ricoh has done almost nothing in the course of *one year*. One year in which many plans could have been devised, worked out on paper in detail. I remember the news from around the purchase of Pentax by Ricoh: they had *big* plans with the brand. Even though we are now still looking at Hoya's products I still cannot believe that this is all and that Pentax/Ricoh is THAT clueless about the market and where it is heading, as is expressed in the interviews. Something just does not feel right.

So, I'm still expecting surprises at the coming CP+.
09-26-2012, 04:21 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote

A lack of forward thinking and entrepreneur-oriented management. Even under Ricoh, despite all the ambitions.

There is a lack of knowledge of engineering options at the management level
Direct hit
09-26-2012, 04:23 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote

So, I'm still expecting surprises at the coming CP+.
No surprises from Pentax. APS-C, Q and MF. They can't risk...
09-26-2012, 04:25 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
Their basic way of reasoning ( didn't get much feed-back, so didn't decide to make it ) is a problem in a fast moving industry.
But that was regarding the XS lenses, wasn't it? I think that was just an excuse because he couldn't say directly at this point that there will be no more mirrorless K-mount cameras.

09-26-2012, 04:30 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
Falk, it could be entirely possible that most of Pentax's answers in the various interviews were pure lies to distract the competition
I see two issues with this assumption:
  1. I don't believe Canikon lose much sleep over what Pentax does. They'll watch each other and perhaps Sony but Pentax is just too insignificant at the moment to pose a real thread. In particular, given the way Pentax currently is lagging behind in terms of capitalising on market opportunities.
  2. What is it that Canikon could do over and above they are already doing to marginalise Pentax? Their recent budget FF offers could be lowered in price, yes, but this can still be done when Pentax actually gets around to make a competing product. No need to rely on advance information.
The only surprise potential I currently see for Pentax is for them to offer an APS-C DSLR that is superiour to every APS-C offering from Canikon. However, this a) got nothing to do with an assumed need to distract the competition regarding FF developments, and b) I fully expect Canikon to produce updates to the D300 and the 7D in due course.
09-26-2012, 04:33 AM   #25
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No, I don't think they lied; it's just that their wording is (unintentionally) misleading for the western mind. Be it modesty, secrecy or both - one have to keep this in mind, when looking for information (which is there!).
They're also echoing my thought regarding several aspects, like the necessity of moving forward with the K-mount, 645D, disadvantages of the non-fixed LCD, how a NEX-like line would hurt/kill the K-mount. Yet so many relevant details have yet to be revealed.

Of course they were/are very busy and working on marvelous stuff; they're preparing some big surprises, something we wouldn't expect from them (and since you're expecting a FF, it can't be that ). They're already using optical stabilization in the D FA 90mm, and that's a significant move; well, we're talking about surprises, not miracles, right?. They have a plan and we will be happy
09-26-2012, 04:40 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Of course they were/are very busy and working on marvelous stuff; they're preparing some big surprises, something we wouldn't expect from them (and since you're expecting a FF, it can't be that ).
So it must be a super compact and somewhat more affordable 645D with Exmor sensor and 4K video

(But when considering the prices of the two most recent 645 lenses, I guess a more affordable 645D body won't help much )
09-26-2012, 04:42 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
They have a plan and we will be happy

Sounds like deceitful mantra of some sects..

Last edited by ogl; 09-26-2012 at 05:23 AM.
09-26-2012, 04:44 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I mean, did Apple ask customers before doing the iPhone,
Cue some appropriate Steve Jobs quotes:

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."

"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. ... It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."
09-26-2012, 05:04 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
Sound like deceitful mantra of some sects..
There is no deceit in my words; I'm simply stating a fact, and all will be revealed, I guess next year.
Except for the "we will be happy" part; some people will never be happy.
09-26-2012, 05:20 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
For quite a while, a similar idea has be rattling around in the back of my mind. I tend to think that this speculation is right, but possibly out on the edge of the diving board. In some way I could (and still can't) fathom, how Pentax could let a Japan centric train of thought run the company so completely. I think that is the single largest mis-understanding that we here in the US have been missing. That said, it does - to me, start to explain a lot of their actions and approach to markets outside Japan. Pentax, I am observing is a much more Japanese company than Canon, Nikon or Olympus, or that any of us really understand.

We in some respects look at Pentax's lack of marketing and shake our heads at missing opportunities. They don't care - pure and simple. They are focused on Japan, and what we are seeing is the export of a Japanese product to the rest of the world. Take it or leave it - we are the left overs. We have taken the products (excess supply), purchased and use them. In terms of expanding the markets in our respectively local geographic regions - fine, knock yourself out - just don't cost us anything or bother to try to change Pentax Corporate perspectives. Think about it a bit - that has been what has been occurring up to now. Pentax has not been taking a Nissan or Toyota global approach.



In taking the thought process from above a bit further and fleshing it out some more, I am thinking that P-USA is being looked upon not quite as you have described. I think / surmise that we are looking from the outside in, at a tug of war of wills. In some ways, I am looking at Ned in somewhat of a kinder light. I think that he was trying to leverage Pentax out of their Japan centric focus - and finally lost. I am not looking at this as a positive, I am looking at Pentax's President personally pulling a regional company back from having gone rogue (in his view), and administering some corporate discipline on an unruly / defiant teenager. I believe that this is a regressive action. I do not think that sufficient opportunities existed (finance$) were/are available for P-USA, so Ned's experiment was doomed from the beginning. A real clash of corporate cultures. Ricoh is the wild card here. A while ago Ricoh and Pentax's MAP actions, were described by a past US employee, as typical Ricoh. That coupled with the re-badging and overpricing of the Tamron lens, lends me to think that Ricoh itself, does not currently understand the Japan centric focus of Pentax, and it is just overlaying their focus and policies on Pentax. That may in our view (from the US and else where), may make the appearances a bit worse. Pentax still has not really announced anything more about MAP - just gone silent - other than the management change.

Am, I being overly pessimistic? Possibly, but to me, it explains quite a bit. Going forward, the only thing that counts is their announcements and follow through actions. I believe that the real indication of any change will be in marketing. If the current prevailing attitude on marketing changes, that will be an indication of change - hopefully for the better. If Ricoh is going to have a significant return on their investment, they need to sell more product, and marketing is the key ingredient here.

Thanks, one of the most thoughtful posts I have read on these forums. This has become my view too, that Pentax is primarily a Japanese company culturally attuned to Japan and what happens overseas isn't of great concern to them and rarely figures in their forward planning. There are pluses in this, in fact - a Japanese aesthetic, an understanding and appreciation of small, neat, carefully made and very clever things, an innate conservatism which won't sacrifice quality (image quality in our case) for innovation alone. For myself, I am a fan of all this. However, it strikes me as flatly incompatible with the idea of Pentax as a worldwide consumer brand hoping to compete internationally with you know who. Unless all that changes, the likelihood isn't of Pentax's market share doubling in three years, as Ricoh have claimed it will, pretty improbably really - but of it halving.

What we don't know is Ricoh's real agenda once you strip out the usual PR guff which always accompanies takeovers: what they see in Pentax, how they see their investment and the kind of return they are looking for. I mean, whether Ricoh is determined to turn an inward-looking culture inside out, implement a sales and marketing machine that's truly worldwide in view, and generally go for it big time - or, er, not. We simply don't know. There are a few words but no actions. That's pretty scary as a basis when you are thinking of investing $$ in a photography system over several years. Whatever happens, I think Ricoh is the last chance for Pentax and Photokina this year was something of a watershed for me. I wasn't expecting Ricoh-inspired products but I was expecting a new Ricoh-inspired regime to show itself and show that it had some fire and determination. What I wasn't expecting was what we got: "nothing has happened here". If Pentax are not prepared to change, then I'd guess the long fade-out has already begun. The only other explanation I can think of is that Ricoh haven't bought Pentax because they are all that interested in it as a business, though they might prod it from time to time, but as part of some complicated financial/tax engineering scheme we don't know about.
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