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10-09-2012, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #1
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DC Watch: Interview with Toshiyuki Kitazawa, Pentax's Head of Business Development

When Digital Camera Watch is interviewing Mr Toshiyuki Kitazawa, Pentax's Head of Business Development, there is obviously no language barrier.

When I try to precisely understand what is written, there is one .

So, if somebody more fluent in Japanese than me could have a look a this

http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/interview/20121010_564928.html

and tell us about, I would be very grateful.


P.S.: there appear to be some spicy pieces of information on Pentax's strategy vis--vis full frame cameras but I would rather have somebody else confirming what I think is implied there.


Edit 10/10/2012: leonsroar has been kind enough to take trouble to translate the whole interview.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/201538-dc-watch-interv...ml#post2129978

I am copying his message here below so that readers can find an English version of the text in the first post of this thread.

QuoteOriginally posted by leonsroar Quote
(...)

Interviewer: Mr. Masakazu Honda (H)
From Pentax Japan: Mr. Toshiyuki Kitazawa (K)


SLR user seeks for better IQ

(H)
Looking at the trend of Fotokina2012, there were FF SLR models targeting high-amateur looking for higher IQ. Three manufacturers have announced new models with FF sensors. Some of them are priced under US$2400 to attract wider range of users. How will Pentax be keeping your pace with it?

(K)
First, there is a trend that is moving forward to higher IQ among whole this industry includes manufacturers and consumers. Meantime, mirrorless segment is moving forward to smaller size. Even though there was possibility to bring FF into this segment, it was our conclusion that APS-C should be the utmost size for mirrorless segment.
On the other hand, consumer’s journey for higher IQ is still going on. We well understand consumer is tapping FF for not only higher IQ itself but also the “high quality product producing high IQ”.

Mirrorless segment is important since it is easier to reduce price than SLR. Manufacturers designed new mounts which enhanced wider option in sensor size as well as more freedom in design. There would be many other ways than higher IQ to make it attractive.

However, SLR remains costly due to its mechanism such as mirror system which enables photographer to view actual image when shooting. It is for user who requires higher IQ as well as product quality itself. We are pretty sure those users have been seeking for better IQ even if only slightly. For this reason they would like to move forward to the largest sensor size which their lens-mount system accepts.

The other side of the mentioned above is that smartphone has been invading segment of low-end point & shoot. As the segment piled up by smartphone, the upper segment for hobbyist (enthusiast) started an increased need for higher level of satisfaction. Mid-end P&S with improved IQ pushes high-end P&S to have larger image sensor, then the P&S with larger format pushes interchangeable-lens camera to next level of IQ.

(H)
If consumer is not satisfied with smartphone’s camera and asking a camera for that kind of satisfaction, P&S camera with larger format might be enough for them, wouldn’t it?

(K)
I think what is hard for smartphone to satisfy consumers are dynamic range, high quality lens, and bokeh. P&S with larger format could be an answer to make up these factors. Smaller difference of image format between those P&S and SLR may diminish SLR’s appeal. Hence manufactures are developing low-end SLR with FF as well as FF into the other segments.


Under Advanced Development targeting 2013 or later

(H)
So, in this situation that hobbyists’ cameras are getting full-sized, what kind of action are you going to take?

(K)
First, we are discussing development of FF SLR. We are touching base with a sensor manufacturer and proceeding the process of development towards production.

When looking only at “developing new SLR” there is no difference between APS-C & FF and we must be able to produce upon acquiring sensor and appropriate developing. However, we understand that we must make “clear” difference from APS-C in terms of IQ and expanding shooting capability when we produce FF. It was a reason why we have been producing almost only DA series lenses that we had been thinking it was difficult to make the “clear” difference.

(H)
You think now you can make the clear difference because you have started the process of developing FF?

(K)
We are currently discussing what kind of difference we should be able to make. In our case, many of FF lenses have already been discontinued and only FA Limited Lenses and some others are available. When we go with FF, we need to line-up new lens line. It is different from the other manufacturers that have been producing FF cameras.

What should we do to re-make lens line-up and make difference from competitors such as Canon, Sony, and Nikon? Not merely producing FF, Rather, how we should be able to create additional value on it. We have been discussing and not concluded yet.

However, as we understand we can’t launch products right after conclusion, we are in parallel developing aside from making marketing story. This is current status.

(H)
Looking at others focusing strong line-up in entry SLR as well as FF segment, I’m feeling that they are a bit retreating in mid-level SLR segment which is your main battle area. What is your forecast?

(K)
I also feel the segment have not really been focused as a whole industry recently. However I don’t believe they retreat from this segment completely. Pentax is also responsible to existing users for continuously pioneering the market and enhance K-Mount system. We must develop a successor of K-5II as well as updating line-up. Our long term strategy is towards FF while short term strategy is increasing line-up in APS-C segment.

(H)
Back to FF sensor, it is Pentax’ brand image that you are good for small & light weight which is good in field, processing images suitable for field, and high IQ thank to w/o AA.

(K)
We are developing towards commercial production and will definitely launch though, it is the matter of whether it makes sense or not for Pentax to produce similar FF SLR to others and slightly smaller & lighter FF Lenses than others. As to time frame, it is under advanced development towards 2013 or later. You can expect that.


w/o AA Filter is Prescribed Course

(H)
You have the upper segment which is 645D. What kind of different value do you need to create?

(K)
We have developed the 645D to beat FF’s IQ. As you know, the others say their updated FF caught up with medium format, right? They are looking at 645D as their bench mark to improve their FF SLRs.

However, it’s “current model” of 645D. We feel so honored that they are still targeting it as their benchmark but it was launched back in June, 2010. Needless to say we have been developing the successor. We have updated the lens road map and released 90mm F2.8. We will be continuously updating 645D line up more and more.

(H)
I think 645D made a clear brand image of Pentax for “Field Photography”. You have announced K-5IIs. Also the upcoming FF is expected not to have AA. Nikon also launched D800E. As a pioneer to developing inter-changeable lens camera w/o AA, how you see it?

(K)
We were afraid of receiving complaint on moire when we first developed 645D. However, upon shooting in several scenes there were less moire and fake colors. Looking at feedback from users, we are happy that they are complimenting its IQ rather than the risk of moire and fake colors.

After shooting, you can see the world which you can’t see through the view-finder. Those users have been weighing the advantage of seeing another world which they had never seen.

After that, in this year, Nikon launched D800E and it is becoming a trend that removing AA for better IQ, or choosing it for other purpose.

(H)
I think one of reasons of the trend is narrower pixel pitch, isn’t it?

(K)
Both deeper understanding on w/o AA among the market and narrower pixel pitch enabled us to launch K-5IIs. We heard from dealers that they are focusing the newly developed AF unit which catches up down to -3EV as well as K-5IIs which doesn’t have AA. We are surprised at more pre-order of K-5IIs than we expected. We expected less orders due to moire and fake colors.

16M APS-C image sensor has less than 5 micron of pixel pitch which means we can see at 100M sensor depends on performance of back-end such as processing LSI and/or forwarding interface of image data. We heard some sensor-manufacturer has been developing to target 100M sensor. Anyway, since we have much less risk of moire and fake colors than 12M, I think w/o AA will be a main stream.

(H)
In that trend, have you found further direction as Pentax, good manufacturer for field photography?

(K)
It is a prescribed course for Pentax to go with w/o AA. We will apply this strategy to many other segments. Meantime, we have been developing another technology for even better IQ which has different approach than w/o AA. We are planning to enhance our originality from a new perspective. You can expect that.


Q-Series, a Maverick


(H)
You have announced Q10. What is your forecast on this segment?

(K)
We are developing several lenses because we only had 5 lenses. We will be updating lens line-up in this year through next year. We are sometimes asked “are you going to quit?” It’s is our valuable line-up and we will never quit as well as 645D which are Pentax-Only areas.

It is said that IQ of Q series are not so good due to its sensor size. However, they understand when looking at the actual print-out. It has achieved for printing onto large paper to some extent and foremost we need it for consumer to experience the joyful world of inter-changeable lens. For the other mirrorless segment, it might be hard for a whole system to fit into a bag.

Before all, we understand our promotion for Q-World has not been enough, we must show off to get attention more and more. Q10 is being launched shortly but the successor is already under development. We lined-up 100 colors to get attention at store front. We would like to continuously get attention to this series as a maverick.



Last edited by Mistral75; 10-10-2012 at 02:23 AM.
10-09-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Interesting find Mistral. Thanks for sharing!

Here's the Google translation bot version, butchered to high hell I'm sure. Nonetheless, lots and lots of talk about sensor size, and a little bit of talk about the lens differentiation problem and about how skipping on the low-pass filter will become more common. There's other cryptic stuff in there about more MPs, tighter pixel pitch, full size medium format sensor, new lens development, and mirrorless.
10-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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Seems like "we conentrate on APS for the time being and consider FF in due course".

Also, the 645 system will develop rapidly.
10-09-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pl Jensen Quote
Seems like "we conentrate on APS for the time being and consider FF in due course".

Also, the 645 system will develop rapidly.
Thats great news for the dozens that own a 645D

10-09-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pl Jensen Quote
Also, the 645 system will develop rapidly.
I do wonder if that is a second camera with the Kodak 50mp CCD or the new co-developed CMOS sensor?
10-09-2012, 01:26 PM   #6
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"Wait, and see".
The more interviews, the more projects, hence new products, both the poorest and happier we will hopefully be.
10-09-2012, 02:38 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pl Jensen Quote
Seems like "we conentrate on APS for the time being and consider FF in due course".

Also, the 645 system will develop rapidly.
Actually, I believe the translation was "we concentrate on APS for the time being and consider FF when whining becomes unbearable"


Of course I could be mistaken.
10-09-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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As in a stocl market cable news show where one man's "long term" is another man's "tomorrow," in due course means whatever he means it to mean, and we won't know until we know.

10-09-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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The Google translation of the original interview is very difficult to follow. Here is a link to digicams-info's summary of the same interview, which seems a little bit less painful to read. The reaction by readers, who can presumably read the article without difficulty, is sometimes helpful in confirming what was said. Judging by the comments so far, it seems that Kitazawa-san went much further than before in confirming that Pentax intends to commercialise a full frame model.

Google Translate
10-09-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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More tea-leaf reading
10-09-2012, 05:09 PM - 7 Likes   #11
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Interview with Mr. Kitazawa, GM R&D of Pentax JP

<Information Source>
http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/interview/20121010_564928.html

<Rough Translation>
* aimed direct transfer without putting my own thought or assumption
* hope I would be able to write better English...need practice...
* please feel free to remove if any problem with copy-right.

Interviewer: Mr. Masakazu Honda (H)
From Pentax Japan: Mr. Toshiyuki Kitazawa (K)


SLR user seeks for better IQ


(H)
Looking at the trend of Fotokina2012, there were FF SLR models targeting high-amateur looking for higher IQ. Three manufacturers have announced new models with FF sensors. Some of them are priced under US$2400 to attract wider range of users. How will Pentax be keeping your pace with it?

(K)
First, there is a trend that is moving forward to higher IQ among whole this industry includes manufacturers and consumers. Meantime, mirrorless segment is moving forward to smaller size. Even though there was possibility to bring FF into this segment, it was our conclusion that APS-C should be the utmost size for mirrorless segment.
On the other hand, consumer’s journey for higher IQ is still going on. We well understand consumer is tapping FF for not only higher IQ itself but also the “high quality product producing high IQ”.

Mirrorless segment is important since it is easier to reduce price than SLR. Manufacturers designed new mounts which enhanced wider option in sensor size as well as more freedom in design. There would be many other ways than higher IQ to make it attractive.

However, SLR remains costly due to its mechanism such as mirror system which enables photographer to view actual image when shooting. It is for user who requires higher IQ as well as product quality itself. We are pretty sure those users have been seeking for better IQ even if only slightly. For this reason they would like to move forward to the largest sensor size which their lens-mount system accepts.

The other side of the mentioned above is that smartphone has been invading segment of low-end point & shoot. As the segment piled up by smartphone, the upper segment for hobbyist (enthusiast) started an increased need for higher level of satisfaction. Mid-end P&S with improved IQ pushes high-end P&S to have larger image sensor, then the P&S with larger format pushes interchangeable-lens camera to next level of IQ.

(H)
If consumer is not satisfied with smartphone’s camera and asking a camera for that kind of satisfaction, P&S camera with larger format might be enough for them, wouldn’t it?

(K)
I think what is hard for smartphone to satisfy consumers are dynamic range, high quality lens, and bokeh. P&S with larger format could be an answer to make up these factors. Smaller difference of image format between those P&S and SLR may diminish SLR’s appeal. Hence manufactures are developing low-end SLR with FF as well as FF into the other segments.

Under Advanced Development targeting 2013 or later



(H)
So, in this situation that hobbyists’ cameras are getting full-sized, what kind of action are you going to take?

(K)
First, we are discussing development of FF SLR. We are touching base with a sensor manufacturer and proceeding the process of development towards productization.

When looking only at “developing new SLR” there is no difference between APS-C & FF and we must be able to produce upon acquiring sensor and appropriate developing. However, we understand that we must make “clear” difference from APS-C in terms of IQ and expanding shooting capability when we produce FF. It was a reason why we have been producing almost only DA series lenses that we had been thinking it was difficult to make the “clear” difference.

(H)
You think now you can make the clear difference because you have started the process of developing FF?

(K)
We are currently discussing what kind of difference we should be able to make. In our case, many of FF lenses have already been discontinued and only FA Limited Lenses and some others are available. When we go with FF, we need to line-up new lens line. It is different from the other manufacturers that have been producing FF cameras.

What should we do to re-make lens line-up and make difference from competitors such as Canon, Sony, and Nikon? Not merely producing FF, Rather, how we should be able to create additional value on it. We have been discussing and not concluded yet.

However, as we understand we can’t launch products right after conclusion, we are in parallel developing aside from making marketing story. This is current status.

(H)
Looking at others focusing strong line-up in entry SLR as well as FF segment, I’m feeling that they are a bit retreating in mid-level SLR segment which is your main battle area. What is your forecast?

(K)
I also feel the segment have not really been focused as a whole industry recently. However I don’t believe they retreat from this segment completely. Pentax is also responsible to existing users for continuously pioneering the market and enhance K-Mount system. We must develop a successor of K-5II as well as updating line-up. Our long term strategy is towards FF while short term strategy is increasing line-up in APS-C segment.

(H)
Back to FF sensor, it is Pentax’ brand image that you are good for small & light weight which is good in field, processing images suitable for field, and high IQ thank to w/o AA.

(K)
We are developing towards commercial productization and will definitely launch though, it is the matter of whether it makes sense or not for Pentax to produce similar FF SLR to others and slightly smaller & lighter FF Lenses than others. As to time frame, it is under advanced development towards 2013 or later. You can expect that.


w/o AA Filter is Prescribed Course

(H)
You have the upper segment which is 645D. What kind of different value do you need to create?

(K)
We have developed the 645D to beat FF’s IQ. As you know, the others say their updated FF caught up with medium format, right? They are looking at 645D as their bench mark to improve their FF SLRs.

However, it’s “current model” of 645D. We feel so honored that they are still targeting it as their benchmark but it was launched back in June, 2010. Needless to say we have been developing the successor. We have updated the lens road map and released 90mm F2.8. We will be continuously updating 645D line up more and more.

(H)
I think 645D made a clear brand image of Pentax for “Field Photography”. You have announced K-5IIs. Also the upcoming FF is expected not to have AA. Nikon also launched D800E. As a pioneer to developing inter-changeable lens camera w/o AA, how you see it?

(K)
We were afraid of receiving complaint on moire when we first developed 645D. However, upon shooting in several scenes there were less moire and fake-colors. Looking at feedback from users, we are happy that they are complimenting its IQ rather than the risk of moire and fake-colors.

After shooting, you can see the world which you can’t see through the view-finder. Those users have been weighing the advantage of seeing another world which they had never seen.

After that, in this year, Nikon launched D800E and it is becoming a trend that removing AA for better IQ, or choosing it for other purpose.

(H)
I think one of reasons of the trend is narrower pixel pitch, isn’t it?

(K)
Both deeper understanding on w/o AA among the market and narrower pixel pitch enabled us to launch K-5IIs. We heard from dealers that they are focusing the newly developed AF unit which catches up down to -3EV as well as K-5IIs which doesn’t have AA. We are surprised at more pre-order of K-5IIs than we expected. We expected less orders due to moire and fake-colors.

16M APS-C image sensor has less than 5 micron of pixel pitch which means we can see at 100M sensor depends on performance of back-end such as processing LSI and/or forwarding interface of image data. We heard some sensor-manufacturer has been developing to target 100M sensor. Anyway, since we have much less risk of moire and fake-colors than 12M, I think w/o AA will be a main stream.

(H)
In that trend, have you found further direction as Pentax, good manufacturer for field photography?

(K)
It is a prescribed course for Pentax to go with w/o AA. We will apply this strategy to many other segments. Meantime, we have been developing another technology for even better IQ which has different approach than w/o AA. We are planning to enhance our originality from a new perspective. You can expect that.

Q-Series, a Maverick



(H)
You have announced Q10. What is your forecast on this segment?

(K)
We are developing several lenses because we only had 5 lenses. We will be updating lens line-up in this year through next year. We are sometimes asked “are you going to quit?” It’s is our valuable line-up and we will never quit as well as 645D which are Pentax-Only areas.

It is said that IQ of Q series are not so good due to its sensor size. However, they understand when looking at the actual print-out. It has achieved for printing onto large paper to some extent and foremost we need it for consumer to experience the joyful world of inter-changeable lens. For the other mirrorless segment, it might be hard for a whole system to fit into a bag.

Before all, we understand our promotion for Q-World has not been enough, we must show off to get attention more and more. Q10 is being launched shortly but the successor is already under development. We lined-up 100 colors to get attention at storefront. We would like to continuously get attention to this series as a maverick.

***Correction***
exiting users => existing users

Last edited by leonsroar; 10-09-2012 at 10:18 PM.
10-09-2012, 05:11 PM   #12
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Sorry I just posted another thread without knowing this...
10-09-2012, 05:21 PM   #13
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It was somewhat interesting. I read it to be 2014 for FF. Probably not going to be mirrorless. They are questioning if it is worthwhile to develop FF compatible lenses in a sense that if there is enough there for them to differentiate themselves from Canikon with FF body just slightly smaller than others and a new lens line up. They have not yet reached conclusion regarding this matter. He said it will take a while to come out with it once they are convinced that there is enough there for them to delve into it. They are in contact with FF sensor vendors already. It sounds like they are not that close to it.
10-09-2012, 05:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonsroar Quote
Sorry I just posted another thread without knowing this...
Your translation is much easier to understand
10-09-2012, 05:54 PM   #15
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Thanks a lot for the translation work, it's a very interesting interview!

Especially this part:
"Our long term strategy is towards FF while short term strategy is increasing line-up in APS-C segment."

So, it's really coming
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