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02-18-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
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"Pentax plan calls for higher-grade SLR"

Has anyone else noticed this article?

Pentax will start "a new category" of SLR, promising "a higher-end class of camera in 2009", but "don't expect a full-frame Pentax". What the heck are they hinting at then?

This from the Underexposed blog at c|net.

02-18-2008, 03:29 PM   #2
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I think this article alludes to the 645D, which might be closer to release than we think. For now, it makes sense for Pentax not to go FF. Personally, I don't think Pentax needs to go FF if they continue to release DA versions of older lenses, by factoring in the crop factor. They did this with the DA* 16-50/2.8, DA* 50-135/2.8, and the upcomgin DA* 55/1.4. I think Pentax has a great priceerformance ratio for the entire platform. By sticking with APS-C they can have an entry-level DSLR and a semi-professional/professional DSLR for very cheap price. To those that need better, Pentax can have the 645D.
02-18-2008, 04:17 PM   #3
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Sounds promising after such a long wait. Even better, if there focusing on the 645D with lenses then they may decide to let the k20 and k200 run for at least a 18 month cycle before revisiting them...why? because i would hope this affords them a bit more attention towards the production lines and tightening up the QC of future lenses.

One other thing though...the jump from advanced amateur to pro(dslr) is usually around an extra 2k- 3k. Im guessing this medium format back will cost between 10-18K....thats a huge gap inbetween the Pentax ranges..could there be perhaps another camera in the works that is not MF?
02-18-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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if they release a higher end dSLR within the next 1.5 years then it wont be FF, yea.

But why does the 645 keep coming up as an alternative to a FF dSLR. Do you really think ppl who want a pentax version of the canon 5D or even nikon D3 will buy a 645 camera instead? do you really think this is an altenative? An MF camera is different from a dSLR,with muchlarger mirror and larger lenses and most importantly lenses that are not compatible with dSLR lenses. Furthermore it will deffinetley be more expensive than a canon 5D. Look at the prices of MF cameras they are extremely expensive. If I had to sell my k10d and all my pentax lenses to upgrade to a 645 with new lenses, then I might as well buy a Nikon D3 with nikon lenses instead if I had unloaded all my Pentax gear, would most likely be cheaper too.

02-18-2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kaimarx Quote
Sounds promising after such a long wait. Even better, if there focusing on the 645D with lenses then they may decide to let the k20 and k200 run for at least a 18 month cycle before revisiting them...why? because i would hope this affords them a bit more attention towards the production lines and tightening up the QC of future lenses.

One other thing though...the jump from advanced amateur to pro(dslr) is usually around an extra 2k- 3k. Im guessing this medium format back will cost between 10-18K....thats a huge gap inbetween the Pentax ranges..could there be perhaps another camera in the works that is not MF?
The new DSLR will be a high spec APSC camera - much like the outgoing Nikon D2X only with a second generation Samsung CMOS sensor and a price more like the D300. I suspect the major R&D effort will go into an upgraded metering and AF system that will hold its own with the D3 and 1D series. Such a system would be required if they decided to re-enter the pro SLR market with a FF camera later on.

They may look at a FF DSLR in 2-3 years but all that will depend on how many D3s, A900's and 5D replacements get sold. I suspect you should keep a close watch on the lens roadmap because unless they are going to ship a whole raft of new lenses at the same time as an FF camera its going to be pretty useless. If there is a decent margin in FF they will go there eventually but not unless they can make real money out of the body and lenses.

Whether they build and ship the 645D is another issue. Right now they do not have the professional support infrastructure that would be needed to supply and service such a camera to working pros. However last I heard they were aiming to hit the market at a price that undercut Mamiya and would atttract Canon 1DS users at around the $8000 mark.

Still a big gap, but the 1DS aint cheap either.
02-18-2008, 07:05 PM   #6
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I doubt they will go for FF. To maximize appeal, they can go high-spec APS-C. However, FF will mean new lens, and I doubt Pentax would want to be juggling things like that.
02-18-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tux08902 Quote
I doubt they will go for FF. To maximize appeal, they can go high-spec APS-C. However, FF will mean new lens, and I doubt Pentax would want to be juggling things like that.
Not right now for sure. They are not in that market yet.

I strongly suspect Sony will really struggle in FF. For a start, most of their lenses are old rebadged Minolta film lenses. If Canon is anything to go by even some of their L glass looks distinctly shakey on the 1DS mk3 so god help Sony. White elephant? We'll see. I predict a 24MP FF camera wont perform much better than an A700 and it will bomb! After all they have no real pro following left and only the most dedicated would pay the kind of prices they are demanding for their big glass. Moreover availability (at least in the UK) is no better, and possibly worse, than Pentax.

However Pentax MAY see an opportunity for a camera that provides studio and landscape pros (their old pro base) with a larger format SLR solution in the longer term if they decide to scrap the 645. This could be FF, or 1.2crop or something else. Who knows?

Since they make almost no FF and MF lenses any more why not do a completely new lens mount for a larger than FF sensor with a 4/3 ratio (like MF) but small enough to put in a slightly bigger SLR body and include an MF lens adapter. The largest sensor you can make in a single pass is a 1.3 crop (28.7 X 18.7mm). Two of those welded together (only one join, same as FF hence not much more expensive) would produce a 37.4 X 28.7mm sensor. A specially designed mount and lenses and you would have a real FF solution with none of the downsides - apart from the need to buy a whole bunch of new lenses of course.
02-18-2008, 08:15 PM   #8
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I see what your saying, and the lack of backwards compatibility wouldn't really matter because of the market the camera would geared towards. However, I don't think Pentax would be able to maintain such a setup, let alone design such a platform, given they are such a small company and were fairly late getting into the digital market.

02-18-2008, 08:25 PM   #9
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02-18-2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
I strongly suspect Sony will really struggle in FF. For a start, most of their lenses are old rebadged Minolta film lenses. If Canon is anything to go by even some of their L glass looks distinctly shakey on the 1DS mk3 so god help Sony. White elephant? We'll see. I predict a 24MP FF camera wont perform much better than an A700 and it will bomb! After all they have no real pro following left and only the most dedicated would pay the kind of prices they are demanding for their big glass. Moreover availability (at least in the UK) is no better, and possibly worse, than Pentax.
Not all Sony glass is rebadged Minolta. And the rebadged Minolta lenses they did pick up are really good ones - most Minolta users would argue they are better than Canon L glass anyways.

More seriously though, I expect Sony to release another 3-4 Carl Zeiss lenses with the FF camera in September. That, coupled with the already existing 3 CZ FF lenses would be a strong starting lineup imo. I just realized the other day that Sony is the only company with a stabilized (thanks to the sensor based SSS), modern, high performance 24-70mm lens (the new Carl Zeiss). The corresponding Nikon and Canon offerings are non-stabilized, and arguably not as good as the CZ from the initial reviews.
02-18-2008, 08:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ankit Quote
Not all Sony glass is rebadged Minolta. And the rebadged Minolta lenses they did pick up are really good ones - most Minolta users would argue they are better than Canon L glass anyways.

More seriously though, I expect Sony to release another 3-4 Carl Zeiss lenses with the FF camera in September. That, coupled with the already existing 3 CZ FF lenses would be a strong starting lineup imo. I just realized the other day that Sony is the only company with a stabilized (thanks to the sensor based SSS), modern, high performance 24-70mm lens (the new Carl Zeiss). The corresponding Nikon and Canon offerings are non-stabilized, and arguably not as good as the CZ from the initial reviews.
Not judging the quality here but I am looking for a solid reference that, even going back to modern Minolta (right before absorption by Sony) that Minolta in fact even made their own lenses for DSLR's. As far as I was aware most were Cosina, Tamron ect... but labelled Minolta.
Re: Hoya to focus more on lenses: News Discussion Forum: Digital Photography Review
"This question has been already asked when Minolta was still alive. I think the 70-200G and 300G were the last SLR lenses made by Minolta engineers and both designs are at least 6? years old."
Personally it really means little and in effect, gives Sony a 1 up since Cosina ect. still produce FF lenses... but I'm more curious in the Minolta myth......
Personally I think they did a good smoke and mirrors job but I'm willing to admit I'm wrong.
02-18-2008, 09:06 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tux08902 Quote
I doubt they will go for FF. To maximize appeal, they can go high-spec APS-C. However, FF will mean new lens, and I doubt Pentax would want to be juggling things like that.
Agreed. The K20 seems to be half an upgrade. They put a new sensor under the hood. It makes sense for the next model when ready to be essentially the same sensor with any tweaks they've learned, with a rework of the AF and EV systems. This will could be a premium unit priced above the K20 while the K20 hangs around.
02-18-2008, 09:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Not judging the quality here but I am looking for a solid reference that, even going back to modern Minolta (right before absorption by Sony) that Minolta in fact even made their own lenses for DSLR's. As far as I was aware most were Cosina, Tamron ect... but labelled Minolta.
Re: Hoya to focus more on lenses: News Discussion Forum: Digital Photography Review
"This question has been already asked when Minolta was still alive. I think the 70-200G and 300G were the last SLR lenses made by Minolta engineers and both designs are at least 6? years old."
Personally it really means little and in effect, gives Sony a 1 up since Cosina ect. still produce FF lenses... but I'm more curious in the Minolta myth......
Personally I think they did a good smoke and mirrors job but I'm willing to admit I'm wrong.
Jeff,

You are very correct. It is no secret that many of the new Konica-Minolta lenses were in fact rebadged Tamrons. The 28-75, the 11-18, the 17-35, and maybe even the kit lens (18-70) were most probably Tamron rebadged lenses. Minolta did their own coatings, and some of these lenses were even manufactured in a different country than Tamron's, but the basic design was Tamron's. I think the last real Minolta design was the re-designed 35/1.4 lens that they announced but never released (Sony released it in its first batch of lenses). But these were not the lenses that made Minolta famous. The real Minolta lenses were the "G" lenses from the 90's. True, they are old designs now, but many are still as good as the best out there (L etc)!

Looking at the lenses released by Sony, it becomes apparent that they have been aiming at full frame right from the get-go. Most of these lenses are Minolta classics, and I think Sony only brought over 3-4 Tamron rebadged lenses, and most of these are either in the kit-lens range, or the super zooms (18-250). They didn't even bother to re-badge the Tamron 17-50/2.8 as many had expected. In addition, they have already released a few new lenses (85/1.4, 135/1.8, 24-70/2.8, 16-80, 16-105, 70-300G, etc.). These are all modern designs. Now it is not clear where these lenses are coming from. It is possible that they are lenses that Minolta was working on in it's dying years. Or they could be entirely Carl Zeiss designs. There is also a possibility that these are Tamron designs exclusively for Sony (Sony does own a big chunk of Tamron after all). But whatever the case, they are as good/better than anything Minolta produced.

Anyways, my point was that the quality of lenses is probably the last thing Sony would have to worry about with full frame. I think their biggest concern would be getting down the prices on some of these beauties

Last edited by ankit; 02-18-2008 at 09:22 PM.
02-18-2008, 09:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ankit Quote
Jeff,

You are very correct. It is no secret that many of the new Konica-Minolta lenses were in fact rebadged Tamrons. The 28-75, the 11-18, the 17-35, and maybe even the kit lens (18-70) were most probably Tamron rebadged lenses. Minolta did their own coatings, and some of these lenses were even manufactured in a different country than Tamron's, but the basic design was Tamron's. I think the last real Minolta design was the re-designed 35/1.4 lens that they announced but never released (Sony released it in its first batch of lenses). But these were not the lenses that made Minolta famous. The real Minolta lenses were the "G" lenses from the 90's. True, they are old designs now, but many are still as good as the best out there (L etc)!

Looking at the lenses released by Sony, it becomes apparent that they have been aiming at full frame right from the get-go. Most of these lenses are Minolta classics, and I think Sony only brought over 3-4 Tamron rebadged lenses, and most of these are either in the kit-lens range, or the super zooms (18-250). They didn't even bother to re-badge the Tamron 17-50/2.8 as many had expected. In addition, they have already released a few new lenses (85/1.4, 135/1.8, 24-70/2.8, 16-80, 16-105, 70-300G, etc.). These are all modern designs. Now it is not clear where these lenses are coming from. It is possible that they are lenses that Minolta was working on in it's dying years. Or they could be entirely Carl Zeiss designs. There is also a possibility that these are Tamron designs exclusively for Sony (Sony does own a big chunk of Tamron after all). But whatever the case, they are as good/better than anything Minolta produced.

Anyways, my point was that the quality of lenses is probably the last thing Sony would have to worry about with full frame. I think their biggest concern would be getting down the prices on some of these beauties
Thanks, there are some minolta-files that seem to think the old designers are still there and some point to some of the factories (that from my understanding produce lenses for the p/s variety) that Sony still has.....Many Zeiss lenses are being manufactured by Cosina (I believe), a company I have a lot of respect for (as well as Tamron). I've just always found this secrecy in the business to be amusing. The Pentax/Tokina partnership. The Samsung/Pentax sensor ect... I fail to see the point of all the cloak and dagger but apparently they think it works. And of course it's not only cameras but they seem to be one of the worst. Reminds me of the fact that only 2 or 3 companies actually can build a CRT (tube only of course)...
02-18-2008, 10:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Thanks, there are some minolta-files that seem to think the old designers are still there and some point to some of the factories (that from my understanding produce lenses for the p/s variety) that Sony still has.....Many Zeiss lenses are being manufactured by Cosina (I believe), a company I have a lot of respect for (as well as Tamron). I've just always found this secrecy in the business to be amusing. The Pentax/Tokina partnership. The Samsung/Pentax sensor ect... I fail to see the point of all the cloak and dagger but apparently they think it works. And of course it's not only cameras but they seem to be one of the worst. Reminds me of the fact that only 2 or 3 companies actually can build a CRT (tube only of course)...
It's sort of like gasoline. There is only 1 refinery in the Pacific Northwest, and one pipeline into Portland, OR from that refinery.---yet we have half a dozen brands of gas.
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